Pastors from 19 Black churches in Virginia have written a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell criticizing several of the positions he has taken since becoming governor.
It’s not just his proclamation declaring April to be Confederate History Month and lauding only the confederate history portion of the Civil War the pastors object to. (I will give McDonnell credit for realizing that his proclamation was a mistake that set off a firestorm of criticism and, consequently, revising it.) They also criticized the governor’s executive order barring employment discrimination which omitted sexual orientation as a protected class, budget cuts that hurt the most programs for the poorest Virginians, and the governor’s plan to force nonviolent felons seeking restoration of their voting rights to write an essay.
The pastors’ letter also criticized the filing of “frivolous legal suits aimed at repealing the President’s advances in healthcare and protection of the ecosystem” and “the appointment of the attorney representing Club Velvet to the head of the ABC board, upon whose property President Obama has been demeaned by a vulgar representation in Joker-face for months – an attorney who may have serious conflict of interest issues.”
“These actions are totally contradictory to the inclusivity that he stated he wanted to provide both in his inaugural address and his recent apology…It is a blight on the national reputation of our state and presents us as exclusionary and archaic,” the letter contended.
The conflict of interest the letter refers to is that of James N. Insley, who was named chairman of the ABC Board by McDonnell. Insley is a lawyer representing Club Velvet, a strip club in Shockoe Bottom in Richmond. That club had its license revoked by the ABC board and is facing a hearing on the matter in May.
At the very least, McDonnell seems to be following the example of George W. Bush in his apointment of Insley and several other members of the ABC Board: put the fox in charge of the chicken coop. Insley has been a vocal critic of the board and its actions in the past, stating that they sometimes go too far in their investigations. (Insley also is a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent law school, as is McDonnell.)
In another sign that minority Virginians feel that the election of McDonnell has turned back the clock to a past we all hoped we had left behind, the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at the College of William & Mary has refused to attend a ceremony at the goveronor’s mansion to receive an award for the group’s community service. The fraternity was understandably upset when McDonnell proclaimed April as Confederate History Month, without mentioning slavery or the full history of the Civil War. The chapter will accept the award but not attend the ceremony.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that Bob McDonnell is racist. Not at all. I am just saying that the political philosophy he subscribes to is bound to impact harshly on the poorest among us. Plus, the sort of policies we see coming out of Richmond right now are inevitable if the people in charge of the state government don’t actually believe that the government they run is capable of doing a good job.
Also, if a person’s religious beliefs insist that an entire group of people are to be judged and condemned on the basis of their sexual orientation, then that person will promote policies based on that prejudice if placed in a position of political power.
I believe that Bob McDonnell is a devout Christian. However, since I am a “Matthew 25 Christian,” as well as one who subscribes to Jesus’ command to us to leave judgment of others to God, I will never be someone who can accept many of the things that McDonnell does without strong protest. I applaud the pastors and their courageous stand. I gladly endorse everything they said.