'God' at Center of Lengthy Council Resolution Debate

    The A.S. Council ran a smooth meeting until its members considered one item of old business, which halted the meeting for debate over religion. A quote in a resolution to oppose the construction of a highway through a state park became the focus of a council conflict centered on the use of the word “”God.””

    The discussion revolved around a resolution, prepared by Eleanor Roosevelt College Junior Senator Kerry Kassam, to oppose the construction of the Foothill-South Toll Road through San Onofre State Park.

    Certain councilmembers objected to the fourth clause, which used a quote by former California Gov. Ronald Reagan: “”The greatest legacies we can leave to future generations is the heritage of our land, but unless we can preserve and protect the unspoiled areas which God has given us, we will have nothing to leave them.””

    The subsequent clause used another quote by Reagan: “”As stewards of this land, we must use it judiciously and with a great sense of responsibility.””

    Thurgood Marshall College Senior Senator Adam Gardner was the first councilmember to raise objections.

    “”One of the ‘whereas’ clauses says that God gave us the land, or that Ronald Reagan said God gave us that land,”” Gardner said. “”I’m not comfortable officially supporting that.””

    Sixth College Sophomore Senator John Cressey disagreed.

    “”When you look at ‘whereas’ clauses, it’s for individuals to agree on something,”” Cressey said. “”We can acknowledge the fact that there are people who believe in God. It’s quoting Ronald Reagan, just one possible reason to love nature.””

    Revelle College Junior Senator Heidi Laidemitt supported the objection.

    “”Why bring religious beliefs to our clauses?”” Laidemitt said. “”The second part doesn’t support the resolution in any way.””

    She then proposed an amendment to cut the quote after “”heritage of our land,”” and to add the quote in the fifth clause.

    “”I don’t think the emphasis is God, but that the idea is to not allow the government to build a toll road through a state park,”” Kassam said.

    Gardner rebutted his fellow councilmembers’ comments.

    “”I’m not offended by this, or am trying to change anyone’s beliefs,”” Gardner said. “”However, the resolution does not hinge on this clause.””

    Cressey proposed a call to question on the amendment, which failed 5-11.

    After several more minutes of debate concerning the entire resolution, it passed 10-4.

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