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The Coffin on Carnahan's Lawn Was Part of Prayer Vigil, Not Threat

11:25 AM, Mar 25, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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I read an account from the Politico last night of Tea Party protesters allegedly placing a coffin outside the St. Louis home of Rep. Russ Carnahan.

It occured to me, as it would to any honest person not interested in painting anti-Obamacare protesters as irretrievably violent, that the coffin in question was likely a prop in a political protest. The Left used countless flag-draped coffins for eight years to symbolize the war dead in protests. As recently as this week, the use of such coffins was reported as "Symbolic coffins mark anti-war protests in Washington." One would think if coffins qualify as threats, not political theater, the press would have been interested in the lawn full of death threats anti-war protesters delivered to the White House last weekend, according to this photo.


As it turns out, my hunch was right, and a Carnahan spokesperson admitted as much to a St. Louis publication.

Communications Director Sara Howard said about a dozen people brought the coffin to Carnahan's private St. Louis residence. After holding a vigil they took the coffin away.

The coffin is one of a list of incidents and threats made toward Democratic lawmakers in the days since the health care bill was approved.

If it was part of a "vigil," it was not a threat. Local TV station KDSK was honest and diligent enough not to report mere complaints from Carnahan's office. Instead, the station produced this report, featuring First Things blogger and activist Jim Hoft who was on hand for the peaceful prayer vigil:

As Hoft explains, the coffin was a symbol of those who would suffer and die under new health-care legislation. In the eyes of Obamacare critics, the casket was a symbol for the unborn and the elderly who may be subject to care rationing in the future.

The Politico report has since been changed to include the fact that the coffin was part of a prayer vigil, but last night, this is what it said:

A coffin was placed on a Missouri Democrat’s lawn, another in a string of incidents against lawmakers after their vote Sunday on a health care overhaul.

Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) had a coffin placed “near his home,” a spokesman said Wednesday evening.

“Carnahan appreciates thoughtful feedback received both in favor and opposition of health insurance reform,” Carnahan spokesman Jim Hubbard told POLITICO Wednesday evening “We can disagree on important issues facing our country without resorting to this kind of thing. Russ Carnahan isn’t going to shy away from the importance of reform when 45,000 fellow Americans died last year due to a lack of health insurance.”

The Carnahans and Carnahan spokespeople also told reporters the coffin was left on their lawn. Hoft, who was part of the demonstration, says this is not true. He says the coffin is now in a garage, and was taken away by protesters after their Sunday vigil.

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