April 8, 2007

Blog Against Theocracy: The Constitution and Religion

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

I wish to blog on this but it is such a big subject, one I have been pondering for some while now, that I don't exactly know how to pare it down. Before thinking about a post I was musing about the nature of religion. In this country, for the most part, we think of religion as a belief system wherein folks pray and look up to some sort of super-hero, regardless of what they name that super-hero.

In some ways our forefathers saw it that way too, although not completely. The Deists, one suspects, were just avoiding being athiests much like agnostics do today. Most of their writings, because that is all we really have to go on after all, is reactive. They came here, for the most part, to escape religious oppression in the old country and so reacted to the way it was in their countries of origin. While they never deny the existence, importance, or truth of religion they deny it authority over civil matters.

Witness the Declaration of Independence which talks of the protection of divine providence, the unalienable rights that the creator endows and even refers to the supreme judge of the world. These are observations, flowery language stating observations about matters that were generally agreed on, but they do not in any way speak to the rights given to that same creator, providence, or judge in matters of the nation.

And that, my friends, is the crux of the issue we face today. We are facing fascists in government who seek to use religion and fear as a basis for imposing their will on others. They've gotten pretty good at it, too. They continue to bicker over settled case law. (I shall not wade through the interpretation of these matters, the court cases, the history of the Constitutional Law. Matthew Krell did a fine job of that over at Street Prophets.) Most important they sneak about in the dark shadows, subverting our democracy because they know perfectly well that the citizenry would not support their actions.

Dahlia Lithwick gives us a perfect example in today's Washington Post with details of Monica Goodling's history before she resigned from the Justice Department.

A 1995 graduate of Messiah College, an evangelical Christian school, and a 1999 graduate of Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School...

Here she is in 1997 fielding calls from reporters to the admissions office of Regent's School of Government. Asked whether non-Christians were admitted, she explained that "we admit all students without discrimination. We are a Christian institution; it is assumed that everyone in the classes are Christians." ...

Goodling is one of 150 graduates of Regent University who have served in this administration, as Regent's Web site proudly proclaims. Pretty impressive for a 29-year-old school...

Under Ashcroft, career lawyers were systematically fired or forced out and replaced by members of conservative or Christian groups or folks with no civil rights experience. In the five years after 2001, the Civil Rights Division brought no voting cases -- and only one employment case -- on behalf of an African American. Instead, the division took up the "civil rights" abuses of reverse discrimination -- claims of voter fraud or discrimination against Christians.

I clearly can't scare you enough here, but if you haven't done so please begin to pay attention to what this administration is really doing, to the many ways in which it is subverting the Constitution in favor of a theocracy. We are becoming Iran and Saudi Arabia. And we are doing it in the same way that Germany did it in the last century. If you think I am being alarmist, read Chris Hedges excellent book "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America." You will find it cogent and chilling.

And please, pay attention.


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Lisa McMann said...

Wow. It's great to read something on this topic that actually makes sense.