In Idaho, three days after a mass shooting in two New Zealand mosques killed 50 Muslims, the House State Affairs Committee (with 12 Republicans and 3 Democrats), and specifically State Rep. Priscilla Giddings (below), put forth a resolution condemning… Christian persecution.
HR 6 was voted out of that committee with a “do pass” recommendation yesterday.
The resolution says that “over 300 million Christians worldwide” are being persecuted, by which they’re referring to “death, rape, imprisonment, forced marriage, and physical violence.” It also says 90,000 Christians a year have been killed over the past decade over their religion. (There’s no citation for either number, though it’s safe to assume none of this is happening in the United States, much less Idaho.)
As a result of all that lawmakers want the following:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the members of the House of Representatives, assembled in the First Regular Session of the Sixty-fifth Idaho Legislature, that the State of Idaho declares its support for the fundamental human rights and religious freedom of all people, including Christians, globally and in the United States, calls for an end to Christian persecution, and calls on every government to recognize the fundamental rights of Christians to practice their faith without persecution or fear of death, rape, imprisonment, forced marriage, or physical violence.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that because the State of Idaho values religious freedom for all as a fundamental tenet of our form of government, we resolve to stand in support of the religious freedom of Christians worldwide and condemn any religious persecution of those Christians globally and in the United States.
It’s true that Christians are persecuted in, say, Islamic nations. Same with nations like China where dissent (including religious belief) is suppressed. In the U.S., however, none of this is really an issue. Christians are the oppressors, not the oppressed. They don’t need government help. They’re doing just fine.
But this isn’t just a meaningless resolution.
According to Janet Heimlich of the Child-Friendly Faith Project (I’m on their advisory board), this resolution could “lay the groundwork for Idahoans to abuse children.”
That’s not hyperbole. Idaho is one of the few states where parents who kill their children by refusing to take them to a doctor for curable diseases, for religious reasons, are let off the hook. It’s believed that more kids “die of faith-based medical neglect in Idaho than any other state.”
The Followers of Christ [a specific denomination] believe that only prayer and so-called “faith healing” can cure children of illness, broken bones, and other health problems. House Resolution 6 would offer codified justification for Idaho parents to continue to allow children to get very ill or disabled, suffer, or die, often from treatable illnesses.
Given that conservative Idaho lawmakers are bracing for the possibility that they would have to protect all children in the state from medical neglect, Giddings’ resolution could provide the cover they are looking for.
The irony would be that a resolution condemning Christian persecution could be used to help Christian parents kill their children.
Republicans will inevitably say this resolution does no such thing. That’s a lie. It wouldn’t be hard to rewrite this resolution to condemn persecution of anybody no matter their religious (or non-religious) views while still saying that it’s perfectly fine to condemn those beliefs when they’re used to hurt other people.
Not that the GOP will ever make that change. But it wouldn’t hurt if Idahoans contacted their representatives to oppose the resolution.