There are two stories reported over the weekend that are interesting when held up next to each other.
Story 1 (See: Associated Press: Md. mom pleads guilty in cult starvation death)
A former religious cult member pleaded guilty Monday to starving her 1-year-old son to death after making an unusual deal with prosecutors: If the child is resurrected, her plea will be withdrawn. Ria Ramkissoon, 22, also agreed to testify against four other members of the now-defunct religious group known as 1 Mind Ministries. All four are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Javon Thompson.
According to a statement of facts, the cult members stopped feeding the boy when he refused to say "Amen" after a meal. After Javon died, Ramkissoon sat next to his decomposing body and prayed for his resurrection.
Story 2: Rep. John Shimkus: God decides when the "earth will end".
Representative John Shimkus of Illinois 19th district uses religious text, "the infallible word of God" to stake a position on global warming.
So, it seems, if one uses religion to justify actions that kill a single child, one is a murderer fit only to go to prison.
If one uses religion to justify a political policy that puts millions of children at risk, one is fit to be a member of the House of Representative and to put those policies into action.
Imagine somebody choosing to hire Ria Ramkissoon to run a child care service and to willingly put their child in her care.
Though clearly absurd, it is orders of magnitude better than selecting John Shimkus to serve in the House of Representative and to give him athority over decisions that will affect millions of children for generations to come.
And while Ramkissoon will almost certainly go to jail (as will the members of the cult that she will testify against), there is no court for convicting the likes of Shimkis and for holding him responsible for the harm his absurd religiously based views will do to future children. He will live out his life as a free man with whatever power and money his polical position will allow, granting power to those who think as he does.
In fact, mere words warrant no more of a response but words and private action.
However, words can legitimately include words of condemnation, and voting is a private action - as are contributions to political candidates who might stand in opposition to somebody such as Shimkis in either a primary or a general election.