Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Rep. Monique Davis to atheist Rob Sherman: `It’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists!'

As a native from the Land of Lincoln, I can't do anything but wonder about the quality of our political representatives. The Chicago Tribune recently reported on the face off between Ill. Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) and Rob Sherman - green party candidate.

In response to Sherman's objection to the state of Illinois giving $1 million to the Pilgrim Baptist Church, Davis attacked him for not believing in God and for having the temerity to say that the Church and State should be separate. She told him that she believed it was dangerous for children to know that atheism exists. She ordered him to stop testifying and insisted that in the Land of Lincoln, "people believe in God!" That is certainly news to this Illinois boy.

Here is a brief snippet of the debate (for fun, see if you can pick out the logical fallacies):

Davis: I don’t know what you have against God, but some of us don’t have much against him. We look forward to him and his blessings. And it’s really a tragedy -- it’s tragic -- when a person who is engaged in anything related to God, they want to fight. They want to fight prayer in school. I don’t see you (Sherman) fighting guns in school. You know?

I’m trying to understand the philosophy that you want to spread in the state of Illinois. This is the Land of Lincoln. This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous--

Sherman: What’s dangerous, ma’am?

Davis: It’s dangerous to the progression of this state. And it’s dangerous for our children to even know that your philosophy exists! Now you will go to court to fight kids to have the opportunity to be quiet for a minute. But damn if you’ll go to [court] to fight for them to keep guns out of their hands. I am fed up! Get out of that seat!

Sherman: Thank you for sharing your perspective with me, and I’m sure that if this matter does go to court---

Davis: You have no right to be here! We believe in something. You believe in destroying! You believe in destroying what this state was built upon.

I am not quite sure which state she is referring to: our nation-state or the state of Illinois. Having grown up in Illinois, I am pretty sure it was built upon lots and lots of corn fields, not God's divine will.

* Outside of the logical fallacies, Davis may be on rocky historical ground as well. As this incident has caught fire the last few days, East Carolina University History Dept. chair Gerald Prokopowicz has found a new audience for his book, "Did Lincoln Own Slaves? And other frequently asked questions about Abraham Lincoln." According to Prokopowicz: "His religious beliefs were dynamic, complex, and powerful, but not conventional." Read his brief interview here


Rob said...

Ok, I'm going to go with the fallacies of ad hominem, and multiple accounts of hasty generalization. There's one sentence where I absolutely don't know what she's trying to say, so I'm going to make up the fallacy of incoherence.

jfinnell said...

Among the numerous personal attacks, don't forget appeal to popularity:

"This is the Land of Lincoln where people believe in God, where people believe in protecting their children.… What you have to spew and spread is extremely dangerous, it’s dangerous-- "

I agree with the general incoherence.

Hanno said...

The fighting guns in school is a red herring.

Rob said...

The fighting guns thing is what I attributed incoherence to.

And in case you didn't catch Countdown with Keith Olbermann last night, Davis won the much coveted "World's Worst Person in the World" award. I think we should applaud her effort, she had to beat Bill O'Reilly to get first place.

jfinnell said...

I wouldn't say that Davis is a terrible person - just misguided in her thinking. I suspect she holds an opinion that many people in America actually hold (rightly or wrongly), but rarely espouse.

Connecting it to our previous discussion on leaders only leading when people follow, it will be interesting to see whether the people of Chicago continue to support her.

jessica lominac said...

This person is a state rep?? Glad that there is someone who is so open minded and nonjudgemental governing. (if you can't sense the sarcasm...) I hardly think that prayer in schools is comparable to guns in schools. I also dont think that a philosophy is dangerous. Its the fear of something new or different that makes DANGER. Mrs Davis sounded very unintelligent. What a shame...

The People said...

Rep. Davis is silly to the wise, but she has served her people well and respects their values. Sherman is obviously out of touch with reality and shouldn't be trusted in his opinion because he thinks the public should want or could tolerate a proud atheist to represent them (funny how lincoln's "complex" beliefs have to be dug up and interpreted - he kept them to himself, and few were so concerned). We The People understand why such people who feel the need to tout their faith are dangerous and deranged. We don't want our children to know humans can become such monsters, just as we hide other ugly facts from them (should obama announce his beliefs concerning santa, whether every kid is special, and if human life is meaningless or just a random belch in time as the universe cools? If he is retarded and wants to waste everyone's time and money by speaking truth to the people). So fallacious to not want to try to explain how we can trust an avowed atheist or how Sherman can have any reliable code of morality beyond utility to children who've only read Kant's theological musings. I'm sure philosophers' children can come to grips with being moral in an amoral universe but Rep. Davis' constituents know more of democracy, humanity, and the conditions of tolerance and pluralism than obnoxious "rationalists" like Sherman who can't see that the true basis of their conviction is that they are too boring, dried up, and arrogant for God to speak to and live through them. The People don't want to punish such heretics (we pity him), but we don't need him spouting off in the town square, in public affairs and polluting our community's interpersonal moral consciousness with his proselytizing. Kind of like with any zealot of any faith.