Americans keep hearing, and obviously errantly still believe, that the evangelical theocratic movement is on the decline in part due to last year’s Supreme Court marriage equality ruling. However, that is not true and, in fact, the Republican religious right is going forward with harsher laws giving evangelical fanatics religious authority to deny equality to an ever-increasing number of Americans.
The latest drive toward an iteration of Sharia Law for the cult of right-wing Christians panting for a theocracy is playing out in Kentucky. A new Kentucky bill, SB 180, titled “An Act Relating to the Protection of Rights,” creates a state-wide group of “protected activities” and “protected activity providers” to afford immunity from any federal or state laws. The laws intent is so “protected activity providers” (read Christian) can never be fined or charged with any crime for violating the Constitution, Court rulings, or federal laws. Seriously, this is likely the most expansive “permission to persecute” non-compliance the nation has yet experienced.
The Kentucky bill was created specifically to allow any Christian to refuse providing any kind of service to anyone, at any time, and any place if they simply “identify that person as offensive to their religious beliefs.” Now, if any reader thinks this horrid religious law is just about giving evangelicals the power of a state law to deny only gay Kentucky residents their civil and equal rights, they are mistaken. The religious law gives any evangelical racist or bigot the right to refuse services of any kind, including government and lifesaving medical services to “interracial, interfaith, atheistic, Muslim, divorced, or any other kind of person their “religion” disapproves; for evangelicals that is every and anyone who is not a white, heterosexual Christian Republican.
This dirty attempt at using religion to strip constitutionally protected civil and equal rights from non-compliant Americans is legend, and goes far beyond backwaters like Kentucky. In fact, to demonstrate just how twisted these Republican theocrats are, and how much they hate the U.S. Constitution, the Texas Attorney General was effusive over appointing another theocrat as his assistant. Ken Paxton is not impressed with his choice’s knowledge of Texas law or the Constitution, but because like Paxton he lacks even a fundamental comprehension of the law of the land or how it protects the civil rights of all Americans.
It is fairly well-known that if Texas’ evangelical Attorney General Ken Paxton could unilaterally eliminate the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, he would have done it years ago. Last summer to show solidarity with Kim Davis, and demonstrate his stark opposition to the 14th Amendment, preacher Paxton convinced Texas County clerks that it was their religious duty to discriminate against gay couples. He assured the faithful and bigoted clerks that they could violate the Constitution and Supreme Court with impunity and absolute confidence they were above the law. Paxton told the state’s religious clerks to violate gay people’s Constitutionally-protected civil and equal rights because the state of Texas was prepared deploy “numerous lawyers to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs.”
It was no surprise, then, that when it was necessary to appoint a new First Assistant Attorney General, Paxton chose a raging theocrat because he hates gays, opposes the U.S. Constitution and wants an American theocracy. Paxton’s choice, Jeff Mateer is a raging homophobe who used to work at a Christian legal organization formerly known as Liberty Institute. Liberty Institute is the evangelical legal defense group crusading to protect and embolden evangelicals pushing for an American theocracy.
To show how out-of-touch with reality and the law of the land he swore to defend and uphold, Mateer demonstrated to college students just how little he knows about the Constitution. He also revealed how intent he is on aiding the religious right to impose an evangelical theocracy on Americans. He told a group of students,
“I’ll hold up my hundred-dollar bill and say, ‘for the first student who can cite me the provision in the Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state, I’ll give this hundred dollar bill. It’s not there. The protections of the First Amendment protect us from government, not cause government to persecute us because of our religious beliefs.”
Only in a theocratic mind are the Constitution’s equal rights provisions anything close to allowing “the government to persecute Christians because of their religious beliefs.” On the subject of the Founding Fathers’ “Separation Clause,” it is prescient that a man swearing to uphold and defend the nation’s founding document lacks even a rudimentary comprehension of the “law of the land” and serves as Texas’ second ranking law enforcement official. Besides, there are plenty of documents proving the Constitution’s framers and Founders’ inclusion of the 1st Amendment’s religious clauses are there specifically as “a wall of separation;” something Mateer and his ilk would know if they could read the English language.
In fact, Constitution Framer, Founding Father, and fourth American President James Madison declared argued at the Constitutional Convention in 1789 that the purposes of the religious clauses in the 1st Amendment were to protect Americans’ civil rights. He said, “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship of another, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights be in any manner, or on any (religious) pretext, infringed.”
Madison’s intent was protecting the people from exactly what evangelical Republicans are attempting today; “abridging nonbelievers’ civil rights on account of evangelicals’ religious beliefs.” Remember, Madison, Washington, Adams, and particularly Jefferson knew of the potential danger posed by religious immigrants from Europe seeking a new nation to impose “their religion” as the government.
Paxton appointing Mateer caught the attention of the president of Texas Freedom Network, Kathy Miller, who stated what the evangelical cult is doing to tyrannize American citizens refusing to adhere to the Christian iteration of Sharia Law;
“Cynical politicians across the country are using ‘their religious freedom’ to allow businesses, individuals, and government officials to fire or deny equal rights and services to people who offend their religious beliefs. Allowing the use of religion as a weapon to harm others is a radical redefinition of the concept of religious liberty. Today that weapon is aimed at laws that protect gay and transgender people from discrimination. But Mr. Mateer’s arguments open the door to allow the use of religion to ignore virtually any law that everyone else must obey.”
Miller left out that religious tyrants like Texas’ Paxton, Mateer, and Kentucky Republicans use religion to persecute any American who refuses to worship according to evangelical Christianity or obey their twisted theocratic edicts; precisely what “the faithful Republicans” accuse radical Muslims terrorists in ISIS of doing. And, when the Courts and Constitution get in the way, evangelicals scream they are being persecuted for their faith; and no-one dares dispute their lies due to cowardice.
Many Americans were certain that over the past couple of years the theocratic movement to take over America had been dealt some fatal blows from the courts hewing to the Constitution. However, these religious fanatics are rabid wild beasts. Instead of following their own god’s admonition to obey the government authorities and laws of the land, they are Hell-bent on establishing a Taliban-like authority to punish any American unwillingly to conform to evangelicals’ concept of a faithful follower. And all the while, no politician is willing to defend the Constitution or the people on the grounds that the Founding Fathers’ idea of “religious freedom” was protecting the innocent people from religious fanatics.
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.