In 1802, then-President Thomas Jefferson, famous for having written the Declaration of Independence, wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.
The Danbury Baptists, a religious minority, were concerned that their religious rights were not adequately protected. They apparently wanted Jefferson to do something about it.
In his response to them, President Jefferson said,
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, 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 and state. — Thomas Jefferson, “Letter to the Danbury Baptists” in Jefferson’s Wall of Separation Letter (March 18, 2005) The U.S. Constitution Online (last visited April 22, 2005)
Thus came into history the famous — or infamous, depending on your views — phrase “wall of separation between church and state.”
But Jefferson was absolutely correct both about the meaning of the First Amendment religious clauses and about the need for such a thing as a “wall of separation.” History is replete with examples of the abuses of religion by governments that were tightly entwined with it. Most famous among the examples are the Inquisition. But innumerable governments, small and large, have utilized religion for centuries to subjugate others, such as Jews, and even to justify murder. England had a merry old time bouncing back and forth from official Catholicism to official Protestantism with concomitant purges along the way. No small part of this highly-religious exercise was because King Henry VIII was a serial monogamist who picked his brides from both trees.
Isn’t it ironic — and telling — that this bastion of faithlessness was responsible for the anti-homosexual Buggery Act of 1533 and the anti-anyone-who-opposes-me Witchcraft Act of 1542? Or that one of Henry VIII’s daughters, Elizabeth I, took religious intolerance to even greater heights. Ah…the Revenge of the Tudors.
But I digress. I am not writing today to bring you a history lesson. We have before us a contemporary example — hence the title, Revenge of the Tudors.
It’s no big secret that I don’t like christians. In fact, for anyone who is confused about the issue, let me flatly state that I hate them with a Passion. (Sorry there, Mel.) However, many folk have mistakenly come to the conclusion that I hate Christians and Christianity. This misunderstanding is one reason I have occasionally abjured Bob Marcotte’s “big C/little c” distinction in favor of my own coinage: neo-Pharisees. The fact of the matter is that I very much like Christians-with-a-Big-C. If America were truly officially a Big-C-Christian nation, I’d still long for the days of freedom of religion, but I have to agree the world would be a nicer place.
Only that ain’t gonna happen. Because 99.99999% of those who claim the label not only are not Christians, but they despise Christians more than I despise christians.
The other thing about christians is that they outnumber Christians by something like a million to one. (Kind of brings to mind Matthew 7:13-14, nu?)
Moreover, I happen to know that there are Christians who are Democrats. And while I admit to my personal difficulty believing that there are Christians in the contemporary Republican Party, I believe it’s entirely possible. After all, not everyone keeps up on politics very well and many people don’t recognize that today’s Republican Party is not what it used to be when I was a Republican.
Today, the Republican Party is raping our nation. Approximately 30 years of planning has paid off: they’ve learned to convince people that what’s really happening isn’t what’s really happening.
And the last peg in their board, so to speak, is to slowly install a de facto theocracy. The best way to ensure eternal victory over the Democrats is to install the Theocrats. For no nation is more arbitrary, capricious, malleable to the will of the rulers, than the nation that allows itself to be ruled by a theocracy. If you think the power of the Constitution is a great thing, well, nothing compares to the rule of God. That’s why christian fundamentalists and religious-tongued politicians are always invoking that “Higher Law.”
And the best part about the rule of God? Since no one can really see him, those who most successfully convince others that they speak for him get to run things. Anyone who opposes them, obviously, opposes God.
Senator Bill Frist — the doctor who proved he spoke for God awhile back by diagnosing Terri Schiavo over a great distance based on nothing more than years-old video snippets that had been carefully selected for repetitive playback on the “news” and his faith in God, and whose name has been floated as a potential Republican candidate for President in 2008 — is set to be a speaker on Justice Sunday, a christian (note the small c!) television and radio broadcast scheduled for April 24, 2005.
The theme of the telecast…is “The Filibuster Against People of Faith.” Its sponsors argue that by blocking judicial nominees who oppose abortion rights on religious and moral grounds, Democrats are effectively discriminating against those nominees.
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Christian conservatives have also accused Senator John Salazar of Colorado, a Roman Catholic, of tolerating anti-Catholicism from his fellow Democrats who oppose nominees who follow the church’s teachings on abortions. — David D. Kirkpatrick and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Frist Draws Criticism From Some Church Leaders” (April 22, 2005) The New York Times.
Why else would anyone oppose the anti-abortion candidates for federal judgeship? It couldn’t possibly be because those Democrats believe in freedom of choice. They must hate people of faith! After all, all people of faith are anti-abortionists who want to overturn Roe v. Wade and do away with judges who support bogus privacy rights! No people of faith support any other position!
Presbyterians — ironically, the church to which Frist belongs — are up in arms. Dr. Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches — in spite of the name, not (yet anyway) an official government department — said,
To say that some group of Christians has a monopoly on the ear of God is especially an outrage to Presbyterians. — David D. Kirkpatrick and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “Frist Draws Criticism From Some Church Leaders” (April 22, 2005) The New York Times.
The article juxtaposes the differing views of the various religious groups with respect to the abortion issue. It is, after all, primarily (for now, but remember, it is a theocratic movement!) the abortion issue that has fundamentalist theocrats frothing at the mouth over judicial appointments. It may not be clear that the pseudo-issue driving the Republican Party these days is abortion.
My own personal belief is that, as usual, this is really about power. Various administrations of the United States have always had some element of an abuse of power, as those close to the President mis-use their connections to take home some of the spoils. That’s not limited to the Republican Party, either. Yet no administration in history has ever been a blatant about it as the Bush Administration, which has even gone to war for the sole purpose of benefiting oil companies and oil men like themselves. And, as I said above, what better way to gain irrefutable, irrefrangible, irrestible power than to convince others that your power comes direct from God? If they’re successful, the Republican Party could effectively establish a new method for “electing” future
religious leaders American Popes Presidents, chosen by Republican leaders, anointed by God (with a little help from Diebold).
There’s exactly one way to defeat this dangerous and evil doctrine. We must recognize what our Founders recognized. God does not have a political party. The voice of God on earth is “heard” only through the mouths of humans and not all humans hear it saying the same things.
It’s time to reinforce the Jeffersonian Wall that separates Church and State.