Friday, September 11, 2015

The Church of the Poison Mind

If the nom de plume wasn't a dead giveaway I'm not a terribly religious person, but if I was this would really alarm me.
A survey conducted in February found that most Republicans supported officially making the United States a Christian Nation. In 2013, a poll by the First Amendment Center found that 51% of Americans erroneously believe the US was founded as a Christian nation.
Who could blame that 51%? We share a collective memory of pledging allegiance to one nation “under God”, to religious tests being applied to presidential candidates like John F Kennedy who, as a Catholic, had to make clear he wouldn’t take orders from Rome to be elected. We have been fed a steady diet of God – the Christian one – in our politics for decades.
Kennedy had to answer religious questions though the Constitution is clear no religious test is allowed to hold public office. That “under God” part of the pledge? It wasn’t added until 1954, when we were out of our minds with fear over The Red Menace. The 1980s brought us the Moral Majority. Savvy political minds realized harnessing the power of an Evangelical voting block could sweep an actor into the highest office in the land. Right-wing Christians cloaked themselves in the Constitution, claimed it for their god and systematically began rewriting history.
The Constitution is amazing in that it is a straightforward document, yet it’s open for interpretation and amendment. It sets down the core of our republic, our democracy and the basis for all law. Nowhere in our founding document does the word “God” appear. Not even once.
Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon, when Kim Davis, right-wing Evangelical poster child of the moment, was released from jail. The Kentucky county clerk was held on contempt charges for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it violated her Christian beliefs. Just how fleeting her Christian celebrity will be is in the hands of Mike Huckabee and other religio-political zealots, who currently find her ridiculous act of civil disobedience useful to fundraising and campaigning.
Apparently they love every constitutional amendment dearly so long as it's the Second. Those of us in the know know that the separation of church and state protects both the church and the state.


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