Monday, July 03, 2006

AMERICAN THEOCRACY--Happy 4th of July

by Advocate 1 and Brandon


the-oc-ra-cy
thE -'ah-kreh-sE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural cies
Etymology: Greek theokratia, from the- + -kratia -cracy
1 : government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
2 : a state governed by a theocracy

3. a repressive form of government embraced by Satanic cult leader, George W. Bush and his moronic, pseudo Christian followers


I don't remember the person who said this in its original form, but I am obliged to paraphrase the sentiment. Someone should tell our elected officials, Republicans in particular, that they put their hand on the Bible to swear an oath in which they promised to defend and uphold the Constitution; and as much as it may pain them to admit this, they did not place their hand on the Constitution and swear to both defend and uphold the Holy Bible.

I don't know about you, but I tend to get a little defensive when people erroneously claim that there is no such thing as a separation of church and state. All too often we hear people complain because the United States Constitution doesn't specifically mention the term "Separation of Church and State," as if this means something in the great debate over religious freedom and religious toleration.

As we have said before, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution contains a religion clause which is the very definition of Church-State Separation:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

It could not be more plain. The first phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," guarantees that the United States will not be a theocracy, that we will not be forced to live under some official national church, and specifically prohibits the creation of what certain elements on the ultra-fundamentalist right refer to as a "Christian Republic." The second phrase, "or prohibiting the free exercise there of," essentially guarantee an individuals right to embrace whatever religion he or she desires to pray, worship, and associate as he or she may see fit. Taken as a whole the two phrases form a single, unified statement in which the two phrases embrace and strengthen one another; protecting the rights of the religious or nonreligious minority; protecting the rights of the religious majority; and guaranteeing religious freedom for all.

But now look out. Here comes the ultra-fundamentalist right. Instead of praising the concept of Church-State Separation, they take the two phrases of the single, unified clause, and set them at war with one another, arguing in a highly schizophrenic manner that their right to exercise their religion is being violated because they aren't allowed to establish their religion.

Allow me to repeat that. The ultra fundamentalist right truly believes that best way to exercise its freedom of religion is to establish that religion.

I'm sorry, but this is not what the founding fathers had in mind. The Framers of our Constitution were well read in the history of Mother England and in the history of Colonial America. They knew well from the religious wars between British Puritans and British Anglicans what could happen when a theocratic movement took control of the government and used the power of that government to impose its will and beliefs by force. The framers also had a thorough understanding of their own history. They only had to look at the Colonial American Puritans to recognize how brutally people could behave towards the religious minority when a particular faith held absolute power. When we hear the word Puritan today we tend to think about the Salem Witch Hunts, but falsely accused women weren't the only victims of the early Massachusetts theocracy. Quakers were brutally persecuted, especially the latter, who, under the Massachusetts Cart and Whip Law, could quite literally be stripped to the waste, tied to the back of a cart, and whipped from village to village until they had been expelled from the colony altogether. Not that Baptists fared any better. Our fine, upstanding, theocractic ancestors were quick to flog and/or fine anyone who dared to Baptize a Puritan into the Baptist faith.

The upshot here is that the Framers were perfectly aware as to the kind of bloodshed and persecution which had taken place in the name of religion. But in the feverish, revisionist minds of the ultra-fundamentalists, the framers were hell bent on the creation of a Christian Republic, basically asking us to believe that the Framers had studied their history, seen the kinds of abuses which can take place under an official state religion, and then decided to reintroduce the same kind of repressive government via our federal Constitution.

"So what," you may be asking yourself, "what does this have to do with church state separation?"

For all intents and purposes, church state separation is the mechanism by which we protect our freedom of religion. I'll admit, that the ultra-fundamentalist right has become very talented at using the term freedom of religion when it wants to use the power and financial influence of government when it wants to impose its symbols, prayers, hymns, and sacred icons on others, but beyond that, church-state separation is the mechanism by which we protect freedom of religion. Allow me to be perfectly clear about this. Church state separation has indeed been the guardian of our religious freedom. By any standard we are one of, if not the, most religious nations on the face of the earth. We have more religions, denominations and splintered sects than you can shake a stick at. We are certainly more religious than nations like England, which have an established (Anglican) church where church attendance (and quite possibly belief itself), are at an all time low. A majority of the American people believes in God, miracles, angels, and an afterlife. And if the various surveys and opinion polls can be believed, our church attendance nothing less than obsessive. "So why," you might wonder," would the ultra-fundamentalist right be opposed to church-state separation if it protects our freedom of religion. The answer is obvious. Fundamentalists, by the very nature of their very narrow belief system, almost have to oppose church-separation because of religious religious freedom. Religious freedom guarantees the right of each and every American to choose for him or herself what he or she will believe and the deity he will worship. Of, if you're not a praying person, religious freedom also protects the right of the individual to doubt and question, to not believe and not worship. And that's what has the ultra-fundamentalist right chewing the proverbial carpet: the idea that there may actually be people out there who are exercising their freedom of religion but not joining the ultra-fundamentalist movement--or worse yet, joining and embracing belief systems which openly defy the ultra-fundamentalist mind set.

In this regard the ultra-fundamentalists are a throw back to our witch-hanging, Puritan ancestors. But with a slight twist. The witch-hanging Puritans would often break into the homes of nonbelievers and drag them, kicking and screaming if necessary, off to the local Puritan church for mandatory public worship. It wasn't that difficult. The church and the local government were essentially one in the same. Today, the fundamentalists have turned this horrific practice on its head. Instead of using the power of the government to barge into the individual's home and to drag the individual off to their church, they would like to use the power of the federal government to force their religion into every aspect of American life. And now the bad news. When the ultra-fundamentalist right talks about the Founding Fathers, they do not mean the real Founding Fathers like James Madison, Thomas Paine, and Benjamin Franklin; they mean the bloody, hypocritical Puritan Divines who persecuted religious dissent with a fervor that bordered on the sociopathic.*

Translated into modern English, the ultra-fundamentalist right, like American Puritanism, only believes in freedom of religion for itself. Not for those who would dissent or question authority. And that is not what the Founders had in mind.


*The question must be asked. Did the Puritans achieve the societal perfection to which their religious beliefs inspired? And the answer would have to be a resounding "no!" According to Puritan birth records nearly a third of Puritan children were conceived prior to wedlock. In a similar vein alcoholism (what we would refer to today as "closet drinking") ran rampant. Ditto to horse racing and other forms of betting. So much for the idea that strictly enforced religion will improve public morality.


4 comments:

Bill Chinaski said...

"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear."
—Thomas Jefferson, letter, 1787

sbc pastor said...

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: that it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." - John Quincy Adams

"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" - Patrick Henry

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers." - John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of Supreme Court, One of the three men most responsible for the Constitution

"There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it." - Dr. William James, The Father of Modern Psychology

"We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God." - James Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution

"Do not let anyone claim the tribute of American patriotism if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics." - George Washington, from his Farewell Address to the Nation

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." - First Amendment

"The church must take right ground in regard to politics. Politics are a part of a religion in a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God... He will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics." - Charles Finney

"If this court doesn’t stop talking about separation of church and state, someone will think it is part of the Constitution." - Bear v. Colmorgan, 1958, One of the justices, in a stinging dissent.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people...it is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams

"The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one directional wall; it keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government." - Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States, January 1, 1802 in an address to the Danbury Baptists

Hopefully you will take the time to read these quotations from our founding fathers because it is painfully obvious that you have absolutely no clue of that which you speak. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Darren said...

That's a great collection of quotes.

Bevan said...

Reich Wing Christianity as expressed above has a very long record of failing to love up to the standards of Jesus; a very long record for taking both, Biblical and political quotes out of context (see above), and an even longer record for torture, murder, and outright serial killing in the name of Jesus Christ, who I am sure the Christian REICH offends on a daily basis by its constant support of tyranny and outright dishonesty.

Why don't you people (and I use the term loosely) just change the name of your bastardization of Chistianity, admit that conservatism is the enemy of both Christ and his faith, and adopt a name for your halfbaked, psycho distortions that will be more descriptive of what you really believe.

Might I suggest Psuedo Christian Democracy Haters? Blood Thirsty Theocrats? Woman haters are us? War Whores? The Society for the Eradciation of Innocent Civilians in W's War? Sexual Sadists for Jesus? Or better yet Christo-fascism, or Theo-Sociopathy, or, my favorite, Hell Bound Hypocrites.

Man are you sons of bitches in for a nice, hot surprise when you finally do society a favor and pass away into eternal damnation. In the future, stick to what phjony Christians have always done best--murdering those who disagree with them, poking the genitalia of witches and herectics in search of devil's marks, and killing for the pure joy of killing while you wrap yourselves in a cloak of Christian hypocrisy. Or should I say mental illness?