Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cross Purposes

Via TPM:

The poll by the Democratic-leaning firm found that 57 percent of Republicans “support establishing Christianity as the national religion” while 30 percent are opposed. Another 13 percent said they were not sure.

It almost goes without saying that the Establishment Clause of the Constitution prohibits establishing of a national religion.

The poll was conducted among 316 Republicans from Feb. 20-22. The margin of error was plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.

For the sake of argument, let’s say that somehow the GOP is able to wiggle around the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and get Christianity designated as the “national religion.”  What exactly would it mean?  Would Christians be favored over people of other faiths to run for office, say for president?  Well, so far we’ve already had forty-four presidents and they have all been, in some fashion, Christians.  So that’s covered.  Would Christians get special dispensation from paying taxes on their religious sites and places of worship?  Seems we’ve got that covered already; churches don’t pay taxes.  But then again, neither do mosques, synagogues, or Quaker meeting houses, so maybe the Christians want those other faiths to cough up.  Would Christians get their holidays designated as federal holidays?  Okay, but try getting a passport or buying a stamp at the Post Office on December 25.  Easter, which is a Christian holiday, is always on a Sunday, but a lot of states and municipalities still have blue laws that prohibit doing business on the Christian Sabbath, holiday or not.  Friday and Saturday, which are the Muslim and Jewish days of rest respectively, don’t get that special treatment.  So it looks like the Christians already have their faith in place as the national religion, official or otherwise.

There’s an even more fundamental question, so to speak: which version of Christianity would get the designation as the “national religion”?  There’s an endless number of varieties within the faith, and varieties within the varieties: Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Coptic, Episcopal, Anglican, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Quaker, Unitarian, Brethren, and so on and so forth.  Each claims to be the true Christian church.  What would set one as the official one?  Or would they all be?  Who would decide?  Would there be a Department of Christianity that would oversee the functions of the national religion?  Would it oversee the implementation of laws that meet Christian standards much in the way that other theocracies like Iran or ISIS have a ministry that oversees sharia law?  Now there’s a good example to follow.

Or would the designation of Christianity as the national religion be something done just to go through the motions, a resolution passed by Congress with as much intent and enforcement as the designation of National Pickle Week?  That would be a slap to the faith; Christians expect something more from their government than just a scroll and a shout-out from the well of Congress.

It’s an interesting experiment to think what this country would be like if Christianity was the national religion, but in many ways it already is.  What’s a bit more ridiculous is that people who belong to the party that claims to be for freedom and smaller government think that it would be a good idea if we were to impose upon the country the one thing that has proved over time to be the very antithesis of both freedom and democracy: the Christian faith.  They really don’t seem to think these things through.

6 barks and woofs on “Cross Purposes

  1. Moreover, this country was begun by people escaping oppression by defenders of the national religion in England. That was the point of our establishment clause. And speaking of defenders of the “true” religion, Mary Stuart (Bloody Mary) and her husband Philip II of Spain made the current Islamic fundamentalist look like pikers as they burned English and Dutch Protestants in a bloody attempt to establish Catholicism as the only religion. Hundreds died in auto da fe.

    • One wonders exactly what “Christianity” the GOTea would advocate supporting. There are many denominations. And the history of Christianity is rife with nations adopting one specific sect rather than Christianity as a whole. The Wars of the Reformation were largely fought over fine points of belief: the number and nature of the sacraments, the requirement for works as well as faith for salvation, Papal Infallibility, the sale of Indulgences, etc. For the GOTea to advocate “Christianity” as the national religion, they would necessarily have to select one denomination as primary. And assuming all this is navigable, there is a substantial segment of the population that defines Christianity itself in exceedingly narrow terms, and refuses point-blank to recognize the other faiths as kindred: assuming that the movers of this particular effort are among them, that would result in instant outrage from every Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist – and not a few Baptists (not all of whom by any measure adhere to the SBC’s radically conservatist views). In short, despite the general observance of universal Christian values, holy days and other agreed conventions, this effort is a recipe for failure – and potentially bloody, catastrophic failure on a scale not seen since 1648.

  2. These are the same ruthless ideologues who are all cozy with the Israelis for the sole purpose of preparing for The Rapture. The billions of people who will perish (including millions of Israeli Jews) are just sacrificial pawns to ensure the “true” Christians are redeemed. They are a despicable lot.

  3. There is only one true religion and that is protestant.
    And among the protestants there is only one demonination,
    Myomination. And among Myomintion there is only one church
    Myurch. And I am not too sure about the brothers and sisters
    of Myurch. Except for me of course.

  4. As long as we still have the 2nd Amendment it’s all good. That’s the really important one. That’s why they put it second.

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