Thursday, February 01, 2007

Karen Johnson trying to become America's dumbest legislator

Arizona State Senator Karen Johnson (R, District 18-Mesa) is no stranger to stupidity. She was one of a number of legislators who got in bed with the Church of Scientology last year, accepting invitations to Scientology events and sponsoring anti-psychiatric legislation pushed by Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) front organization.

Now she's behind SCR 1026, a proposal to amend the Arizona Constitution to prevent courts from the ability to address violations of the separation of church and state:
Her proposal, SCR 1026, would specifically bar courts from being able to grant any injunctions or other legal relief if the question involves "the acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty or government." And that bar would remain in place whether the action were brought against the government as a whole or any state or local official.
She goes on to demonstrate that she doesn't understand the First Amendment's Establishment Clause:
Johnson said she is unhappy that judges in other states have ruled that the words "under God" have to come out of the Pledge of Allegiance, and that a monument of the Ten Commandments had to be removed from an Alabama courthouse.

"We don't want that," she said.

Johnson said she believes her measure would also bar challenges to prayer in school.

Johnson said it is not the function of the courts to decide when government officials have crossed the line between church and state. In fact, she said, there is no law separating the two.

"In the (federal) Constitution, what it means is that there is to be no state religion," she said.

"But we're supposed to have religion in everything -- the opportunity to have religion in everything," Johnson continued. "I want religion in government, I want my government to have a faith-based perspective."

"The courts do their own thing," Johnson said. "They're making up law out of how they feel about things. They're not following the Constitution."

It's not clear whether she even understands that she has no ability or authority to affect federal courts on this issue, though she could affect state courts. All of her comments are about federal issues, and she doesn't appear to be cognizant of Article 2, Section 12 in the Arizona Constitution, which contains even stricter constraints on separation of church and state than in the U.S. Constitution:
The liberty of conscience secured by the provisions of this constitution shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the state. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment. No religious qualification shall be required for any public office or employment, nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror in consequence of his opinion on matters of religion, nor be questioned touching his religious belief in any court of justice to affect the weight of his testimony.
(Hat tip to Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)

UPDATE: The Zelph blog, an Arizona blog which focuses on Mormons and their influence on the state legislature, has an interview with Karen Johnson from New Times in 2005, and observes that she is such a big supporter of marriage that she's been married five times.

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