The United States of America is, by definition, a democratic republic. It is also, by definition, a secular nation. A secular nation, not one ruled by religious dogma, but by laws that are just and that benefit all citizens. This nation is not a theocracy! Please allow me to define these terms for you:
- Secular – not subject to or bound by religious rule.
- Democratic Republic – A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy.
- Republic – A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.
- Democracy – A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
- Theocracy – a form of government in which a deity of some type is recognized as the supreme ruling authority, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries that manage the day-to-day affairs of the government.
For the past several years, certain religions, particularly evangelical Christians, have been attempting to change the structure of this nation in such a way that would force the 330 million inhabitants of the U.S. to live by the narrowly defined rules of a single sect. Now if, say, the evangelicals constituted a vast majority of the people in this nation – at least 98% — then this might be almost acceptable. But they do not. They are a minority. Evangelicals comprise approximately 25.4% of the people in this nation. By any standard, any way you choose to cut the pie, 25.4% is NOT a majority! In addition, nearly as many, some 22.9% ascribe to no religion at all.
I try extremely hard to never criticize a person’s religion or religious beliefs, even though I do not share them. I believe that we each have a right to believe as we wish, as we see fit, and that it is only right to respect others’ beliefs. None of us know what is or isn’t, what may or may not be our future. That doesn’t mean that I give anybody the right to attempt to convert me or to shove their beliefs down my throat, and in return, I don’t ask them to listen to me expound on why I don’t believe as they do. Rather a truce … believe as you will, just don’t expect me to believe as you do. But today, I am seeing a threat to our secularity, a threat to the very principles on which this nation was founded.
What, you may ask, has lit my fuse? A ‘man’ named Landon Schott, a ‘pastor’ at a church, ‘Mercy Culture Church’ in Fort Worth, Texas. This church has become a beacon, as it were, for the new Republican Party, the one that is under some spell by the former guy and hopes to demolish the concept of ‘separation of church and state’. This ‘man’ had the unmitigated gall, on the day after the attack on Congress and the Capitol in January, to stand in front of the Capitol and say, “Father, we declare America is yours.” WHO THE HELL gave him the keys to the kingdom, the right to hand over our lives???
But it isn’t only Mr. Schott … he is only one of many who happened to cross my radar at the exact wrong moment. There is an entire network of evangelical churches in this nation, with followings in the hundreds of thousands, who are on a mission not just to transform individual lives but also to turn civilization itself into their version of “God’s Kingdom”: one with two genders, no abortion, a free-market economy, bible-based education, church-based social programs and laws such as the ones curtailing LGBTQ rights now moving through statehouses around the country.
The U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom. What that means is it guarantees that you can belong to any church you wish, or no church at all. It means you can believe in any deity you choose to believe in, read any religious tomes you wish, and the United States government will not interfere – unless, of course, you engage in human sacrifices or some other illegal ritual. What it does not mean is that you can impose your will on others. Period. In this nation there are people of many different religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Jain, and others. There are also those of us who do not believe in a deity at all but believe that people control their own destiny. How, then, can one single religion with very narrow views that would exclude some 75% of us, hope to control the laws of the land?
The simple answer is that they cannot and that the U.S. Constitution prohibits a theocratic government, so that’s that, right? But is it? Look at the Supreme Court, the branch of government that is the last best hope for interpreting and applying Constitutional Law. Look at the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, a blow to LGBTQ rights. Most people expect the Supreme Court to overturn the previous Roe v Wade decision that was a boost to women’s rights. How many states have either passed laws or have pending legislation to rob women of the right to make their own decisions regarding their health, their body?
My point is that this nation was founded on principles you will find if you read the Constitution – it’s only just over 8,000 words and easily readable in a couple of hours. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution will you find that religion, certainly not a single specific religion, should be the guiding principle for the laws of the land.
Y’know … it’s funny that a few years back the conservatives in this country were all up in arms saying that the Muslims who had migrated to the U.S. were trying to impose Sharia Law on the citizens of the U.S. Now, not a single one of those people understood what the term even meant, and they had no basis in fact for their claims, but … since when did that ever stop people from making fools of themselves? But now, they are suggesting essentially the same thing … that we impose ‘Christian Law’ upon the citizens of this nation. We are NOT all Christians and we don’t all believe the same. I repeat what I said in the beginning … believe and worship as you will, but this is a SECULAR nation, NOT a Christian nation!!!
If I have offended any with this post, I apologize, for it was not my intention to do so. I respect your right to believe as you wish, and ask only that you also respect mine.