Opinions From A Young Progressive, Volume Two

The Christianity Obsessed GOP

During the past week we’ve had two interesting debates. One between the presidential candidates which, while Mitt Romney seemed to win at first, has increasingly shown to give advantage to Obama as the fact checkers destroy Romney’s arguments with the fact that he was blatantly lying. There was also an interesting mock presidential debate between Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart, which you can read my review of here. If you haven’t read last week’s Opinions, you can find that here.

The GOP and conservative right worship Christianity. I don’t mean that they worship Jesus or other aspects of the religion; while I’m sure they do, they also seem to simply worship the institution itself. For example, the GOP platform uses the word God ten times more often than the Democratic platform. The one use of the word “God” in the Democratic platform, in fact, refers to “God-given potential.”

Here’s the GOP platform’s mentions:

 Reaffirm that our rights come from God, are protected by government, and that the only just government is one that truly governs with the consent of the governed.

May God continue to shed his grace on the United States of America.

We offer our Republican vision of a free people using their God-given talents, combined with hard work, self-reliance, ethical conduct, and the pursuit of opportunity, to achieve great things for themselves and the greater community.

We are the party of the Constitution, the solemn compact which confirms our God-given individual rights and assures that all Americans stand equal before the law.

In a free society, the primary role of government is to protect the God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens, including the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We acknowledge, support, and defend the law-abiding citizen’s God-given right of self-defense.

We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge.

In assessing the various sources of potential energy, Republicans advocate an all-of-the-above diversified approach, taking advantage of all our American God-given resources.

Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles.

A young person’s ability to achieve in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, zip code, or economic status.

I’m not even going to begin to address the little things in this that bother me; such as address and zip code being listed as separate things. I guess that’s sort of the way your bedroom is a separate entity from your house?

Four of these mentions of God have something to do with, or directly say, “God-given rights.” What is interesting to me about this is the understanding that we generally call the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution the “Bill of Rights,” and in the entire Constitution there is not one mention of God. The simple fact is that our country was founded in secularism; a truth the religious right refuses to face.

Above they list the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust” as being fought by an activist judiciary. I find that interesting; you would think, then, that the Pledge and that particular motto would have been in place for a long time and reflected the historical values of our country. However, it’s quite the opposite — “In God We Trust” became our motto in 1956 during the “Godless Communism” scare of the time, and the Pledge lacked the “under God” line until 1954. Our original motto, as many know, was E Pluribus Unum, which translates to “Out Of Many, One.”

The first is an example of blind servitude and hardly credits God; Thomas Jefferson said it best, “Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” The second, and original, motto speaks to our heritage as a country of diversity, beauty, and solidarity. The so-called “activist judiciaries’ that are seeking to bring us back to historical precedent have honorable intentions in mind with that wish.

The Constitution has two mentions of religion; paragraph three of Section VI, and the first amendment:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. (Paragraph three, Section VI)


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. (Amendment I)

Of course, neither of these imply any sense of Christianity. In fact, the fact that Congress installed the “In God We Trust” motto can be considered a violation of the first amendment, as it indirectly creates a semi-hostile environment for other religions that don’t believe in a Judeo-Christian God. For example, “In God We Trust” being our national motto has allowed proselytizing Christians to cite it as a justification for hateful rhetoric about religious minorities such is Muslims, Pagans and Sikhs.

The GOP platform has half a page dedicated to the freedom of religion provision in the Constitution. Unfortunately, they show a very biased approach to it.

Jon Stewart said something about this attitude in his debate yesterday with Bill O’Reilly (The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium). He said that Christians think there is this war on Christianity because they aren’t given precedence; they are mistaking a wish for equality as a war on their religion.

That is completely true. All religions in the United States are equal. Yet the GOP platform says this:

The first provision of the First Amendment concerns freedom of religion. That guarantee reflected Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which declared that no one should “suffer on account of his religious opinion or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion….” That assurance has never been more needed than it is today, as liberal elites try to drive religious beliefs—and religious believers—out of the public square. The Founders of the American Republic universally agree that democracy presupposes a moral people and that,in the words of George Washington’s Farewell Address, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

That perfectly illustrates what Stewart meant. The religious right thinks that wanting the Christian God off of money, wanting pledging allegiance to the Christian God out of our Pledge of Allegiance, not teaching creationist theories in schools, or not wanting public prayer or religious symbols are war on religion. They aren’t. They are a war for religious equality among all belief systems in the United States.

Another interesting note on the above excerpt is that they quoted Jefferson and Washington. I’ll quote them, too!

Jefferson:

“Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”

“Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”

“To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise…without plunging into the fathomless abyss of dreams and phantasms. I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.”

“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. 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 blindfolded fear.”

Excerpt from the Treaty of Tripoli, which was drafted under Washington and signed by Adams:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

Not to say that there weren’t Christians among our founders. There were, and they were vital to the formation of our fledgling nation. However, these men were secularists above all and firmly rejected anything even approaching theocracy.

This section of their platform is almost silly:

The most offensive instance of this war on religion has been the current Administration’s attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion.

This shows, clearly and irrevocably, that they are referring to “Christianity” whenever you see the word “religion.” The idea that people are forced to “contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs” with regard to health services, traditional marriage, and abortion is simply silly. If you don’t want to marry a person of the same-sex, don’t marry them! If you think abortion is wrong, don’t get one! However, your religious freedom in no way allows you to push your religious beliefs on the rest of us. The GOP is engaging in a war on religion, as seen above; a political Crusade of sorts. And like the original Crusade, there is no real justification for it. A child could see through this pandering.

With regard to “religious institutions,” well, those institutions are run by people, and you can see the above paragraph for what I believe their opinion is worth with regard to other people’s choices. For the institution itself, I have this question: Can an institution have religious beliefs of its own? I don’t believe it can; the lack of sentience means there is no choice of a religion. An institution is simply made up of people; it does not get personhood in its own right.

Here’s my last excerpt of this idiotic platform for today, and likely the most blind you’ve seen yet:

We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.

Should I even address this? This is the platform of an entire political party! Not some crazy wingnut; the entire party. Whole damn thing. How many threats do they get? “You better legalize gay marriage, or else!” No. Doesn’t happen. Liberal campaigns are usually marked by nonviolence — one of the reasons the conservative right is popularly thinks that we are “weak.” This is a case of projection if I ever saw one. Once again, if you don’t want gay marriage, don’t get married to someone of the same-sex. A federal investigation into the denial of civil rights would likely show that this attitude of the right-wing is exactly what is denying citizens of their rights.

Join me next week as I show why the GOP 47% should switch to blue — or at least away from red — as I explain, without condescension or derision, why the Grand Ol’ Party is no longer what many conservatives think it is.

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