An Outrage Beyond All Others: The Use Of Religion to Assault Democracy

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There is a fairly well-know idiom, “give someone an inch and they’ll take a mile” that describes a person or group who has been given a small amount of power or freedom to do something, and then attempts to seize a lot more, or unlimited, power. That sense of entitlement is often the result of giving preferential treatment to a person or group over and above that of everyone else, and it is likely why the Founding Fathers did not single out any group as having supremacy or special rights over any other. It is true the Founders gave preferential treatment to white male landowners, but the Ninth Amendment provided a means for future lawmakers to give equal footing to the entire population. Where the Founders did not give preferential treatment or privileges was for religious adherents, and they included the Establishment Clause to ensure that future generations would never face the threat of religious imposition due to preferential treatment from the government.

Within 24 hours of the Hobby Lobby ruling, there were two statements from Christian fundamentalists that demonstrate exactly what happens when a group has been given a small amount of power or freedom and then attempts to gain much more. The first statement, “My religion trumps your right to (fill in the blank) is precisely why the Founders included the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause the High Court’s conservatives’ Hobby Lobby ruling demolished according to constitutional scholars and lawyers. The second statement was in a letter to the President within 24 hours of the ruling warning him he better start “giving deference to the Christian prerogative” that is also a direct result of the conservative Court neutering the Establishment Clause. However, the idea of government “deference to the Christian prerogative” began long before Hobby Lobby, and it is the result of giving the religious right an inch that inspired them to take a mile.

There is not one specific instance of deference to the Christian prerogative that is bringing Americans closer to a theocracy, but rather, a combination of government actions that not only violated the Establishment Clause, they gave the religious right freedoms and power over and above that of every other American. Now, the American people are beginning to realize the danger, and folly, of “government deference to the Christian prerogative” that began in earnest when the B-movie actor Ronald Reagan gave the moral majority a voice in the direction of government. Because Reagan set the precedent, every President since then keeps religious advisors close to the White House.

George W. Bush’s “faith based initiatives” gave deference, and taxpayer dollars, to the Christian prerogative that President Obama continued and likely set the stage for the recent White House friendly faith leaders’ letter demanding the right to discriminate against the LGBT community and non-Christians in hiring practices. In fact, when the White House eliminated certain a Christian group’s access to “faith-based” taxpayer dollars over their continued discrimination against gays, they were apoplectic and the first signatories of the “deference to Christians” letter the day after Hobby Lobby.

Another monumental error, and sheer folly, was making “in god we trust” the Christian national motto in 1956 to replace E pluribus unum (one out of many). Whatever the reason for imposing an official government motto establishing religion on the nation, in 1962 when the Supreme Court ruled prayer in public school was unconstitutional according to the 1st Amendment, the Christian Right considered the ruling a violation of the Christian national motto. The conservative Court just re-established Constitutional sectarian prayer at public meetings out of deference for Christians’ prerogative, and because the religious right was given an inch, it is just a matter of time before they take a mile in the form of mandatory state-sanctioned public school prayers.

In 1995 the government gave deference to Christians to ignore any law (except taxes) in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and because it was not inclusive enough, the conservatives on the High Court expanded the special rights to include artificial legal entities (closely-held corporations) that inspired the letter to the President demanding more deference to Christian’s prerogative to discriminate by judicial fiat.

In states across America, Republicans are blatantly transferring taxpayer dollars for public schools into private religious schools, as well as teaching the bible as science with impunity. The federal government, and justice department, is giving deference to the Christian prerogative by not taking action against what was once regarded as a violation of the Establishment Clause and patently unconstitutional.

What should enrage all Americans with knowledge of this demand for deference to Christian prerogatives is the practice of providing churches and clergy with tax-exempt status. It is robbing Americans’ tax dollars that are sorely needed to support education, law enforcement, roads, fire protection, and providing for those in need. To make matters worse, and it is much worse, is the federal government’s deference in NOT stripping church’s tax exemption when they blatantly campaign from the pulpit. Every year evangelicals join the Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement and actively campaign for Republicans from the pulpit, videotape the campaign speeches, and send them to the Internal Revenue Service and dare them to revoke their tax-exempt status. The evangelicals do not even attempt to conceal their motive of taking the IRS all the way to the Supreme Court so the 5 conservatives will strike down the prohibition on tax-exempt churches using Hellfire and brimstone to guilt their congregants into voting for Republicans.

The greatest form of deference to the Christian prerogative is this unwillingness, whether it is driven by deference or cowardice, to cite the origin of the assault on democracy and several segments of the population. Oh, it is true Democrats and organizations such as Planned Parenthood decry the Republican war against women, and LGBT groups complain the assault on gays is homophobia, discrimination, and something about marriage equality, but they all defer to the to the Christian prerogative of never, never, ever citing the real source of attacks on other Americans; the Christian bible.

America has shown enough deference to the Christian prerogative that has given them inordinate freedom and power over other Americans and the government to the point they are now demanding the ultimate deference to Christians. It is damn high time to repeal the RFRA, strip tax exempt status from all churches with extreme prejudice, enforce anti-discrimination laws, and imprison governors and Republican legislatures for robbing tax dollars allotted for public schools to teach the bible in private Christian schools. While the Department of Justice is at it, they need to actively pursue, and prosecute, any and all public school personnel from teachers to superintendents to school boards promoting bible curriculum as science.

This country has incrementally drifted so far from the Founding Fathers’ and Constitution’s Framers’ original intent to maintain America as a secular nation, and it all began by giving deference to the Christian prerogative. This country was never intended to be a Christian nation, and yet the Supreme Court’s conservatives and Republicans in Congress and state legislatures are introducing, and in many cases enacting, laws founded on American bastardized Christian fundamentalism.

The religious right was not satisfied with a Christian national motto, religious liberty to flout any law, offices in Congress and the White House, taxpayer dollars for faith-based initiatives, or tax free status at the expense of the people, and after being given far too many inches, and deference to their prerogatives, they have the temerity to demand more. It is time for Americans to say enough, draw a line in the sand, and not give one inch more. Because now that the Christian Right is on a roll, they are not going to stop until they get the ultimate deference; constitutional freedom to impose a Christian theocracy on a secular representative democracy.

 

 

55 Replies to “An Outrage Beyond All Others: The Use Of Religion to Assault Democracy”

  1. Religion is used to assault every thing! It is ridiculous to use a fantasy to assault and attempt to ruin reality. Religion IS the problem for this worlds ailments and NOT the cure. We are NOT and NEVER have been a “Christian” nation!!! No if’s ands or buts!!!

  2. Thomas Paine, the Deist, said religions were formed to control a group of people to gain personal power and profit. Look around and see the truth.

  3. Religion must be banned. We must establish the Thought Police to control peoples thougts beliefs and ideas. Everyone must be loyal to the government or be sent to reeducation camps. Anyone who opposes the thougt police is a theocrat.

  4. The bigotry and self serving righteousness began and remains with their god’s First Commandment… “I am The Lord thy god. Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. With an intolerant god, how can we expect tolerance from them. This god was unsuccessful at sending a son to redeem his sociopathic lunacy. Christianity as invented by a Roman emperor… can you say pretty much a fail?

  5. From what I’ve seen this week, GOP and teas are the most unChristian people in this country. I think they all belong to the church of hypocracy/Manson family. Fox’s Huckabee is one of the biggest liars ever.

  6. Aren’t all theistic religions essentially theo-cratic? Thus, any system of democracy (whether representative or direct) is “anathema” to any system of theocracy.

    Just another reason to keep Church and State FOREVER SEPARATE.

  7. I love it when people take a scripture out of context. Failing to show the full import of what was being spoken about before & after said referenced text. For one, if an Almighty God (Yes, you use the capital letter there unlike when speaking of lesser gods.) created mankind and all that is in it, he’d have the right to tell those whom were created how to act the same way your parents has the right to tell you not to call anyone else your “mother or father” when they hadn’t birthed you. I don’t call that “intolerance” I call it demanding respect. Second, true Christianity (as it was followed by the Apostles & early first century followers of Christ) wasn’t created by a Roman Emperor. Christendom however was & that is the fusion between Christian & Pagan beliefs & practices. Shame that some feel the need to bash a particular faith & yet fail to understand it’s true roots or be able to see that there is just as much bad in those who aren’t…

  8. I think the Catholics on the SCOTUS should read JFK’s Sept. 1960 speech on his religion, where he states “the separation of church & state is absolute”.

  9. I like the idea that, when elected officials take office, they swear their oath on a copy of the Godless Constitution and not the Christian bible. This would be a reminder to everyone that the Godless Constitution is the law of the land, not Christian theology.

  10. If you knew the true roots you would be an atheist. You would understand how it is no different then any other religion in that it binds people together under the guise of power and control.

    Lesser gods? Really?

  11. As government expands, it has become impossible to satisfy both the free exercise and the establishment clauses of the first amendment. It wasn’t religion that changed: it always opposed contraception, had “in God we trust” as a motto, etc. As the government expanded, however, and started charging more taxes, providing more services, and gaining more control over people’s lives it has unavoidably clashed with pre-existing religious values. It’s not religion that is walking over government, it is the other way around.

    If you give government an inch, it will walk all over you.

  12. With the size of government today, that is impossible. As government expands in scope and power, it conflicts with pre-existing social institutions, including religion. For example, the Greens suddenly didn’t change their views on contraception when the ACA became law. The expansion of the government forced a conflict in which the government had to choose between violating either the establishment or the free exercise clause of the first amendment.

  13. Give the fundamentalist xtians anything and they will own you.

    You seem to forget that taxes right now are at an all time low.

    The government doesnt have to clash with religion, but religion is making sure it does. The evcidence is in Hobby Lobby providing all birth control until Obamacare came along. Then it had to clash to free up corporations from the legalities of providing services to whoever they want

  14. Oh yes the Greens did. They provided all contraception before the ACA

    Had nothing to do with government expansion. Where do you get that silly thing from?

  15. “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
    — Bertrand Russell

  16. The search for religious freedom was the reason many people have come to America. Perhaps America has never been explicitly Christian (although some states were), it has historically been explicitly religious. Allow me to quote the 4th verse of our national anthem to you:

    Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

    How about the Declaration of Independence? It refers to “Nature’s God” and our “Creator.”

  17. By “all time low” do you mean before Congress was allowed to impose income taxes? The 16th amendment, ratified in 1913, was what gave the government the authority to impose income taxes. Social Security and Medicare taxes didn’t exist until after the New Deal.

    Taxes were much lower before the large expansion of government. As it has expanded, it has made it much more difficult for the government to avoid violating the first amendment.

  18. No, I mean today.

    If you want to go back to 1776, then I implore you, find an uncharted Island a take a few slaves along

  19. Rigid, conservative Christianity has been a significant force in the US since the Pilgrims in 1620, but many of the founders (Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, Paine) were deists, who believe that a god created everything, but plays no part in daily affairs. They certainly did not believe in the divinity of Jesus.

  20. The Declaration of Independence refers to each mans creator, not “the” creator.

    ” that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator ”
    Natures god could mean Wiccan gods. Or Indian gods of nature. It does not refer to “a” god

  21. Frank Zappa said several years ago,

    “Tax the churches. Tax the property that belongs to churches.”

    I predict such an outcome if the American religious nutcases do not back way the hell off.

  22. Know how to google? Find out how the Beckett group went to Snobby Lobby and asked them to be the guinea pig in the lawsuit that the Koch money paid for. Are you seriously that ignorant?

  23. No, again E. Pluribus Unum was our motto even when they made the Wizard of Oz. Or have you ever watched it? Matter of fact E. Pluribus Unum is still on our money along with the new “in God we trust” motto.

  24. I am surrounded by Conservatives in my life and have been trying to figure all this out for about 7 years now. I am happy to see it spelled out so well in this article. I would add, Conservatism is not Christianity! They are a political party whose policies, principles, and agenda is based partly on religion and mostly on the anti-god earthly philosophy of Ayn Rand. That is the truth, check for yourself. Conservatives have had it both ways for 30 plus years. The American People are finally saying no more having it both ways. Conservatives keep people voting for them by pure deception and exploitation of God ‘s Word and every issue for that matter. Please stop assuming Conservatism and Christianity are the same- they aren’t! Stop Voting for Conservatives!!

  25. P.S. Conservatives cannot claim to be the party of God or the Christian party and at the same time defend actions and policies that are anything but Christian.
    But that is what they do and that is why people are flipping mad at them, it is hypocricy plain and simple.

  26. You mean back in the days when the U.S. population barely topped 5 million? Why do you think government (and by government, I mean you and your fellow 310 million citizens) expanded? Some whim of Congress? Some whim of Presidents? Would you prefer the days of dirt roads, horse and buggy, no communications systems, no railroads, no airplanes, no healthcare, no research, no public schools?
    IOW, haul yourself into the 21st century and be happy that you have a government that cares about all those things I mentioned that make life one heck of a lot easier for you. Your government isn’t some make-work project. It exists because you need it and you are a part of it, in that you live in a representative democracy and you pay taxes to support your fellow Americans.
    Or, if you don’t like it, find yourself some unoccupied island and live government-free.

  27. Dan, I don’t entirely disagree – but you can’t have it both ways. When poor people become a “nuisance”, our society expects the government to do something about it (as, sadly, too many churches spend far more time, energy and $$ on pulpit-building than community building) – but when the issue of taxes to pay for those services come up, or regulations and laws to govern those newly created entities, folks start yelling about too much government.

    You can’t expect the government to fulfill all the expanding demands of society without expending – and it’s not fair, either to absolve religion of all responsibility financially to this country, then let them freely work to criticize and control the very institution that grants them the freedom to do so.

  28. First off Dan, take the middle “m” out of Mormon and then you will be correct.AND your quoting of the national anthem is non-sequitur! And this nation was invaded by Puritans that had been kicked out of every country in Europe for THEIR intolerance of the people native born to the country or area. Then they came over here and slaughtered the native population after the Indians SAVED THEIR ASSES!! All in accordance with this God and religion you so naively support.FYI In GOD we Trust was added in 1954 by the McCarthy Cabal!

  29. As Frank Zappa’s twin I wholly endorse that sentiment. Seriously, as soon as my moustache reached full bloom at 19 and with my long dark hair I have been called Frank Zappa,I even had a soul patch from time to time. I hold that as a compliment to this day.

  30. Actually, it wasn’t his ‘son’ it was part of himself. Because he’s such a prick that only he is great enough to save his ‘creations’ from his own wrath.

  31. I fear it is too late to stop this take over of our government. I have always felt the government should be big enough to care for the citizens and the infrastructure. If the government was large, it could hire more people and become sort of a coop. If the government took care of the basic needs, people could be free to pursue happiness. And yes, churches/religious organizations should pay taxes on their property at the very least. But as I said, I think that bird has flown.

  32. The ACA does not mandate that anyone use contraceptives. It does not mandate that employers pay extrafor a rider on an insurace policy to provide coverage for birth control.
    They don’t get a lower premium by not cvering birth control.
    All they get is the satisfaction that they have imposed their beliefs on another…something Jesus was very much against.
    If you want to see the US fracture like an egg because of religious frictions, like Iraq…or have your freedoms taken away by religious extremists, like in Iran and Afghanistan, then keep going down this road.
    But if you want your faith respected by those who do not share in it and recognize their right to their own beliefs then step up and say that you are a good Christian who would not like to see the inquisitions repeated.
    And that you are intelligent enough to realize that today’s religious majority can easily be tomorrow’s religious minority in need of protection.

  33. “I do what I do without hope of reward or fear of punishment
    I do not require heaven or hell to bribe or scare me into acting decently.” Mary Doria Russell

  34. I agree with all of the above, but you get to get your facts straight. Clergy pay taxes…a whole f%#$ing lot of them. You do the cause no good when you don’t have your shit together. Do the damn research!!

  35. I´m a reborn Christian and I do not want a theocracy ! Especially in the U.S. ! First off you see how greedy these t.v. preachers are . Can you imagine how horrible it would be if these “On-Air false prophets” had any more power over the IDIOTS that follow them BLINDLY . Even Christian apologetics are shocked at how twisted the word of GOD has become in their hands ,!!

  36. One of the many type of laws derived in politics, includes religious influenced laws. Most of the humanitarian laws of most Western Democracies, were inadvertently, influenced by the New Testament, of the Christian Bible, specifically, from the Beautitudes.

    What is quite frustrating, as noted with the repeal of the then American national motto of, “E pluribus unum” Latin for ‘one of many’, (which would have been more appropriate in describing American pluralist society to a tee), with “In God We Trust”, in 1956, would’ve signalled the end of any hope of separating secularism from religion within American society.

    What then needs to be balanced by the democratic political forces within American society is wherein does the pendulum swing in favour of religion within American politics? When, in actuality, a Neo-Conservative government steps into power, religion wins, the pendulum swings back to the centre when liberal centrist governments(Democrats) dominate Congress and The….

  37. In light of the Hobby Lobby decision, are we going to have to re-assert our natural rights against the injustice of an imperial Court?

    SCOTUS has imposed divine rights over our minds and will—targeting primarily women. Who will be next?

    Does the Court not know that the intent of our founders was that laws of the federal government are to be extended to individual citizens of America–not corporations? (Federalist Papers 15 and 23)

    “Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law. The alliance between church and state in England, has ever made their judges accomplices in the frauds of the clergy.” Thomas Jefferson, Essays 1764.

    Has the Court overreached its authority? Does not the First Amendment prohibit the Court from imposing ecclesiastical law, Roman Catholic canon law (RCCL), on individual citizens, elevating RCCL to a status higher than the authority the Constitution allows? Is this not an impeachable offense?

  38. We can not let voter apathy control the next mid terms that are coming fast…. Help someone that needs a ride to the polling stations this coming mid terms! Vote and bury the Tea Party/GOP/Religious Right!!

  39. The Declaration of Independence is a historical document — it has no legal standing under the Constitution.

  40. Sure, Dan, taxes were lower then. They were also lower before we had a federal interstate highway system, a standing military force, air traffic controllers, and a mechanism to ensure food and drug safety, among a zillion other things. Should we roll those back as well?

    All of the things you cite were products of the representative government put into place by the nation’s founders. The founders’ objections were never to taxes, per se, but were rather to being taxed without having any say, through their elected representatives, in the enactment of those taxes.

  41. I’ve been a fiscal conservative but with social liberal overtones . Lately , with the outrageous religious movement in government , I’ve decided not to vote Republican regardless of many reasons not to vote Democratic . I just can’t find a place to side with anyone that can not think for themself . To believe in a myth , is a flaw in character . Not being able reason , because of the fear of what a mythical god demands , shows me that they have not overcome their childhood upbringing and religious brainwashing .

  42. To group all Christians with the blasphemous lot that sit in political office and spew filth from their pulpits is downright insulting. If Jesus were alive today he would be the nightmare of the both “pious” Republicans and many of those who claim to be Christian.

    “Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers, and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (Matthew 6:5); but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion, or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless, community-organizing, anti-slut-shaming, Middle Eastern Jew.” — Mr. John Fugelsang.

    It isn’t the faith that is wrong; it is those who abuse their power! Be outraged at the charlatans on the pulpit, and the hypocrites in public office, but don’t be l…

  43. If you can’t tell the players without a program, please go find one.
    Equating Christianity and the quasi-religious right is like picking the most obnoxious fans at a Yankees’ game and then saying “see, this is how all baseball fans everywhere act.”
    I have a belief in God. If you don’t, I may try to persuade you, but I have no interest in forcing you.
    In exchange, I’d ask you to kindly refrain from denigrating my beliefs.
    When I die, I will have spent a significant portion of my life feeding the homeless, comforting the sick and elderly, and helping people get their lives back together after disasters.
    Perhaps you consider that a waste of a life because I do it in the name of God, in concert with others who believe as I do.
    If my beliefs are right, then perhaps I’ll live on in some form and not be eternally separated from God’s love.
    If I’m wrong, I guess it won’t really matter because I’ll just be dead and won’t be thinking anything at all.
    Either way, I’m not…

  44. I would try reading the article again. It refers to “christian” fundamentalists. If that’s you, accept your guilt. If not, you should be outraged as well.

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