“Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink,” is an oft quoted line from English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous work The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The contamination of West Virginia’s water supply has forced itself into national news and has become the primary focus of the 81st session. Legislators are feeling pressure to revamp the state’s laws pertaining to the storage of chemicals. That pressure ended the 24th day of the session with some drama.
The Democratically controlled Senate quickly passed a related bill and sent it over to the house, but House Speaker Tim Miley also a Democrat assigned the bill to three separate committees for debate. That triple reckoning is normally the kiss of death for a bill. So Senate President Jeff Kessler and other Senate Democrats criticized the House leadership in the media for forcing the water bill to run uphill through 3 committees.
So, on day 24, Democrat Steven Skinner from Jefferson County who is at the moment the only openly gay member of the legislature took to the floor to chastise the Senate leadership. Skinner reminded the senate that the “people’s house” as the House of Delegates is sometimes referred to, is not simply a rubber stamp for the Senate. Delegate Meshea Poore from Kanawha County joined him. She also took issue with the Senate’s open criticism of her legislative chamber.
The current water bill kerfuffle does benefit the faith communities of the whole state in a simple way that I’ll get to in a minute.
But there was intentionally a reference made to delegate Skinner’s homosexuality and this is why. The Family Policy Council positively influences state laws, state lawmakers and state elections to defend the constitutional right of religious freedom for our families and churches. We’re non-partisan, non-profit and we don’t take a position on legislation to fix roads or water bills. But we will take positions on legislation impacting our faith and we will report on the faithfulness of our elected officials.
God’s word gives us instruction for our lives by defining sinful behavior. Romans Chapter 1, Verse 18 says: From heaven God shows how angry he is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. And then in Verses 24 and 25, He tells us, So God let these people go their own way. They did what they wanted to do, and their filthy thoughts made them do shameful things with their bodies. They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God’s creation instead of God.
So no matter if the sin is homosexuality, adultery, drunkenness, domestic violence, lying, stealing, gossiping…shoot we’ll even report to you if we find out somebody’s mean to puppies. We do this not to harm but instead we do it inform the faith community in the districts where these officials serve so that they may be held accountable and hopefully ministered to.
The dustup over the water bill has some benefit to us and it’s that most of the time and energy of the legislative body, is being sucked up by that one serious public issue. Sadly there’s not yet enough bold Christians elected in either party right now in West Virginia to pass pro-faith bills of any significance. Most of the time we’re just playing defense against bad bills. So the longer this water bill takes the better our chance we can run out the clock against religious rights-killing-bills we’ll see later in the session.
That’s somber business but not everyone in our state takes politics or politicians, as seriously as perhaps they should.
Tudor’s Biscuit World restaurants here in West Virginia introduced a sandwich to coincide with the session. It’s called the Politician; it’s fried bologna, with a fried egg and melted cheese on a biscuit. I think their tag line might be, “Try our new Politician, so you can be full of bologna too!”
Check back with us online twice a week and find out how you can help choose the laws that will and won’t govern your family.
The Family Policy Council faithfully influences West Virginia’s laws, lawmakers and state elections to defend the constitutional right of religious freedom for families and churches. Family Policy Council of West Virginia is affiliated with Focus on the Family and CitizenLink.