Watching Gordon Howie during his 4th place campaign for the GOP House slot we were again subjected to the far-right’s assertion that American has drifted away from our “Christian founding/Christian heritage”. We heard this from Sarah Palin during the Presidential campaign and continue to hear it from fungelicals even as they try to explain away their defeats in their attempts to win public office despite using that argument. Of course being one with no belief in a higher power, listening to these arguments makes me cringe while seeing them lose helps restore my faith in our sensibilities as a nation (of course Texas is an exception).
After hearing Howie and his followers continue this argument at their sparsely attended rallies even after being trounced, I thought I’d throw out my thoughts on the subject.
First let’s put aside for this argument on whether we are a Christian nation the fact that the 11th article of Treaty Of Tripoli ratified by Congress and signed by President John Adams in 1797 specifically states that the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Secondly let’s put aside the establishment clause for just a moment, though I will get back to it in a minute, which seemingly also contradicts the Christian nation claim when it states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion“. Let us also not mention the fact that the Constitution not once even mentions Christianity which makes one wonder what nation would be founded on a religious foundation and then not mention that foundation anywhere in their most important document?
For this discussion let us instead look at an argument that I rarely come across that concerns the 10 Commandments, you know those 2 tablets sent from God (Mel Brooks intimates that there were actually 15 until Moses dropped one of the tablets but that is from a different version of the history of the world) that contain the basis for much of the so-called Christian morality that Howie et al want our nation to get back to following. Considering the importance of those 10 do’s and do not’s to the faithful especially back in the puritanical days of our nation’s founding, one would have to really wonder why our founders would then turn around and pretty much make any attempt by the government to enforce 4 of those “laws from God” Unconstitutional?
‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’ – Violates the Free Exercise clause of the 1st amendment.
‘You shall not make for yourself a graven image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’ – Also Violates the Free Exercise clause of the 1st amendment.
‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’ – Violates our freedom of speech guaranteed by the first amendment.
‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ – Seems to spit in the face of the establishment clause which would prevent the government from establishing a specific day of religiosity.
Of course this is not proof of the intent of our founders but it is just some more food for thought to consider when the Sarah Palin/Gordon Howie wing of the Republican party trots out their “Christian nation” meme at the next Tea Party rally.
What, did I just say that? Let me explain.
I normally don’t post comments on other blogs especially in our local blogosphere as almost always my Atheism becomes the topic no matter what the subject of the original post might be. For example I might have in the past called into question a particular opinion on heath care or the economy and almost immediately some anonymous commenter will chime in with something like “who cares what you think because you hate Christians”.
Well this weekend I broke my own golden rule when I got into a debate in the comments section of Cory’s Madville Times blog with another local blogger that I normally just ignore. I ignore him mainly because nothing I say would ever convince him of the merits of my position and his idea of debating an issue is to basically call you a poopie head and then wonder aloud how you could be so stupid as to not see how his worldview is the only one there should be. He hurled his standard you are a gay loving, Christian hating, anti-American Liberal Marxist lines at me at every turn and suffice it to say each time I responded he lured me back in with more of the same despite my knowing better. This back and forth again got me to thinking, why do I bother arguing against a religious fundamentalist worldview that has so much going for it?
An Atheist will likely tell you that admitting that they don’t believe in a higher power is not an easy decision. Coming to the conclusion that there is no God immediately removes all the crutches that Religion relies on to get butts in the pews (and dollars in the collection plate) as well as removing the hope of an afterlife that gets some through their sometimes pathetic worldly life. For example, just about everyone fears death. An Atheist knows that once death happens that’s it, while believers are told that as long as you are faithful and follow the rules written by some medieval Jerry Falwell (or is it Fred Phelps?) types a few thousand years ago, you go to some wonderfully magical place to spend an eternity full of joy and love. How could one possibly be against that?
An Atheist knows that if he were to kill someone, he would likely end up in jail for most if not all the rest of his life. A person of faith believes that killing someone could bring them a worldly life in jail followed by an eternity of damnation unless they say they are really truly sorry. The exception of course is if the person murdered is a non-believer which then brings one praise and an eternity with 72 virgins. How can one be against that? Isn’t life in prison and eternal damnation a more effective deterrent? (Maybe we could ask the statistically higher per capita Christian prison population?)
Finally how can one effectively argue against something that allays ones biggest fears in life and explains what we cannot yet explain so simply by just invoking the “God did it” card? Heck we all know the Earth is flat and that Zeus has our backs so why worry!
Again I should have known better, how can you argue against blind faith…
South Carolina is in the heart of the bible belt so news of sex scandals are rare right? Well of course they are as long as you ignore their Governor, Mark Sanford. Oh and then there is their now former State Board of Education Chairwoman.
Kristin Maguire, an Upstate evangelical and one of South Carolina’s most respected social conservatives, has been one of the governor’s closest education policy advisors for years. She’s also Sanford’s appointment to the S.C. Board of Education, which last year elected her its Chairwoman.
What else is she?
The prolific author of hardcore erotic fiction on the Internet, according to documents provided to the governor’s office earlier this summer and later obtained by FITS.
That part of Maguire’s life is now facing intense scrutiny – especially in light of the way Sanford’s office appears to have helped put a lid on the information being leaked about Maguire.
For example, several sources have related to FITS an incident involving Maguire and Scott English at a Columbia area bar at the end of the 2004 legislative session.
“She was giving him a lap dance,” says a witness at the bar. “There’s no other way to describe it.”
Another former Sanford staffer tells FITS that Maguire once unbuttoned her blouse and hiked up her skirt in front of him to show off her see-thru, light blue underwear. This incident allegedly occurred not at a bar, but inside the governor’s office – at the unoccupied desk of First Lady Jenny Sanford, no less.
Now to be fair, FITSNews isn’t known as the most unbiased of sources especially considering their tag line “Unfair. Imbalanced.” and Ms Maguire has not confirmed any of the allegations instead stating that she resigned because of popular dodge the real reason excuse of “Family Reasons“. But to me the real story is how this woman was even put in the position she held in the first place.
Until Maguire’s resignation, the head of the South Carolina Board of Education:
– Thought so much of the state’s school systems that she felt the need to home school her own 4 kids.
– Was a vocal anti-evolutionist
– Supported abstinence only education (interesting position for an alleged erotic fiction author isn’t it?)
So putting aside her as of yet unconfirmed sexual escapades which don’t amount to much anyways (other than the hypocrisy), would anyone other than your garden variety Fundie want this woman making decisions on what is taught to your kids?
It appears that the children of South Carolina will actually benefit from a scandal for once, they aren’t in Texas after all…