January 25, 2016 10:56 AM
(A petition has been added below.)
My Facebook feed is awash in lies from the Daily Currant and Duffelblog and The Onion and Donald Trump, so perhaps I might be forgiven from assuming that Andre Walker‘s piece on Georgia Unfiltered was fiction, parody designed solely to provoke people like me.
State Senator Donzella James (D-Planet IX) has presented SR 805 “Recognizing Reverend Creflo Dollar and dedicating a road in his honor; and for other purposes.” The resolution lists four co-sponsors; Michael ‘Doc’ Rhett, Gail Davenport, Harold Jones and Valencia Seay. The four Democratic co-sponsors are spread out around the state, from Clayton County to Augusta.
The resolution would rename Old National Highway from Jonesboro Road North to the bridge at Interstate 285 in Fulton County as the “Creflo Dollar Highway.” The resolution directs the Georgia Department of Transportation “to erect and maintain appropriate signs” for the renaming.
Which is to say that they would like to direct the government to spend money to rename a road for a prosperity gospel preacher who is also one of the wealthiest men in the state. We are working in the grand tradition of Cynthia McKinney Parkway in DeKalb today. Perhaps the rest of the legislature is in on the joke, and they’ll pass this just to hang it on South Fulton for the rest of eternity.
Never mind that Creflo Dollar is a walking argument for the merits of taxing religious establishments. Forget that renaming this road helps carve the heart right out of the rendering-to-Caesar-what-is-Caesar’s part of the gospels — assuming that Dollar’s own preaching hasn’t done that already. Ignore the fact that this would add just the right spice of government legitimacy as an advertising appeal for Dollar’s quasi-commercial financial activities.
Do I need to remind people how Dollar has largely risen to public notice through stunts like asking his congregation to pay for a $65 million private jet to carry supplies to far-flung missionary ports — a claim Politifact rated as a Pants On Fire lie last year?
By the way, Dollar will get his jet, it seems. I knew he would.
The question for me is just how big the check was, or will be if this passes. Campaign finance disclosures will start rolling in in two weeks. We’ll see if Senator James had the sense to ask for cash up front before presenting this resolution, or if Dollar contracts on contingency. I assume Creflo is the better negotiator, but who knows?
If the legislature renames a road for a prosperity gospel preacher, we’re giving the government’s seal of approval to his ministry and his interpretation of scripture.
There are many, many God-fearing Christians of every denomination who believe his message is sinful at best, exploitative at worst, and want as much distance between their government and this man as possible. It is for moments like this that the phrase “separation of church and state” was coined.
Creflo Dollar — who is unashamedly self-promoting — will use the renaming of a highway for him as an endorsement, and will profit financially from it. It is not the business of government to put money in the pockets of ministers.
Here’s a petition. Tell them no.