Thursday, January 06, 2005


This is how one Seattle Democrat described her trauma when she discovered that some of the Republicans helping with the manual recount in the governor's race out here took time out for prayer.

"How come I see you going in and out of the GOP Lounge at breaks and lunch?" ... The answer the Sean Hannity look-alike gave me came as a shock.

It was for prayer time, he said barely above a whisper. I had to ask the other people standing with us—one other Democratic ballot counter and two Republican ballot counters—to confirm what he said. This was something I had never considered. That a political party interested in the results of an election would conduct daily prayers, formally or informally, inside an office building in which the express purpose is to conduct civic business left me speechless. Apparently, because they had paid for the space, they felt entitled to do whatever they wanted—or, more precisely, whatever they could get away with. The revelation that prayers were being conducted in the GOP Lounge, together with the fact that the Republican candidate for governor once said he thought creationism should be taught alongside evolution in public schools, gave me a chilling new understanding of the phrase "party faithful." What I had thought was a contest for governor turned out to be more like a religious war.

The separation of church and state is one of the most cherished tenets of our democracy. Many would argue, myself among them, that those who seek to blur or erase the line are the real enemies of the American way of life. While I started out not caring much about who among the disappointing choices would be our next governor, suddenly I found that I care a great deal.

Talk about paranoia. And what a sad and complete misunderstanding of our nation's founding principles.


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