Jeremy Leaming of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (which, despite the name, is no longer simply a First Amendment watchdog, but a left-wing political organization that opposes various conservative policies regardless of whether they have anything to do with church-state separation or not) is ready to do battle with Gargantua in the new year:
Lots of those [New Year's] resolutions will likely urge the citizenry to take all sorts of varying actions, such as resolving to stop overeating or watching too much television.
The lists are also frequently laden with triteness.
But not here at AU’s blog. Instead, we’ll urge citizens and our supporters to remain steadfast in supporting church-state separation and fighting the Religious Right’s crazed theocratic ambitions.
Note to AU: referring to the “Religious Right’s crazed theocratic ambitions” is itself the height of triteness.
Some among the cabal of Religious Right rabble-rousers will chafe at such a list and blast Americans United, likely lumping us in with other civil liberties groups whom they claim are actually out to muzzle religious people.
Contending that the public policy positions that many conservative Christians advocate–such as curtailing the abortion license, an issue that has nothing to do with church-state separation–constitute “theocratic ambitions” strongly suggests that AU would like to muzzle them.
The job of Americans United, however, is to protect one of this nation’s greatest gifts to mankind: freedom of conscience. The First Amendment is intended to safeguard the right to believe and practice any religion or not follow any faith at all. Yes, that’s right — in this country, we not only have the freedom to practice any faith we want but also to be free from professing any religion.
Gee, I didn’t know that. I though it was against the law to be an atheist in America. It isn’t? Well, surely some significant polit ical figure must be advocating that it be. They aren’t? Well what’s the great revelation here then? Oh, there isn’t one.
So, in the New Year, we should be resolved to take a number of actions.
Let’s remained committed to scuttling the efforts of our would-be theocratic brethren to push public policy infused with religion at all levels of government.
Note than Leaming doesn’t say the policies advocated by conservative Christians should be opposed. He says the advocacy should be “scuttled.” Once again, sounds like muzzling to me.
Yes, it’s tiresome. But in the 21st century, we are still confronted with forces that want to re-define science to include study of the supernatural and force public schools across the nation to teach creationism or its latest variant, “intelligent design.”
Intelligent design isn’t “creationism,” but then grasp of the facts in this area isn’t an AU strong suit.
The creationists and their supporters will continue to push the shopworn argument that evolution is controversial among scientists and that academic freedom requires teaching religious concepts alongside standard science. This is part of a broader campaign to turn our public schools into indoctrination centers that promote fundamentalism. Be resolved to confront these arguments and battle them.
Our public school must remain pristine as indoctrination centers for secularism! How dare you challenge our anti-religious monopoly!
There also will be attempts to push “family values” policies. Those policies, in truth, are anything but pro-family.
Why a church-state separation watchdog is even commenting on this is addressed in the first paragraph.
Remember, these so-called family values are based on creating a fundamentalist nanny-state of sorts.
The Religious Right wants the government to tell gays and women how to live their lives.
Actually, they mostly want to protect unborn children and traditional marriage (the latter of which most gays aren’t interested in anyway).
These forces also want to tell everyone else what movies, plays and books we should and should not see and read. If Religious Right activists were to have their way, much more than Harry Potter books and movies would be a no-no. We must resolve to fight efforts that undercut individual freedom and equal rights for all Americans.
At this point Leaming simply slops over into religious bigotry. Are there nuts who would like to see the government, or other public institutions such as colleges, censor books and movies? Certainly there are, and a lot of them are on the political left. Do most conservative Christians want to do that? Of course not, and Leaming hasn’t got a shred of evidence that they do.
And in a presidential election year, we must also be resolved to speak out against the injudicious injection of religion into American politics.
Unless it’s done by Barack Obama and/or the United Church of Christ (which just happens to be the source of AU head Barry Lynn’s ordination). In which case, carry on.