In the second installment of the Masquerade series, it would be appropriate to highlight how elected officials exploit religious issues in advance of the fall elections to pander to faith-based communities. While the previous installment focused on Gov. Abercrombie’s press conference, the second installment will highlight how the sponsors of HB2539 are using the measure to simultaneously masquerade as allies of Christians while isolating true allies of the faith-based community.
They want you to think that nothing is wrong at all. Stay the course. Keep calm and carry on.
While HB2539 was a measure to proclaim January 23rd as St. Marianne Cope day in the state of Hawaii, further analysis unveils Marianne Cope’s humanitarian achievements are nothing more than an election year ploy to pander to Christian votes. When compared against their faith-based voting records, HB2539 is clearly election year politics-as-usual. Of the representatives who sponsored HB2539, their voting records on SB1 (same-sex marriage) as well as HB1624 (a measure to adopt national standards for religious freedom on the state level) were compared.
Nearly all sponsors of HB2539 failed the litmus test of support for people of faith. Of note, Rep. Rida Cabanilla walked off the floor for the vote on same-sex marriage, but openly voted against people of faith on HB1624. In a surprising gut-check, Rep. Justin Woodson voted against same-sex marriage but chose not to support HB1624. Rep. John Mizuno, self-proclaimed “Christian” could not muster the courage to support either of the measures in question, but found the courage to be the primary introducer of HB2539 in the wake of his abysmal voting record. The only “true-believers” appear to be Rep. Mele Carroll (D – Hana, Molokai, Lanai) and Rep. Gene Ward (R – Hawaii Kai) seem have any credibility as supporters of people of faith.
While HB2539 appeared to have broad support, many of the strongest supporters of the faith-based community appear to have been omitted from sponsorship of HB2529. This courtesy extends to both sides of the legislative aisle with the omission of both supportive Republicans (Fale, Fukumoto, Johanson, McDermott and Matsumoto) as well as prominent and vocal Democrats (Har, Jordan and Oshiro).
Politics of exclusion like this are better suited to an elementary school playground rather than the highest level of state government.
This entire dance is part and parcel of the election year masquerade. Political insiders call this “window dressing”, whereby an appropriate amount of drapery and Windex is enough to make it visually appealing to pass inspection. Rather than owning up to their record of votes, they hope to exploit the ignorance of voters in their bid for self-preservation.
What will you do this November? Will you remember?