What the hell? Government-endorsed religion strikes again.
Image by Taliesin, used with permission.
An illegal turn.
Religion and government
Sharing the same lane.
You might be wondering what has been going on in Congress recently. The US has recently seen a rash of bills that seem to defy constitutional law. The Internet was outraged by SOPA and PIPA, probably because these laws were tough on illegally downloading, but people seem far less outraged by other injustices. Among a variety of potentially objectionable laws, the House passed two bills on Tuesday that would allow government-endorsed religion.
The first of these laws attempts to legitimize the current governmental practice of allowing religious symbols on government war memorials. This bill was introduced by a Republican Representative after a court ruled last year that a cross placed on government-owned land at Mount Soledad was unconstitutional. Not only does this type of law violate separation of church and state, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, this law is unlikely to be applied in a way that is not discriminatory.
What Republican Congressman would be in favor of an Islamic or a Buddhist or an atheist symbol on government land? All such symbols would be equally illegal, but the far-right Republicans seem to ignore illegality when it comes to government-promoted Christianity. Rick Perry, in his brief presidential bid, suggested that President Obama is engaging in a "war on religion" and that there is something wrong with the US if gay people can serve in the military but children can't openly pray in school. Mr. Perry, when you agree to allow open Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, and other prayers in school, the rest of us will believe that you are standing on some type of Constitutional principles, even if they are flimsy at best. Until then, you are just promoting government-sponsored Christianity and for that matter, hate. Very Christian, isn't it? Also very Christian are the threats high school student Jessica Ahlquist has received since winning a lawsuit to remove a Christian prayer from her school's wall. Yes, that is just what God and Jesus love, hate.
The second bill passed by the House would allow Franklin Roosevelt's non-denominational prayer to the nation on D-Day to be installed on the World War II Memorial. The fact that the prayer is non-denominational perhaps makes the potential law less offensive than if the prayer were from a particular denomination, but "less offensive" is not the same as "constitutionally permissible". Again, would anyone be in favor of such prayer if it endorsed a non-Christian religion or anti-religious sentiments? Probably not.
The US has thrived on its tradition of religious diversity. People in the US are free to practice any religion, or best of all, no religion. Allowing the government to impose laws that sponsor only one religion's symbols and prayers is wrong, unconstitutional, and a slippery slope that quickly erodes Americans' freedom. Is anyone else disturbed by recent conservative attempts to sneak religion in the back door of Congress?
Please support Jessica Ahlquist's blog. More people need to be applauded for doing the right thing.
Posted as part of: Recuerda Mi Corazon, Weekend Wander, What the Hell.