Projecting the wrong message



Apparently non-profit groups may now pay a fee and have a message projected on the RI statehouse. Sometime back in June or July the words “Bishop Tobin does not speak for Rhode Island” were projected on the Rhode Island Statehouse. Besides the silliness of that statement (when did the Bishop ever claim to speak for Rhode Island?), the question of message appropriateness gets raised. We are not talking about what a person puts on a placard or says in a speech at the statehouse but using the building itself as a sort of billboard. I don’t know exactly what the policy should be but do we really want to have the statehouse open to such messages as “Rabbi so and so doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to guns!” or “the Reverend Smith should mind his own business when it comes to the minimum wage!?”

Back in April of 2018, a local news outlet reported that “Asset Management [part of the R.I. Department of Administration] is also finalizing new policies for the lightings that will, among other things, set guidelines for which causes are appropriate for a State House display.” In early July, I requested a copy of the policy and was told that it was being reviewed. I waited about two weeks and then asked politely if I could be given a sense of when the policy would be completed. I was told that there was no timetable. It will be interesting to see what the policy is when it is made public.

William P. McKenna, Cranston