This column was filed late. You see, I’d planned to begin it with a prayer for the harm of another person. Seriously. I considered being a copycat and praying for physical harm of a person.
After writing the prayer and making sure readers knew it was offered from a place of love, I planned to include some little jokes to soften it. After all, everyone appreciates light reading on a Saturday.
But as I sat down and placed fingertips to keyboard, the prayer wouldn’t come. I couldn’t bring myself expend the energy necessary to actively pray for someone’s harm.
I spent some time thinking about that, about why I couldn’t do what I planned. Obviously, like most humans, I’m capable of anger, and there have been moments I’ve wanted to lash out or strike back.
What I’ve learned is that I get frustrated. I get angry. To quote my father, sometimes I get madder than a wet hen. Yet, even at my worst, when feel like I could spit nails, I’m not vindictive.
Not all Iowans are bound by such sensitivities.
Tamara Scott represents Iowa on the Republican National Committee. She’s the state director for Concerned Women for America, hosts a radio show on the American Family Radio network and is employed by the Iowa-based conservative Christian group known as The Family Leader.
Just a few days ago, as part of a Family Leader leadership conference in the chapel at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Scott was scheduled to speak about her work on the Common Core — work that Scott says she’s accomplishing with people from a variety of backgrounds and political leanings.
Instead, she told the people gathered to hear from her, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Tony Nassif of the Preventing Abuse Foundation, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and other national and state conservative leaders, about her actions before the opening ceremony at the Iowa Statehouse that featured a Wiccan blessing.
“I was there at 7 o’clock, before the witch got there,” Scott said. “I wanted to welcome her with prayer. The storm outside is probably my fault. I was praying for lightning — in love, in love. Just a little jolt.”
I grew up in Christian church pews, flanked by my family. We sang how, when nothing else could help, “love lifted me.” Even as we filed out of the sanctuary, our voices echoed with how people would “know we are Christians by our love.” The processional wasn’t by accident. It was the most important thing, what we needed to remember as we made our way in a secular world.
Maybe such teachings were not a part of Scott’s Christian tradition, but I find that difficult to believe. It’s more likely she conveniently cast them aside at the foot of the altar of politics. Maybe her education on the pitfalls of serving two gods is likewise lacking.
Scott’s prayer wasn’t for self-preservation, although she’ll frame it as such. It was a prayer — a wish, if you will — for the physical harm of someone who dared to believe differently and display those beliefs at the Statehouse. Not in a church house, but the people’s house — the place where our collective experiences are to be reflected in state policy.
Such depraved prayers have no place on these pages, much less within the national political discourse around the Iowa caucuses. Scott’s noxious thoughts were released as words and then brushed aside as giggle-worthy. We should release her from representing our state on the national stage.
This column by Lynda Waddington originally published in The Gazette on April 18, 2015.