Saturday, April 11, 2009

Blog Against Theocracy 2009

Article VI. Clause 3 of the United States Constitution:
Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Article 11 of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, "signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796 and at Algiers (for a third-party witness) on January 3, 1797, finally receiving ratification from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by President John Adams on June 10, 1797":
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

It is a pity that one would even need to point out that the United States was founded as a secular nation, grounded in Enlightenment philosophy. Many of our founders were deists, a category of religion that few evangelicals would consider even "Christian." God is never mentioned in the Constitution and the creator referenced in the Declaration of Independence - yes, the one who created all men equal and endowed them with inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - bears no "distinguishing marks" of denomination. Notice that salvation and the pursuit of holiness are not mentioned there.

It is vital for the safety and security, not to mention the dignity and peace of mind, of all our citizens that they be allowed freedom of belief and practice.

Laws may be enacted restricting certain practices that impinge on the rights or well being of others (i.e., you may believe I am possessed of a demon but you may NOT beat me to death to expel it, thanks for caring).

The imposition of one religious group's beliefs on other groups is simply not to be tolerated (and should not even be contemplated, but this nation is full of wingnuts). You may believe that same-sex marriage is sinful but you may not deny my right to marriage. You may think that consumption of shellfish is trayf, but you may not deny my right to eat shrimp. You may think an uncovered woman's head is impious, and I defend your right to cover your head, but you may not force my sisters or nieces to cover their heads. You may think - and how could you, you pervert? - that the death of a raped 9-year-old girl is preferable to aborting the rapist's fetus within her, but you will just have to live with your "moral" abhorrence because that girl has a right to her life and body, dammit.

I don't want to see any set of religious beliefs or practices imposed on others. People fled to this continent to get away from that sort of spiritual tyranny. The last thing we need is to move in the direction of a society in which a religion, any religion, is privileged and has coercive influence.

Those who claim this is a Christian nation or was founded on Judaeo-Christian values are simply wrong. They may wish this were the case but it is historically false. Many of them are working very hard to re-write history and convince the masses that their version is true. They are very dangerous. We need to stand up to these falsehoods and to religious bullies who would foist them on us.

I was alive and in elementary school when they changed the Pledge of Allegiance to insert the words "under God." This means I remember when we did not say that and how difficult it was for third-graders to learn a new version. It was not always thus. And even as a child I was aware that this could raise troublesome questions. Which God? Whose God? It is really not a clear-cut statement at all unless you are so blinded by your assumptions that you cannot even imagine other possibilities.

I cherish my opportunities to believe and worship and serve as I feel called to do. I don't want anyone mucking around in my faith or my conscience and I don't want to do that to anyone else.

To those who do wish to muck around in my faith or conscience I would like to say a very clear and unambiguous, "Sod off!"

--Another American for separation of church and state


FranIAm said...

Amen my brother! Preach it dear BB!

Paul said...

Dear Fran, thanks for pointing me to this effort last year. We'll keep fightin'!

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Amen, Amen!

The meddling of State and Church as the meddling of Church and State harms both, Dr Martin Luther said - and he was right.

To the 2nd Reformation, the Calvinist however, this meddling/harm is at the core.

the word is ammen ;=)

Earthbound Spirit said...

Aw, Paul... tell us how you really feel! Great post.

Paul said...

Sorry I was so subtle, Earthbound. LOL