Simplicity is the state of being simple and usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it; such as something easy to understand or explain is simple, as opposed to something complicated that is likely as difficult to explain as it is to understand. The Founding Fathers understood that the population of the country they founded was likely uneducated and ignorant leading them to make the First Amendment so easy to understand that a simpleton could grasp its meanings. Unfortunately, two-hundred and twenty-two years after the First Amendment was ratified, there is a large segment of the population that cannot fathom, much less acknowledge, the simple meaning of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof” which does not mean enforcing religion by statute, state amendment, or law.
Devising and passing laws that have as their only basis the Christian bible is not a new phenomenon, and for decades laws such as those banning sodomy were staples of every state in the Union’s legislatures despite they were laws “respecting an establishment of religion;” the Christian religion. The U.S. Supreme Court finally overturned sodomy laws on the basis of the right to privacy, but the cowards on the High Court never had the fortitude to strike down the “law respecting an establishment of religion” on First Amendment grounds. Likely because there is an unspoken unconstitutional law that bans citing the First Amendment’s prohibition against religious edicts as federal or state laws that no court is willing to violate. Unfortunately, there have been other laws like those banning abortions, contraception, and same-sex marriage that were eventually ruled unconstitutional on grounds they violate citizens’ 14th Amendment rights, but never on grounds they violated the First Amendment’s freedom from religious edicts disguised as state laws.
Late last week after a federal district court overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the 10th Circuit Appeals Court found, like the federal district court, that Utah’s biblical ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Republicans announced they would spend about $2 million of taxpayer money to hire outside counsel to defend the amendment “respecting an establishment of religion.” State Senator John Valentine (R- Mormon) said “We should be paying for the best and the brightest. This is a case that is not only a historic precedent, but it’s one that really goes to the core of what states’ rights is all about.” No, this is a case that goes to the core of what Mormons passing a “law respecting an establishment of religion” is all about despite the First Amendment which is exquisitely clear; it is a violation of Constitution that is, by the way, the law of the land.
The Utah Mormon case follows a trend among conservative Christians attempting to pass several “laws respecting an establishment of religion” regarding same-sex marriage, fetal personhood, as well as contraception and abortion coverage in private healthcare plans. A cursory glance at, say, the personhood movement’s mission statement reveals it is driven solely by religion where it states; “Personhood USA desires to glorify Jesus Christ in a way that creates a culture of life so that all innocent human lives are protected by love and by law.” The National Organization for Marriage opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions calling them “a direct threat to religious liberties” and that “civil union statutes are used to sue professionals who run their practices behind biblical laws banning same-sex marriage and civil unions.” The Hobby Lobby case going before the Supreme Court is founded on the owner’s religious belief that he has the biblical right to withhold contraception from his employee’s private healthcare plans.
The Utah Mormon’s case before the federal district court claimed same-sex marriage harmed opposite-sex marriages instead of having the courage to say same-sex marriage runs counter to the biblical amendment “respecting an establishment of religion.” Although the district and Circuit courts shot down the absurd argument gays marrying harmed opposite-sex marriages, a simpler ruling would have been the First Amendment bans Utah’s constitutional amendment “respecting an establishment of religion.” The courts cited the amendment’s violation of same-sex couples’ due process, equal protection, and anti-discrimination rights in the 14th Amendment, but why complicate a very simple premise; the Constitution bans laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”
It does not matter if they are laws banning or restricting abortion care, contraception coverage, civil unions, or same-sex marriages, the simple fact is they all have as their basis the Christian bible and regardless what evangelical extremists, Mormon governors, or fundamentalist Christians claim, the religious manual is not and never has been the law of the land or had any relevance to the United States Constitution. Still, courts have been loath to cite the obvious whether it was sodomy laws, bans on abortion, contraception coverage in prescription plans, or same-sex marriages; they were, and are, all biblical edicts masquerading as state laws “respecting an establishment of religion” and are patent violations of the U.S. Constitution.
If Christians want to live their lives according to the bible and not use contraception, eschew abortion, or not marry a person of the same sex, they have that Constitutional right. If they claim as followers of Christ (not that they are) their bible commands them to passionately hate people who use contraception, abortion services, or marry a person of the same sex, the Constitution protects their biblical right to hate. However, if they force the rest of the population to follow their biblical beliefs, either by employment contract or state laws, the Constitution strictly forbids it.
The Founding Fathers were very explicit and used a very simply-worded phrase forbidding Christians, Mormons, Catholics and their Republican facilitators from enacting amendments or making “laws respecting the establishment of religion.” It is absolutely an abomination that no district court, Circuit Court, or Supreme Court has struck down or cited the unconstitutionality of state or federal laws because they were religious edicts straight out of the Christian bible. The pathological dysfunction plaguing the justice system, Republicans, and various Christian fascists is that they cannot comprehend a very, very simple truth. America is not a Christian theocracy and the Founding Fathers made sure the bible is not the Constitution, and it is about dog-damned time the judicial system informs religious miscreants of the those very simple truths.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.