Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Duncans!

While wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, I stop and think about what Christmas means...what I truly believe:

We are celebrating the birth of our Savior....the only perfect man to ever walk the earth....the Son that God sent to tell man about His show His love by allowing His own Son to be sacrificed so that we shall not have to spend eternity separated from Him - that separation is the true Hell.....Thank You God for loving me, a sinner who is unworthy of the tremendous Grace you show me.....

A celebration of this birth......WOW....and that is why we give gifts, because God gave us the gift of His Son, but also the gift of his Grace!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

What is UnConstitutional about it?

I Believe!

I also believe in the Constitution. After our Forefathers wrote the second greatest document of all time governing our lives (of course the Bible is No. 1), they decided to address some things that were left out - they did this through the Amendment process - which had to also be ratified by the member States. The First Ten Amendments became known as the Bill of Rights.

As I have stated before, I could poll the nation, asking what people thought of when they heard "First Amendment Rights." The answers, based on the smaller polls I have done in person, would be "Freedom of Speech." But the first thing our Forefathers addressed was Freedom of Religion. The First Amendment reads at it's beginning:

"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof......" then it goes on to mention freedom of speech, of the press, of the right of the people to peacefully assemble and to petition the government for grievances which they may have with government.

It doesn't say anything about the member states not being able to post the Ten Commandments in their Statehouses or creating a license plate stating "I Believe" or even "I Don't Believe" should they choose to do so. In fact, the Constitution goes on to state that any power not specifically spelled out in that document as a power of the Federal Government is reserved for the States or the people.

I use the term "member states" because what we have in America is a Republic - a union of states who freely joined the union for a lot of common good. The states themselves voted on the Constitution and the Amendments.

So I return to the basic question in this post: What is UnConstitutional about the State of South Carolina producing a license plate which its citizens can freely purchase or not purchase? You could argue, I guess, that the highways are built and maintained with Federal Highway Funds. But those funds stem from gasoline tax, collected here in the State, sent to Washington where a portion is siphoned off, and returned to our State. It was our money to begin with, eh?

The right of South Carolina to offer to it's citizens an "I Believe" tag is no different than the state of Washington allowing a non-religious symbol to be placed next to a Christian symbol inside the capital building. Is that UnConstitutional as well? We are off kilter in this country and we need to make some changes. I am providing the article about the Judge's ruling on the "I Believe" tag for your information.

Judge Keeps SC "I Believe" Plates Off The Roads
Catherine M. Welch

WILMINGTON, NC (2008-12-11) A federal judge in South Carolina has put the brakes on production of a Christian license plate featuring the words "I Believe" next a cross and stained glass window.

The judge issued a temporary injunction halting producing of the "I Believe" license plate after a lawsuit filed this summer claimed the plates were unconstitutional.

South Carolina's Lt. Governor Andre Bauer says drivers requesting the Christian plate should be able to share the road with those already displaying the state's secular plate displaying "In Reason We Trust."

"You know, it's amazing to me that atheists and non-believers can purchase a secular license plate that they requested, but that same first amendment right given to them they now deny to others who want to purchase a different type of license plate."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the state claiming the plate favors Christianity. Its Director Barry Lind says the judge's order will keep religion off the roads.

"I think it makes it clear that the "I Believe" license plates are very unlikely to ever see the light of day in South Carolina."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008

Duncan Elected Chairman of House Ag Committee

On Wednesday, December 3rd, I was elected Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee - one of six standing Committees in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

This is quite an honor for me to serve my State in this capacity. There are some mighty big shoes to fill following my friend Chairman Billy Witherspoon who retired in June. I hope I can show similar leadership that Billy had during his tenure.

I believe that there will be a lot of critical issues facing our State this Session. I have been assigned a great team of Committee members from all across the state, all with diverse backgrounds. I will post the members on this blog in a late post.

I am currently tasked with assigning these members to the appropriate sub-committees of: Agriculture Sub-Committee; Wildlife Sub-committee; Environmental I and Environmental II Sub-Committees. In addition, I am mulling over the Sub-Committee Chairmen - not an easy task since I want to make sure I have the right Leaders on each.

Thanks to everyone on the Committee for this opportunity and I look forward to serving with you. - Jeff