Despite the Founders best efforts and the devotion of countless citizens to the masterwork of the framers, namely, the U. S. Constitution, this country has become a de facto theocracy. Maybe not to the extent of Islamic theocracies or even the Israeli theocracy, but definitely a theocracy. The Merriam-Webster definition of theocracy is quite simple – a theocracy is “a government of a state by immediate divine guidance.”
“In God We Trust,” anyone? “One nation, under God?” These signature phrases on our currency and in the now-religious Pledge of Allegiance belie assertions that America is a secular Republic.
Anyone who follows struggles to protect the First Amendment and keep separate church and state in such tireless work done by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the ACLU, Americans United for Separation, Free Inquiry, the Secular Coalition and other such groups knows there is at least as much support for theocracy today as there was for slavery in 1860. Then as now, America is at odds with its own Constitution and professed secular allegiance.
If you doubt this, consider the documented instances of aggressive Christian nationalism in the Congress, in state and local governments and in national ceremonies, including taking of oaths and rituals such as the inaugurations of our presidents. God may not exist, but he/she/it seems to be everywhere in government, just the same.
Christian nationalists want their god in science classes in public schools, their lovely symbols (particularly the beloved execution symbol) on water towers, prayers at city council meetings, commandments and nativity scenes on courthouse and other public grounds and so on ad sickenitum. (Yes, that’s a neologism.)
At times, it seems things can’t get any worse as we drift toward holy rollerdom. The only saving grace factor is that it’s all mostly ceremonial – I suspect that most public officials do it to gain favor with the faithful, who themselves have been frightened into religious conformity by the fearsome visions of eternal torture implanted during their formative years.
It’s a giant scam of superstitious bullshit.
It just got worse – and the prospects for further descents into theocratic abuse are excellent.
I refer to the fact that Congress voted overwhelmingly (354 to 72) to fund the rebuilding of churches damaged by Hurricane Sandy, thereby requiring freethinkers who don’t believe in any gods to pay for the support of religions. The Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 592) should be ruled unconstitutional, but don’t hold your breath. It directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for reconstruction and repair of “houses of worship” damaged by the hurricane.
One of the leading secular groups that has long been at the forefront of resistance to church/state entanglements is Americans United for Separation. An article at the AU website describes the irrationality and illegality of this Congressional action. (See Joseph L. Cona’s essay in “Wall of Separation” at the Americans United for Separation of Church and State website entitled “FEMA Funds For Fred Phelps?: U.S. House Sets Bad Precedent On Funding Religion,” Feb 22, 2013.)
This is just the latest big-time violation of the Constitution. This act is appropriate for a theocracy, but not a secular Republic.
One not-so obvious problem with being a de facto theocracy is that laws do not apply to religions that govern everyone else. How can this be considered fair or acceptable to the non-religious citizenry who do not believe in or want any part of religions? It’s a great injustice.
Society is rent with examples of theocratic favoritism of religion over secular. An example is contraceptive coverage for employees. It’s required, unless your company is a religious organization, in which case your dogmas trump the standards expected of everyone else.
The god-people call this “religious freedom.” I call it theocracy.
Religious organizations are allowed to discriminate (they can hire only adherents of their medieval belief systems). If secular groups do so, charges can and will be brought.
When FEMA distributes taxpayer funds to rebuild churches, there will be less monies for everyone else.
Will government play favorites when it comes to religion? If it funds Catholics and Methodists, will it have to give similar amounts to Baptists, Jews, Islamists, Scientologists and Pastafarians? Who will referee such conflicts?
As FFRF often reminds us, “There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
To that they might add, “and ruins an otherwise secular Republic founded on a godless Constitution that separates church and state.”
Be well – and keep up the fight against American theocracy.