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2199Thomas Paine Day vote fails in Arkansas

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  • Greg Cannon
    Feb 11, 2007

      Thomas Paine Day vote fails in Arkansas

      By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press Writer Sun Feb 11,
      4:27 AM ET

      LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Thomas Paine may have helped
      inspire the American Revolution, but inspiring
      Arkansas lawmakers to commemorate a day in his honor
      is another matter.

      The proposal by Rep. Lindsley Smith, D-Fayetteville,
      to commemorate Jan. 29 as "Thomas Paine Day" failed in
      the state House of Representatives after a legislator
      questioned Paine's writings criticizing the Bible and

      The vote Thursday was 46-20 in favor of the measure,
      but 51 votes were needed to pass.

      Smith said before the vote that Arkansas would join
      nine other states that have established Thomas Paine
      Day. She said the day would not be considered a state
      holiday and would not require any additional costs.

      "I think if Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were
      standing here today, they would give you the same
      presentation about Thomas Paine," Smith said. "He
      needs to be remembered and he's not remembered."

      But Rep. Sid Rosenbaum, R-Little Rock, quizzed Smith
      about Paine and quoted passages from Paine's book,
      "The Age of Reason," which Rosenbaum criticized as

      "He did some good things for the nation, but the book
      that he wrote was anti-Christian and anti-Jewish,"
      Rosenbaum said. "I don't think we should be passing
      things out like this without at least debating it and
      letting people in the House know what we're voting

      Rep. Chris Thyer, D-Jonesboro, said he will ask the
      House to reconsider its vote. Smith said she was
      hopeful the measure would pass later.

      "I was surprised," Smith said. "He's seen by those we
      respect most as a person who should be respected and honored."
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