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Faults of the Constitution – Freedom of Religion
**Separation of Church and State
[ Nanook is talking with Father Vincent – LIARS! Vol. 2 Escape to Insanity Ch. 10 – teaching version ]
Governments with multiple religions
“But the whole question changes when we consider a government that has multiple religions under its roof.”
"Sure. When we’re talking about religions fighting among themselves, we have to depend on powers stronger than the religions to keep them under control.”
"You mean like God himself?”
I broke into a quiet smirk.
"Yeah, SURE! I can just see it now . . . God is sitting up there with all the holy books from all the religions spread out on a big table. He, OF COURSE, inspired ALL of the books. At least, that’s what all the books say. So, what is the expression on His face? Is he smirking - because he’s told each of the religions to kill each other and he’s placing bets on who’s going to win?
I just don’t get it. NO. I’m not talking about God. I’m talking about the governments. This is where we have to fall back on the notion of the separation of church and state.”
"You do realize that the concept of separation of church and state is a big LIE, right?”
"NOOOO! I don’t know that!”
No huh? Well, it’s time for you to get more critical again about what you’ve been told. First let’s look at Western society. Even though Jesus preached that God’s kingdom was not of this world, that Christians were supposed to render unto Caesar the things that were Caesar’s, early Christianity totally ignored that. They maneuvered themselves into positions of power. Then, through a stroke of luck, which of course they ascribed to divine intervention, they got the Emperor of the entire western world to make Christianity the state religion. That made Christianity the major religion of the Western world. So, Christian religions, beginning with the Catholic Church, have been linked to government rule in western society throughout western history. Just think about your studies of the medieval Church. What countries were dominated by the Inquisition?
"Oh yeah. Spain, France, Germany, Poland, England . . . . OK. OK.”
Infusion into U.S. law
"Now, let’s talk about the good old U.S. of A. A principle, called Separation of Church and State appears reasonable to the average U.S. citizen. But that’s because most people in the U.S. always were and still are Judeo-Christian. Remember the statistics I gave you. This number is still about 78.3% today. The laws of our country were set up by people who’s moral behavior was Judeo-Christian. As such, the mark of religion is everywhere.
Violations to the religious clause
National celebrations for Christmas, Easter, Lent, Thanksgiving, ‘In God We Trust’ on our money, prayer to open the sessions of Congress, ‘One Nation UNDER GOD’ in the pledge of allegiance required in all public schools, prayer in schools, ‘Acts of God’ listed in almost every legal contract, the 10 Commandments posted in government buildings, swearing on the Bible in every courtroom, dress codes for ALL citizens based on ‘Christian morals’. Should I go on?”
"OK. OK. You’ve made your point. “
US Constitution – Bill of rights – first amendment
“Not so quick. This is a very big issue. People can pretend to agree with a principle of church-state separation because their religious values and government policies are very compatible. But if other religions asked for their practices to be respected by the law, there would be huge resistance.
The issue of church-state separation was extremely important at the time the country was founded. Thomas Jefferson even once stated that the two most important issues of the constitution were freedom and the separation of church and state. This resulted in it’s inclusion as the first amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights. Let me read this verbatim:
- “Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
- I’m sure you’ve read this and heard it quoted a lot. Based on all the things I just listed, how would you respond to this now?”
"Simple. We surely aren’t living up to the Constitution. I think I also understand your point better that the people in this country are into denial in a big way. They are being fooled by hidden assumptions they carry around with them. Since Christianity is so prominent in the U.S., people just assume it is OUR WAY OF LIFE, and not a religion. But if you look around, you see that there are a lot of other religions here as well. People just want to ignore that.”
“Let me read something I read during an earlier discussion because it is directly applicable here as well. Victor Stenger, page 200.”
- “One of the prevailing myths in modern America is that the nation was founded on "Christian principles." However, the United States Constitution is a secular document that contains no reference to God, Jesus, Christianity, salvation, or any other religious teaching. Most of the early presidents were not fervent Christians and based their commitments to freedom, democracy, and justice on Enlightenment philosophy rather than biblical sources.
- We often hear, especially from American politicians, that our legal system is founded on the Ten Commandments. Attempts have been made to display the Ten Commandments in public facilities such as courthouses, which the courts have so far disallowed. But we need to read what the commandments actually say. Since there are several versions, let me present a simplified wording with religious language omitted:
- The Ten Commandments
- 1. Have no other gods before me.
- 2. Make no images of anything in heaven, Earth, or the sea, and do not worship or labor for them.
- 3. Do not use the name of your God in vain.
- 4. Do no work on the Sabbath.
- 5. Honor your parents.
- 6. Do not kill.
- 7. Do not commit adultery.
- 8. Do not steal.
- 9. Do not give false testimony against another.
- 10. Do not desire another's wife or anything that belongs to another.
- Only commandments 6, 8, and 9 (the numbering is different for Catholics and Protestants) can be found in the laws of any modern nation. Killing, stealing, and perjury are illegal - except when done by the government. While adultery is normally considered immoral, it is not generally illegal.”
Intrusion of religion into power positions
“Now, if separation of church and state is right in the Constitution, don’t you think the Constitution should also have protections to make sure religious people don’t hold positions of power in the government?”
"Well that seems obvious.”
"Well it may seem obvious, but the law doesn’t actually do anything about it. In fact, religious people hide behind the employment laws that say you can’t discriminate in hiring on the grounds of religion to get into high places in government.”
"Like what? Do you mean like senators and congressmen?”
"Sure. There is nothing that prevents a priest from getting elected to congress. But I’m talking about much more powerful positions. I’m talking about the President of the United States or the judges on the Supreme Court.”
"This is a real problem, isn’t it?”
"Yes. A very big problem. Even though we might not want to discriminate based on religion, as a minimum, there should be some test, under oath, where a candidate for President or the Supreme Court, or a cabinet minister or agency head states that they will not base any decisions on the beliefs of a particular religion.”
"Do you think such a high ranking person would actually make a decision like that?”
"Unfortunately, it happens all the time. That’s the scary part. One Supreme Court Judge quoted the following Bible verse in one of his decisions.”
- “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:1-5, King James Version)”
"And then, he declared: ‘Government - however you want to limit that concept - DERIVES ITS MORAL AUTHORITY FROM GOD."
"Somehow, that seems to ignore the whole basis of the U.S. rejecting the concept of having a king in our country - because of the divine right of kings.”
"Precisely! In fact, it goes directly against the opening words of the Declaration of Independence. Here, let me read them.”
- “ We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, DERIVING THEIR JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. . .”
"So, how this Judge, who’s primary role is interpreting the Constitution wasn’t impeached immediately, I have no clue. The same Judge said the following: ‘It [government] is the 'minister of God' with powers to 'revenge' and to 'execute wrath: including even wrath by the sword.’ ”
"By which ‘revenge’ and ‘execute wrath . . by the sword’ I assume he meant military.”
“Military power would make sense for the government if it didn’t include the reference to God. With that reference, it makes war a jihad - a holy war. That’s totally unacceptable for the U.S. But in this case, he wasn’t talking about war. He used this statement in a seminar titled ‘A call for reckoning: Religion and the death penalty.’ He was trying to make a case that the death penalty is ‘morally acceptable’. And he followed those words with these from St. Paul.”
- “ ‘Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, for it is written vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.’ And in this world, in Paul’s world, the Lord did justice THROUGH HIS MINISTER, THE STATE.”
"As I said, I think this is a big problem.”
Challenges to Christian dominance
“Precisely! And it ought to be stopped. But the foxes are in control of the hen house. There is, however, some light at the end of the tunnel.”
"Why do you say that?”
“Simple: two factors. First, the world is getting smaller. People are traveling more and bringing back more ideas. Second, technology is changing in ways that challenge existing beliefs.
Infusion of external ideas
Let me give you an example of reason one. How about the Beatles?”
"You really mean that, right? The rock group?”
"Precisely! The Beatles have been a major influence. Their trips to India and the mixing of the music and principles of Hindi with rock music has brought eastern religious concepts into the minds of the younger generation. And while this has caused a strong backlash in the older generations, they have had to find out what all this ‘EASTERN’ stuff is, just to logically refute questions poked at them. The Korean war brought back a lot of Korean refugees. They brought their religious ideas with them. The migrations into the U.S. by the Japanese brought their ideas with them. Now we are starting to see a migration from Vietnam. Again, very different philosophies. And all you have to do is walk in the shoes of an atheist, Buddhist, Hindu or native American citizen and the conflict is as plain as the nose on your face.
Importance of technology
The second reason is technology. And in this case, it’s primarily the invention of birth control. I know you don’t have much background to understand this, but it’s going to turn our country on its head. Once women have the ability to control the number of children they have, they will enter the workforce in droves. That will give them financial independence. They will then challenge all the Christian notions about the secondary place of women in society. You do recognize that, don’t you? That is, that women are considered second rate?”
"Well, not exactly in those terms. But I do understand that according to the Church, women are supposed to obey their husbands.”
"Exactly, for starters. Do you remember that women only got the right to vote in the U.S. in 1920?”
"Well, I didn’t remember the year. But I knew it was only in this century.”
"And, have you heard of the ‘Roaring 20’s?”
"Sure. But I never thought that there was any connection.”
"As more people from other countries come into the U.S. and bring their religious beliefs with them, they will demand respect for their beliefs. The atheists will jump in to support this. The U.S. public and the government will initially go into denial. They will deny that there is any bias. But that will be attacked until the denial of the existing establishment is undeniable. Then things will start getting rough.”
"By rough, do you mean, like bloodshed?”
"Unfortunately, yes. The ability to control birth with medications will open up the issue of abortion. The Christian extremists will go ape and start killing ‘heretics’. The Christian moderates, as I’ve explained, will cover for them.”
"Now hang on! Are you saying, you believe Christians would actually KILL other people over abortion?”
"No doubt about it. I think you are going into denial yourself right now about the history of Christianity. You do remember the Crusades, don’t you?”
"Sure. We had to take Jerusalem back from the Arabs.”
"Wait a minute. So, where’s this issue called ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill?’, ‘Turn the other cheek’, ‘Render Unto Caesar”, or in this case, render unto the Arabs?”
"OK. OK. I know all that. But we have to put our foot down somewhere!”
"We do? Where does it say that in the Bible?”
"OK. OK. I can feel Ben standing next to me ready to stuff boots in my mouth. I want to reply ‘all over the Old Testament’, but then we can’t get away with saying that Christianity is based only on the New Testament. I’m so confused.”
"Nanook. Please. Don’t think I’m attacking you. I’m not. And, as much as I keep telling you these things, in the end, honestly, I’m just as confused as you are. Trust me on that. I’m just able to list a few more confusing facts than you know. When it comes to the answers, I think we are both in the same boat.”
"Thanks for saying that Father. I need to be reassured now and then. So, do you expect any other confrontations beside the abortion issue?”
"Sure, lots of them. And they will all come about in waves as new religious incursions come into our country and new technologies are developed. We are right on the verge of a revolution in human genetics because the basic double helix structure of DNA has been understood. This will allow us to change the basic properties of human beings.”
"But won’t that be good? I mean, you’re saying we will be able to do things like make people immune to cancer, and things like that?”
"Correct! But, what if science even mentions the ability to make people immortal, the Christian world will explode. Even now, evolution is driving religion into a corner. They are depending on the religious moderates and closet Christians in Congress to shield them.”
"How do you mean, shield them?”
"Well, on what grounds can Christians demand that Genesis be taught in the schools?”
"I read something about that in a Catholic magazine. I think it said that Evolution is still only a theory. So, Genesis should also be taught as a theory. That sounds logical to me. No?”
"OK. Fair enough. How about the Eskimo theory of the origin of man?”
"Hmmm… Hmmmmmm . . . Well, I guess we should teach that too, then.”
"OK. What about the Buddhist theory? What about the American Indian Theory? What about Babylonian theory?”
"OK. Ok. I see where you’re going. If we let the Bible in as a reference, then we have to let in ALL the Bibles. This of course would open the flood gates for the teaching of comparative religions, which I’m sure the Christians surely do not want.”
"Precisely! So, it once again comes down to a power game. And the American citizen is once again a pawn in the game.”
"So, we’re back to the original question. What is keeping the religions under control?”