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The Ever-Narrowing Separation of Church and State
The American Taliban makes its move
Not that it hasn't been insinuating itself into daily American life for the last few decades. Or since the inception of the country despite the best efforts of our deistic Founding Fathers. I mean, what's this whole "swear on the Bible" thing in court and inaugurations? Swearing on a check book would be more fitting, as Money is the true god of many, if not most, Americans. Fear also seems to be a big motivator. Fear of "God," fear of being viewed negatively by others, fear of the strange and unknown.
Let's examine these fears one at a time.
Fear of God. For any number of reasons, this is one of the dumbest concepts to prevail since man invented superstition. First, God is a being above pettiness and human intervention, for better or worse. To say that God gets angry when someone "takes his name in vain" makes Him/Her/It the very definition of a petulant being. The Old Testament has done a tremendous job of establishing a terrifying God and indoctrinating this fear into the everyday lives of the superstitious. Of course, most of those in the know (aka Gnostics) hold that the Old Testament God is a being called Ialdabaoth, or the Demiurge, a creature capricious at best, downright malicious at worst. The true god is called the Monad, a being above such pettiness. If you believe that sorta thing. To fear God is to fear the unknown, because God is ultimately just that.
Fear of being viewed negatively by others. Because of this fear, people lash out, accusing others of the things they hate most in themselves. Despite my insistence that I don't give a rat's ass what people think of me, I suffer from this. My self-doubt causes me to accuse others of hypocrisy and being not-so-smart, when deep down I know I'm probably guilty of the hypocrisy and not nearly as intelligent as I think I am.
Fear of the unknown. This is the acme of fear, and the main motivator for many politicians and religious leaders today. A lot of people don't think about it much, but the root word of terrorism is terror, a word synonymous with fear. People think of terrorists as evil soldiers, intent on killing, but what they really want to do is manipulate with fear. So what separates them from the religious politicians who vilify homosexuals or Muslims or people with tattoos just because they're "different," playing to and exacerbating the fear of their constituents to keep themselves in power? The answer is nothing. Nothing separates a Bible-thumping Republican from an Islamic Jihadist except semantics.
How do these fears motivate the neo-cons? Well, the answer is somewhat obvious.
Undisguised religious-based legislation
The recent Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently became law in Indiana. Though similar laws are in place in many other states, this most recent addition brought with it a new onslaught of protest from the left and a parade of ignorance of prejudice from the right.
The actual name of the law itself makes it constitutionally suspect, as the 1st Amendment of that increasingly misinterpreted document of freedom forbids laws that give precedence to one religion over another. But the misconception that the US is a Christian nation has thus far kept it protected from scrutiny from the neo-con Supreme Court. Never mind the fact that it seems ludicrous to refer to the Justices as neo-cons considering their average age.
Not that the law itself, which essentially legalizes discrimination, is strictly based on Christian dogma. Muslims feel the same way about homosexuals, so one could easily speculate that fundamental Islamists would approve of the law and it wouldn't be a stretch to make such an assumption. But don't tell the Christians that.
The law itself falls under the three fears listed above, but I'd like to especially look at the second fear. Homosexuals, according to statistics, make up ten percent of the population. But those numbers are based only on those who openly admit they are gay. I'm sure the actual number is higher, as closeted people would never willingly admit to such proclivities. At least not directly.
Rick Santorum once famously tweeted: "If people thought about gay sex as much as I do, they'd realize how disgusting it is." Newsflash: Straight people don't really think about gay sex very much unless the idea is directly planted. If Santorum ruminates about homosexual relations so often, it's a good chance he is part of the population. But as a staunch member of the Religious Right, admitting it would be political suicide.
Ultimately, who cares, right? Most of the Republicans I know personally couldn't give two hoots if someone is gay or not. It's mostly the most rabidly vocal fear mongers that give such phantom concerns voice, which exacerbates hatred in those who may get funny feelings inside when thinking about their own gender's nude physiques.
Not a new law
Until 1962, sodomy was illegal in every state, making virtually any homosexual act punishable by law, not to mention pretty much every heterosexual act except the missionary position was just as taboo. There is zero reasoning for this beyond scriptural. Yet, religion is prohibited to be the reasoning behind a law. It seems the 1st Amendment isn't new to misinterpretation. But by 2002, virtually every sodomy law had been struck down, making it no longer permissible to arrest gay people for well, being gay.
In retaliation, Christian lawmakers came up with bogus "religious rights" acts protecting their own sensibilities while violating the rights of others. So far, it's been allowed to happen, and because there are no scientific reasons why homosexuality is bad, Christians have been reduced to making up some of the silliest bullshit this side of trickle down economics.
Homosexuality destroys family values. Not true. There are plenty of gay people out there raising well-adjusted, much-loved children, just as there are plenty of straight couples who have chosen to forego having children for various reasons. I'm sure the straight couples catch some flak, especially from wannabe grandparents, but no one is denying them pizza.
Homosexual marriage makes heterosexual marriage somehow less valid. How? This is one of Rush Limbaugh's big gripes about gay unions - that they somehow lessen the sanctity of marriage. This from a man who is giving Liz Taylor a run for her money on multiple marriages and divorces.
Gay marriage could lead to marriages between humans and animals. This is as stupid as it is insulting. Stupid, because, well....huh? If a dude wants to nail a sheep, that's a matter of immense horniness and possible mental illness, but has nothing to do with gay people. Insulting because it somehow makes homosexuals less human, more animal than straight people.
Never mind loving thy neighbor, judging not and forgiving. They call themselves Christian but obviously think Jesus is whack.
*Sigh* But what can you expect from a group of people so unimaginative they've decided that thinking for oneself is a sign of Satanic influence.
Is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in violation of the 1st Amendment?
The Bible as an official State Book
Tennessee approved a bill to make the Bible the official state book just last week. The bill is already controversial even among Republicans, but not for the logical reasons one might think. Not because such a decision is blurring the lines between church and state, no. It's meeting resistance because it diminishes the Bible to place it next to the mockingbird and purple passionflower, the state bird and flower respectively. Republican Representative Patsy Hazlewood said that "To Kill a Mockingbird" (ironic) and "Pilgrim's Progress" are books and calling the Bible a book is wrong. So, what, the Bible's a steering wheel? Actually that works metaphorically, but I hope you get what I'm saying.
The legislation is currently in limbo while the Tennessee Congress is in recess.
Essentially the same sort of people who want to ban the Harry Potter books as Satanic literature, essentially working toward censorship, want to shove the Bible, arguably as fanciful as the adventures of Hogwart's most famous student, down everyone's throats.