Cuccinelli To Speak At Harrisonburg NDP “Event”

Brent Finnegan -- May 5th, 2010

Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s controversial attorney general, will deliver the keynote speech at tomorrow evening’s National Day of Prayer (NDP) event at First Presbyterian Church on Court Square.

Tom Mitchell reports in today’s Daily News Record that Rev. John Sloop, pastor at First Presbyterian, expects “that the day will focus on praying for the nation and our national leaders and not be partisan,” despite Cuccinelli’s recent headline-generating activities.

Courtney Stewart recently reported in The Hook on Cuccinelli’s civil investigative demand (CID) with the University of Virginia — insisting that the university turn over more than 10 years’ worth of documents relating to state-funded climate change research by a former faculty member.

In his first four months in office, Cuccinelli directed public universities to remove sexual orientation from their anti-discrimination policies, attacked the Environmental Protection Agency, and filed a lawsuit challenging federal health care reform. Now, it appears, he may be preparing a legal assault on an embattled proponent of global warming theory who used to teach at the University of Virginia, Michael Mann. (read more)

That CID was overshadowed in the media by reports that the AG had issued a pin for his staff featuring a fully-clothed Virtus, the breast-baring Roman goddess on the Great Seal of Virginia.

According to today’s DNR story, Cuccinelli will speak at First Presbyterian Church at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow.

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29 Responses to “Cuccinelli To Speak At Harrisonburg NDP “Event””

  1. Jon says:

    Cuccinelli simply giving a speech will inherently be interpreted as partisan.

  2. It’s a meeting? I was under the impression it’s a church service…

  3. If it is a church service under the directive of the NDP then it is a violation of the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution. Cuccinelli showing up to speak certainly sounds like Government endorsement of Preacher Sloop’s brand of religion or AG Cuccinelli’s bona fides as a good christian soldier.

    The boy apparently don’t have the stones to play before the Unitarians. Now that would be news!

  4. That’s funny seeing how Ken’s a Catholic, and John’s a Presbyterian.

  5. Renee says:

    I will never understand why churches invite politicians to speak at prayer events like this.

  6. Our church is merely the HOST for the National Day of Prayer…our church commonly hosts larger events like this much as the way they host Kai’s “community organizer” functions.

  7. Jason Campbell says:

    I’m sure that they will keep it non partisan. Or, i guess they could just pay taxes and endorse anyone they want. Either way is fine by me.

  8. dee says:

    Why does it matter if Ken is Catholic and John is a Presbyterian? They are both Christian denominations. Presbyterians are closer to Catholic teachings actually more than Lutherans. Maybe you all need to go in with a clear mind and actually see what this service is about instead of closed mind. I thought liberals were suppose to have an open mind….NOT

    • Real conservatives don’t like government organizing their religious events, or politicians stumping at those religious events.

      Liberals don’t suffer a scolding from folks who selectively apply the Constitution which binds us.

      Hope that helps.

    • Emmy says:

      The person who pointed out that one was Catholic and the other a Presbyterian is NOT a liberal. Just so you know.

    • Liberal, bwahahahahaha.

      Presbyterianism close to Catholic teachings? Who mentioned Lutherans?

  9. kuato says:

    Cucinelli is an extremist. I don’t know if he is an extremist in his heart or if he has become one seeking political gain, but he is most certainly an extremist. Cucinelli has made a name for himself by diving head-first into the absurd. He provokes us. He divides us. He humiliates us on a national scale. He fleeces us for our taxes and then spends our money to further his own political ambitions with no regard to the well-being or reputation of our state. There is absolutely no way that his presence at the First Presbytarian Church will be nonpartisan or apolitical. Cucinelli’s presence anywhere is by default partisan and political. He has made it so, and it is ridiculous to pretend otherwise.

  10. Bishop Dansby says:

    Brilliantly and accurately stated. It is reassuring that folks are seeing right through this guy. I particularly like your recognition that “Cuccinelli’s presence anywhere is by default partisan and political.”

  11. kuato says:

    Nonpartisan? Apolitical?

    Cuccinelli, unsurprisingly, took advantage of the pulpit at the First Presbyterian Church to preach his political doctrine. He is quoted in the DNR as saying “Further, the Declaration of Independence also makes clear that the government’s role is to secure the rights that God gave every single person here and in the world FROM THE MOMENT OF CONCEPTION – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Bad enough this megalomaniacle trickster had the audacity to try to change the 200+ year old Virginia state seal to suit his myopic sense of artistic propriety. Now he has the gaul to alter the wording of the Declaration of Independence to promote his anti-abortion agenda? This should stand as an offense to all Virginians, regardless of their stance on the Constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer OR their opinion regarding the abortion debate.

    Cucinelli is not qualified to instruct us on the beliefs or intentions of the Founding Fathers, which I will charitably suggest that he simply misunderstands. His actions yesterday underscore the paramount significance of the separation of Church and state. I sincerely hope that his tenure as AG will serve as a cautionary tale for all Virginians. We must be careful to whom we hand the mantle of leadership.

    • kuato,

      There is no separation between Church and state, rather, the Constitution prohibits the federal government from adopting as its own, a state religion.

      There is nothing that would prohibit the states from adopting their own religion, however. I believe early on, several states in the Union had their own state religions.

      • kuato says:

        Mr. Briggman:

        Of course there is a “separation of Church and state.” While those exact words do not appear in the US Constitution, they are widely employed to specify the portion of the 1st amendment which guarrantees free practice of religion for individuals and prohibits government support of religion (establishment clause). You are right to point out that several states did originally have state supported religions. That is because the Bill of Rights did not apply to the states specifically until the passage of the 14th amendment (due process). The Supreme Court has consistently held that the states cannot deprive citizens of the rights guarranteed by the US Constitution, including the establishment clause, which is why there are no state sponsored religions in our country anymore.

        Of course, this is not really germaine to the situtaion in VA. Virginia did not have a state religion in its youth (thank you Mr. Jefferson). Virginia also mandates the separation between Church and state in its own Constutition (see section 16).

        Obviously, there is room for disagreement in the interpretation of the Establishment Clauses in both Constitutions. It sounds to me like your interpretation and mine might vary to some degree.

        • kuato,

          I applaud for being in the small minority of citizens who have actually read the Constitution(s). The Constitution of Virginia appears to say, to me, that no man should be required to support any given religion, which would obviously preclude a state religion. However, it doesn’t mean elected state officials cannot partake in any religion while they’re in office. It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

          With respect to the Bill of Rights applying to all states, we don’t actually know if that’s true yet…the 2nd Amendment stands before the US Supreme Court now on that very issue with respect to gun laws in the City of Chicago.

          I would enjoy a verdict which makes the finding that the 2nd Amendment applies to all U.S. political subdivisions, but I’m not convinced that such a verdict will be rendered.

          In fact, the Supreme Court has been incrementally applying Amendments in the Bill of Rights to the states…they haven’t all been applied since the inception of the document.

          Kudos, kuato. I really wish some of you people would use your real names…many of you I could really enjoy sitting down with you and engaging in political dialog….

          • kuato says:

            I am with you on McDonald v. Chicago. And, incidentally, it was Everson v. Board of Education which incorporated the establishment clause in 1947. But at this point I am guessing that you already know that.

            Additionally, just to have said so, I dont have any problem with Cuccinelli practicing his own religion. I do have a problem with Cuccinelli in his capacity as Attorney General using the National Day of Prayer to deliver a political speech from the pulpit of a church. At best, this is an establishment clause gray area, but I tend to think that blurring the line between Church and state undermines the best practices and principles of both institutions to the detriment of both citizens and believers.

  12. Deb SF says:

    Very good Washington Post Editorial today here, mostly about the UVA document fishing expedition. This part is dead-on correct:

    By equating controversial results with legal fraud, Mr. Cuccinelli demonstrates a dangerous disregard for scientific method and academic freedom. The remedy for unsatisfactory data or analysis is public criticism from peers and more data, not a politically tinged witch hunt or, worse, a civil penalty. Scientists and other academics inevitably will get things wrong, and they will use public funds in the process, because failure is as important to producing good scholarship as success.

  13. Deb, if the data was fudged, then any scientific method was irrelevant since it would have been applied to contrived data, right?

    If the data was contrived, then any benefits derived from the use of that data would, necessarily, have been fraudulent.

    • Deb SF says:

      “If” is the key here, I guess. Science involves data selection, transformation, even methods for selecting outliers to delete from data sets.

      There’s bad behavior all around the controversies of the past few years, though. On the one side, there are unverified cherry-picked out-of-context phrases from illegally obtained personal emails, obtained by hackers who could have modified the original files. On the other side, there are scientists talking very carelessly like scientists with each other in emails that are FOIable, and in some cases, discussing the deletion of emails to avoid FOI requests, even though anyone involved in any FOIA request asks what is required to be responsive, what the scope of the request covers and what issues there might be that would provide exemptions. Discovery in science can bring great rewards, and transparency opens you up to someone else publishing first.

      Scientific argument over methodology, data selection, theoretical models and the interpretation of results are not easy to evaluate unless you have deep knowledge of the field itself. A scientific/statistical trick” isn’t really a procedure designed to mislead or fool, it’s more likely a good way to deal with a problem.

      Ideology-free science is impossible, I suppose.

    • Deb SF says:

      One more thing, Dave – The NYT brings together a collection of harsh criticisms of Cuccinelli’s use of subpoenas to grab those files left at UVA years ago by Michael Mann. His actions are being widely condemned, **including** some of Dr. Mann’s harshest academic critics. My favorite quote is from Thomas Fuller, co-author of a book (Climategate: The CRUtape Letters) that was harshly critical of the performance of Michael Mann and his colleagues, who writes,in an open letter to Cuccinelli:

      “No matter what has prompted your investigation, there is no doubt that it will be interpreted as a witch hunt. If you are in fact investigating a credentialed scientist for results that do not suit your political opinion, that interpretation is correct. Unless you can reveal to the public prima facie evidence that shows cause for this investigation, I beg you to reconsider. There are ample avenues of professional and academic recourse for people like me who think he has done something wrong. But being wrong is not a crime, and intimidating scientists not a path that this country, including I presume Virginians, should ever pursue.

      You may consult with colleagues in Salem to determine how long it takes to live this type of thing down.”

  14. Deb, I’m afraid I can’t disagree with you about either Cuccinelli or Bob McDonnell for that matter.

    I warned people, including Republicans, that these two guys would create laughing stocks of their respective offices, and their parties.

    It’s too bad…I liked Ken as a Senator.

  15. I have put a post up on Econospeak about this matter of Cuccinelli and UVa, but let me comment further here as someone who has been involved with climate modeling for over a third of a century and who knows the players on both sides personally, including some of Mann’s severest critics, such as Patrick Michaels, former VA Chief Climatologist, now at the Cato Institute (your kind of place, Dave B.), who was at UVa at the same time as Michael Mann.

    So, yes, there were problems with the original Mann study of the “hockey stick.” However, they were problems associated with sparse data and statistical methods used, not fraud in any way shape or form, as now established by the formal inquiries both at Penn State and in the UK. Furthermore, the issue was not at all about the more relevant matter of recent climate change, but about what happened 1000 years ago, which is why the data is sparse and can be argued about extensively.

    The critics have a strong argument that in at least some parts of the world (Greenland especially) temperatures were higher 1000 years ago than now, although that does not establish that global temperatures were. However, the movment in and out of that warm period were fairly gradual, in sharp contrast to what we have seen in the last few decades, the upward-sloping end of the hockey stick, which is what matters for our current situation.

    Cuccinelli is engaging in utterly unconscionable and reprehensible conduct that will damage higher education in Virginia, having already inflicted harm with his bigoted baloney about anti-GLBT discrimination. The man is an embarrassment who is not only wasting time and money, he is doing outright damage to the future of this Commonwealth. Frankly, he should be impeached.

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