Sunday, March 19, 2006

State Government: The Newest Battleground

At the same time the American people are starting to awaken from their 9/11 slumber to the shocking reality that our emperor is buck naked, state legislators around the country seem to be just now falling under the spell of Bushputin.

In Missouri, the house voted to delete funding for contraception and infertility treatments. Rep. Susan Phillips said in an interview, “If you hand out contraception to single women, we're saying promiscuity is OK as a state, and I am not in support of that."

NRA backed “license to murder” legislation has been passed in Colorado and Florida, and is being considered in 11 other states. The legislation allows anyone who “feels threatened” to shoot first and worry about the legitimacy of the threat later.

Numerous state legislatures are considering laws that would allow pharmacists to follow their conscience on whether or not to fill prescriptions for contraceptives or morning after pills.

South Dakota recently passed legislation that bans virtually all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. Other states are considering similar measures.

Many states are exerting tremendous energy to pass legislation banning same-sex marriages.

What gives? Are black helicopters spraying state capitals with secret chemical brain-numbing agents? Or could it be that Christian evangelicals, seeing their hopes for an American theocracy go up in smoke like so much dry Texas brush at the federal level, are now refocusing their efforts on state legislatures around the country?

For years now, evangelicals have been sowing the seeds of radicalism at the local level, getting sympathizers elected to school boards, city councils and seats in state government. It appears their work is now bearing its poisonous fruit, as states work to impose the far right agenda on their citizens.

All of this is happening despite that fact that poll after poll indicates the majority of American people oppose just such government interference in their personal lives. Representative democracy is far from perfect.

This November’s election should tell us a lot about how successful the right’s efforts will be in subverting the Constitution at the state level. While our focus has been riveted on Washing D.C. in recent years, fundamentalists have been growing like Kudzu through our local institutions. Come this fall, it’s time to fire up the weed whacker.

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