Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Church And State, Together At Last!

The Supreme Court just took a big step in the direction of rejoining church and state, backtracking on one of the main reasons that the United States was founded in the first place.  Recall that the union of church and state in the old European countries and empires was generally accompanied by inequality, persecution, war and torture. 

Most interesting of all is that this travesty was accomplished in major part by Catholic members of the court.  The idea of separating church and state in the first place was intended to protect unpopular minority religions, like Catholicism, from the other Christians.  In many of the original 13 colonies it was specifically prohibited that Catholics should hold any public office at all.  Ben Franklin and the boys knew that that shit had to go.

I delight in explaining to my Thai students that although the 13 colonies may have been made up almost entirely of Christians, there were many varieties of Christians and the didn't much care for each other.  They didn't trust each other, and they outlawed each other if they could.  Many people subscribed to dissenter religions, like the Huguenots from France, or the Methodists and Presbyterians from England.  Then there were the Baptists and the Puritans, true English weirdos, not to mention the Mennonites and the Amish from Germany, that's some outsider stuff right there.  And don't even talk about the Quakers, they are outsiders to this day, big time.  

And there were Jews, a few in New York anyway, and no doubt a dozen or so Muslims and one or two Buddhists.  Each of the colonies had a different idea of religious tolerance, and the resulting religious intolerance was a bad idea whose time had obviously passed.  So there was the "separation of church and state."  Let the state be the state, and let religion be religion, the founders knew that they had no business in the same bed together. 

But our Supreme Court has decided that it's time to change all of that.  This is the Twenty-First-Century!  Racial discrimination is a thing of the past!  Fuck it, let's allow government to engage in the practice of religion too!  As long as it's Christianity anyway. They have just decided that it is okay for governmental bodies to open their meetings with Christian prayers. 

And what ever happened to "freedom from religion?"  Some of us would rather be left out of the whole stupid argument over which God is God.  Can we at least agree that if there is a God, it's God, call It what you will, and it's all well and good, congratulations, you're God, and thanks for everything.  Do I no longer have the right to be protected from the various, conflicting revealed documents of faith?  Let my fixed smile and slightly tensed jaw be your answer.

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