OneNewsNow, a division of the American Family News Network, reports that Mat Staver, dean of Falwell’s Liberty University Law School and president of Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group, is taking a stand against the Constitution.
That’s not the language they would choose of course, but when somebody says that separation of church and state is not a constitutional principle, no other interpretation is possible.
Staver frames his argument as being against Americans United for Separation of Church and State, an organization he says is “one of the most dangerous organizations in America.”
Americans United (AU), founded in 1947, is “dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans.”
Staver’s problem (other than ignorance of the Constitution that is) is that AU has filed suit claiming (correctly) that “A Tennessee county’s preference for Christianity in its courthouse displays violates the U.S. Constitution.”
As AU relates,
[T]he Johnson County Commission’s decision to display the Ten Commandments and Christian literature in the courthouse lobby while refusing to display a local man’s posters about the historic role of church-state separation in American law.
The documents in question are titled “On the Legal Heritage of the Separation of Church and State” and “The Ten Commandments Are Not the Foundation of American Law.”
Despite the 100% veracity of both titles, Staver, who in 2009 accused AU of wanting to “erase” Christianity “from the planet” says,
“This is something that they are intent on doing across the country,” he explains. “They’re out to literally destroy America; they’re out to erase our religious heritage and religious symbols from every area of life.”
Of course, Staver’s religious heritage is not at risk. Nobody, including AU is working to erase Christianity. Nor is anyone working to destroy America except theocrats like Staver. Staver is defending an America that has never existed, an America of myth and fundamentalist wet dreams and people like him will not rest until they have destroyed the real America of the past two centuries, the America of the Constitution, and turned it into ancient Israel.
As AU’s complaint states,
“The Johnson County Commission is promoting religion through its displays,” observes the complaint. “In addition, the Commission refuses to allow alternative points of view to be heard. This is a twofold violation of the First Amendment.”
What is being supported are lies and fantasy:
The display itself claims that the Ten Commandments are the historical foundation of American law. Accompanying it is a pamphlet written by local clergy that contends U.S. law springs from biblical morality and insists that the United States was founded on Christian principles.
Obviously, none of this is true; it is nonsense. The Ten Commandments are not the historical foundation of American law. English common law is. And the United States was founded on the principles of the very secular European Enlightenment. There is not a shred of historical evidence to the contrary.
Staver claims, “This individual wants to put up false information, essentially saying that separation of church and state is required or part of the Constitution, which we know it’s not.”
But it is: it’s called the First Amendment.
Then again, Staver claims his organization defends religious liberties. By this he can only mean he defends the right of Christianity to ride roughshod over the rights of every non-Christian in the country and to legislate his own.
Staver says he will defend Johnson County free of charge and he is hoping they will fight the lawsuit.
I’m uncertain what evidence they could possibly present to support their view, and any true friend of the Constitution can only hope Staver gets his way with regards to fighting the AU lawsuit, as it will mark a certain defeat of the anti-American forces of fundamentalist theocracy.
Bring it on, Johnson County.
I would like to see him present evidence that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of American law or that biblical principles are the foundation of America. But Staver is famous for making claims for which he can offer no evidence. Previously, he filed a frivolous lawsuit against AU claiming that they are a “Democratic Party front group” – a suit that offered not a shred of evidence.
But of course, you can’t present what doesn’t exist and the sun will burn itself out before such evidence surfaces. Not that this is a problem that has been seen as a roadblock to the fundamentalists and their assault on the Constitution. In fact, ignorance of the Constitution seems to be a job requirement on the Religious Right as well as in the Republican Party and Tea Party,as people like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann and their pronouncements have repeatedly proven.