Seattle's St. James Cathedral has tapped its inner-Raymond Hunthausen and opted to pass on collecting signatures for the anti-marriage-equality Referendum 74. Hunthausen, the former Seattle archbishop who in the 1970s and early '80s clashed with the Vatican over gay rights and peace issues, recast the definition of spiritual obedience, adhering to an iconoclastic, American-West independence that valued conscience over authority.
"St. James Cathedral will not join in gathering signatures for Referendum 74, the ballot measure promoted by opponents of same-sex marriage and supported by Seattle’s Catholic Archbishop J. Peter Sartain," the Seattlepi.com's Joel Connelly writes. " 'After discussing the matter with the members of the Cathedral’s pastoral ministry team, I have decided that we will NOT participate in the collecting of signatures in our parish,' Fr. Michael Ryan, the cathedral’s pastor, said in a letter."
Few states enshrine religious liberty, pluralism, and separation of church and state more than Washington. At the same time, Washington lawmakers picked two religious leaders, Mother Joseph and Marcus Whitman, as most emblematic of the state's values for the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.
Who says ecomomic populism doesn't resonate? Crosscut's Ted Van Dyk, for one, who doubts the efficacy of the "Buffett rule" to dun millionaires and align the tax rates of middle-income Americans with the 1 percent. "The legislation is expected to fail but to provide grist for Democrats in their continuing emphasis on tax increases for the wealthy (and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on Dec. 31). Republicans argue that the minimum tax would impede job-creating investment by upper-income folk," Van Dyk writes. Logic notwithstanding, the Buffett rule is red meat for a constituency still smarting from the Great Recession.
"Now that Republicans have all but settled on multi-millionaire Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee, Democrats are renewing a push for the so-called 'Buffett Rule,' which seeks to ensure the very wealthy pay as high a portion of their incomes in taxes as the middle class," The Seattle Times' Jim Brunner writes. "U.S. Sen. Patty Murray did her part with a news conference at a Seattle coffee shop Wednesday morning to spotlight a planned vote next week in the Senate on the proposal Democrats have named the 'Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012.'"
So what took the Legislature so long? Veteran Olympia reporter Jerry Cornfield reviews the 11th-hour maneuvering and comes up with the political version of that theological imponderable, "the mystery of God." Consider it the "mystery of the Legislature."
"In March, all hell broke loose when three rogue Democrats joined 22 Republicans to take over the chamber in order to pass a GOP-crafted spending plan as well as budget and pension reforms on a 25-24 vote," the Herald's Cornfield writes. "Following the coup, the chamber filled with tension right up until adjournment. Yet early Wednesday, in one of their final actions, Democratic and Republican senators approved a budget. The vote: 44-2. Such unanimity begs the question of what was the fight in regular and special session all about for them and for the entire Legislature."
The Northwest's most poignant and unconscionable news was the apparent suicide of Daffodil Festival Princess Alexandria Tyler Cole, 18, a senior at Tacoma's Chief Leschi High School. There's a Richard Cory illogic to it, as there is with most suicides. It's as heartbreaking as it is horrifying.
"Friends of Daffodil Festival Princess Alexandria Tyler Cole recalled her smile, her beauty and her achievements Wednesday," the News Tribune's Debbie Cafazzo and Sara Schilling write. "And neighbor Janee Weathersby asked that the community remember the resident of Tacoma’s East Side for how she lived — not how she died. 'She was a good person,' said Weathersby. 'She was always there when you needed her.' "
Lastly, Florida Rep. Allen West announced that there are currently 80 communists in the U.S. House of Representatives (West may be, as we say in Everett, slightly "touched.") It still begs the question, has Washington ever elected a communist to Congress? While Washington has produced its share of red-baiting demagogues (see, for example, Albert Canwell) probably the most lefty member of Washington's congressional delegation was Emerson Hugh De Lacy, who represented the 1st Congressional district from 1945 to 1947. Herein lies the ultimate stump-em question for the coterie of current 1st District candidates: "So, are you like De Lacy or dislike De Lacy?"
Seattlepi.com, "St. James Cathedral: No to Ref. 74 campaign"
The Herald, "Why it took so long for a last-minute finish"
The News Tribune, "Daffodil princess remembered as warm and active"
Politico, "Allen West: 80 communists in the House"