Daily Archives: Jan. 18, 2012

Pastors to deliver petition calling for House Speaker Mike O’Neal’s resignation

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson

Two pastors from Topeka plan to hand deliver more than 30,000 signatures this afternoon demanding that House Speaker Mike O’Neal resign because of an e-mail he forwarded to other House Republicans.

That e-mail is about President Barack Obama and quotes Psalm 109:8: “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him.”

The Hutchinson Republican leader said he thought that to mean Obama’s days in office — not death. The Bible quote has been used on bumper stickers and has been widely circulated on the Internet. But the context from the King James Version of the Bible has been pointed out by critics. The next verse reads: “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.”

O’Neal’s office issued a statement regarding the e-mail and criticism about it. “I understand the debate over the verse interpretation, about which I have explained and for which I have repeatedly apologized to the extent anyone misconstrued my intent or was otherwise offended,” O’Neal said. “I respect both the president and the office.”

The petition surfaced on the Internet activism website Faithful America. It says: “As people of faith, we believe that scripture should never be used to justify praying for the death of anyone. Speaker O’Neal’s hateful abuse of scripture is unacceptable and a disgrace to his office, and he should immediately resign.”

Rev. Tobias Schlingensiepen, a senior minister at First Congregational Church in Topeka and Rev. Jim McCollough, executive director of Topeka Center for Peace and Justice will deliver the signatures and talk at a news conference at 1 p.m. in the Statehouse.


Bill would put check-off box on tax forms to fund arts

A bill co-sponsored by 40 House members would put a check off box on income tax return forms, allowing people to donate $1, $5, $10 or a specified amount to help bolster the Kansas Arts Commission.

The proposal is part of an effort to raise private funds for the Commission, which had its funds eliminated by Gov. Sam Brownback last year. Brownback has since included $200,000 in his recommended budget for a new Creative Industries Commission in the Department of Commerce that includes aspects of the Arts Commission and Kansas Film Commission.

The Arts Commission, which still exists despite no funding, is also planning to sell special license plates for $100, with $50 going to the arts group that procures the sale and $50 for the Commission, which could then spread the money among community art projects across the state.

Currently the Kansas income tax form has four programs you can check to donate: Chickadee Check-off, Senior Citizen Meals on Wheels Contribution Program, Breast Cancer Research Fund and Military Emergency Relief Fund.