click to enlarge
State Rep. Susan Lynn takes issue with Jeff Woods' Pith post last week titled "Christian Right Backs 'Mark of the Beast' Bill in Legislature
, which featured quotes from this 2008 Scene story
. Pith offered Lynn the opportunity to respond to Woods' story. Here is her letter:
I do not very often comment on the work of journalists. However, I've been trying to call a journalist for a couple of days and I've been unable to locate him. I'd like to ask him why he has transferred his apparent obsession with the Mark of the Beast to me by mischaracterizing my position on legislation I am carrying that will protect the civil liberties of Tennesseans. The bill would prevent Tennesseans from being coerced or required by either the private sector or the government to have an RFID chip inserted into their body. Similar legislation passed the Georgia Senate last week, it is being voted upon in Virginia and it has already passed in several other states.
This bill was brought to me by Eagle Forum after a company that manufactures RFID chips began marketing the chips to employers, insurance companies, health-care providers and the government as a way to keep track of people. Certainly, some may think RFID technology is a very good idea but others are concerned that its use always be voluntary and free of coercion; in order to protect one's health, safety and personal liberty.
The RFID chips in question are about the size of a grain of rice. They carry an identification number that is detected when the part of the body inserted with the chip is scanned with a detector -- this number links to stored personal information. The only way to remove a chip from the body is through surgery. The RFID cannot act as a GPS type of device because it simply doesn't have enough power in its small battery. Major concerns are that the chips have been known to migrate in the body and to cause cancer.
When I first ran this bill two years ago, Mr. Woods called me and aggressively questioned me about whether this had to do with my personal Christian beliefs, and if I thought it was the "Mark of the Beast." I told Mr. Woods that it is possible that some people may, but I am running this bill because I believe it is a civil liberties issue. No one should be forced to have a microchip, and no one should be discriminated against just because they don't have an electronic chip under their skin." In this first article Mr. Woods noted that I was dismissive of any Mark of the Beast rhetoric stating "Lynn, who discusses the Mark of the Beast as nonchalantly as she would the state's bond rating..."
Now fast forward to last Wednesday when I again ran the bill in committee. The Mark of the Beast never came up, and most all committee members are in agreement with my civil liberties stand on the issue.
After the committee, Mr. Woods, apparently watching from somewhere, recycled his article from two years ago -- the one where he clearly indicates that I was dismissive about the Mark of the Beast. He used it to craft a new article. He did not bother to interview me to see if I had in any way changed my mind about whether this is a "Beast" issue, but in this new article he makes it sound as if I am running this legislation strictly because of personal beliefs over the Mark of the Beast by using selective quotes from his article from two years ago where he badgered me on the phone to say anything about what the Bible says about the Mark of the Beast. Obviously an article designed with an end in mind!
Mr. Woods' obsession with the "Beast" wouldn't bother me at all if he hadn't worked so hard to bring me into it. You see, his article went "viral" over the World Wide Web, and I am now nationally depicted as having some sort of odd obsession with the "Beast" -- an obsession that only Mr. Woods' seems have.
I think it would be appropriate for Mr. Woods to clarify his article and issue a correction.
Of course, after all this I may need to rethink my bill. After all, Mr. Woods has been so difficult to reach perhaps it would help all of us if I opted him and him alone out of the bill -- he doesn't seem to mind the idea of people being forced to receive an RFID chip in their bodies, and it may help everyone if we could make him a little easier to locate.
Rep. Susan Lynn
Chairman, Government Operations Committee
215 War Memorial Building
Nashville, TN 37243