I think that the ‘wall of separation’ between Church and State is critical to maintaining the democratic foundations of this nation. If 100% of all people who vote and pay taxes in the nation were of the same religious beliefs, then it might not be critical, then a theocracy might be workable. But in this nation where there are so many different religions, to form a theocracy would be to enslave a large portion of the populace. Yes, I said ‘enslave’ and that is precisely what I mean.
Let me start out with an example: What if I told you that there is a bill before Congress to ban the production and consumption of pork and pork products? (No, there isn’t really such a bill … this is a hypothetical … bear with me here). The reason? Well, two of this nation’s major religions, Islam and Judaism, prohibit the consumption of pork and pork products, so in a nod to those two religions, the government must ban pork products.
“BUT … I’m neither Muslim nor Jewish!!!! I want my bacon!!!”
… you decry. Well, you may have a point there. But then … I’m not Christian, so why should I have to live under the laws of that religion? Why should I be forbidden from having an abortion, or marrying a person of my own gender? Do you get what I’m saying here? Are you picking up what I’m laying down?
There is no single religion that is sanctioned by the government or by the United States Constitution, contrary to what some would have us believe. ‘They’ claim that the U.S. is a Christian nation, but NO, it is NOT. There are Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, and in addition, some 23%, nearly a quarter of the population, are ‘unaffiliated’ atheists and agnostics. We may not be Christians, but we work hard, we send our children to public schools, and we pay taxes just like the Christians do! Why should we be treated as second-class citizens, as strangers in our own land?
There are many issues swirling around in the political maelstrom these days … divisive and controversial issues made more so by the white nationalist and white supremacist movements of the day. But none, I think, is more important than this one, for the Supreme Court appears to be willing to sacrifice that ‘wall of separation’ in order to appease the right-wing evangelicals, even though said evangelicals comprise only about 25% of the populace.
One of the reason Europeans came to this country some 400+ years ago was to escape religious persecution. And here we are, in the year 2022, trying to persecute women, Blacks, Muslims, atheists, and LGBTQ people in an effort to turn a democratic republic into a plutocratic theocracy! Obviously, the lessons of history went straight over our heads.
I find it beyond worrisome when our elected officials make divisive comments like when Lauren Boebert refers to non-Christians as “the enemy”. So … tell me, Ms. Boebert … if I am ‘the enemy’, why am I still paying taxes? But she is not alone … numerous politicians and religious leaders are objecting to LGBTQ rights …
- In response to the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) currently making its way through Congress, Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota says that “In many respects, passing a bill like this really sends a pretty strong message that religious beliefs don’t matter.”
- Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel, a well-known evangelical group, said that the RFMA “has many far-reaching implications, including pedophile marriage, same-sex, child-bride, incest, polygamy and any other perversion of marriage.”
Lies, lies, and more lies. But the lies are believed by the vulnerable. The lies are the seeds that sow hatred and violence, that seek to exclude rather than include, that will lead to a nation forever divided if we allow it.
The biggest thing this country has had going for it is its diversity. Theoretically, at least, we welcome people from all countries, people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions, but it seems that today, far too many shun that very diversity upon which the nation was founded. Remember those words at the base of the Statue of Liberty?
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Do those words mean nothing today? Should they instead read, “Send me only your white-skinned wealthy Christians”?
Separation of church and state is critical to a democracy. Those who would claim otherwise have a different vision of what this country is, or should be, than the majority of us do. It’s a shame that we have to pass laws to protect people’s right to be who they are, don’t you think? I dream of a world where everyone simply accepts others as they are, no condemnation, no forcing people into boxes that all look alike. But, until we have that world, we need laws … and in this case, we need to maintain that wall of separation between church and state.