Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Where Is Religious Freedom?

Two interesting but completely unrelated stories struck my attention recently. I think these two articles serve as an interesting juxtaposition to illustrate the attitudes that we have about religion and the State in this country.

Lawmaker intends to take oath of office on Quran

War Widow Dedicates Wiccan Plaque Symbol

Now, technically, we are supposed to be a country of religious freedom where all people are free to worship, or not worship, as they please. Yet… In the first article, we have a pundit expressing outrage that a government official is taking his oath of office on a politically incorrect holy book.

The Minnesota Democrat's decision is stirring a debate among academicians and conservatives, with some saying it's appropriate to take an oath of office only on the Bible.

"Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath," radio talk-show host and author Dennis Prager wrote in a column this week. He said American Jews routinely had taken their oaths on the Bible, even though they didn't believe in the New Testament, and that if Ellison refused to do so, "don't serve in Congress."
Ahh, yes! It’s the whole “America is a Christian Nation” mythology. And it figures it’s a Conservative doing the whining. Never mind the fact that the Constitution states very clearly that there “shall be no religious tests for public office”. Never mind the Treaty of Tripoli of 1789 states that the government of the United States is in no sense established upon the Christian religion (article 11). Never mind that the voters in this Congressman’s district freely chose to elect him to represent him. No…. America is for Christians only!! Convert or leave!!!

Set aside, for a moment, that all politicians violate the pledge they take upon these holy scriptures 5-minutes after they utter their oaths, but hey…. If this guy is Muslim, then what value would it have for him to swear upon a Christian bible that means little to him? At least this guy is making a better show that the oath he plans to violate means something to him.

In the second article… We have the U.S. government actively working to suppress the religious identity of one of its cannon fodder. A soldier gives his life in the pursuit of a political pipe-dream, and the government throws an additional slap in the face to him and his family by refusing to acknowledging his spirituality. Well, he served his purpose to the war machine, so why bother, right? He should just be lucky to get a flag draped coffin…which of course, GW Bush would rather we didn’t look at.

Of course, the funny thing is, if you listen to myopic Conservatives like Speedothebrief over at the Conservatorium of Collectivism , who routinely blogs about the government conspiracy to squash Christianity, you’d think that our right-wing friends would grasp that Big Government is a threat to EVERYONE’S religious beliefs. Instead, they worry about how to maintain Christian hegemony over society, and keeping competing religious under the boot of the State. Well, no one ever accused of Conservatives of being rational, nor principled.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really loved reading about the Wiccan symbol. The article is Dayton's paper is impressive. Us Wiccans usually get overlooked for the most part. Thank you for including us in your blog. What a wonderful memorial. :)

4:53 PM  
Blogger doinkicarus said...

RE: M. Prager's position ---

By that logic, the only guaranteed outcome, is that those who are willing to sell-out their faith, will swear an oath on the office. We can be certain that, those who are willing to pull a "Judas," if elected/appointed, will, in fact, pull a "Judas."

Merely taking an oath is no guarantee of any constructive adherence to the faith thereto attached or otherwise associated.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Jim Lorenz, Senior Editor said...

The Constitution only requires an oath or affirmation to support, defend, enforce it. It makes no demand for any stage props; therefore what is not required is forbidden. Result? The only proper 'book' must be the text of the Constituion itself, and that must only be the elements that have have been properly ratified per Article V. Many Constitutional scholars do not consider the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th 'amendments' as properly ratified. The 13th thru the 15th were imposed on the States that had attempted to secede, while under martial law and military occupation. There is valid evidence of fraud in the fact of the 'announced,' or 'declared as ratified,' in both the 16th and the 17th 'amendments.'
Deceased service members should have any religious, or non-religious symbol placed on their graves, if in government cemetaries, at their, or their survivor's expense. If no funds or pre-arrangements are made, the government should provide a secular marker with no religious distinction, pro or con, whatever. Private burials and markers are at the discretion of the decedent by a will, or at the discretion of the survivors and heirs. they may also request the Government Issue marker be delivered if funds are limited.
These provisions are safely within the First Article of Amendment, commonly called the Bill of Rights; and the requirement for oaths or affirmations upon taking office; and should not offend any person of any faith, or of no supernatural leanings at all.

1:53 AM  

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