As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Two Percent Solution

Here's the backstory: a federal judge ruled that the invocations to prayer in the Indiana State House were too often "systematically sectarian", appealing to Jesus and a Christian God. A Jewish lobbying group went to the State House to ask about this issue. Here's the reply:

The day ended with a private meeting with Speaker of the House Bosma meeting our group in the beautiful House chambers.  We asked questions about full day kindergarten, about the clinics, and a young member of the delegation asked about providing sexuality education in public schools that is more than abstinence based.  He responded to everything we asked.  Sometimes we liked what he said and sometimes we didn't.  Speaker Bosma wondered why we hadn't discussed the controversy surrounding the issue of prayer in House chambers.  He told us his version of what happened and what he believes, and a passionate exchange took place.  The end of this exchange left us, the Jewish delegation, in shock.  Speaker Bosma, defending the prayer issue, asked, "How many Jews are there in Indiana?  About 2%?  There are at least 80% Christians in Indiana."  The implication of this statement was that our minority community doesn't and shouldn't have any say or any voice.  It is about the majority and what the majority wants.  The jaws of the delegation dropped to the floor.  We were speechless.  Everything we believed about this country had just been trampled.  Gone was the belief of the constitutional protection of minorities.  Gone was not feeling marginalized.  Gone was the belief we were not strangers in this country.  I am sure that Speaker Bosma is a fine man, but in that moment, for the first time in my life as a citizen of this country, I was scared.  It is what I now call the 2% solution (and Jews are much less than 2% of this state) that if you are only 2% don't even bother to speak up as the "Tyranny of the majority" will prevail.

This became major news in Indiana, forcing Speaker Bosma to apologize. But the damage was done, and that first impression is a window into the soul.

Wow, at least African-Americans got 60% way back when.