Apparently, the Supreme Court, or at least five of its members, have misplaced their copies of the U.S. Constitution. This must have been some time ago, considering some of the screwy decisions we’ve been seeing in the past few years, but the most recent outrage, the court’s decision on prayer at government meetings, is a real doozy, arguably worse than Citizens United.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
So reads in part the first amendment. It is the embodiment of a concern held by the country’s founders born of bitter past experience with religious intolerance and persecution and, until now, it has been a bedrock assumption of the American ideal.
Despite the protestations of many conservatives and, especially, the Tea Party Taliban, the United States of America was not founded as a fundamentally Christian country. The founders were largely deists with varying degrees of religious belief, and the first amendment was created to prevent the adoption of any formal state religion or endorsement thereof. The recent decision by the Supreme Court, however, has thoroughly undermined this essential principle by explicitly enabling any governmental body to begin its meetings with a prayer that allows reference to a particular faith. In practice, this will most often lead to a specifically Christian prayer, leaving atheists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Mormons, Voodoo practitioners, Scientologists, Rastafarians, and Pastafarian Flying Spaghetti Monster believers, among others, out in the cold.
Why, you might ask, will Christianity be favored? There are two reasons. First, Christians, in aggregate, constitute the religious majority in the country, and American Christians are the most persistent of U.S. religious groups in pushing their views upon everyone else in the public and political arenas. Second, there seems to be some sense, especially in the city governments of conservative communities across the country, that board and committee meetings should begin with a prayer, and this is generally a Christian one. As has been widely reported, other religions have had great difficulty in trying to gain equal time in the “begin-with-a-prayer” ritual.
The last thing in the world we need is an American theocracy imposing its own twisted world view upon everyone. If what’s going on in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere isn’t enough to frighten you over the threat of an American fundamentalist Christian hegemony, just remember the Inquisition. It could happen here, but don’t let it. Regardless of your party preference, take a stand for America’s traditional “wall of separation” between church and state. Speak up and vote accordingly, or you could find yourself the next one being stoned to death in the public square for __________ (fill in the blank).
Today’s Annoyance: The local weatherman who keeps telling us in redundant language about weather fronts that are “exiting out” of the area. How about just “exiting” or, maybe, “leaving”? Sheesh. It’s like back in the 60’s, when folks were trying to get into “where you’re at”. Come to think of it, “where you’re at” is still with us. It makes my ears hurt.