Video: Senator John Lamping Slams Retired Pastor In Bizarre Religious Debate At Capitol

Categories: Politics

Reverend John Bennett.jpg
via Progress Missouri
Reverend John Bennett at the Capitol yesterday. Video below.
A hearing at the Capitol yesterday about a fiscal bill took a bizarre turn when Republican State Senator John Lamping engaged in a heated religious debate with Reverend John Bennett, a 72-year-old retired pastor who spoke out against cuts to social programs.

The exchange caught on camera, full video below, begins with Bennett's speech, in which he criticizes the bill within a scriptural framework -- saying budgets are moral documents and lawmakers must help the needy and the poor. Lamping then slams the pastor as a hypocrite -- because he doesn't support the reintroduction of religion into public schools -- and adds that government cannot care for the neediest like it has been for decades.

"I admit he came on pretty strong," Bennett tells Daily RFT after. How?

First, here's the footage, courtesy of Progress Missouri:

The bill in question is Senate Joint Resolution 2, a GOP-sponsored initiative that, if approved by voters, would amend the constitution to place limits on state general revenue appropriations going forward. Republican supporters argue that it would limit spending and ensure smarter, balanced budgets while opponents, like Bennett, say that it would produce drastic cuts that would hurt lower-income families and vulnerable populations across the state.

These kinds of programs must be cut, Lamping says.

In his speech at the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Bennett says:

Scripture does not tell us how we should spend public funds, but it does make clear that we are stewards, not owners, of the financial resources entrusted to our care. And that how we use those resources must advance God's holy purpose -- care for the whole human family, or to put it into political terms, care for the common good. Cutting criticial services that serve many of the least among us, does not serve God's purpose nor the common good.

But Lamping counters the whole premise, saying these religious groups are backing the wrong cause.

"I find it sadly ironic or it's a paradox that all of the religious organizations that take up this mantle, I don't see them down here at the Capitol steps demanding the reintroduction of religion and faith into public schools, which our country had a long history of," Lamping says, noting the role of religious teachings in curricula fifty years ago. "Those are all gone now."

Continue for more of the exchange and our interview with Reverend Bennett.


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12 comments
bradaslc
bradaslc

The question is, as always, about human values.  I would like to know who or what informs the values of those who would want to cut social programs for the most vulnerable in society?  I heard most senators say they are people of "faith."  If that is true, what values regarding suffering human beings do they draw upon in their Faith or their God?  What does their God ask them to do to help the poor?  My reading of the Judaic/Christian God is that God cares for the community above individuality.  God's passion is for the "whole world," not just bits and pieces.  I would have asked the senator about the "irony" or "hypocrisy" of "God We Trust" on Federal notes we know as our money!  Or, the fact that their are religious chaplains paid by the state and federal tax dollars who pray in the houses of Government as well as in our military bases!  Irony?   These senators talk of their faith and God as if God draws a line between helping the poor at the doors of Congress.  Really?  Is God so limited and short sighted as to let people suffer for the sake of a government?  That somehow a human institution of governing is more important than human suffering?  So God is a respecter of  governments over and beyond the poor?   In psychological circles this is known as compartmentalization.  But my gut tells me this is also political bias on the part of these "faithful" senators and a complete misunderstanding of the Judaic/Christian discourse and values/compassion of God within those pages.  As someone has already posted, we are dealing with human being in OUR communities regardless of ones faith or not!  Makes me question the definition of politicians as "public servants."   Who do they serve?  I think the senators own words say all to clearly who they serve.  Hint: it's not the most vulnerable.


Anngie1984
Anngie1984

If you are going to look to scripture for guidance, show me the place where it says government or Caesar has the responsibility to care for the poor. Scripture says it is up to each of us to take on this responsibility personally and our reward is the grace we receive through the positive feeling we get from helping others. To turn this over to a government bureaucrat whose biggest concern is that all the accountability measures have been met belies a laziness on the public's part. Why do this work ourselves when we can just pay the government to do so? To have a religious leader advocating for this speaks volumes about how misguided churches have become in instructing their flocks and his plan would deny his congregants God's grace. This is the biggest indictment of Rev. Bennet's position.  Successful outreach programs always rely on personal involvement with those being helped. Please show me the case where anyone has successfully paid someone else to be compassionate. The poor and the needy need our personal attention and compassion far more than the need the faceless material help of a government bureaucrat.

kfoxclark
kfoxclark

Senator Lamping wouldn't be so anxious for religion in school if his kids went to a school that was predominantly Muslim and his kids were forced to pray to Allah.  So why is it he thinks that US citizens who are Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu should be forced to pray to his god?  I am a Christian, but do not believe the government should promote any particular religion.  Our founders escaped from the tyranny of forced religion to create a nation of religious freedom.  Christians need to wake up and realize that they are driving more people AWAY from Christianity with this attitude.  The Reverend is right -- if government would simply work to take care of the least of these, Christians and other religions could join in and help, as many are doing.  And I prefer that my school teach children to respect their elders and not  bully others . . . something definitely lacking in Sen. Lamping's character.  

jdhight01
jdhight01

I would be very interested on how the religious Senator Lamping justifies his views through the Bible.  The current Senate and House's infatuation with making everything easier for corporate America and the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, working poor, the unemployed, the disabled, students, education, the elderly, and the poor does not align with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Did Jesus tell the poor to leave the temple and the money changers to stay?  Is Senator Lamping involved with ALEC, whose policies favor the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, even those who were left homeless after Hurricane Sandy? Is this in line with biblical teachings (Roy Blunt voted against it, as well as the Violence Against Women Act, and is supposedly a religious man, too)?

As hubertfarnsworth writes: "Caring for the least well off amongst us should be done because they're human, not because of its basis in scripture.  Prayer should be kept out of schools because it does precious little to care for the least well off.  If there's a god it takes care of humans most when they take care of themselves and each other."  He is so right.  Jesus preached basic human dignity, and the rich man who followed him gave his possessions to the poor.  The righteous in the Senate and Legislature should read their Bibles and take the teachings of Jesus to heart if they are truly religious men and women.

garry.lafferty
garry.lafferty

This Republicans a idiot and its not true most of what he says.Missouri is going to hail with talk about that good Catholic.How discusting.Goverment gives people opertunate not a road bloock thats ignorant ass hail.

Brenda Rouse
Brenda Rouse

Why one or the other it doesn't take money to prayer and religion in school?

Sarah Wess Potter
Sarah Wess Potter

As the Rev. states, any child can pray in school. We need better funded education, health care, and public safety.

Kirin Pax
Kirin Pax

better-funded social programs

hubertfarnsworth
hubertfarnsworth

Funny how they both got it wrong.  Caring for the least well off amongst us should be done because they're human, not because of its basis in scripture.  Prayer should be kept out of schools because it does precious little to care for the least well off.  If there's a god it takes care of humans most when they take care of themselves and each other.

bradaslc
bradaslc

@Anngie1984 Your question is based upon modernity, not the 1st century, therefore it is a baseless question of biblical interpretation.  There was NO division between God and politics in 1st century Judaism.  The Temple was BOTH the political AND religious heart of Jewish society and culture.   The Pharisees and priest were BOTH political and religious persons.  As far as that goes, that was true of 1st century Roman senators who were both priest in their local houses of worship and senators of governing.  The question the temple authorities posed to Jesus regarding taxes had NOTHING to do with public funds but with the question of "impurity" regarding Roman currency in the Temple.  BTW, last time I checked, "a government bureaucrat" is a human being too!  Presumably with a heart and conscious!  They are NOT evil people per se, if so, no "faithful" Republican would want to serve as a politician either!  So the question persists...not whether government is good or bad, but WHO does government represent and WHO do they serve as elected "public servants"?   If government is so bad, I find it ironic that so many conservative people run for office! 

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

@hubertfarnsworth Thank you....!! You are so right..... If only we could do this.....!

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