There’s nothing more important to county officials than Gaia, at least that’s how it might appear to an alien landing in a Johnson County Board of Commissioners meeting.
High praises to Gaia, the personification of Earth in Greek mythology. It is narrowly more important than raising awareness of congental diaphragmatic hernias, victims’ rights and the oft-overlooked effort of paper-pushing bureaucrats.
I’m only being mildly sarcastic.
County commissioners pay homage to a variety of causes and issues each year. At the start of most meetings, commissioners welcome people to the podium to recognize specific causes as Chairman Ed Eilert offers a proclamation.
So far, in 2014, Eilert has made about 35 proclamations, recognizing such things as National Nutrition Month, World TB Day, Law Day, Congental Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness Day, National County Government Month, Earth Day, Military Appreciation Month, Severe Weather Awareness Week, Sunshine Week, Professional Social Work Month, Fair Housing Month, Administrative Professionals Week, and National Public Safety Telecommunications Week among many, many others.
By year’s end, commissioners, and weirdos like me who occasionally attend their meetings, will have spent hours and hours of county time listening and preparing such presentations. Mostly, it’s a giant waste of time.
The time commissioners waste on such things is time they don’t have to draft regulations and rules, so I don’t really fault the time vacuum. If we’re going to recognize every single thing, every staff member and even Gaia, we should recognize the Creator of all of those things.
May 1 was the National Day of Prayer and a regularly scheduled Johnson County Board of Commissioners meeting.
Commissioners spent close to an hour giving awards to green businesses and issuing proclamations. Eilert recognized Older Americans Month, Municipal Clerks Week, National Correctional Employees Week, National Nurses Week and Law Day.
As part of the festivities, a representative from each special interest group accepted the proclamation, posed for a photo and gave a brief speech.
On the federally proclaimed National Day of Prayer, county government had time to recognize lawyers and municipal clerks and give a handy salute to Gaia in the form of green awards but couldn’t spare a moment to recognize the Creator.
I’m certain some county bureaucrat decided that recognizing God would be far too controversial in a public setting, but quite frankly, I’m sick of the public celebrations of everything but. It’s time people of faith are outraged that the things that sustain us are no longer fit for the public square.
There’s a subtle tyranny of the minority in the suggestion that there is not room for God in the public square. Most Americans profess a belief in God, according to a November 2013 Harris poll.
The survey suggests that nearly three-quarters of Americans believe in God, 65 percent of those are Christians. By contrast, only 47 percent believe Darwin’s theory of evolution.
The National Day of Prayer is annually observed on the first Thursday of May. It was created by the U.S. Congress in 1952 and invites people of all faiths to pray for our country and by extension, its leaders.
The day was created with the Judeo-Christian God in mind, however, I’d be happy with our elected officials recognizing that there is a being greater than themselves.
If ever there were a place that could use a higher power, it’s in the chambers of people who would rule us. A little humility would go a long way for most of our elected officials.
Our lawmakers and county commissioners and regulators may have great powers here on earth, but their powers are limited and ultimately finite. I’m not even asking for an actual prayer, though I wouldn’t oppose that.
County Commissioner Jason Osterhaus made passing mention of the day in the final moments of the May 1 meeting. “I hope you’ll take a moment for prayer, or meditation, however you’re called,” he said.
It was a start, but not enough.
Like other organizations, bureaucrats and special interests, faith leaders should have the same opportunity to stand at the county podium and accept an Eilert proclamation recognizing the National Day of Prayer.
The county commission is celebrating and recognizing all of God’s things, but not the Creator Himself. Perhaps they’re doing it wrong.