The continuing attempt to erode the separation of Church and State by the Republicans in Congress and their ideological attack dogs of religious conservatives should have all Americans worried about their civil liberties and the Constitution which guarantees them. The upcoming â€œJustice Sundayâ€ television diatribe scheduled for April 24th is just the latest and most potent example of how well organized and financially powerful this coalition has become over the last 20 years.
Organizations like the Family Research Council are becoming more confident in their efforts to manipulate elected officials into ignoring the framework of our government and setting aside the rights of all Americans to enshrine the â€œvaluesâ€ of a distinct minority. How do they do it? Well, for starters they lieâ€¦
“As the liberal, anti-Christian dogma of the left has been repudiated in almost every recent election, the courts have become the last great bastion for liberalism,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and organizer of the telecast, wrote in a message on the group’s Web site. “For years activist courts, aided by liberal interest groups like the A.C.L.U., have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary, like thieves in the night, to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedoms.”
First, letâ€™s address the question of religious freedoms. Other than removing the expression of religious preference from State and Federal government buildings (the infamous 10 Commandments battles), how has the A.C.L.U. ever suppressed the right of a private citizen to practice their religion within their private life? For that matter, both houses of Congress still open and close each of their sessions with prayer and all you have to do is listen to the President to understand that both his rights of free speech and his freedom to worship are well protected. There have been no round-ups of church-goers in any state to punish them for openly worshipping in a Christian church. No one has forced a declared Christian to give up their religious choice in favor of any other religion or even atheism. How exactly have the rights and freedoms of individuals been undermined in their private lives?
Now to the point of Christian heritage; it is exactly the religious experience of our founders that led them to separate the government from any religion. The civil wars in Europe brought about by the rise of Protestantism and the historical persecution of the Jews left a very bad impression upon the founding fathers and they sought to spare the US from repeating the mistakes of their European counterparts. Why now should we crumble in the face of evangelical bigotry and destroy one of the greatest safety measures within our governmental framework? Indeed, the courts are the last great bastion of liberalism, as they should be â€“ for they are only accountable to the law. Let me remind you via Merriam Webster: â€œLiberalism, a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.â€
It is not a matter of ensuring the survival of their Christian heritage or preserving their religious freedoms that drive this crowd and their woefully undereducated and bigoted followers. It is all about forcing their views and practices upon others. They are so convinced of their moral superiority that they care nothing for the rights of those who disagree with them and oppose their activities. They have targeted women and gays as â€œevilâ€ and seek to deny them their rights of self-determination and fair representation. This is why, now more than ever, we need to support our Democratic Congress members in opposing the Bush Administrationâ€™s efforts to stack the courts with judges who will disregard the rule of law for their personal beliefs â€“ for the law is all we have left.