In “American Graffiti,” a character says to put a traffic ticket in the “CS” file - “c” for chicken and “s” not for “salad.” Rev Micah Beckwith, one of my opponents in the June 2 GOP primary for Indiana’s 5th Congressional District (INCD5), is cs.
Beckwith initiated contact with me in a February 1 tweet: “You’re in the wrong primary! But I’m glad you decided to fake it in the GOP primary. I’m gonna have a lot fun dismantling the stupidity of your progressive ideology. Can’t wait to see you on the campaign trail!”
My reply: “I'd rather a person like you, who obviously hates so many (e.g. LGBTQ folks) views me as stupid. That's a compliment to me!” We saw each other “on the campaign trail” on March 13 in Elwood.
I suggested we debate and arrange a time, place, and topics. Even with the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Holcomb, we can debate on-line, or at a reasonable distance face-to-face and stream the debate. He agreed. Since then he’s not replied to me.
People should be scared of Beckwith. In a video dated October 24, 2019, on his FB page, titled “The Church’s role in politics,” he claims you cannot be moral if you are a “Hindu, an atheist or a Jew” and that he cannot work in the middle of such people.
The implications: if you cannot be moral, you lack the ability to be moral and, if so, how can you be entrusted with the right to vote? Some European immigrants came to North America in the 1600s and 1700s to escape religious persecution.
The Puritans in Massachusetts arrived, then promptly discriminated against “heretics” such as Quakers. Four Quakers were hanged by Puritans because the Quakers’ beliefs were viewed as heretical.
Martin Luther sparked the Reformation. The Hundred Years War ensued. As Mick Jagger sang, in “Sympathy for the Devil”: “I watched with glee/while your kings and queens/fought for ten decades for the god they made.”
The Framers were disillusioned by religion. They proscribed affirmation to a deity in the oaths of office for members of Congress and the judiciary (U.S. Const., Art.VI, cl 3) and President. (U.S. Const. Art. II, sec. 1.)
Madison wrote: “... the door of this part of the federal government is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith.” Federalist, No. 52.
Our society is pluralistic with more religions than Beckwith’s. An April, 2018, Pew Research Center survey found one-third of Americans “do not believe in the God of the Bible, but that they do believe there is some other higher power or spiritual force in the universe....
A slim majority of Americans (56%) say they believe in God ‘as described in the Bible.’ And one-in-ten do not believe in any higher power or spiritual force.” My concerns have been voiced by other who are conservative:
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [GOP] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. ...
But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.” -Sen. Barry Goldwater, seen by some as the father of modern conservatism.
We all should fear a Beckwith, who would “defend” religious freedom via persecution of those who do not believe as he believes. The First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...”
An atheist parent who raises her child to believe there is no god could be held to commit child abuse since the child will be condemned to hell. A report to DCS becomes a ChINS followed by Termination of Parental Rights (TPR).
A child raised by loving LGBTQ parents, regardless of those parents’ religious beliefs, would have to be removed, one would surmise. Betsy DeVos can place a such a child with a “godly” home (and make more money to buy another yacht).
I have said Beckwith is a dominionist, who believes only Christians should hold positions of governmental authority. Beckwith’s first value is to “love my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” “Love and honor” of the Constitution come in at number 3 on his list.
Who determines what is a “legitimate” or “sincerely held” Christian belief? Must “true believers” also believe in “complete immersion” for baptism or is mere “sprinkling” acceptable? If someone holds contrary beliefs, is that person a heretic?
The CONSTITUTION - as Beckwith spells it - protects ALL beliefs about our places in the cosmos. Other Christians, people of Hebrew and the Islamic faiths, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, Jainists, and atheists and agnostics are protected EQUALLY.
In an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show,” Opie faces down a bully and steps across a line drawn by the bully. Finally the bully runs away. One thing bullies seem to have in common is cowardice.
We cannot abandon one half of our political system to ignorance, bigotry and hatred - values unspoken but advanced by Beckwith nonetheless. It’s fine if he won’t crawl out from under a six thousand year old rock to debate me.
However, he then should keep his mouth shut about being great at debate. We value a notion that truth is discussed in the marketplace of ideas. Beckwith is cs and cannot defend his positions, so he should shut his stall and leave the marketplace.
I am Mark Small. I am a candidate in the GOP primary for Indiana 5th Congressional District. The ignorance and bigotry that cs Beckwith represents should be repugnant to us all. I approve of the content of this blog - hell, I wrote it.