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From Larry Wohlgemuth…
While the tea party ostensibly labors for the return to constitutional governance (no, that’s not a joke) it’s easy to see other hands at work. Several tea party factions have been co-opted by fundamentalist Christians. It’s written all over their signage.
They long for the “good old days”, like back when white people were white and black people were scared shitless. It was a time when your children could pray openly to Jesus in the classroom, getting their heads right for the Klan rally and cross burning on Saturday night. Makes you long for simpler days, doesn’t it?
Now they howl for a return to principles which, if rightly understood, would be the last thing they would want. Their true desires are to exercise a degree of hegemony over other races and classes of people like they did in the 1950s. They couldn’t be more transparent.
These fundies, having gotten a few of their candidates elected, will be clamoring to post the Ten Commandments and reinstate prayer in schools. They see this as a time when the United States will turn its back on sin and return to its “core principles.” It begs the question, do these people have the slightest clue about anything they say?
Christine O’Donnell, the anti-masturbatory candidate from the Jesus party in Delaware, demanded her opponent explain where the words “separation of church and state” appeared in the First Amendment. Well of course he couldn’t, because those words were spoken by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists to elucidate the Establishment Clause to them.
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, & 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 & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
Thomas Jefferson ~excerpt from Letter to Danbury Baptists January 1, 1802
As the main framer of the Constitution, Jefferson was an expert on its intent, and clearly it restricted the state from establishing any religion. This followed the government’s claim in article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797:
Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Since most of the founders were Deists it seems unlikely that their intent would have been to establish a nation based on the Christian myth. Clearly their writing say as much, but suppose their intent was to create a Christian nation, then whose Christianity would it be? Everybody who wants to see this as a Christian theocracy imagines the dogma would mirror their personal beliefs exactly, but how would that be possible? Since you can’t get any two Christians to even agree on which Bible version to use, how would they ever compromise to create a theocracy?
A cursory review of the data says that Protestant Jesus wins, however closer examination shows a multiplicity of denominations with widely varying and irreconcilable theological disparities. Baptists by far are the largest Protestant denomination, but they make up only 16.5% of the population. They are far outdistanced by the Catholics at 24.5%. For Protestantism to rule would require an unlikely coalition between Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Pentecostals and Presbyterians.
Then you have the minor denominations like the Assemblies of God, Mormon/LDS, Church of Christ and Jehovah’s Witnesses; a more disparate group you could not find. While the Methodists, Lutherans and Presbyterians might be able to work together, they comprise a paltry 14% of the adult population. And the Baptists, well, they vomit in their mouths at the thought of these “lukewarm” denominations. They are certain God will send all mainstream, non-Baptist Protestants to hell.
Since a Protestant coalition acceptable to all is inconceivable, by default we would become a Catholic nation, but hasn’t that been tried before? I seem to recall something in the history books about Inquisitions, Crusades and other generally less than acceptable behaviors on the part of the Catholic Church. Plus we can’t forget how fond they all are of buggering little boys, so I think in the court of public opinion that most would find theocratic Catholicism unacceptable.
So how in the world can we ever get God wedged back into everyone’s lives whether they want it or not? More importantly, how can we do it so that OUR beliefs (which we know are the only TRUE beliefs) are the ones taught in school? How do we make sure that one of the false religions like (insert name of your least favorite Christian denomination here) doesn’t get to impose their will and false doctrine upon us? While I don’t believe Christine O’Donnell could ever think this critically, if you have an IQ above seven and can fog a mirror it’s starting to make sense to you now.
This was exactly the scenario that Jefferson anticipated, and the crux of his explanation to the Danbury Baptists about why they shouldn’t demand a national religion. His argument was, that unless you find yourself in the majority, you might be forced to embrace dogma with which you disagree. Though the Baptists were in a majority in colonial times, today they would find themselves subservient to Catholics. Baptists generally refer to Catholicism as the whore church, so it’s unlikely they would be happy with that circumstance.
While visions of theocratic rule dance in the heads of men like James Dobson and Billy Graham, the fact is they would be serving as butt-boys to Pope Benny the Rat and his cadre of boy-buggering wilde-priests. It would almost be enough to make you laugh except we would all be in the same position, and that’s on our hands and knees.
So as teabaggers display their buffoonery, they can rest secure with the knowledge that the Constitution protects them even though they don’t understand how it works. In this case the worst thing for them would be to get that for which they wish, because the law of unintended consequences would quickly convince them of their error. Unfortunately that’s a deal that once it’s done, too bad, so sad.
It makes you wonder if most of them deserve the protections that the Constitution affords. And Christine, you are correct, the words “separation of church and state” do not appear anywhere in the document although clearly that is the intent, however you have to be able to think more than uni-dimensionally to understand it. That leaves you and most of your teabagger friends out.