A Student of History

February 11, 2007

Thomas Paine in Arkansas?

Filed under: The past that is still with us — John Maass @ 1:06 pm

 From the NYT comes an interesting article on the failed attempt to create a ”Thomas Paine Day” in Arkansas.  The vote Thursday was 46-20 in favor of the measure, but 51 votes were needed to pass. 

My first reaction was “why”?  Why does Arkansas need a Paine holiday, as opposed to some other figure or cause for comemorization?  Then I went on to read why it was defeated:

The proposal by Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville, to commemorate Jan. 29 as ”Thomas Paine Day” failed in the state House of Representatives after a legislator questioned Paine’s writings criticizing the Bible and Christianity.  Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, R-Little Rock, quizzed Smith about Paine and quoted passages from Paine’s book, ”The Age of Reason,” which Rosenbaum criticized as anti-religion. ”He did some good things for the nation, but the book that he wrote was anti-Christian and anti-Jewish,” Rosenbaum said. ”I don’t think we should be passing things out like this without at least debating it and letting people in the House know what we’re voting on.”

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