Mayor Travis Schaunaman is using his elected title and public office to promote another exclusive religious event.
Good Christian Travis is inviting his fellow Christians to come listen to Governor Kristi Noem’s Christian testimony at the “2021 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast” on Tuesday, April 20, 6:30 a.m., at the Dakota Entertainment Center. On his “Aberdeen Mayor” Facebook page, Schaunaman directs eager Fundagelipublicans to click AberdeenMayor.com to pay their $18 for greasy Mavericks breakfast and greasier Christian posturing.
Schaunaman at least recognizes he can’t use his actual government website to sell tickets to a religious event, but he dresses up his bare payment website with his official title. And Schaunaman has ditched the previous name of the event, the Aberdeen Community Prayer Breakfast, and rebranded it with his official title.
This exclusive rebranding from community to an individual politician reflects the fact that this event is just for certain people. Working parents scrambling to get kids to school (in a city whose public K-12 district doesn’t offer school bus service) probably don’t have an hour or more to sit listening to Jesus-was-a-Republican backpatting, not to mention $18 for breakfast. Aberdeen’s Muslim residents can’t comfortably participate, since the program starts at dawn, when our Muslim friends will be starting their daily Ramadan fast. Anyone outside the Christian faith will be made to feel like an outsider by a Governor whose testimony will surely extol the virtues not simply of the thoughtful, ethical living in which we can all find common ground but of fervent and showy prayer to the personal Jesus who affirms her divine right to rule.
And those of us who appreciate both a hearty breakfast and honest professions of faith will be denied both by the nauseating sound of professing “Christians” smugly applauding a politician whose public statements contradict the teachings of that somewhat reasonable Nazarene carpenter.
So for those of you who can’t make the Travis and Kristi Show, don’t feel too badly. They aren’t serving anything you can’t get with less cost to your pocketbook and your conscience on your own. Get up at the usual hour, go about your usual routine, and as you herd the kids out the door, make your own small promise to yourself and your community: