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November 15, 2004

WINNING OVER THE RED STATES:

Following University President Don Randel’s warm introduction, the famed author, host, and wry wit of A Prairie Home Companion, started by commenting on election results.

“I am a Democrat—it’s no secret. I am a museum-quality Democrat,” Keillor said. “Last night I spent my time crouched in a fetal position, rolling around and moaning in the dark.”

Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections. “I’m trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to born-again Christians,” Keillor smirked. “I feel if your citizenship is in Heaven—like a born again Christian’s is—you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If born again Christians are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?”

How many moles does Karl Rove have?

UPDATE: Micah Holmquist emails: "I heard similar comments on Prarie Home Companion recently and they clearly were in jest." No hint of that in the story, but okay -- though I didn't think that he was seriously planning to amend the Constitution. I suspect that not everyone will be amused, however, as the jest is a somewhat bitter one.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Celeste Morley heard something similar on Prairie Home Companion and didn't find it amusing. Hey, some people were offended by Earl Butz's jokes, too! Michael Ubaldi thinks it's tasteless: "I don't know about it being a jest. That's like trying to make a joke about the Jewish vote and Aliyah: can you say, 'tasteless?'" Yes, I can. And Joe Carter is disappointed.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts here and here.

MORE: Eugene Volokh offers this analogy:

Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections. "I'm trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to Jews," Keillor smirked. "I feel if your citizenship is in the Nation of Israel -- like a Jew's is -- you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If Jews are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?"

And another one!

Not one to shy away from speaking his mind, Keillor proposed a solution to what he deemed a fundamental problem with U.S. elections. "I'm trying to organize support for a constitutional amendment to deny voting rights to Catholics," Keillor smirked. "I feel if your loyalty is to a foreign political leader like the Pope -- like a Catholic's is -- you should give up your citizenship. Sorry, but this is my new cause. If Catholics are allowed to vote in this country, then why not Canadians?"

He observes: "Now if I'm right that the first two hypotheticals wouldn't be in the best of taste, even if it were quite clear that Keillor was just joking, then wouldn't we say the same about the real quote, which referred to born-again Christians?" Of course not. Everyone knows that they are ignorant, no-account rednecks and that it's safe to lampoon them in any fashion.