Bob Vander Plaats Says Exercising First Amendment Rights Mocks God

The Religious Right and the Republican Party are performing a high-wire act with their embrace of so-called Religious Freedom. This Religious Freedom, is, of course, directed at Christians only. But what happens if, at the same time you are holding a forum on protecting religious freedom, a Wiccan priestess is invited to give the invocation at the State Capitol?

Your natural inclination as Bob Vander Plaats of Iowa’s Family Leader, is to condemn the move. But if he denies the Wiccan’s right, he will give the game away, won’t he? He will not only make his own embrace of Religious Freedom hollow, he will do the same to the four candidates he is hosting – Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal – who are also campaigning on a platform that includes Religious Freedom.

So Vander Plaats decided to host an “alternate prayer service” for those offended by the practice of actual religious freedom. According to KCCI 8, fully half of Iowa’s lawmakers chose to show America how they felt about actual Religious Freedom, and skipped Thursday’s invocation by the Wiccan priestess.

The invocation was given by Deborah Maynard, who is described as “a Wiccan from Cedar Rapids.” She is only the third Wiccan to render an invocation in this land of alleged religious liberty.

Her prayer was given as follows. See if you are offended:

We call this morning to god, goddess, universe, that which is greater than ourselves to be with us here today. By the earth that is in our bones and centers us, may all here remember our roots and those we are here to represent. By the fire that gives us light and passion, may all here remain passionate about the work that must be done for the people of Iowa. By the air that gives us breath and logic, may all here find thoughtful solutions to the problems that are presented. By the water that flows through our blood and stirs our emotions, may all here draw an emotional intelligence which helps us see the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We call this morning to spirit ever present, to help us respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Be with us and this legislative body and guide them to seek justice, equity and compassion in the work that is before them today. Blessed be, Aho and Amen.

Justice, equity, and passion. The dignity of every person.

Well…how dare you, madam? Some of those lawmakers who did show up, chose, instead of sitting respectfully like the rest of us do for Christian prayer, to turn their backs on Maynard – like Rep. Rob Taylor – as a show of protest.

At least he didn’t hiss. That’s how ancient Christians handled Pagan prayer (which explains angry Pagan mobs and resultant martyrdom). Thank whatever’s holy he hasn’t picked up a history book any more often than his Bible.

To make matters worse, ABC’s local affiliate, KCRG, reports that “Pastor Michael Demastus of the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ was in the balcony, praying for Maynard.”

This is probably something most of us Pagans have experienced. I’ve lost track of the number of those who’ve told me they are praying for my soul.

It sounds, on the whole, like the concept of Religious Freedom is something completely new and foreign in Iowa. Which is not altogether surprising.

And indeed, Bob Vander Plaats, the alleged champion of Religious Freedom, called the invocation a “stunning development (that) many Christians across the state recognize has spiritual ramification.”

Yes, actually exercising your First Amendment right to have your own beliefs is a “stunning development” with “spiritual ramifications.”

Remember that next time you vote.

In a country ruled by actual religious freedom, this should not even have been news. Let alone bad news.

In a speech that night, Vander Plaats mentioned 9/11 and the resultant God-centered patriotism put on display everywhere (without mentioning the tar and feathering of dissenting voices like the Dixie Chicks) and made his actual feelings known about a Wiccan in the Capitol:

Almost 14 years later, where are we at? Just this morning, in the Iowa capitol, which is totally within the religious liberty right, but you had a state representative invite someone to deliver a Wiccan prayer. Now, you may say that’s religious liberty, but I’d say you’d better be careful if you want to start mocking the God that you’re asking to bless this country. That’s a huge concern.

“You might say that’s religious liberty…”

There you go, Bob, you fascist. Get it out of your system.

Actual religious liberty – in other words, the right of people to be something other than Christian – is “a huge concern,” he says.

But I didn’t see any God-mocking, did you?

We are speaking of actual Religious Liberty now, not the Religious Right’s variety, which countenances only prayers to the guy whose teachings they all ignore – Jesus Christ.

Vander Plaats tried to dance around the issue. That issue being that the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom to all Americans. Including Wiccan priestesses. Including atheists. Including Muslims.

The United States Constitution does not take into account sectarian “spiritual ramifications.” In fact, the Constitution was written by men who wanted to avoid the Old World’s history of sectarian strife.

And Bob Vander Plaats and the Republican Party have made it more than clear that they do not support Religious Freedom, but the religious tyranny our Founding Fathers tried so hard to ban from these shores.

30 Replies to “Bob Vander Plaats Says Exercising First Amendment Rights Mocks God”

  1. I once had a faith healer pray that I be shown hell (nice, huh?). An area evangelical group had sponsored the woman for a healing program – darned phony stuff. Afterward I spoke with the woman and one of her sponsors, telling her that I didn’t believe there was a physical place of “hell”. She told me I was wrong, it states it very clearly in the bible. I pointed out that every example she gave me from the bible was a parable. That ended the discussion with the woman and sponsor taking my hands to pray for me – pray that I be shown hell. I withdrew my hands

  2. I have never mocked god. You can’t mock something that does not exist.

    Mocking people who believe in god is another story. But a lot of these guys can’t tell the difference.

  3. The mindset of christians is so narrow minded. Because they have no room for anybody or anything beyond their definition of their god their numbers will dwindle.

    Sounds like they are very, very fearful of alternate beliefs. They are their own worst enemy.

  4. But of course if Ol’ Bobby and his Christian ilk use the 1st amendment then it’s not mocking god! because according to them god GAVE them the 1st. amendment and the2nd amendment only for use by Christians. But we sane secular Americans know that Blasphemy is a victimless crime. Taxing these charlatans will not have the detrimental outcome or the destruction of the church that is needed sorely but it will only serve to give them even MORE power to victimize and rule over Americans because they will have skin in the game. At this time the religious community is a very large whitewashed parasite that sucks tax revenue out of local communities and the government while DEMANDING total social obedience with the threat of removal of life and livelihood AND our very freedoms.

  5. Blasphemy- the notion that an All-Powerful God needs finite man to protect it’s feelings.

    And so much for the notion that America was ‘originally’ a Christian Nation.

  6. “Bob Vander Plaats Says Exercising First Amendment Rights Mocks God”

    If that’s the case, then he should sit down and STFU.

  7. Hi, I’m Bob Vander Plaats and I worship the ghost of a 2000 year old gay, Jewish man.

    And I think I have problems…

  8. “Praying at the State Capitol…”

    This is the perfect example why there shoud NOT be any praying anywhere in a Government building.

    Keep your relationship with your god at your own place at your own time and quit wasting government time and money on it,

    And keep your praying off our faces!

    The rest of you watch out Friday the 13 is coming in November 2015, and the witch burning could be back on the books by then.

  9. From what I can tell from the facts laid out in this article, he was just exercising his religious freedom by choosing not to attend the wiccan led prayer service and his religious freedom by speaking his opinion about the ordeal. Just as you have the freedom to express your opinions in and about this article. That’s religious freedom. I don’t see the problem here. Regardless of what his opinions are, he should have the right to express them,right? I would only have a problem if he tried to have the wiccan banned from praying in public.

  10. Well, to be fair… Vander Plaats saying anything just mocks common sense, which common sense just says ‘Next time you something stupid, I’m going to smack you upside your damn head!’

  11. Screw Bob and his “phony” god!!! They are both evil, bat-shit crazy, ass-holes!!! In my opinion.

  12. Of course Vander Plaats has the right to not attend this particular invocation.

    “Now, you *may* say that’s religious liberty, but I’d say you’d better be careful if you want to start mocking the God that you’re asking to bless this country. That’s a huge concern.”

    But the subtext of his statement is clear: People are not allowed to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater because of the harm this can cause. Wiccan prayers cause harm. Therefore the practice of Wicca is less deserving of First Amendment protection.

    Do you find this logic a little chilling?

  13. Ah… so now we clearly see that ‘actual religious freedom’ is freedom for Christians only. Are the Religious Right Hypocrites really so stupid that they’d think their cries for Religious Freedom wouldn’t be tested?

  14. Ah…so now we clearly see that ‘actual religious freedom’ is religious freedom for Christians only. Did the Religious Right Hypocrites really think this wouldn’t be tested?

  15. “Actual religious freedom” only applies to certain Christians.I belong to a more liberal Christian denomination, and many of my beliefs fall outside the Conservative “norm”, and therefore aren’t worthy to receive the protection of “actual religious freedom”, according to Conservatives. You must be the “right” kind of Christian (pun intended) to receive that protection, otherwise you are cast into the darkness with Muslims, atheists, Jews and other non-Conservative religious groups. These people will not stop until they have turned us all into hate-filled robots, who will condemn all the people that they condemn. They seem to have missed that verse in the Bible where Jesus says, “Love one another, even as I have loved you.” He’s going to ask them “why?”

  16. Anyone–especially any woman, minority, veteran, or LGBT person–who votes for a republican politician is an absolute fool.

  17. Ordeal?

    He respects freedom of religion the way that bigots who organize all white proms so their kids won’t have to dance in the same room as black kids respect civil rights.

  18. Clearly they just want a war. Probably think more moderate Christians will be drawn to their side to fight the “librul menace”. Meanwhile, even someone as ignorant about the bible as myself, knows enough of what is attributed to Jesus to know that he is clearly the king of liberals and pretty much crapped on everything conservative evangelicals stand for.

    It must be an interesting existence to face each day so terrified that you might accidentally learn something that would strip away your delusions about yourself and your “beliefs”. -That your only option is to rage mindlessly against the world without pause so you never face the moment of quiet introspection that might be your undoing.

    …A world where even an energy drink can represent a demonic conspiracy to destroy everything you hold sacred.

    Poor bastards. ;P

  19. I know that bunch! I prayed for them in the name of Krishna! The withdrew their hands with a quickness!

  20. Bob Vander Plaats and the Religious Right are at odds with Roger Williams. He wrote:

    “It is the will and command of God, that since the comming of his Sonne the Lord Jesus, a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or Antichristian consciences and worships, bee granted in a Nations and Countries…and that they are onely to bee fought against with that Sword which is onely in Soule matters able to conquer, to wit the Sword of Gods Spirit, the Word of God.” (Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul by John M. Barry)

    The Religious Right loathes and detests the American values of our settlers and founders.

  21. And once again I say America is NOT a theocracy.
    The Constitution says people can have all the religion they want, or don’t want, but religion does not determine our laws.
    I am sick and tired of people using their religious beliefs as an excuse to attain special rights and privileges.

  22. I heard somewhere that you shall not bearing false witness against your neighbor.

    Oh yeah the BIBLE TEN COMMANDMENTS, along with stealing, and not committing adultery etc. What hypocrites these cherry-pickers are.

    Sorry to cherry pickers, I mean you no disrespect.

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