Sunday, January 16, 2005

Today's Sermon: Safe Sects?

Throughout my lifetime, I naively believed that members of mainstream religious bodies would always stop short of blatantly destroying the line between church and state; after all, they would have to accept all religious observances (even the ones they abhor) in public venues, wouldn't they?

Did you notice the use of the definitive past tense in my opening paragraph?

I believed.

County's 'approved religions' for official prayer: dangerous and wrong

Inside the First Amendment

By Charles Haynes
First Amendment Center senior scholar

Only “approved religions” get to offer an invocation before the Board of Supervisors in Chesterfield County, Va. Pray to one God and you’re in; pray to many Gods and you’re off the list.

That whirling sound you hear is Thomas Jefferson and James Madison spinning in their graves.

It was Jefferson, you will recall, who wrote the law that disestablished religion in Virginia more than 200 years ago. And it was Madison who got it passed. Their lofty aim? End the entanglement of church and state, a leading cause of repression and coercion throughout human history.

Officials in Chesterfield County still don’t get it. So a few weeks ago a priestess of the Wiccan religion took them to court, challenging the “prayer policy” as a violation of religious freedom. It seems that the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors has decreed that “Judeo-Christian” prayers are constitutional – apparently because they are part of something called “American civil religion.” And since they worship one God, Muslims have been added to the list. Other faiths with deities that don’t pass muster – including Wiccans, Hindus and Buddhists – need not apply.

This absurd fight over “official prayers” would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous. As Jefferson and Madison knew well, once you give government the power to decide which religions are favored and which are not, conflict is inevitable. LINK

Frightened yet?

You should be.

That article was written in 2003.


A Good Jeffersonian Is Hard To Find!

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical.”

Thomas Jefferson
(Famous Radical Writer)

Thus Endeth Today's Sermon.

Go Forth And Practice Tolerance Acceptance.

And I mean it, damn it!


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