Dear God, we don't trust the people who want to put up signs
Posted March 13, 2018 2:37 p.m. EDT
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- I wish the Republicans in Tallahassee would be more discerning when it comes to the Democrats they choose to ignore.
For example, Democrats offered many of the 231 amendments to the school safety bill -- worthy amendments that would have banned AR-15s and limited the capacity of magazines -- but they were brushed aside.
If you want to ignore Democratic lawmakers in the future, allow me to suggest Kim Daniels, D-Jacksonville, for a change. She's a religious huckster who has turned lawmaking into her side hustle. Please stop encouraging her.
Daniels' big contribution to the issue of gun violence in schools was to champion a bill that requires public schools in Florida to post an "In God We Trust" sign in a "conspicuous place" in every building.
"We cannot put God in a closet when the issues we face are bigger than us," Daniels told her colleagues.
The House approved her bill 97-10 and gave her a standing ovation. And then at the last moment, the provision was added to the Senate education bill, which was passed.
If there's anything truly educational to be learned by this new requirement it's that you ought not to trust people who foist their religious piety on others.
Daniels has given herself the title "apostle" in her other role as the head of Kimberly Daniels Ministries International, a salvation operation that combines faith healings and exorcisms with a heavy emphasis on merchandising.
There are prayer CDs ($8), a library of books, including "From a Mess to a Miracle" ($15) to the Demon Dictionary ($25). Or you can fleet up to the Word Bible College, which will set you back $250 for the registration and tuition.
Daniels' religious empire was a tidy little enterprise until her now-ex husband, Ardell (also an apostle), wanted out of the marriage.
Turns out, there were a lot messy details with her Spoken Word Ministry, and money being spent in ungodly excess.
Like Ardell's Cadillac Escalade, a birthday present from the church, and a string of time shares and other properties that Daniels bought through the ministry, including a tax-exempt $1 million home in Davie, which later went into foreclosure.
All this became public when Daniels, who segued from her religious business into politics, got herself elected to the Jacksonville City Council.
The Florida Ethics Commission found probable cause that she filed inaccurate financial disclosures for three years in a row by failing to account for numerous properties, income, and over a dozen cars.
The ethics group said she also spent campaign funds to advertise her religious books. But the case was never followed up because it was filed too close to election time.
And by then Daniels had already moved on from the Jacksonville City Council to the Florida House of Representatives.
It's not easy being the nuttiest lawmaker in Tallahassee, but Daniels appears to have lapped the field in just her second year.
She speaks about witches taking over the country as her explanation for President Donald Trump.
"America is under siege, God, when it comes to the place where witches are bold enough to come out and declare that they will have authority over who's the president of the United States," she said during a rambling 16-minute prayer she posted online. "I think it's time for the saints of God to take a radical position, and we send every curse back to the vortexes of Hell where they came from, in the name of Jesus."
She has opined moronic on various other historical topics.
Like slavery, which she views as a blessing.
"If it wasn't for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa worshipping a tree," she said.
And the Holocaust.
"You can talk about the Holocaust, but the Jews own everything," she said.
Daniels thinks she's in Tallahassee as an anointed one who is "able to write legislation so that His kingdom could come and manifest itself like never before."
Which is the textbook definition of a violation of the separation of church and state.
The fact that other lawmakers entertain any bill she offers with the word "school" in it is shocking. But she has already found traction among her fellow piety seekers in Tallahassee.
Last year, her first in the Florida Legislature, Daniels successfully championed a bill that called for allowing students to express religious beliefs in coursework free from discrimination. And to allow teachers to participate in student prayers.
And now she has placed a public cost on creating signs in every school building to duplicate the words that are already on the seal in the Florida state flag.
What's next? God only knows.
Frank Cerabino writes for The Palm Beach Post. Email: fcerabino(at)pbpost.com.
Story Filed By Cox Newspapers
For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service
Capitol Broadcasting Company's Opinion Section seeks a broad range of comments and letters to the editor. Our Comments beside each opinion column offer the opportunity to engage in a dialogue about this article.
In addition, we invite you to write a letter to the editor about this or any other opinion articles. Here are some tips on submissions >> SUBMIT A LETTER TO THE EDITOR