So, Republicans and Teabaggers, maintaining that the ideal behind the separation of church and state is not expressed in the constitution, keep trying to introduce laws prohibiting Sharia Law from taking over America. Sharia is the religious laws in the Islamic Qur’an. This is something that has not even once come close to ever happening in America. Nor is it able to.
Yes, the specific phrase “separation of church and state" is not in the constitution. However, the First Amendment pertaining to religion (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof) specifically puts a wall between the freedom of practicing any religion and the law of government. This is perennially misinterpreted, perhaps intentionally, by Republicans and Teabaggers to mean that religion (only the Christian religion, mind you) can not be influenced by the government but the government should influenced by religious beliefs (again, Christian influence only).
What Christians don’t realize, is that if there is no separation between church and state, then not only their religion could influence government, but all religions could - Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Scientology, Pastafarian, etc. - causing sheer insanity to ensue since all religions agree on nothing and even a single religion quite often operates with a circular logic (eye for an eye/turn the other cheek). Or what most likely would happen is that the government will pick one religion and outlaw all the rest. Just like what the settlers hated about England. Then later wrote the First Amendment to prevent that from happening in America. Do you understand now why religion and government cannot and should not be combined?
The beauty about facts is that they are still facts regardless of what you choose to believe. And regardless of what you choose to believe, religion and government are separate because it says so in the Constitution’s First Amendment. Therefore, a new law saying we can’t have Islamic religious laws in America is redundant, unnecessary and serves only to fire up the right wing base by fear-mongering. An unfortunate, progress-hindering standard in politics.
A Republican politician (let’s just for talk’s sake say a Republican in North Carolina or South Carolina or Missouri or Oklahoma or Alabama or Tennessee or Georgia or Wyoming or Texas or douche of the year Newt Gingrich) invents this non-existent problem of impending Sharia Law for you to fear. They then claim they’re fighting for your rights, to get your vote. Once they’re in office, the politician can claim they successfully stopped Sharia Law from invading America - which already isn’t possible (Just like continually passing bills to stop taxpayer funding of abortions – already illegal for several decades.). Or at least the politician attempts to continually pass redundant bills to stop it so they can claim they’re trying – and then they’re able to say the Democrats are against banning it and want Sharia law in America and this gets the ignorant, partisan base fired up anyway – and the circle of stupidity goes unbroken. So now, after pretending to fight hard for a cause he told you you should be worried about but isn’t real, the politician won’t have to do much but sit back and enjoy his/her free, socialized health care and lifetime paycheck that we pay for with our taxes instead of actually working and trying to solve real problems such as the deficit, pollution, wall street corruption, mortgage crisis or affordable health care for all. And jobs. Don’t forget that the Republicans, who ran on job, have done nothing about jobs.
If you believe everything I’ve just laid out for you is wrong, then by all means, forget it. But try to refute this: If there really isn’t a separation between church and state, then religious entities would be taxed under federal and state law. But there is, so they aren’t. You can’t have it both ways.
On a local, Cherokee County, Georgia side note… If a church simply rents out its space to a high school for the sole purpose of holding graduation ceremonies, then there is absolutely no First Amendment conflict and there is no case for a lawsuit. It’s just a building. However, if the high school graduates are forced to watch a fifteen-minute religious indoctrination video as part of the rental package, then there most certainly is a First Amendment conflict case and the church would without question lose the lawsuit. Whether it upsets you or not, facts are facts.
I submitted a slightly edited version of this letter (Can you believe it was too long? I know, right? Me, write something lengthy? What-EVER.) to my local weekly newspaper’s letter column a year ago (Notice there was no swearing? Be patient, this second half is web only.). Next to the letters to the editor is a soapbox column. That’s where you can call the newspaper and leave whatever statement on their answering machine and they pick a couple dozen and print them in the soapbox each week. Sometimes, arguments go back and forth for weeks in this thing. Many respond to the letters to the editor. Oh, they sure do. As is mentioned above, I am [trapped like a rat by an underwater mortgage] in Georgia, a very Republican state - no, strike that. A fucking vomitously unintelligible, mindless, backward, racist, inbred, turd-chewing, sister-fucking, Fascist, Republican state. (Too harsh? You don’t know. You don’t live here. Newt Gingrich is from here, if that helps. To the Moon!) If anyone says anything in their letter that contradicts Republican or religious (Christian) rhetoric, you will get a war-like response. A large volume of people will call the soapbox and leave highly inflamed hemorrhoidial gibberish condemning that letter using all the non-logical, dogmatic feces they can excrete. Sometimes, the few people that can write, send highly inflamed dogmatic letters in response (That’s not fair. There are a lot of people living in Georgia that aren’t originally from here that can read, write, think and speak intelligently. They don’t count in my generalized descriptions of Georgia. They know who they are because they can read this. – mini tangent #1 of 2)
That’s why I wrote this letter. I was hoping they would publish it. I wanted to ruffle the genetically depleted, inbred feathers of an entire community. Start a gibberish war. That’s right. Because I’m a dick. Guess what? They published it on February 2, 2011.
Now, sometimes a letter is written that everyone agrees with and that will also get a large, gushy, love fest of a response. For example, the week before my letter was published, an eighth grade, home-schooled girl wrote a letter about the separation of church and state in the Constitution. (The letters and soapbox entries take two weeks before they are placed in the paper, so I had no idea of this girl’s letter.)
Let me pause for a second here and clarify. For a couple months, the argument of the separation between church and state was ongoing around here because the local high school holds its graduation ceremony in a Baptist church. Neither the school gymnasium nor auditorium are large enough to hold the entire graduating class and their families. But you can bet your last fucking dollar in the collection plate that the church is big enough. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (founded in 1947) is threatening to take the school to court. As I said at the end of my letter, it wouldn’t be a problem because the church in and of itself is just a building. It’s a high school graduation ceremony, not church services. For months, people were enraged, writing letters and calling the soapbox about how the liberal, elitist, America-hating, freedom-hating, Washington, DC group should stay out of REAL America bla bla bla poop. However, here’s the problem: The Baptist minister forces everyone who enters his doors to watch a fifteen-minute religious indoctrination video. Un-motherfucking-Constitutional. Because there is unequivocally a separation of church and state in the Constitution. Except in the uneducated, Bible-thumping minds in the south. (I wonder how many of them follow Leviticus 24:14 and stone people to death after hearing someone say the Lord’s name in vain? Or how many daughters follow Genesis 19:32 and get their fathers drunk and fuck them? I mean everything in the Bible is directly from God, right? We have to do everything exactly how it says in the Bible, right? I hope none of you plant different vegetables in the same garden, or wear clothes made of a blend of different materials! Leviticus 19:19 if you’re wondering. – mini tangent #2 of 2)
Had I known at the time, I would have included in my letter the Supreme Court case, Engel v. Vitale, which in 1962 affirmed that Government-directed prayer in public schools violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, even if the prayer is denominationally neutral and students may remain silent or be excused from the classroom during its recitation. I had only subsequently discovered it in my research, though. You can read about it here.
To be honest, it wouldn’t have mattered. See, when people are driven solely by the dogma of politics and/or religion, they only look for other people who think and say and do the same things as they do. There’s that feeling of safety within the mob. There’s absolutely no interest in facts or truth or even a general desire of basic knowledge. The phrase “I don’t care what the facts are,” is a common occurrence ‘roun’ these here parts. Seriously. No, I mean, seriously. Take a moment to absorb that idea. To honestly not care what the facts are because they go against your uneducated prejudice. (I don’t care if Obama done showed his birth certificate. Why won’t he show it? I don’t care if Obama goes to church, he’s a Muzlin. He’s middle name is Hussein, ainnit?)
Now, back to our eighth grade home-schooled girl: She wrote a seemingly thoughtful, intelligent letter explaining how the Danbury Baptist Association wrote a letter to President Thomas Jefferson expressing their fears that the government would choose a dominant religion as had happened in Europe. Then she quotes Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” line, points out that’s not in the Constitution, and claims that when he said the state would not interfere with the church, he didn’t mean the church could have nothing to do with the state. Then she misquoted some nonsense that was written in the 1950’s but attributed it to someone in the 1780’s. Then finished up her letter quoting a bunch more old, dead people who said the Christian religion should be the foundation of any government intending to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.
Religion = freedom, rights & privileges? In what fucking parallel universe?
Note I said ‘seemingly thoughtful, intelligent letter.’ I will sum up her balderdash. She said: People fear government-sanctioned religion like in Europe so Christianity should be the government-sanctioned religion in America. A little circular in logic, ay? Kind of favors a particular religion, ay? (Keep in mind, I’m not bashing home-schooling. It’s just that the parent/teacher needs to have some sort of education before they can teach the child/student anything. And I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m talking about Georgia. The Theory of Evolution is frowned upon here.) Well, for weeks, WEEKS, the backward fucks around here were calling the soapbox and praising this religious nonsense. They praised this girl’s insight and intelligence. Said it was the most eloquently written letter they ever read (or, as I suppose, had read to them). One even suggested she run for President. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sorry. Then, one week the soapbox comments stopped. But the next week people again called in saying they wish the paper would reprint the girl’s letter because they miss it so much. Some said they didn’t read it but heard about it and asked to have it reprinted! Cherokee County was abuzz with this dimwit’s Christian-praising letter. AbsoSmurfly fucking MENTAL!! It was a stupid letter, devoid of the slightest bit of common sense, but it praised Christianity so they went juicy orgasmic apeshit all over it. If the girl had also mentioned guns in her letter, and perhaps flavoring it with a little anti-abortion rhetoric, people would have just fucking exploded with delight, believing the rapture was taking them to heaven and all the sinful Jews had been sacrificed!
Funnily enough, on April 6th, two months after I wrote this letter about Sharia law and the separation of church and state, Jon Stewart interviewed the ever-delightful Christian who will never be president, Mike Huckabee. John asks what I think is a fair question – if the founding fathers wanted Christianity to control government, then why is it such an enigma that we have to figure out instead of being explicit in the Constitution? There’s much more to it than that. Part one makes my point. Parts two and three are just gravy. Check ‘em out:
|I know this is Texas, not Georgia, but it'll do just fine.|
|Name redacted to protect the ill-educated|
Oh, and my letter?