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In Rexburg, a small eastern Idaho university town, Tuesday’s bus ride home from an elementary school had kids chanting, “Assassinate Obama, assassinate Obama.” Then they added in the name of a classmate, chanting “Assassinate Obama and Kate.” A couple named Whoolery found out about it when their second and third graders got off the bus and reported the chanting. The Whoolerys weren’t Obama voters, but they were astonished and contacted the school. According to a Twin Falls TV station, the Whoolerys “just don’t like people joking about a serious matter concerning any leader of the country.” The school superintendent sent an email to teachers, principals and bus drivers about the incident and saying they should be told their behavior is unacceptable.

Eastern Idaho Kids Chant “Assassinate Obama” on School Bus

In Rexburg, a small eastern Idaho university town, Tuesday’s bus ride home from an elementary school had kids chanting, “Assassinate Obama, assassinate Obama.”

Then they added in the name of a classmate, chanting “Assassinate Obama and Kate.”

A couple named Whoolery found out about it when their second and third graders got off the bus and reported the chanting. The Whoolerys weren’t Obama voters, but they were astonished and contacted the school.

According to a Twin Falls TV station, the Whoolerys “just don’t like people joking about a serious matter concerning any leader of the country.”

The school superintendent sent an email to teachers, principals and bus drivers about the incident and saying the students should be told that behavior is unacceptable.

I called the Madison County school district and spoke to Janet Goodliffe, whose title is “spokesperson.” She was very nice, but didn’t answer my real question, which is, “What is being done to find out if the parents of these kids have created a home atmosphere where that kind of language or thinking is okay?”

I had asked if there was to be any further action since the email, and she said, “I don’t know what you mean. It’s not even like that. It was the day after the election, and the kids were just chanting, really little kids, like six, seven and eight.”

I don’t know about you, but when my kids were six, seven and eight they might have chanted, “Justin is a big doodyhead” on the bus, but not hateful, violent, illegal stuff. They were brought up to respect the presidency no matter who held the office. And yes, at six both my kids knew who the president was, were aware of elections, and could have told you who the governor was, too.

I’m not saying all six-year-olds would have known what they were saying. But most would, and some kind of swift and serious action should be taken to figure out where they got the swill they were regurgitating. The kids and parents should be questioned by law enforcement, if only to emphasize how serious the incident was.

Another incident

This week in northern Idaho, Ken Germana put up a sign advertising a “free public hanging” of President-elect Barack Obama and several other politicians.

Germana is under investigation by the U.S. Secret Service, as he should be.

“That’s a political statement,” Germana told the Bonner County Daily Bee. “They can call it whatever they want, a threat or whatever.”

A rope noose – a symbol used by the Ku Klux Klan and other racists, hangs down the middle of the sign.

Germana said he wouldn’t lose sleep if the president-elect came in harm’s way.

Considering there are photos of the sign, and Germana has not repudiated his statement in any way, I hope authorities throw the book at him. Kids are one thing, but this is a grown man.

I’m at a loss about how to stop this stuff, but that doesn’t stop me from using my fury to try to think of something constructive. It’s an enormous concept with thousands of years of history to try to fight hate and violence, but we have to start somewhere.

Think.

About Jill Kuraitis

Jill Kuraitis is an award-winning journalist who specializes in news of Idaho and the Rocky Mountain West. Her B.A. in theatre management is from UC Santa Barbara, and she went on to work in theatre, film, and politics before writing became a career. Kuraitis has two excellent grown children and lives in Boise with her husband of 30 years, abundant backyard wildlife, and two huge hairy dogs.

Comments

  1. Sisyphus says:

    Yeah but Justin is a big dooty head. ;-)

    Way to make us proud Idaho.

  2. Andrew Karlsen says:

    Typical Idaho people, what an embarrassment to America.

  3. Mac523 says:

    What Germana did was wrong. What those folks here in Indiana did by hanging the effegy of Obama was wrong. What the man in Cal. did by hanging the effegy of Sara Palin was wrong. In the first two cases law enforcement become involved. The third from what the news reported law enforcement did not. Why not. Same act should have same response from law enforcement. Why not.

  4. Helena says:

    These are second and third graders – if they don’t act like adults and keep a civil tongue they should be sent to re-education camp or California. Whoever heard a kid that age say something stupid? Obviously, it was intentional hate speech and they were capable of carrying out the threat.

    This will be on South Park in a month.

  5. Jill Kuraitis says:

    Helena, I get your point – of course little kids do and say stupid things and can’t be held to the same standards as adults, and I don’t advocate punishing them. I advocate finding out where the HELL they got those words and finding out if their parents need to be set straight. Just letting it go is not okay.

  6. jedediah Redman says:

    Rexburg may be conservatively oriented owing to the presence there of Ricks College and its LDS Culture…

  7. Jill Kuraitis says:

    But I don’t want to blame these incidents on “conservatives,” which isn’t fair. These aren’t conservative incidents; they are hate. Only a tiny few people who call themselves conservative are hateful. It’s important not to stereotype, since that is what the perpetrators here are doing. We must be better than that; we must set a better example for our kids and for the world.

  8. Mickey Garcia says:

    You might call this latter day tribalism, expressed as team loyalty. Shoot the opposing team captain before he can take the field. Obviously the kids didn’t make this stuff up. They got it from adults. Unfortunately, in some western communities, the opposing team consists of gays, liberals, lazy bums, people of color and democrats all aligned with Lucifer. If we can’t afford to watch kids in school so closely that we can’t prevent them from occasionally shooting and bullying one another how can we prevent them from vocalizing acts of violence? It should be obvious that both the parents and the kids need a talking to.

  9. bearbait says:

    Truman was elected President in 1948, and sworn in January of 1949. I entered first grade in September 1949. To the tune of Disney’s Snow White tune “Whistle while you work”, we first graders sang: “Whistle while you work, Truman is a jerk, Mussolini pulled his weenie, and now it doesn’t work.” and then we giggled and snurfed and were bad little boys. Glen Cate was barefoot and wore bib overalls. Kirk McKenzie’s dad was a world expert on artificial insemination of cattle and we watched him collect semen at the college bull barn. In late fall, when flies began to find a warm place to spend the winter, we pissed them off the bathroom ceiling, as only little boys can do, much to the dismay of the janitor. I haven’t heard of any mass murderers, career criminals, lay-abouts and louts coming from that group of mischievous school boys from yesteryear. Boys used to be boys. We jumped in the basement hall to hit the asbestos covered steam pipes. We played mumblypeg on the recess yard with out pocket knives, shot marbles, and traded bubble gum baseball cards. Arguments could get your nose bloodied, and discipline was doled out by an adult with a hack paddle called “The Board of Education.”

    It was Art Linkletter, I believe, who once wrote a book called “Kids say the darndest things” or something similar to that. Kids. We are talking about some little goofy kids. And don’t look to Mom and Dad. Better you look at Hollywood, tv, and what the current crop of kids are exposed to on a daily basis. And, you would wonder if “assassinate” was their new word for the day, a word just learned, from a peer. Give them a break!!!

  10. bearbait says:

    I need a proof reader: ..mumblypeg with OUR pocket knives. We all carried pocket knives. Today, that is at least a week’s expulsion from school, and I believe the parents can then request a tutor for their bad boy or girl. Common sense left this arena a long, long time ago. I see a Portland area school district spent its way into a deep deficit, and now they are going to have a 159 day school year. So where is the bad judgement in that deal? Is that the kid’s fault? Their parents? Nope. Administration and school board are at fault. So who hacks their ass? nobody. There is no consequence to a bad behavior. Only for kids. And kids know that. It makes them into world class cynics.

  11. jedediah Redman says:

    From my perspective, barebate, you are no an example of the future I wish for my grandchildren…

  12. Kilrahi says:

    Okay, I agree it’s disturbing . . . but as far as I can tell they didn’t do anything illegal.

    Beyond being stern with the kids on school grounds there’s really nothing else the school could do, and that’s as it should be.

  13. Rexburg says:

    I live in Rexburg. This is not an isolated incident. I used to be a member of the LDS Church, but I left it because it no longer made sense to me. I can tell you that the Madison County School District has a discriminatory hiring policy that basically bars alternative opinion from even existing at its schools. That’s why this happened: Intolerance and bigotry is protected and allowed in the Madison County school system and at BYU-Idaho.

    But this story about a few ignorant kids should not take away from the fact that Rexburg is an awesome place to live. If you want more information about this area, please email me at wcsl.02@gmail.com. We are in the process of moving a more progressive agenda into this area, and we feel confident that the outdated and racial ideas of the people who have called this place home for the last 80 years or so will eventually be gone from this area.

    Don’t spread gossip on the internet about this town, just pray for it. Thank you.

  14. Geoffrey Dunbar says:

    Eastern Idaho has ALWAYS had more than its fair share of right-wing loonies. A week before JFK’s assasination in November 1963, my mother (then on the staff of the Idaho Falls Public Library) retrieved from the late return box a copy of Kennedy’s PT-109 that had had a bullet put through it. Let’s pray the Rexburg incident isn’t also an omen!

  15. Steve says:

    Where do these kids get this hate? From ignorant and dumbed down parents. Well to the Alabama of the West!

  16. bearbait says:

    Too many people without a clue commenting. Second and third grade kids can’t and don’t hate. They are little emerging computers who repeat what they hear from peers, school, parents, TV, ad nauseum. And go on to something else new and interesting.

    I would not be too quick to condemn Idaho, Rexburg, LDS, parents, and all your usual suspects, as those bases have been well covered to this point by another class of bigots. I have to wonder about the emotions that are barely covering concerns about the Mormon influence, Idaho not being New England, and the misconception that rural America is home to racism and hate. The most intolerance I am seeing is the urban gay community outbursts against minorities who voted against gay marriage in I believe three states in this election. I was shocked, frankly. Taken aback. Attacking minorities because they didn’t vote your cause in.

    Again, 7 and 8 year olds have not gained the emotions or will power to hate. They are parrots repeating things they think are amusing, shocking, new. They just need redirection of thought, not scorn and indignant lectures. They are kids, for God’s sake.

  17. jedediah Redman says:

    Now we are beginning see the homophobia oozing out along with that barely restrained whitesupremacy, eh, barebate..?

  18. Ann says:

    I think the kids involved should have to spell assassinate. Then they should have to write a Five page essay about it. Then make them stay on the bus after all the other kids are dropped off and clean it Everyday, that Obama is in office, maybe make the Parents pick the kids up from the Bus Garage or whatever you call the place they keep the bus, because you know the parents do have a part in what the kids were spewing. Or maybe get up early and clean it before the day starts, either/or. Make sure all the other kids are aware of it and let them get on the bus with mud on their feet, and leave all the trash they can muster for the other kids to clean up.
    Like it or not Bearbait is right, kids are monkeys they repeat what they hear with no knowledge of the true meaning of the words.

  19. Jill Kuraitis says:

    This is from the excellent Tom vonAlten of Fort Boise, who did a better job than I in making the point:

    “The people of Rexburg, Idaho (among others) now have a decision to make, how to react. I say, it’s a moment for teaching.

    Let’s learn what this word “assassinate” means, and how it resonates through American history, still fresh in the minds of people who were alive (and in 3rd grade) the last time it happened to a President, or to a candidate for President, or to a preacher who led a Civil Rights movement that culminated in a historic victory this month.

    Let’s not wait for Martin Luther King Day to talk about how the human spirit can rise above hatred and bigotry and ethnic cleansing and genocide. Or not.

    Let’s talk about this in school. Let’s talk about this in church. Let’s talk about this in coffee shops, and restaurants, and libraries, and bookstores, and bars, and every public place, and most of all, at home.”

    http://fortboise.org/blog/200811.html#p11130

  20. Ann says:

    Just another thought; How many little kids out there actually know the meaning of the F word? Not many, you can bet. So everytime you hear a kid say it you want to arrest them for attempted rape? I don’t think so. Those kids probably had no clue what the word really meant. But the only way they will learn is to have them do like I said before.

  21. Jill Kuraitis says:

    Ann – Who said they wanted the kids arrested? I didn’t, and I don’t see it in the comments, either. Did I miss something?

  22. Sean says:

    Come on people, stop bashing Rexburg and Idaho over this.
    Yes, it is wrong the children were chanting this, but have those of you who are so quick to judge Idaho not read the national news everyday before and after Obama was elected? Almost every state in this great nation has had incidents where people were acting in “bad” ways towards the thought of Obama.
    It is not just Idaho and other more liberal diverse states have had more shocking incidents regarding our new President.
    Is this shocking to people just because Obama is black…well half black? If he was caucasion would people care as much?
    What is our country coming to??? People are so wound up in being politically correct (propaganda) that they think it is ok for caucasion people to receive death threats, as President Bush did, but not a Black person?
    Think about this.

  23. Ann says:

    Jill;
    My point is that kids repeat what they hear without knowing the meaning of the words. The way people are reacting is like they think these kids might actually try to carry out the ‘assassinate Obama’. If you aren’t reacting that way why even bring it up? Why not write articles on other stuff kids say? Kids say all kinds of things. Sean is right, with his last question.

  24. jedediah Redman says:

    Its not them white supremacists we need to worry about.
    Its them black rapists who’re lurking behind every tree!–‘n them Hispanic cutthroats sneaking across the borders–‘n them Islamists–‘n them Chinamen…

  25. Mickey Garcia says:

    Sure, on one level its just kids being kids right? No big deal. But on a deeper level consider the Jesuit motto attributed to Francis Xavier “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man” which means than the best opportunity to indoctrinate a person in a dogmatic belief system is when they are very young. Consider also that religious schools in some parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan are indoctrinating grammar school age kids to hate the modern western world and to become terrorists. So American kids chanting “assassinate Obama” on a school bus. No big deal? Maybe, maybe not.

  26. JAYoung says:

    I, too, would like to see a follow-up. Putting these kids in a room with a couple of big, mean looking Secret Service agents who read them the riot act about how it’s a federal crime to threaten the life of the president-elect would be nice. But they’re too busy chasing down the other threats, which rose in conjunction with Sarah Palin’s campaign rhetoric. Rexburg’s community leaders could give them a talking to, but they’re the ones who put these words in their children’s mouths to begin with. What bothers me most is that these were public school kids. The home schoolers were probably out at target practice.

  27. Jill Kuraitis says:

    Ann, We write about this incident because it is news. It is not news when kids say stupid things like “my brother is a wombat.”

    The point is not that the kids might assasinate someone. The point is that they are clearly living in an atmosphere that led to the chanting. They got it somewhere, and whether that is at home, in the media, or at someone else’s home, the origins of that kind of thing should be tracked down and dealt with. The best institution to do that would be, in my opinion, their families. But if the family is the source of the kids’ chanting, then their church would be good.

    The national acceptance of “kids say the darndest things” as an explanation is a kind of denial that lets these sort of attitudes grow. It’s important that we start early with children, letting them know about respect for their president and for all people, and letting them know that any talk of violence, no matter how small, is completely off limits, unacceptable, and, when they are old enough to understand morality, immoral.

  28. jedediah Redman says:

    The home schoolers were probably out at target practice. Now we can worry about whose picture is posted on the targets being used by those inbred homeschoolers…

  29. Jay says:

    Interesting to see that the Rexburg newspaper (Rexburg Standard Journal) doesn’t mention this incident at all. Is this type of disturbing behavior so commonplace there that it doesn’t merit a mention??

  30. Ann says:

    Or maybe it wasn’t quite what was intentionally thought, and they found the complaint invalid?

  31. Jay says:

    Or maybe it wasn’t quite what was intentionally thought, and they found the complaint invalid?

    If that’s the case, why isn’t the Rexburg newspaper posting that finding on their front page and clearing their town’s good name?

  32. Ann says:

    Well, I don’t know why don’t you ask THEM? I don’t live in Idaho, let alone Rexburg.

  33. jedediah Redman says:

    I doubt the Standard Journal prints many articles about the Mountain Massacre either.
    It is called circling the wagons…

  34. bearbait says:

    And this has devolved to liberal petty whining. As usual. The urban-rural split is a chasm, and the smarty pants liberals are in a committee hearing seeking answers as to which little kid to sue, how to boycott Rexburg and which NGO should sponsor the lead law firm. Meanwhile, no drive-by shootings in Rexburg. No city sponsored homeless camps. No pedophile half-way houses. Who would ever want to live there?

  35. jedediah Redman says:

    Your kind of America, eh, barebate..?

  36. EastIdaho says:

    It’s sad and funny to read the intolerant generalizations above which stem from a furor over the percieved intolerance of a certain region of the country…

    Too bad the public school employees and board members are too scared for their jobs to give the kids what they deserve – a stern scolding from a concerned adult – and leave it at that.

  37. jedediah Redman says:

    Wasn’t that also the recommendation from some rightwingcrazy about what should be done to cure kids of autism?

  38. bearbait says:

    Redman: Read some of Dr. Temple Grandin’s books.

  39. jedediah Redman says:

    You’re endorsing cattle kill pens for autistic kids, barebate..?

  40. T Young says:

    I live in Rexburg and the Rexburg Standard Journal, which I get everyday that it is printed, did run the story on the front page. People freaked out. We’ve had more letters about it than the campaign, almost. It is a serious concern and the parents have taken it seriously. People outside of Rexburg just see one point of view. We take teaching our children tolerance and open mindedness very seriously but we aren’t going to punish innocent children. Just teach them correctly.

    As for the person who lives in Rexburg bringing in the “new agenda” – get real and relax or just move. No one is making you live here. Talk about hate speech (against a church you are not even affiliated with). That’s like living next to Notre Dame and ranting on about how many Catholics there are. They have lived there longer than me and they are great people. We just believe differently. So if I didn’t like it, I would move or keep my mouth shut.

  41. jedediah Redman says:

    Great–very conservative and very regimented–people who insist that every peg fit snugly into a very round hole…

  42. T Young says:

    What does that mean? What’s wrong with regimented people? The army’s saving your a$$, as we speak, cutie.

  43. Ann says:

    T Young Good for you!
    Sometimes people need to look in their own yard and quit worrying about some one else’s.

  44. jedediah Redman says:

    “What does that mean? What’s wrong with regimented people? The army’s saving your a$$, as we speak, cutie.”

    From what, Herr Jung..?

  45. Rexburg to Stay says:

    Response to T Young:

    You’re telling me to leave Rexburg?

    No, this is AMERICA, not the Mormon Kingdom. And who says that I have no affiliation with Mormonism?

    The Mormon Church is run by frauds, people posing as prophets who couldn’t tell the difference between success and failure.

    I’m a conservative, and I used to be LDS, but I left because the whole thing doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

    If you want a religious kingdom, T YOUNG, then just go move to Bountiful, UTAH where 50% of the upper church leaders have multi-million dollar homes paid for by YOUR tithings. This is MY IDAHO. This is MY AMERICA.

  46. REXBURG DEFENDS ASSASSINATION COMMENTS says:

    LOOK AT THIS. THE CITY OF REXBURG ACTUALLY DEFENDED THE COMMENTS BY THESE BOYS ON THE BUS:

    “THESE ARE GREAT YOUNG MEN WHO SAID SOMETHING FOOLISH…”

    ARE THEY SERIOUSLY PRAISING THESE KIDS FOR SAYING THESE THINGS??

    ————————————-
    After a week of national attention Madison School District is a little tired of the uproar caused by the ‘assassinate Obama’ chanting incident. This all started after three boys chanted the hateful words on their school bus last week.

    After the story was picked up by national media Local News 8 received many e-mails from people worried about what the public perceives as acts of racism in Rexburg.

    Monday Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas said the incident boiled down to nothing more than three 9-year-old boys on a school bus using rhetoric they simply did not understand.

    At least one other student heard the chants, but Superintendent Thomas said he has talked to many more who had no idea what was going on and maintain they did not hear a thing.

    After the incident the school district sent out an e-mail asking teachers to do what they can to stop this kind of talk. The district said there have been no other instances.

    Superintendent Thomas said the boys involved are actually good students who just made a bad decision that day.

    “These are great young men that said something foolish,” said Thomas. “I would imagine all of us made comments that we ended up regretting when we were between the ages of 3 and 18. I’m not trying to undermine the significance of what happened, but we have to remember they’re 9-years-old.”

    Thomas also said he spoke with the boys parents, and does not believe they picked up the talk at home, he believes it probably can from watching T.V.

  47. mr.g says:

    did the superintendent of the madison county school district misspeak??
    ——————————————————-
    from 11/17/08

    Did Geoffrey Thomas misspeak by actually praising the kids on the Madison County school bus whose chants made national headlines?

    In Geoffrey’s own words: “These are great young men that said something foolish. I would imagine all of us made comments that we ended up regretting when we were between the ages of 3 and 18.”

    This seems to be some kind of a defense of the actions of these kids. Why can’t someone from the city simply apologize for the kids so that liberal bloggers on the internet can move on from gossiping about Rexburg? In my opinion, the school district and these children need to be accountable for what they chanted. Only some children make comments that they end up regretting…most of us never chanted things like these kids did, and the kids who chanted in Rexburg need to be taught better by their school teachers and administrators.

    Is the Madison County School District willing to educate its children through new lesson plans and talks about having respect for other human beings? Is the school district willing to modify its curriculum to a stance of racial inclusion and respect for differences? The chants on the school bus were racially motivated and dangerous. It doesn’t matter what age these kids were: This is a national controversy that Rexburg leadership should address in the national media. America’s “family community” needs a different approach to educating its children.

  48. Tom von Alten says:

    Enough has been said about the incident (after you read what Jerry Brady wrote, anyway) itself, but there is a fascinating subtext involving maturity.

    I’m sorry, but 9 year old males are not “young men.” They are boys. And as bearbait points out, they do not have the same capacity as adults for any manner of things. Whether or not “hate” is among those, I don’t know. Little boys can be hateful and do hateful things, as bear bait and I both know, having each been one. And I don’t feel qualified to speak about “hate” as an emotion since I don’t really experience it myself. I know annoyance, irritation, anger, revulsion, disgust, and so on, but not so much hate. Lucky me.

    As a society, we have shown an increasing desire to ignore the issue of emotional maturity if we find an act loathsome enough. What’s the lower limit for “tried as an adult”? There’s current news of an 8-year-old in the dock for premeditated murder.

    You might find you’re on the same side as the liberal petty whiners on this one, BB, none of whom that I’ve seen have said anything about prosecuting the victims in this case.

  49. T Young says:

    We don’t want a religious kingdom (at least I don’t) but we would like to live in peace without people coming into a highly populated Mormon area and complaining about all the dang Mormon’s. It’s ridiculous. I am just saying I think you would be much happier somewhere else. You can stay but you might want to be careful what you say about others because it can be misconstrued as hate speech and intolerance and who knows that some kid may hear you and start saying horrible things about Mormon’s and all hell breaks loose.

    Frauds, we are not, just different than you. Can you live with that?

  50. mr.g says:

    T YOUNG:

    You are misunderstanding what I’m saying here. I love Mormons, but the Church is false. I am not complaining about Mormons. If you want to find people who complain about Mormons, I’m sure that there are plenty of people on the internet who would oblige.

    Let me say this: I believe in the Book of Mormon, and I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I also know from personal experience that the people who remain in the Mormon Church as members are not the most original thinkers. Indeed, those people have been excommunicated and barred from attending church, because they feel that the Mormon Church has gone way over the top enforcing imaginary rules and standards as if they were Scripture.

    I never said that Rexburg had a problem with Mormons, I said that Rexburg has a problem with intolerance, and that should be corrected. I choose to do my part by praying about the matter and by commenting anonymously on forums such as this one.

    What you don’t acknowledge by your statements on this forum is that I am a Mormon. Just because I don’t agree with your take on the Church doesn’t make me “contentious, false, intolerant, a liar, hateful” or any other little gossipy terms you might come up with.

    I have no problem with the Mormon membership: The people of Rexburg are awesome, and they can do whatever they want to do within state and federal law. That’s what it means to live in America. If you don’t like it, then I’m sure there are other countries for you to go live in. You don’t HAVE to be here in eastern Idaho. You might choose to be here, because you think that the people around you are all of the same accord. I assure you that they are not.

    And as far as a progressive agenda needing to come into Rexburg, I want you to know that I am a conservative. I am opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe that homosexuality is a sin. And I believe that God’s truth reigns supreme, not yours, not mine and not the misdirected and YES fraudulent claims of the current Mormon Church.

    Many people think that God doesn’t hold people responsible for what they don’t know. If people like would take a closer examination at financial dealings of the Mormon Church and where membership tithings have gone over the past 15 years, you would like be torn between leaving the Church and staying.

    As for me, I am a Mormon, and I will always be one. But there are, in my opinion, three main types of Mormons: Those who call themselves FLDS, those who believe in the core teachings of the Church but find fault in its leadership and those who simply follow the Mormon Church no matter what. I understand that you fall into the category that feels the Mormon Church can do no harm and that it is beyond criticism because it is led by prophets.

    But, what if it isn’t led by prophets? That’s not something that I can prove to you. You should pray about that. And then what do you do? If the Church isn’t led by prophets, that does not negate the fact that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true. But if the Church is led by frauds posing as prophets, then all I need to do is just watch this whole scam unravel while people like you defend the Church and all its actions, no matter what.

    Quite honestly, God wants obedience to God, not to a Church.

  51. mr.g says:

    THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT WAS ISSUED BY THE MAYOR’S OFFICE IN REXBURG REGARDING THE BUS INCIDENT:

    This editorial has been sent to the Upper Valley Standard Journal and the Post Register:

    I am saddened by the notoriety that has recently come to our community because of a reported school bus incident which has received national press coverage, where children repeated hateful remarks concerning President-Elect Barack Obama. Since this incident occurred, I have received numerous e-mails from individuals around the country associating our community with hate and intolerance. I am extremely sorry that this incident occurred, and I do not believe that it reflects the values which make our community a great place to live and raise a family. Having said this, I also recognize that Madison County has had a reputation as Idaho’s and even America’s “reddest” county. This reputation and the conservative nature of our community should in no unequivocal terms be an excuse for hate and vile comments. Parents must realize that things said in anger or even in jest can have lasting repercussions not only damaging young hearts and minds, but a city’s reputation.

    One letter that I received from a gentleman in British Columbia had a quote by Jacqueline Kennedy which states, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” This reminds me also of a quote from the ninth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints David O. McKay which states “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” If we have in our community one home, one school, or one school bus where hate and intolerance is allowed to be spewed without a responsible adult correcting the behavior we are failing in our responsibilities.

    About three years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting where the keynote speaker was Senator Barack Obama. I was inspired as I sat and listened to Senator Obama. He talked about his faith and how his upbringing had influenced his policies and his priorities. I left the meeting with a conviction to do what I could at a local level to make government work for the people that I serve and to strive to be a better public servant. He will now be sworn in as the President of the United States of America and though we face tremendous challenges as a nation, I feel hope and optimism for America and in particular, the masses of individuals that participated in the election for the first time in their lives. It may sound trite, but I share President-Elect Obama’s view that we are not made up of red states and blue states, or for that matter red and blue counties or cities, we are the United States of America.

    Mayor Shawn Larsen

    12 North Center Street

    Rexburg, Idaho 83440

  52. jedediah Redman says:

    If nothing else the incident seems to have caused the conservative community to coalesce–to circle the wagons–against any kinds of criticism of their basically hateful benign neglect of wogs –and others living outside of the charmed circle established during Nixon’s 1968 Southern Strategy.

  53. mr.g says:

    liberals like you seem just as intolerant of conservatives.

    why is that??

    are you bitter??

  54. Tom von Alten says:

    Dear mr. g.

    Not sure who the “liberals like you” was pointed at, but please be advised that both using one person as a stereotype and connecting your personal stereotype with any one person are both narrow-minded behaviors and serve no beneficial purpose.

    Tolerance always has limits. Feel free to discuss what you think are the appropriate ones.

  55. mr.g says:

    give yourself over to a life of total non-violence, otherwise known as pacifism.

  56. Ann says:

    All the PERFECT Parent Posters. Either their kids have and will NEVER do anything wrong, or they don’t have any kids and have no clue how kids react, mimic, and don’t have to learn how to succeed, because they know there is a handout further down the road. Let’s NOT keep score. yada yada yada.

  57. marilyn smith says:

    I will be taking by vacation dollars and NOT spending them in Idaho this year.

  58. Dawn says:

    To Ann:

    The point isn’t that these kids did something wrong or that all kids do something wrong.

    The point is THEY HEARD IT AT HOME!!

    If the goal of the people of Idaho is to appear ignorant, racist and violent, then keep it up! If not, you have a PR problem. Your choice, we don’t really care.

  59. Ann says:

    To Dawn;
    YOU KNOW THAT FOR A FACT? You were in their homes and heard their parents say that to their kids? You could SWEAR to that in a court of law? If not then you can NOT tell me they learned it in their homes.
    Maybe they did maybe they didn’t. It isn’t up to me to raise someone’s kids. If they show me respect they get it back, they don’t , then they don’t.

  60. jedediah Redman says:

    Are there many states redder than benighted Idaho?
    All along the bible belt–and up and down the Rocky Mountains–are rednecks whose pride is centered in their anti-intellectual responses to almost everything.

  61. JC says:

    Rexburg: Founded by white & delightful law breaking Mormon Polygamists.

    Rexburg: Identified by the current Attorney Generals of Utah & Arizona as a haven for Mormon Fundamentalist Polygamist.

    Rexburg: Home of BYU-Idaho and professor Rick Davis who informed a national magazine “We don’t have blacks in this area to speak of. We’ve had them, and they’ve come and gone. Not to say they were driven out; they’ve just felt uncomfortable because there aren’t enough of them — like you and me moving to Montgomery, Alabama.”

    Rexburg: School children whose intellect is a product of their environment chanting “Assassinate Obama”, “Assassinate Obama”.

    Rexburg: Give the place to Utah. They deserve each other.

  62. disgusted with inhumanity to man/children says:

    One other thought – when I said things at school or with friends that were inappropriate I usually said them there because if my parents heard me say it, there would have been hell to pay. But maybe at 9 years old you all were perfect and it was just me who was naughty.

    If you think your children don’t say and do naughty things when you aren’t around – WAKE UP!

  63. bearbait says:

    No kidding. Kids are kids, and testing boundaries is who they are. But evidently liberal kids come with clean, scrubbed, pre-washed mouths, and poop into hermetically sealed solar degradable plastic bags, while parroting platitudes and good cheer…..while adults are watching or hearing. Kids cannot be watched 24/7, because it would be as disturbing as watching your congressman or local judge and you would not like what you saw, or the sausage being made. They are Salmon river jet sleds, that can be turned on a dime. Kids are more like super tankers, and they are only turned by hard effort, over great distance and the expenditure of precious time. They are little binary electro-chemical flash memories, and the more they use the same path, unwatched, the more that path becomes permanent. And if you think you can beat them out of bad behavior, you will find only that you have a beaten kid who will only beat others down the road. They need choices, and you have to provide them. You have to anticipate where the voyage must go to turn that super tanker or that kid.

  64. jedediah Redman says:

    If your talk at home indicates you approve of–or do not diapprove of–violent and racist behavior it is pretty likely your kids will behave as did those kids on that school bus.
    It is beginning to seem more and more likely that what Lincoln referred to as the great experiment will ultimately founder and fail on the rocks of ignorance, hatred and violence…

  65. bearbait says:

    Redman: you talking about Idaho, the U.S. or about any country in Africa or the middle east?

  66. disgusted... says:

    Bearbait, I like the way you talk. Makes sense and it reads well. Thanks for that. I love a response that makes you think.

    I am not conservative or liberal and there are good and bad people and ideas on both sides. I think it is safe to say that there are people on both sides and in the middle of the moral spectrum who would like to see the immaturity beaten out these children but they are either people who have no children and therefore know exactly how to raise children or they are people who overly control their own children and have NO idea what their kids are doing when they aren’t watching. I love the notion that “I have never been where you are so I know exactly how you should do things.”

    Redman, do you have children? I’d love to be a fly on the wall in their lives. Who are you saying approves of violent and racist behavior? So you know the parents of these children? Have you lived in their town? The assumptions you make are preposterous. Or maybe YOU are the parent of the boy who started it and you just don’t want to admit it cuz you can’t control your children 24/7??? But no, that couldn’t be you…you would never tolerate that kind of behavior in a child of yours. You’d just beat it out of him, right?

    You can berate those 3 little boys and their parents and their community and their religion all you want, it just shows intolerance, impatience and meanness on your part. It’s ironic that that is what you are spouting against and yet you spew if forth freely. Tip of the day: Buy a mirror.

  67. jedediah Redman says:

    You can try to paint me as the villain if you wish; I’ll stand by every post I have made. Children usually attend first to what their parents
    do or say and second to their peers.
    As for your inquiry, barebate:
    I am talking about [i]homo sapiens[/i]…

  68. Ann says:

    I guess I missed where the kids actually made this Racist. All I saw was they were chanting about assassinating an elected President. Where and when did they chant about the color of his skin?

  69. dsigusted says:

    I didn’t need to paint you a villain. You did just fine by yourself.

    The irony of this whole conversation is that you are mad at 9 year old kids for saying hateful things and that is exactly what you are doing. How old are you?

    Did all your parents teach you to do this? To be so angry and vengeful and mean spirited with people you don’t know? I hope not.

    Can’t we just let the parents and authorities decide what to do and quit casting the first stone and go ahead and start pulling that huge beam out of our own eye.