I started off writing a very snarky post about Casey Kozlowski, the 23 year old kid who was just sworn in as State Rep for the 99th District, focused only on his age and his inexperience (e.g. This kid makes Josh Mandel look like Bill Batchelder!). And make no mistake this kid is certainly too young and seriously underqualified by almost every stardard. But I ended up focusing on something much more serious.

Sure he did graduate Pymatuning Valley High School (go Lakers!) in 2005 and is already the President of the local school board. But the Pymatuning Valley school board is one of those positions where you are rarely opposed and where your duties require you to meet for 30 minutes once a month with 4 other board members, all of whom whine that it’s not their turn to take the minutes.

It would be easy to argue that a kid with a high school education who works at a car dealership is not really qualified to be a state legislator but I do have to say that Casey is amazingly motivated and getting elected to the state legislature at 23 is a big deal. And if that was the only information I had then I wouldn’t be writing this post.

However I found myself reading an an article today about his swearing in ceremony and I was floored by his choice of bibles.

Most people choose their family bible or sometimes a historical bible but…

Kozlowski chose his personal Bible — the American Patriot’s version — upon which to take the oath.

If you aren’t a radical American right wing evangelical Christian you might not have heard of the the American Patriot’s Bible.

Quick summary: The American Patriot’s Bible claims to “connect the teaching of the Bible with the history of the United States” and it does this through full-color images of the statue of liberty and American flags and lots of bible quotes that are completely taken out of context and then reinterpreted to show how God/Jesus wanted America to succeed and how all of our wars were holy.

Killing of native Americans? God wanted us to do it. Winning of World War II? Thanks for the help, Jesus. Manifest destiny. God’s chosen people. America. It’s in the bible. Amen.

Biblical scholars have dismissed this book as “idolatrous, dangerous and profoundly damaging”. And Amazon’s reviewers are even more harsh:

This is the most revolting exhibit of nationalist evangelical idolatry I have seen in quite some time.

To conflate American Patriotism and militaristic American Nationalism with Christianity is to turn America’s Wars into Holy Wars. To literally weave together the Scriptures and the Flag, presenting them as one united and holy blend, is unholy. The effect is to create an “American Jesus” who is really a War God. With all my heart, I believe that to print The American Patriot’s Bible is to desecrate the Word of God.

Im so glad Jesus was an American citizen. Showed us with rights what all you can change in the world. By voting for the right guy and protesting with signs about gay marriage. Thank you Jesus for showing us how to be a true American Christian!

Full of idolatrous images of flags, the statue of liberty and quotes from people like Dick Cheney. This Bible mixes American mythology with biblical faith to help continue the civil religion of America that brought us Vietnam and Iraq.

Absolutely disgusting.

I know Casey hasn’t taken office yet, and the level to which he lets his radical views influence his decisions in the House has yet to be seen. But it’s coming. Oh man, is it coming.

I will end by giving Casey this one piece of advice: enjoy it while it lasts.

State House elections, unlike tiny district school boards, don’t typically see races with unopposed candidates. And your chances of holding on to your seat in two years are pretty damn dismal given the fact that you were elected this year – after a recount – by only 42 votes in the middle of the largest Republican state-wide landslide anyone can remember.

 

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