The Constitution’s framers were aware that if left to their own devices, the religiously inclined would impose their will on the young nation’s populace that inspired them to write into the founding document protections against a theocratic coup d’état. Although the religious right was given authority to interject the bible into laws and policies at the federal and state levels when Ronald Reagan opened the government to the moral majority, it was not until the campaign and subsequent election of Barack Obama that the religious right began exercising their considerable influence on the legislative process with their Republican facilitators passing laws respecting the establishment of the Christian religion. Subsequently, the judicial system is being overly burdened with challenges to the Constitution the religious right frames as “religious liberty” issues when in fact the religious right is violating the Constitution to abridge other Americans’ liberty to reject being forced to conform to a religion.
It is unclear why a preponderance of fundamentalist Christians and social conservatives are dumbfounded by the truth that America is not a Christian nation, or that all Americans are not bound by the faith’s edicts, but it is not new by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there are still six states in the Union that have laws on the books forbidding atheists from holding public office regardless the “no religious test clause” of Article VI that the Supreme Court addressed in a case, Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), and ruled unanimously against requiring belief in god as a qualification for any public office.
In writing for the Court, Justice Hugo Black recalled Everson v. Board of Education (1947) and wrote that, The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs.” And finally, “No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.“
Justice Black’s opinion for the unanimous decision set in stone, and continued the precedent, that the Constitution’s framers intended for the nation respecting religion. Regardless several High and Circuit Court rulings, the religious right and Republicans are violating the Constitution with every law and challenge seeking to ban contraception coverage in health plans, restrict abortion services, teach creationism, and ban same-sex marriages. It is true the several state laws and court challenges never cite the biblical foundation of religious laws or court challenges, but it cannot be argued that they are not purely religious in nature. Pro-life groups cite the personhood of zygotes, same-sex marriage opponents claim harm to opposite-sex marriages, and creationists cite academic inclusion as why their establishment of religion is legal. But they know their laws and court challenges would never get off the ground if they told the truth and cited their biblical origins or their intent to transform America into a Christian-dominated nation.
Whether Americans want to acknowledge, or are even aware, that there is a concerted movement to establish a Christian theocracy in America is a mystery, but for at least two decades the Dominionist movement has quietly and methodically infiltrated the highest levels of government with a view towards establishing a theocracy to control every aspect of society and the lives of all Americans. Dominionism is a movement among Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists that drives them to not only be active political participants in civic society, but to dominate the political process as part of a mandate from god that they derived from one bible verse in Genesis. It says in chapter one verse 26; “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” The majority of Christians see the text as god making mankind caretakers and stewards of the Earth, but religious right fundamentalists view it is as a biblical mandate to occupy and control all institutions in America until Jesus returns. Subsequently, they have convinced Americans it is a mortal sin to question the religious motivation of the preponderance of biblical laws and court challenges on religious grounds that would bring them to a screeching halt.
For some curious reason, politicians and judges at every level are mortified of challenging any law borne of the bible on grounds they are laws respecting the establishment of religion and therefore patently unconstitutional. It is true each and every one of the laws and court challenges can be argued successfully on grounds they violate provisions guaranteeing equal rights under the 14th Amendment, but the course of wisdom would dictate a quick resolution would be dismissing them as establishing the bible as the law of the land. The religious right has no compunction claiming imposing biblical law is inherently part of their religious liberty, and Republicans are at the forefront of defending what is solely an attempt to define religious liberty Christian extremists’ right to impose their religion on all Americans.
It is time for Americans who love the Constitution, freedom from religious domination, and the country the Founding Fathers established to resist the temptation to stay silent and challenge the biblical edicts for what they are; establishment of the Christian religion. This country’s Congress, military, intelligence community, public school system, and state legislatures have been infiltrated by Dominionists whose only goal is forcing every last person in America to adhere to their biblical edicts. Politicians know religious laws are unconstitutional, and even President Obama violated what Justice Black said was a Constitutional prohibition on “tax in any amount, large or small, to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.” The faith based initiatives the President continued from the Bush administration and his support for charter schools both use taxpayer dollars to support religious activities and institutions as well as teach religion in charter schools across the country.
The election of President Obama cemented the symbiotic relationship between the religious right and Republicans who took advantage of racists’ reaction to the first African American President that has produced a record number of purely religious laws in primarily southern Republican states. It is no coincidence that nearly every Republican in Congress joined the religious right chorus decrying the phony war on religious liberty and Christianity by a self-proclaimed Christian President, and although Republicans are pandering to the social conservative voting bloc, Christian fundamentalists are serious about a Christian theocracy dominating every man, woman, and child in America. Americans who value their freedoms, religious or otherwise, would do well to avoid the pitfalls of staying silent for fear of offending religious extremists because that silence has produced precisely what is plaguing this nation; a Dominionist movement intent on transforming America into a theocracy with no opposition because Americans are terrified of offending the very same people who are bound and determined to dominate them.
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.