The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Knudson Drawing to an Inside Straight

Dave Knudson, Republican candidate for his party's nomination for Governor, has come out squarely against any expansion of gaming in South Dakota. You can read it here.

I thought he was a fiscally responsible, conservative Republican who wanted less government? Apparently, he's okay with the state government's continued intrusion into – and restriction of – an industry that is making major contributions to our state's tax coffers.

The answer must be that Knudson is reaching out to what he believes is a religious base in the GOP. There's a problem. It was a Republican administration that allowed "limited" gaming in the first place. And, it was a Republican Legislature that approved it. And, it is the primarily Republican electorate that has repeatedly voted down multiple efforts to reverse the state's gaming laws. Who is advising this guy? I really wasn't expecting this from Knudson, but had assumed I might hear it from Munsterman, who apparently gets his inspiration from a direct line to God. Read that here. ( I originally found the Munsterman piece on the SDWC.)

The Republican take on gaming expansion ought to be:

1. Government should get out of the way of an industry that has proven to be lucrative for the industry and the state.

2. Get the whole notion of gaming is "sinful" out of the Republican mindset. Republicans approved the "sin." I'd like someone to explain to me that if gaming is sinful, how is it more sinful to play dice or roulette than it is to play slot machines or poker? Agreeing to permit "limited" sin is hypocritical. It's like saying we're going to approve prostitution, but only on bed linens rinsed in holy water. We've approved gaming in this state. We tax the living daylights out of it. Now we should get out of the way and not only let the industry grow, we should encourage its growth.

Candidates for the Republican Party's gubernatorial nomination are going to be baited by the religious right. Taking the bait is folly. Republicans like me are sick of the religious right's bullying tactics. Nominate the best candidate for the job and the religious right will vote for the Republican to prevent a bright Democrat like Scott Heidepriem from winning the office. Anything less is using their crucifix to whack off their nose....


Les said...

"""" but had assumed I might hear it from Munsterman, who apparently gets his inspiration from a direct line to God.""""

I have yet to hear Dr M drive to the religious right. Stating his belief's in answer to a question should not throw him to the wings.

It is not difficult to strip pieces from our past to show us as the fool Michael. You had a good post, I don't think you needed the twisted words to try to make it a great post!

Michael Sanborn said...

I don't think I threw Munsterman to the wings. But there's this quote from his interview at Voices Carry:

"I became a born again Christian in 8th grade and have tried to walk the talk ever since then. My decisions and relationships in my personal life, in business and as a mayor have been impacted by these values and will as governor. My faith influences how I treat people. It gives me the perspective in life that all are entitled to dignity and respect, and that no person is more important than any other. My faith gives me a servant’s heart which is an essential element in leadership. It gets my family and I through tough times ( and it is my prayer each day for God to grant me wisdom, strength and courage as I do my best to follow His will."

There are times when it is important for a leader to separate his religious beliefs from his governmental duty. It happens. I'm not sure from the quote above that Dr. Munsterman is capable of that. If there are passages in the Bible which can be interpreted to view gaming as sin, should we be concerned that in his effort to follow God's will, Dr. Munsterman would do all he could to end that sin?

I intend not to throw Dr. Munsterman nor Mr. Knudson under the bus. I merely point out the conflict they will have between the decided law of the land and their religious beliefs, should either be elected governor.

Neither do I necessarily believe that it is a bad thing to be guided by one's faith. However, those who are directed by their faith concern me, especially when in many cases the foundation upon which they base their faith is often the result of a misinterpretation of God's, or the Bible's intent or message.

I suspect there are Forumpians on both sides of the gaming issue, and the religious right issues facing Republicans.

I don't believe I twisted Dr. Munsterman's words here. Both Dr. Munsterman and Mr. Knudson and/or their supporters are welcome to come aboard the Good Ship Decorum and state their cases as we sail toward the next election.

caheidelberger said...

Knudson tacking right? Gambling is about the thinnest line to use to cast for those fish. Knudson looks like a secular humanist against Brother Munsterman. Look at the language in that interview with pastor Steve: religion, abortion bans, Reagan... combine that with Munsterman's play to the small-town crowd on school consolidation and similar issues, and you've got Munsterman's early effort to solidify support among everyone but Knudson's Sioux Falls base.

PP said...

Michael -

If you have a question about where Dr. Munsterman stands on any issue, please feel free to contact him and ask him directly. Or as I've noted, I'm happy to help facilitate it if you'd like.

With regards to the interview, Voices Carry is very much a blog about religion and Christianity as much as it is about discussing the preservation of the unborn, and the interview was conducted and answered in that vein.

With regards to Scott's religious beliefs, they are something he believes deeply, but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve.

As he noted, his beliefs have shaped how he treats people and how he conducts himself. If I can tell you anything about that in actual practice, Scott is humble, and willing to sit down with those he disagrees with in a spirit of patience and understanding, as he believes everyone has value.

As you can read on the Munsterman family's personal website,, his family's beliefs have also provided strength and comfort as his wife, Mary Jeanne, fought back to health from a particularly strong recurrence of cancer which if I recall, was discovered at a fairly late stage.

If there is evidence of the power of prayer and a belief in a higher power, I think that's as about as close as you're going to get to evidence.

Before you automatically categorize him, or put him in a box, drop him a note, and feel free to ask him about his experiences and his beliefs if you want to talk about religion and it's application to public life.

Right now, you're more likely going to hear Scott on the road talking about Health Care, Education, the budget, taxes, and returning South Dakota to a position of financial responsibility.

And if you want to talk to him about those, he's up for that discussion as well.

Les said...

I agree with you more often than not Michael. In our world, religiosity (new word?) has twisted and turned many down a confident righter than thou path. I treat a woman like a lady until she proves herself otherwise and will treat the good Dr similarly with his Christian views. If Dr M proves to be of unworthy character, I will join you with difficult words for the man. I do not feel your words are without value for Dr M, as I look to a true Christian and how they respond in situations like this. I also agree that it is good to follow your faith while in servantude to the public, more so than to follow the religion of man. I see absoulutely nothing in his statement that I was also referencing with my comment that leads me to believe Dr M is indicating anything other than a belief in a higher power which he attributes daily to his ability to lead the charge in business, family and his public life. The difference here for me btween Dr M and the rest of the other Gov candidates, they have been power houses in Pierre and I have not seen anything on cutting the beaurocaracy. Why should I believe they will do anything now they have had the opportunity to do for years now and have failed to accomplish?

denature said...

Why do you call it gaming instead of gambling?

Anonymous said...

I believe your statements are off the mark. Dave has always opposed gaming, especially VL. Speaking for myself, I have strong religious beliefs but they have nothing to do with my opposition to VL. I have seen first hand the indirect costs of vidio lottery in my small community. Suicides, lost businesses,divorces,etc. I am convinced that if we could quantify the direct and indirect cost cost of VL, we would realize it cost the state much more than we receive in revenue.
You do yourself a disservice when you paint a legitimate position by someone as religious extremism, instead of understanding the rational behind their stance.

Michael Sanborn said...

PP at War College and Bob Mercer at the Mitchell Daily Republic both pointed out Heidepriem's support of a bill to open up gaming so a planned casino could to go into South Dakota and not a border state. That was not a video lottery casino

All of us have seen the distruction that Video Lottery has wrought upon this state. I believe a case can be made that it has been a net zero or net loss for the state. So Knudson should make the case, not just say he's against expanded gaming.

Because in gambling, you have a chance to win.

I will get to all gubernatorial candidates before it's over. But, I'm not going to submit questions and wait for answers. I want a face-to-face or a phoner.

I have often supported men of faith. I become suspicious when public servants, who also proclaim themselves to be men of faith, appear to bring their faith to the policy-making table. I think the First Amendment guarantees my right to worship as I choose and makes the separation of church and state very very clear. And, in order to protect my religious freedom, I want them to stay ABSOLUTELY separate.

I have just as low a low tolerance for Republicans who tell me they're sucking up to the religious wing to get their votes as I do for true believers who tell me they ARE the Republican Party and intend to use their office to do God's work.

I don't think I've been unfair to anyone here...I've opened up a conversation. People have responded. And some of us, including me, are better educated on at least two of the candidates as a result.

I'm not sure, but I think that's what we're about.

PP said...

Michael -

I think I've mentioned it before here, but if not, call 605.695.3926, and you can have a face to face or a phone call.

When I talk about facilitating a conversation, I'm not talking e-mail.



Steve Sibson said...


Your secular position is not in line with America's Natural Law foundation that Thomas Jefferas borrowed from John Locke. Here is Locke's position on atheists:

"More specifically, the Bible requires that office-holders be men who "fear God." This excludes atheists, which is what Locke and every single state in the union did. The constitution he drafted for Carolina did not allow atheists to hold office. And in his Essay on Toleration, Locke specifically exempted the atheist from the civil protection of toleration:

Lastly, those are not all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all; besides also, those that by their atheism undermine and destroy all religion, can have no pretence of religion whereupon to challenge the privilege of toleration."

So it is secularists like you, Fleming, and Newland, who don't belong in politics.

Anonymous said...

"first amendment makes the separation of church and state very clear." Exacly what in the first amendment says anything about the separation of church and state? Our constitution guarantees us the freedom OF religion. Not freedom FROM religion. Big differance.
Interesting fact that the majority of the founding fathers were ordained ministers. If you have seen some of their writings they make Billy Gramm look like a heathen.

Bill Fleming said...

Sibby, I think we've already established that in a comparison of world views and religious beliefs, it is you — and not me — who is in fact the most "athiest," because whereas you only believe in one very specific interpretation of one very specific permutation of what is essentially a belief in the god of Abraham, I on the other hand embrace and tolerate all god concepts without discrimination.

Therefore, as per your requirement of conformity to the mandate of John Locke, it would be you who should give up politics, not me.

Oh wait.

Judging from the quality of your most recent rants, it would appear that in fact, you have.

Never mind.

Bill Fleming said...

Anonymous at 8:05 and 1:10. Come on guy(s). Would it kill ya to leave us an initial or something?

It's impossible to know whether we're talking to one person or two.

I'm going to insist on one name per poster on my threads.

It's too easy to get into a sock puppet trolling routine otherwise, and I'm just not up for that.

Steve Sibson said...


So you are trying to argue taht one who most call a Christian conservative right wing-nut is realy an anthiest?

Next, you probably will try and argue that an "illegal" product is and example of "free"-market capitalism.

You really need to get a grip.

Did you know that Glenn Beck is a Morman, and I agree wiht him politically on most every issue?

Bob Newland said...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Bob Newland said...

The First Amendment is quoted in the previous comment. It looks to me like it guarantees both freedom FROM religion and freedom OF religion. The most important of these to me is that government may NOT impose a religion upon us. I would not quarrel with those to whom the converse is true, though.

Bill Fleming said...

Stevie, somehow learning that you and Glen Beck agree with each other doesn't surprise me in the least, my friend.

Now, the word "atheist" means that you don't believe in God, doesn't it?

What I'm saying is that it appears to me that you don't believe in most gods.

So, am I right or wrong about that?

denature said...

"Because in gambling, you have a chance to win."

The entire gambling industry rebranded 'gambling' as 'gaming' as a PR move. Without changing any of the games. To manipulate public perception. Gambling=vice, addiction, losing money. Gaming=choice, good clean fun. Similar examples would be using 'spirits' instead of 'liquor' or 'energy exploration' instead of 'drilling for oil'.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break."congress shall make no law respecting the ESTABLISHMENT of a religion". That is not a complex concept and it has nothing to do with separation. It was simply to prevent the federal government from creating a national religion like England had. It was put in the constitution to protect religion from the government, not the government from religion.
And Bill, the three annons are all me.

Bill Fleming said...

Thanks for ESTABLISHING your identity as "Anonymous," Anonymous.

Are you thus suggesting that having done so, you are now "The Official Anonymous" and that as far as the Forum is concerned, there will be no other posters allowed to use that alias but you? And further, that we should all be willing to accept that?

By your own example, I submit that ESTABLISHMENT is indeed a complex concept and has everything to do with separation.

Bob Newland said...

Nonnie, the "establishment" clause was included, as you say to prevent the gummint from creating a national religion. That, in theory (if consistently enforced), protects all of us from the establishment of laws that might require us to affect the appearance of worshipping some mythological entity the way many people do voluntarily.

However, gummint routinely violates the "free exercise" clause, by barring some folks from the use of their sacraments.

Bill Fleming said...

Right, Bob. You can't be a good, god-fearing Aztec and make human sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl, for example. Or a be a devout, practicing Maori cannibal.

Also, conversely, gvmnt routinely prints religious slogans and iconography on our currency such as "In God We Trust," the Eye of Horus on top of a pyramid, etc., and allows it in public buildings (12 commandments on SCOTUS, etc.)

There's a lot of grey area.

Bob Newland said...

"Next, you probably will try and argue that an "illegal" product is and [sic] example of "free"-market capitalism."--Steve Sibson

Steve, you say that in what I perceive as a sarcastic tone. Am I right? If so, I infer that you disagree.

Bob Newland said...

Bill, I had some rather less-destructive and more mutually-contractual sacraments in mind.

Bill Fleming said...

I'm sure you did, Bob, but you take my point, right?

The amendment language itself is not the absolute, final word, as far as the law is concerned. It is subject to interpretation in the context of the zeitgeist of each passing age, civilization and current social mores.

i.e. there was a time when you and I sitting side by side, stocked and pilloried would have been considered just — as opposed to cruel and unusual — punishment.