(Steve Sebelius/CityLife) – How could Sharron Angle — who seems to be acquainted with the teachings of the New Testament — have forgotten the words of Christ from Matthew 15:11: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man”?
Back in 1992, Angle allegedly opposed the wearing of black jerseys by the Tonopah High School football team, because black represents evil.
I suppose at this point it should be said, as Dave Barry often does, that I am not making this up.
Columnist Bill Roberts, writing in the Pahrump Valley Times, recalls the incident clearly, inasmuch as he was the father of one young player. The substitution of black for the usual colors — red and white — was the idea of then-coach Randy Jones, to mark the black day the year before when Tonopah lost to hated rival Laughlin.
“I cannot quote scripture as they did to justify their point but the gist of their argument was that black as a color was thoroughly evil, invoking the supernatural and especially the devil my take from dictionary definitions and not from scripture,” Roberts wrote. “Angle may or may not have thought this a political statement. But she became a high profile advocate of a specific religious position during her very first campaign.”
In the end, Angle’s side won: The team wore red-and-white for the homecoming game against Laughlin. (And Tonopah won!)
Roberts can’t quote scripture to define black as evil because there is no such scripture. But even if there were, why should that matter to a secular high school in a secular state in a secular democracy, whose First Amendment imposes a studious indifference to religion, neither encouraging its establishment nor prohibiting its practice?
Angle has gone on record saying the separation of church and state is an “unconstitutional doctrine,” and allowing that while the state may not interfere with religion, it’s perfectly OK for religion to influence the state. Call it the semi-permeable membrane of separation, if you will.
On this point, as on the whole “black is the new evil” thing, Angle is sadly mistaken. And it would be of no consequence to anyone, were she not running for a job in which she may exercise a great deal of power, one in which a lack of facility with the most basic precept of the Constitution is a serious shortcoming.
I’ve long wanted to sit down and chat with Angle at length about her church and state ideas, ever since I read that she might believe alcohol should be banned (the same way marijuana is), or that God has called her to run for office (and prepared her for the job), or that social welfare programs lead to idolatry. Thus far I’ve been rebuffed.
Angle’s campaign replied to black-gate by clumsily trying to change the subject: “The state has bigger things to worry about than high school football games from 20 years ago, like 14 percent unemployment thanks to Sen. [Harry] Reid. But I’m glad they won their game,” said spokesman Jarrod Agen.
Indeed, we must endeavor to get Nevada — ahem — back in the black.
As for Angle, she may want to consult Matthew 15, where Jesus goes on to explain what evil really is: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.” Not, it should be added, the jersey on his back.
[Editor’s note: After first issuing a statement to me on Tuesday that failed to deny Sharron Angle had made the remarks attributed to her in this piece, Angle told the Reno Gazette-Journal on Wednesday (and after CityLife‘s press deadline) that she had “completely different recollections” of the events described herein. Her spokeswoman, Ciara Matthews, added that Angle had “no recollection” of making the remarks attributed to her. On Tuesday, however, as this column was being prepared, Matthews did not deny Angle said what she’s alleged to have said in this piece.]