At the northern end of Los Angeles county (in California), well away from the urban center of that sprawling metropolis, lies the city of Lancaster. As one would expect, it’s not as cosmopolitan as the enormous city to its south. It is, however, a growing region, despite its somewhat remote location. So it’s odd that its elected officials would start carrying the standard of Christianity and try to force it on everyone — and vilify Islam at the same time. The (Los Angeles) Daily News reports on this controversy (WebCite cached article):

Lancaster officials became embroiled in religious controversy this week after the mayor spoke of trying to make the Antelope Valley city a “Christian community” and a councilwoman wrote on Facebook that beheadings are what Muslims “are all about.”

Mayor R. Rex Parris made his comments Tuesday in his State of the City speech as he urged Lancaster voters to approve a municipal ballot measure that would allow prayers – even those invoking a specific deity, such as Jesus – at city meetings.

“We’re growing a Christian community, and don’t let anybody shy away from that,” Parris said to an audience of about 160 people, mostly pastors and their spouses, the Antelope Valley Press reported.

Parris is — as one would expect from the “no-compromise” position laid out in these remarks — not backing down from this statement:

Parris said Friday he was surprised by the objections of non-Christians and secular-government advocates, and said his remarks had been taken out of context.

Note, the “out of context” whine is the religionists’ reflexive objection whenever they’re caught making an incendiary statement. In this case, context is irrelevant; his remarks were absolute, as embodied in “don’t let anybody shy away from that.” Isn’t it interesting how he expressed a “no-holds-barred” view to a group of pastors and their wives, but later is sniveling and trying to back away from them? Hmm.

Anyway, those remarks came in the wake of another comment that was just as incendiary:

Days before Parris’ remarks, Lancaster City Councilwoman Sherry Marquez used her Facebook page to comment on the trial of a Muslim man accused of beheading his wife in Orchard Park, N.Y.

“This is what the Muslim religion is all about – the beheadings, honor killings are just the beginning of what is to come in the USA,” Marquez wrote Jan. 23. “We are told this is a small majority of Muslim’s (sic) in America, but it is truly what they are all about. You disrespect/dishonor them or their religion and you should die (they don’t even blink at killing their own wives/daughters, because they are justified by their religion).”

How nice. I guess Ms Marquez forgot about the latest example of Christians killing people in the name of their religion; i.e. Scott Roeder, who was just convicted of assassinating Dr George Tiller in Wichita KS? Yes, Ms Marquez … and all other Christian religionists out there who would have us believe that Christians never engage in violence in the name of their religion … Christians can be terrorists, too. OK?

Clearly the folks in charge of Lancaster, CA are veering in the direction of theocracy. While their religionism might make them feel entitled to do this, the truth is that the US … and all of its states, counties, and municipalities like Lancaster … are secular governments. And this is the case for good reason. If you wish to understand why , read all about it from the pen of the man who wrote the First Amendment and thus helped ensure it was so (cached article).

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