At this nation’s founding, Thomas Jefferson was very specific that the reason for the Establishment Clause in the 1st Amendment was to prevent Christians from exerting their will on the young nation’s government, and to the Founding Fathers’ credit, their insistence on a secular government served this nation’s people well for 227 years. Over the past thirty years, since Republican demigod Ronald Reagan aligned himself with a Christian movement known as Dominionism and gave them the keys to government, the religious right plotted to impose theocracy on the people by demolishing the Constitution. Yesterday, Dominionists on the Supreme Court all but eliminated the last vestige of the Separation and Establishment Clause and setup Christianity as a government institution the five conservatives on the Court justified as “tradition.” The only tradition remotely related to the High Court’s ruling was eradicating the tradition of America with a secular government set out by the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers, and created the opening Christian Dominionists cheered as they prepare for their impending Christian government.
When Americans in the near future look back and wonder how, why, and when their democracy was lost to theocracy, and the Constitution replaced with the bible, they can look back at the Court’s ruling as a pivotal moment, not the deciding moment, in democracy’s demise but a very significant one all the same. The Court’s decision is another advancement of Dominionist theology that over the past five years took advantage of dirty racists’ hatred of Barack Obama to set about culminating a thirty-year crusade to establish a Christian nation. All the while, most on the left demurred and counseled those warning of government by religion to “find common ground and dialogue with the religious right and Dominionists” about how to move forward “together” to save America. There is no such thing as common ground with evangelical extremists or Dominionists, or any chance of saving America as a secular nation after the Supreme Court ruled in The Town of Greece v. Galloway. The Christian majority ruled that opening government meetings with blatantly sectarian (Christian) prayers is constitutional, and that separation between church and state is a myth.
Writing for the Supreme Court’s Christian majority, Anthony Kennedy said “since the framing of the Constitution, legislative prayer lends gravity to public business, reminds lawmakers to transcend petty differences in pursuit of a higher purpose, and expresses a common aspiration to a just and peaceful society.” Kennedy’s pathetic ignorance of the Separation Clause was evidenced by his opinion that there were “traditional ties between religion and government that date back to the nation’s earliest days,” regardless of the Founders’ intent there were never to be any ties between religion and government. Kennedy also abandoned earlier rulings that prayers at government meetings were to be nonsectarian saying, “to hold that invocations must be nonsectarian would force legislatures that ‘sponsor prayers’ to involve government in religious matters” to a far greater degree than the town’s current practice of scheduling exclusively Christian prayers in advance.
The case only went to the High Court because the Town of Greece started its public meetings with a prayer from “a chaplain of the month” who was always a Christian and used distinctly Christian sectarian language such as “the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross,” “your son Jesus Christ,” and “our lord and savior Jesus Christ” to note just a sampling of all prayers at public meetings. Justice Elena Kagan, in writing for the minority, said “No one can fairly read the prayers from Greece’s town meetings as anything other than explicitly Christian, constantly and exclusively so.” The Dominionist majority opinion said that is what makes the government meeting prayers so brilliantly constitutional; they are explicitly, constantly, and exclusively Christian as was Founders intent as an American tradition.
Kennedy also wrote that Christian prayers at government meetings “reflect the values long part of the nation’s heritage” putting the full force and weight of the nation’s highest court behind evangelical extremists’ assertions that America was founded, by design of the Constitution’s Framers, as a Christian nation governed by the Christian bible. It is highly probable that Kennedy subscribes to the David Barton revisionist history, and Republican evangelicals absurd assertion, that god founded America as a Christian nation at the precise moment he delivered his handwritten copy of the Constitution to the Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the rest of the secularists who founded this nation would take exception to Kennedy’s opinion for the Christian majority. A constitutional law professor at the University of California at Irvine, Erwin Chemerinsky, said that the ruling “allows cities to be more visibly aligned with a particular (Christian) religion than ever before,” and that the Dominionist ruling “is a significant further erosion of the wall separating church and state;” a separation evangelical extremists claim, and the Dominionist court just confirmed, is non-existent. Thomas Jefferson would vehemently disagree.
This Court’s gift to Dominionists and the religious right is another direct assault on the Founders’ intent that America is a secular nation and that government cannot give special privileges, or establish any sectarian religious belief. Just three days ago it was reported here that an Alabama Supreme Court Justice stated the First Amendment only applies to Christians, and the High Court is set to rule on whether “exercise of religion” is the death knell of the 14th Amendment. Last week at a Republican candidate forum to represent Iowa in the U.S. Senate, the event hosted by the Family Leader enlisted four candidates who declared their unwavering support for America ruled by biblical law, including confirming only prospective jurists who would rule according to biblical principles.
In states, primarily southern bible-belt states, Republicans blatantly flaunt the Establishment and Separation Clause by stealing money for public schools and giving it to private Christian schools. In many of the same states, bible creationism is taught as established science and science is castigated as an assault on religion and a liberal plot to indoctrinate students. Every year across America Christian preachers video-tape themselves campaigning for Republicans from the pulpit and send the tapes to the Internal Revenue Service daring them to revoke their tax-exempt status with the express purpose of going before the Dominionist Court to sanction the IRS for violating church religious liberty. All of the Christian Dominionists, and many are not evangelical extremists, have the same intent of enticing the government to challenge their actions in court so the Dominionist Supreme Court will rule taxpayer money for private religious instruction, teaching the bible as science, holding teacher-led Christian prayers, and campaigning from the pulpit is constitutional.
When will Dominionists and evangelical extremists stop their crusade to completely shred the Constitution and replace it with a bible? If one listens to the chorus on the left cheering the religious right’s demise and claiming America as a secular nation has never been safer, evangelical extremists and Dominionists pose no threat whatsoever even as a constitutional law professor said yesterday’s ruling “is a significant further erosion of the wall separating church and state.” But what does a constitutional law professor know that pie-in-the-sky liberals do not because they seek “common ground with religious right extremists and Dominionists” about how to save America. Too late.
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.