*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
It is no exaggeration whatsoever to say there isn’t much about the U.S. Constitution Republicans respect or support except for the 2nd Amendment; at least as long as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun industry continues funding their despotism. Obviously, they detest everything about the 14th Amendment because it guarantees that every American enjoys exactly the same civil and equal rights regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. Some folks may say Republicans have an affinity for the religious clauses of the 1st Amendment, but that is patently false simply because they either perpetually violate or use the “clauses” to force their evangelical mandates down every other Americans throat.
Now, it is clear that as this column has warned ad nauseam; if religious Republicans ever get the opportunity, they will wipe out the Founding Fathers’ intent that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Of course, this author is not a prophet, but as someone who is intimately aware of the evangelical right’s mindset and intent to create a Christian theocracy to rule Americans, that warning was prophetic. It is bad enough that the incoming vice-president tapped to run domestic and foreign policy for the CEO of “make America great” is a rabid evangelical extremist, but the nation’s incoming “top enforcer” is of the same mindset as Mike Pence and will have the full weight of the Department of Justice empowering his religious intent.
It is a sad state of affairs that the man Trump wants to lead the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions, sincerely believes, and had no qualms saying out loud that the “Establishment Clause” in the U.S. Constitution is “unconstitutional.” Sessions, an evangelical extremist, also said that the separation of church and state is “an extra-constitutional doctrine” and a “recent thing that is unhistorical and unconstitutional.” (Author bold)
However, the real historical figure, Founding Father and third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson plainly explained in writing that:
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
Sessions, as Michael Stone over at Patheos rightly labeled a “moral monster” subscribes to fake historian David Barton’s teaching that what Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers, and Constitution’s Framers really meant in writing the Constitution’s Establishment Clause was that Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of Christianity. The evangelical revisionists also claim that the idea of the Constitution’s prohibition on the Congress legislating any religion was a devious machination of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to evict god, the Christian bible, the Ten Commandments and Jesus Christ out of the constitutionally created government.
As an aside and for real historical context, the ACLU was founded in 1920, the Constitution was adopted as the law of the land in 1791, and Thomas Jefferson explained the meaning of the Establishment Clause in 1802. Obviously there is nothing “unhistorical” or “unconstitutional” about the separation of church and state except that it prevents religious tyranny by Christian theocrats in Republican ranks that now have a stellar opportunity to legislate their evangelical version of Sharia Law.
What Session’s belief means for America is that going forward when religious Republican legislatures start mandating that all citizens strictly adhere to some bastardized Christian edict, the Department of Justice will not support and defend the Constitution or religious freedom. In fact, it is safe to say that the DOJ under theocratic leadership will take punitive action against non-compliance based on the religious Republican belief that any American who does not comply with evangelical edicts is violating evangelical extremists’ religious freedom enshrined in the First Amendment. They have been doing it for the past eight years and now they are a Senate confirmation away from having the nation’s Justice Department ready to come to their defense.
The dangerous implications of a theocratic Department of Justice cannot possibly be understated because there are no lines the evangelical right is unwilling to cross to enforce their religious fanaticism. It is true they may not mirror the actions of the religious fanatics in ISIS right away, but they will demand universal compliance to their particularly bizarre version of “Jesus” without the love, tolerance and, charity the real Jesus preached. And along with that demand of compliance by legislative edict, Americans will no longer have a Justice Department to protect them from forced adherence to a legislatively established religion.
Of all the damage the incoming administration is going to wreak on this nation and its citizens, and it is going to be deadly damage, the danger from Dominionists who want a Christian theocracy as the government and the Christian bible as law of the land is inestimable. They will not be content with just punishing gays and women, they will first tyrannize, and then severely punish Old Testament style every American alive who fails to conform to their religious edicts. And, they will have authority and backing from a Department of Justice head who believes that the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers created an “unconstitutional” religious clause in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The only Americans who aren’t terrified at the prospect of an evangelical zealot running the DOJ are religious fanatics and evangelical extremists like Jeff Sessions and Mike Pence.