Don’t tell Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, but this week something amazing happened. A sitting president of the United States showed his respect for a legend of reggae music.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama visited the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, Jamaica.

Marley passed away 35 years ago, but not before becoming one of earth’s most venerated musicians. Seeing Mr. Obama pay tribute to Marley reinforces something we already know: Bob Marley was extraordinary.

This wouldn’t set well with Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood). You see, Bob Marley was a Rastafarian. In other words, he believed the Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, was the messiah. Nuxoll, as you probably remember, has already called Hinduism a false faith with false gods. I’ll bet you everything I’ve ever owned that she has the same opinion of Rastafarianism.

It’s hard to tell if her distrust of everything that isn’t her brand of Catholic is xenophobia or something more insidious. Unfortunately, it is also really expensive. On Thursday, Nuxoll testified against a bill that funds the state’s child support enforcement program, which brings $16 million to Idaho and creates 160 jobs. On Friday, that panel killed the bill, turning Idaho into a haven for dead-beat parents.

Why, pray tell, would Nuxoll do such a thing?

Sharia law.

Strike that: Ignorance and Sharia law.

The bill would have brought Idaho in compliance with a federal program that is tied to a multinational treaty on child support. Unfortunately, one of the treaty signers is Albania, which is 58-percent Muslim.

To normal people, none of that is very alarming. But to the extreme right, it warrants a rage-gasm. Nuxoll claimed that the bill will force the United States to buckle under the weight of the Albanian legal system. Sharia law, by extension, would take a crap on Thomas Jefferson’s grave.

Back in the real world, none of that is even remotely true. But it didn’t matter. To people like Nuxoll and Rep. Heather Scott (R-Blanchard) —  who claimed the bill would force U.S. agencies to “enforce judgements of foreign tribunals” — and nine members of the House Judiciary Committee, just the mention of different people makes them thirst for hater-aid.

It’s too bad. You miss out on a lot. I remember a warm night in Central America. The waves of the Caribbean lapped on shore just feet away from a small cantina topped with a tin roof and illuminated by a single florescent light. Men and women spoke Spanish over libations while Bob Marley’s music filled the cinder-block shanty with the energy of a million dreams. It’s one of my fondest memories.

Thank goodness I don’t see the world in terms of “people exactly like me” and “the unholy.”

Life has so much more to offer than bad haircuts and fear.


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