In 1096 Peter the Hermit, barefooted and dressed in a woolen tunic, persuaded 40,000 people to join him in the first crusade to free the Holy Land from the Muslims. Joining his followers were those who had been following a nanny goat and a goose, both thought to have been sent by God to lead them to Peter. Such is the cult of personality and such is the curse of populism. I wonder if any one of his 40,000 followers questioned the sanity of a shoeless leader urging them to march across Asia Minor and battle a well-equipped Muslim army.
Yesterday was the first day of the 124th Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. I arrived at the Statehouse a little early to take a COVID-19 test before the noon start time. Note that the House staff are required to wear masks while House members are merely strongly urged to do so. As I made my way to the testing room in the Blatt Building I met one of my Republican colleagues in the hallway who was absent a mask but was carrying a Bible. The presence of his Bible did not bother me. The absence of his mask did. I did not ask my colleague if he had come from the testing room and I resisted the urge to check the hallway for any trailing goose feathers.
Upon entering the testing room, I found several other Republican colleagues who were dutifully spitting into their individual testing vials. We kidded that it seemed to be an appropriate way to toast the new legislative year. I must pause here to give my thanks to the several House staffers who assisted us with the testing process. They put up with a lot from the various personalities and egos that make up the House membership. Which brings me back to my unmasked Bible wielding colleague. As a Christian, I wonder if my colleague believes that he exemplifies Christ? Would Jesus politicize a disease or the Scripture?
Meanwhile back in the testing room, a colleague asked if I had attended the Greenville County legislative delegation meeting the night before. I said no and quickly heard about a demand letter presented to the Greenville delegation jointly authored by a couple of groups named Veritas Voice and American Reformation. The letter has since become a news item on The Greenville News website where their demands can be found if anybody is interested.
Having read the letter, I cannot help but be amused by the use of the word “Veritas” which is the Latin word for truth. As I suspected, I found very little truth in the letter. The final paragraph of the letter states that each elected representative must uphold the demands of the letter or “prepare to resign and step down as soon as your replacement is legally selected.” South Carolina just conducted a process where our replacements were legally selected – it was called an election.
If we are going to the mattresses with Latin usage in our political rhetoric, I prefer the Latin phrase “Recta Ratio” which means Right Reason.
Reason – a word that has fallen out of favor in our emotionally charged political atmosphere. Reason – as in the Age of Reason, that enlightened time during which our Constitution was written. Reason – as in the power of the mind to think, understand and form judgments through logic not emotion.