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Tim Myers: “Get ready for the Great Santa Clarita ‘Religious Test’”

Myers’ Musings

Posted: May 23, 2009 10:22 p.m.
Updated: May 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.
I never thought I could agree with Dave Bossert on the issue of annexation.

It seemed a foundational argument that only one city should ever exist in the Santa Clarita Valley to preclude the insanity of the Palmdale-Lancaster-L.A. County three-way wars for such business crown jewels as a Wendy's restaurant.

But with the latest action at City Council Chambers, one must wonder if elected officials went something we referred to in Iowa as "outhouse rat crazy" - except we did not use the term "outhouse" - thus calling into question their ability to govern the wider SCV.

On May 12, the City Council agenda contained an item to discuss placing a plebiscite on the 2010 city ballot regarding the placement of the words "In God We Trust" on the city logo, seal, public buildings, whatever.

At the close of the discussion, in a rather chaotic and fast way, the City Council suddenly put out a motion to throw the words on the wall in Council Chambers and call it good, the motion passing five to zero.

It happened so quickly, only Brian Charles from The Signal figured it out.

Not since the infamous paperweight throwing/tossing/handing-over incident - when JoAnn Darcy triple-crossed Jill Klajic on the vote for the up-until-then rotating office of mayor - have I been so proud to be a resident of the city.

I will say it outright. Due to my strong personal faith, I go absolutely berserk when public officials play the "God" and "prayer" card.
Any person of faith with a fully functioning brain who also believes in our pluralistic society does not want public officials invoking the name of God.

Why? While I respect the beliefs of others, I don't want these others' beliefs inserted into public life.

Take the rather pedestrian example of prayer in schools. While many of my fellow co-religionists seem to like the idea of prayer in public schools, I would guarantee they would despise the actuality.

How many weeks would pass before little Johnny or Sue came home with a crystal from their Wicken teacher? How many hundreds of smart-aleck teens would embrace the Jedi "religion," a phenomena currently occurring in the civilian police forces of the United Kingdom?

I also, like the prophet Isaiah, despise the "vain oblations" of the perhaps less-than-holy who invoke the name of (probably) the Protestant God.

Reports back from the sitting council members who voted unanimously for this motion cited their "personal" religious beliefs. Let me give everyone a hint: I may possess the wrong idea, but "personal religious beliefs" works as code for "I haven't been to church in a dog's age, I am not really a member of any established religion, but I know that to get anywhere politically one must profess a belief in the Protestant God and some grudging belief in the Roman Catholic and Jewish God."

So in the interest of full disclosure and truth in advertising on behalf of the city, I will endeavor to interview each of the five sitting council members one on one to determine in exactly which "God" they trust.

Is it the God who despises homeless people? Is it the God who thinks the worst problem in the world is medical marijuana dispensaries? Is it the God who loves medical office developments?

This effort may go several ways. Officials may actually come up extremely devout in various religions, active in their churches and service, and very knowledgeable about theology and spiritual matters.

That will help in future votes, since the public can hold them accountable against their publicly professed beliefs on, let's say, a vote regarding the permitting of a permanent homeless shelter.

They may also hem and haw about their particular beliefs, and I will not hesitate to "out" them as unchurched and theologically ignorant, showing up their invocation of God Almighty merely for political gain or protection, to jazz up the discouraged base by igniting a needless culture war.

But more than likely they will refuse the interview, citing their religion as "personal" (remember the code again).

But this seems somewhat disingenuous, since they decided to make the issue of religion in Santa Clarita public when they quickly decided to throw a vain oblation on the wall of the council chambers.

Stay tuned to this space and see how it develops.

Tim Myers is a Valencia resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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