Burch: Haslam and the Holy Rollers

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Bill Haslam continues to have high approval ratings — 68 percent overall in a recent Vanderbilt University poll. Haslam is popular with independents (62 percent) and Democrats (60 percent). So unlike reactionary right-wingers who seem to hate moderates and liberals on sight, the majority of Democrats and independents are able to appreciate reasonably sane Republicans. (During the most recent Democratic national convention, Bill Clinton pointed out that he never hated his Republican detractors the way they hated him.)

The Tennessee General Assembly, however, is another story, failing to earn the approval of the majority of Democrats (44 percent) and independents (49 percent). And that’s no wonder, as Mother Jones recently ranked Tennessee’s legislature dead last among the 50 states.

Mother Jones — which sarcastically called its rankings “purely scientific” — suggested that our state legislature is either first or last on the “crazy” meter, depending on whether one prefers to live in an insane asylum.

The magazine mentioned a sex education bill approved this year that referred to “gateway body parts.” This was presumably a blushing attempt to avoid terms like “sex organs” and “genitals.” Also cited were a failed bill to fine citizens for using restrooms that don’t match their birth certificate sex and a conspiracy theory email forwarded by a state legislator that said President Obama planned to stage a fake assassination attempt for political gain.

But this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Tennessee’s legislature is packed with Holy Rollers who seem intent on creating a perfect storm of “thou shalt not” morality bills.

Many Republicans who claim to believe fervently in two things — Jesus Christ and a much smaller, less intrusive government — in reality act nothing like Christ and create bill after nonsensical bill in an attempt to legislate their medieval “morality” on the masses.

As Nashville Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, recently said, “They’re preoccupied with sex up here. We’re about ready to put the turbans on and put the women in burkas, if we keep going at this rate.”

Haslam has also criticized the bizarre bills emanating from the suspiciously Taliban-like reactionaries now occupying Capitol Hill.

But the Holy Rollers are undeterred and hence we have a steady stream of “no hand-holding” and “don’t say gay” and anti-evolution bills that make Tennessee the laughingstock of the nation and the foil of late-night comedians.

And then there are guns. According to the Bible, Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers” and “turn the other cheek.” But the Holy Rollers continue to demand the right for citizens to carry loaded weapons into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol — an obviously combustible mix.

Now they want guns in parks, parking lots and universities. And they’re not satisfied with Colts and Magnums. In American bigger is better. So the next logical steps, so to speak, will probably be assault weapons in high schools, grade schools, kindergartens, pre-schools, Sunday schools and maternity wards.

Where the legislature’s madness will end, only God knows.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

158 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 12/16/12 at 2:14

There will only be hope if the people learn what the legislatures are doing to them and our nation, Ask01. And I must say that includes you.

Have you read the SR 511 bill? What does it say and who signed it? Try it, you might like it.

By: Mike Burch on 12/16/12 at 4:56


You obsession with who was born where seems vastly silly to me. No one with a brain would deny John McCain the right to run for president. He has American parents so he should be considered an American citizen. Barack Obama has an American mother and he was born in an American state, so he should be considered an American citizen with the right to run for President. Even if by some odd chance there was some sort of mix-up, babies are not responsible for the circumstances of their birth, so why all the angst about a piece of paper? Babies don't hatch evil plans to be born a certain way, then become president as a result. In a nation of 300 million people, no one could possibly predict that one baby would become president. So the whole conspiracy theory is absurdly silly.

By: Mike Burch on 12/16/12 at 5:02


I think the GOP has gone mad, and that leaves us only one realistic choice: vote for Democrats and put pressure on them to live up to their stated ideals.

The recent killing of 20 young children (all seven or younger) may open some eyes and minds here in Tennessee. Is this what we want for our children ... a state run by gun-mad religious fanatics?

We can talk to mothers and ask them why they are voting for Republicans, if that means a death warrant for young children who are defenseless from madmen carrying assault weapons. I think most mothers will chose their children and grandchildren over the self-proclaimed Moral Majority, once they understand that their loved ones are at risk.

By: Ask01 on 12/16/12 at 6:06

Mike, I wholeheartedly agree.

With both posts.

By: yogiman on 12/16/12 at 8:18

Maybe you should go back to school and learn why our founders put that natural born citizen requirement in our Constitution, Mike. You, too, Ask01. Their main concern was so no one with dual allegiance with another nation could take our nation over by taking over the President's office.

Two points: You actually don't know if the man calling himself Barack Obama was born in an American state or not because he refuses to prove it. Don't you wonder why he refuses to prove his identity; or don't you care? Which would you do; spend 20 bucks for an official copy of your original birth certificate or 2 million to refuse to show it?

Don't you think a hospital would welcome the free advertisement for that certificate. Why can't the Hawaiian governor order it to be shown? I don't mean to 'sound' obdurate, guys, but are you perhaps fellow communists with him?

Can you explain why he violated the Logan Act of 1799 and campaigned in Kenya for a man running for the president's office? And I understand he "donated" a million in the man's campaign. All of this when he was in the US Senate. And can you explain why congress has not questioned him on any "bad" issue he's been known to be involved in? Could it be because they are in the "program" with him?

Tell me, Mike, is this man actually an American citizen? You guys had better wake up unless, of course, you are fellow communist with him.

If he is who he says he is, he was born in a communist family, He was raised by communists and mentored by a well known communist for 10 years. He has admitted he was a Muslim in an interview. Yet you accept him as a "good ol' boy" American deserving to be our "ruler".

By: yogiman on 12/16/12 at 8:41

I understand you're a veteran, Ask01. Have you heard about the new order manual being issued to our GIs instructing them to copy Mr. Obama's example of when and how to defer to an alien ideology that stands against everything Americans are taught?

Read that article in Friday's Washington Times News. www.washingtontimes.com.com/news/2012/dec/14/pruden-another-low-bow-to-radical-islam/

By: cookeville on 12/16/12 at 9:06

Just because our esteemed leaders like Jackson and Burr engaged in dueling doesn't make it right. Just because carrying guns in the old west was considered the thing to do doesn't make it right. Just because we have been conducting war continually since the Korean War doesn't make it right. It is hoped that humans evolve from their need to kill to a need to nurture. Whether you believe it or not, love begets love and violence begets violence. There is no getting around it, no matter how you spin it. Jesus said to treat others the way you want to be treated. He said that God is LOVE. And then, there is that 'love your neighbor as yourself' and forgive 70 times 7, meaning every time someone asks for it. These are the working precepts of Jesus. If we follow them, then we have no need for guns, knives, or any other weapon. Of course that will never happen in this existence, but if we want to further our own spiritual growth, then we will do these things as much as we can on a daily basis. But to go to church every Sunday and pretend to love God and Jesus, then threaten someone, walk around like John Wayne with your piece on your hip, advocate the carrying of weapons on your person at all times, promoting war while at the same time opposing abortion are engaged in the worst form of hypocrisy. Here in Putnam County, a woman assaulted another for having an Obama sticker on her car. That, my friends, does not need to happen. If you can't be civil, even though you despise the President, then you need to rethink what it is to be an American and a human being.

By: yogiman on 12/16/12 at 9:57

I see we agree and disagree, cookeville. We have not been in a declared war since WWII. We have been in one conflict after the another. Will it ever cease? I doubt it. the United States has taken on the parenthood of the world. Why should we protect them when they kill our GIs placed there to protect them?

I read where, in the past years, we have given Haiti 1.4 billion, Hamas 351 million, Pakistan 2 billion, Libya 1.45 billion, Egypt 397 million, Mexico 622 million, Russia 380 million, Jordan 463 million, Kenya 816 million, Sudan 870 million, Nigeria 456 million, Uganda 451 million, Congo 359 million, Ethiopia 981 million, South Afrika 566 million, Senegal, 698 millian, Mozambique 404 million, Zambia 331 million, Kazakhstan 304 million, Iraq 1.08 billion and Tanzania 554 million. Is that the money we borrowed from China? we sure as hell don't have it ourselves.

This government also supports the people of foreign nations better than they support their own. You can throw many of the churches in that picture also. Why are they so willing to help "others" but not their own? Why are they so willing to adopt foreign orphans but not American orphans?

And speaking of gun control. What do you think would have happened in one of the teachers in that school had had a gun? Why do killers pick sites they know are going to be unarmed?

For us, what happened to the people under Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and many other dictators? Especially the ones that spoke out against them? And you want Barry Soetoro aka Barack Obama to gain gun control in the US? If he gets in (as he's trying now) you can kiss the USA goodbye.

Let's see what happens next month when a new congress has a session.