Following University President Don Randel’s warm introduction, the famed author, host, and wry wit of A Prairie Home Companion, started by commenting on election results.
“I am a Democrat—it’s no secret. I am a museum-quality Democrat,” Keillor said. “Last night I spent my time crouched in a fetal position, rolling around and moaning in the dark.”
Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections. “I’m trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to born-again Christians,” Keillor smirked. “I feel if your citizenship is in Heaven—like a born again Christian’s is—you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If born again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?”
Wants to take away the right to vote for born-agains? Okay. Keep in mind this is Garrison Keillor. The man who, full well knowing the statistical impossibility, opens every one of his popular "Prarie Home Companion" shows with "Lake Woebegone... where all the children are above average."
Let's just say if you're looking for a Garrison Keillor quote to indicate he's a little unhinged (he is and he isn't, but it's a Minnesota thing) the list sure as hell wouldn't start with "let's deny Christians the right to vote".
Nonetheless, Instapundit manages to find a way. Not that Instapundit deigns to enlighten us on what's so bad about this particular quote.
I'm guessing it's the now-traditional "Any bad-mouthing of Christians, regardless of whether it is deserved, is automatically elevated to worse than people like Fred Phelps on the bigot-spectrum" reflexive Conserv-A-Matic response (by the way, i'm talking about the comments right past the third line).
UPDATE: Micah Holmquist emails: "I heard similar comments on Prarie Home Companion recently and they clearly were in jest." No hint of that in the story, but okay -- though I didn't think that he was seriously planning to amend the Constitution. I suspect that not everyone will be amused, however, as the jest is a somewhat bitter one.
So an amendment to deny another group of Americans some of their citizen's rights (go on, guess who i'm referring to!) is not only not a joke, but was also proposed on a national scale--for real here--by our good friend Instapundit's own political party. Furthermore, in an effort to "Get Out The Vote", similar amendments were proposed at a number of state levels and passed.
So you'll forgive me for wondering, dear Instapundit, what the fuck you are talking about.
Frothing Christians can have their amendment (based on their personal beliefs and on no other reason) to stigmatize and scapegoat a group of American citizens but Keillor can't have his?
I think that's the real joke, here. And what a bitter joke it is.
As a pseudo-aside, as i know i'm going to be adding it anyway if i don't now, let's deal with some of the additional complaints:
MORE: Eugene Volokh offers this analogy:
Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections. "I'm trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to Jews," Keillor smirked. "I feel if your citizenship is in the Nation of Israel -- like a Jew's is -- you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If Jews are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?"
Okay, Mr. Volokh. You're a lawyer (IIRC), so you should be able to figure this one out on your own.
But i'll give you a hint.
How about once the Jews start harassing another group of Americans based on specious reasoning and pass, into law, various revocations of the rights of these people then i'll grant your example is equivalent to Keillor's.
Until then, your analogy is misleading. I find it difficult to believe it is misleading by accident.