We Win One in Indianapolis!
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 03:03:16 PM EST
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Over the weekend we reported on the disgracful religious supremacism exhibited by Indiana Speaker of the House, Brian C. Bosma in a meeting with Jewish leaders last week.

This post was part of a spontaneous blogswarm ignited by dhonig, whose Rabbi had reported the incident in an email. Bloggers responded locally and nationally -- and the result was that by Monday -- Bosma had met with Jewish leaders, apologized and said it was all a big misundestanding.  

Uh Huh.  Here is what I think Bosma understood, as dhonig puts it  over at The Daily Kos:

The coolest part- it was the blogs that drove it, causing Bosma to respond, to call a meeting with the Jewish community, and to issue the apology.  Apparently, all your emails made a big impression (I don't think he liked the cartoon much, either).

Indianapolis television station WISH-TV reported on the controversy and Bosma's apology:

House Speaker Brian Bosma issued an apology to Jewish leaders Monday.

Speaker Bosma (R) met with about 50 Jewish leaders last week and after the meeting a rabbi sent an email to his congregation. In it, Rabbi Jon Adland said, "Everything we believed about this country had just been trampled. For the first time in my life as a citizen of this country, I was scared."

The rabbi's e-mail is now the subject of several blogs including one that carries a cartoon showing Bosma blocking minorities from a gate labeled "freedom."  It all stems from a discussion regarding prayer in the Indiana House where it was pointed out that two percent of the population is Jewish and 80 percent is Christian.

"I asked the group what percentage of the population in Indiana for demographic purposes was of Jewish tradition and faith and it was them who provided me with the two percent," said Bosma.

Rabbi Adland saw that as disregard for minority rights and said as much in an email sent to his congregation, which is now posted on several blogs.

On Monday afternoon Bosma held a second meeting with the rabbi and other Jewish leaders "and I gave a heartfelt apology if the implication of my words were offensive to him," said Bosma.

David Orentlicher (D), the only Jewish member of the General Assembly echoed the rabbi's concern about what he calls the "tyranny of the majority. That we are a democracy where the majority prevails but we're also a constitutional democracy where the majority prevails but important rights have to be protected for even small minorities," he said.

Speaker Bosma says he wanted the group to know that he values his ties to the Jewish community "and that they are very valued citizens and that anything that had said to cause them to think anything differently that I sincerely apologized for that and he accepted that."

"One of the most important things we can do as a state is assure that any minority is welcome in Indiana and that if we're gonna grow as a state we have to have that message," said Orentlicher.

Many of us contributed to this effort. Let's also be sure to let people know about the victory.  

It may seem small in the larger scheme of things. But let's be clear that it was bloggers from around the nation that made this happen, and that it is a model of how one kind of collaborative action, using the power of blogs for communication, publishing, and organizing, can make a difference.

It is important to celebrate our victories, no matter how small.

And to learn from them.  Do check out dhonig's post over at The Daily Kos for a run down of what happened, and follow some of the links to get a feel for how this played out over just a few days.

by Frederick Clarkson on Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 03:19:15 PM EST

This was a test.  Every time they push, we must push back.  They want to beat us over the head with the cross. We need to remind them it was a cruel torture device, and to leave it at home or in their heart.  

Deeds and actions give witness to Jesus.  

by lilorphant on Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 03:21:19 PM EST

It's amazing what a bucket of shame and humiliation dumped upon a miscreant from people worldwide will do to their outlook on things.

The Internet is a powerful tool. Let's remember that.

by Lorie Johnson on Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 03:52:07 PM EST

Was transcendent. Just saying.

by Bruce Wilson on Tue Feb 21, 2006 at 03:59:41 PM EST

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