There is no doubt among any sane, semi-informed, or even minimally educated American that this country was founded as a secular nation and the Founding Fathers intended that religion, especially Christianity, had no place in government. In fact, according to an Episcopalian minister’s sermon in 1831; “Among all of our Presidents, from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion.” Still, Republicans and their evangelical base claim that America, as well as the Constitution, is founded on Christianity, and that the Founders intended the hateful religion to inform the laws of the land. This absurd assertion is regardless that with unanimous consent of the entire United States Senate, then-President and Founding Father John Adams stated emphatically that, “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”
Today, more so than at any time in the nation’s history, evangelical Republicans are on a crusade to base the nation’s laws on the Christian religion to discriminate against Americans who do not fall into the mold of a religious Republican. Every day it is becoming glaringly apparent that for evangelical Republicans the most important requirement for serving in government is being mendacious as well as an evangelical bigot. It really is inconsequential which Republican one listens to, or to which agenda they are addressing, they take lying profusely as Christian public servants nearly as seriously as their devotion to the Koch brothers and consider it as sacrosanct as adhering to their bible’s Ten Commandments; something Michigan Governor Rick Snyder lived up to this week.
Despite claiming that in no way does he support any iteration of an evangelical “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” (RFRA) for his devoted subjects and oppressed peasants alike, megalomaniac tyrant Snyder signed into Michigan law a three-bill religious package that can accurately be described as a sacred evangelical RFRA for taxpayer-funded Christian adoption agencies.
Rick Snyder, as much of a Christian theocrat as he is a tyrannical Koch acolyte, said that he signed the theocratic edict into law because “The state has made significant progress in finding more forever homes for Michigan kids in recent years and that it wouldn’t be possible without the public-private partnerships that facilitate the adoption process. We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup.” What Snyder omitted is that “we,” meaning Michigan evangelical Republicans and Christian fanatics, only want to ensure that children are adopted to loving families so long as “their makeup” does not include same-sex couples and likely Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Hindus, Buddhists or Heathens. Like every religious Republican RFRA, there is no mention of gays, races, or other religions to give evangelicals the greatest scope possible to discriminate against any group that fails to adhere closely to religious right beliefs. Obviously, in signing this bill, Snyder reveals that besides being a dirty, filthy lying Republican, he is a typically-bigoted fundamentalist Christian.
There is no possible way that either Snyder or evangelical Republican legislators are concerned with “finding more forever homes for Michigan kids” while signing a state-sponsored theocratic prohibition on gay couples, or African Americans, or Muslims adopting Michigan kids. As a typical Republican religious fanatic, Snyder also revealed his naked contempt for the U.S. Constitution because he signed into law a bill permitting government-funded adoption agencies to use religion to discriminate against gay, or “other,” couples that fail to conform to the agency’s religious beliefs. Regardless how anyone assesses yet another Republican theocratic law, imposing religious requirements on a taxpayer-funded agency is establishing religion and although not for long, it is still a gross violation of the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment.
It is not just the opinion of this column either. In stating the glaringly obvious, the preponderance of the new law’s critics say it amounts to government-sanctioned theocratic discrimination against gay couples and compared it to a previous religious edict in Indiana that had to be softened after a backlash from Americans who comprehend that this is still America and not Taliban-controlled Afghanistan; at least not yet. In fact, North Carolina evangelical Republicans did their best to hasten America’s lurch toward a Taliban-like theocracy with a sneak-attack vote to override a gubernatorial veto of another evangelical edict allowing biblical cover to violate the law, and the U.S. Constitution.
Early in the morning on Thursday last, with a limited number of legislators present because many, including some Republicans opposed to overriding Governor McCrory’s veto, were attending their children’s high-school graduations, a small number of legislators “present” succeeded in overriding an earlier gubernatorial veto of what is known as Senate Bill 2. Senate Bill 2 is now North Carolina law and it means that the state’s evangelical civil magistrates can now refuse to perform any lawful marriage, including same-sex marriages, if they complain that doing their government job violates their religion; or if they simply disapprove of the couple seeking to marry in a civil ceremony.
S.B. 2 started out like every other red state’s evangelical Religious Freedom Restoration Act that gives evangelicals expansive power to impose their religion on the public. After a substantial public outcry that was not unlike those against other theocratic laws in “family-value” conservative states, evangelical Republicans devised what they called a “compromise” to stop marriages that evangelicals hate by empowering religious magistrates to disregard their jobs according to their religious righteous indignation.
As noted by the executive director of Equality North Carolina, Christopher Sgro, the compromise “legislation is in some ways even worse than Indiana’s, because magistrates are taxpayer-funded government employees.” It is a fact that was not lost on many legislators, including some Republicans, who were unable to attend the stealth override vote by design of Republican bigots.
According to assembly woman Mary Price Harrison (D-Greensboro), “They gaveled us right to order, and they didn’t allow any time for debate.” North Carolina’s legislature can an override a veto with three-fifths of “present and voting” members; Thursday morning’s vote was 69-41, or 62.7 percent. SB2 had originally passed the assembly by 67-43, which was only 61 percent and failed to override the governor’s veto.
So evangelical Republicans waited until they knew a substantial number of legislators would not be present to enact a religious law; one allowing evangelical government employees to “recuse” themselves from doing the job North Carolina taxpayers are paying them to do as civil magistrates and perform lawful civil marriages. The law actually says, “Every magistrate has the right to ‘recuse from performing all lawful marriages’ based on sincerely held religious objection.” That means an evangelical magistrate can recuse from the law and refuse to perform same-sex, interracial, and inter-faith marriages even though that is precisely what North Carolina taxpayers are paying them to do.
It is beyond comprehension that in the 21st Century, after 218 years as a secular nation, Republicans are crusading, and having a measure of success in the states, to enact Christian theocracy as the law of the land. It is particularly egregious because Republicans are using “religious freedom” as the tool to impose their bastardized version of Christianity on the nation by legislative fiat; something the Founding Fathers sought to ensure would never plague the nation they intended to remain forever secular.
Sadly, until the people rise up, especially so-called “good Christians,” and put a stop to America’s thirty-year lurch toward a Taliban-like oppressive and tyrannical theocracy, Republicans will continue passing laws that force taxpayers to pay evangelical extremists to discriminate against other Americans based solely on one religion. It is something the Founding Fathers railed against but none more than James Madison who said, “What influence, in fact, have Christian establishments had on civil society? They have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny.” This week in Michigan and North Carolina the Christian establishment of evangelical Republicans took a giant step toward cementing political tyranny with two separate theocratic edicts under the guise of restoring religious freedom that no American would have ever thought was possible in a secular liberal democracy; particularly the nation’s Founders.