On Monday, September 12, the Huffington Post reported the following…
HOUSE REPUBLICANS SEND THEIR STAFF TO JESUS CAMP ON TAXPAYER’S DIME – Paul Singer: “This spring, four House Republicans used money from their Congressional office accounts to send five staff members to a training seminar run by a conservative Christian group in Indiana that is leading the charge in the state for an amendment to ban gay marriage. The expense, totaling $2,500 for the group, is a perfectly legal use of taxpayer money, but it highlights the broad array of things Members of Congress can pay for out of their office accounts. The payments also underscore the tight web of relationships Members can build with favored causes without violating rules against using taxpayer money to fund political activity.” As a mental exercise, try changing “Republicans” to “Democrats” and “a conservative Christian group in Indiana that is leading the charge in the state for an amendment to ban gay marriage” to “a Muslim community outreach organization.” Then imagine how much more play this article would get. Too bad this article will be forgotten about in a week. Nice work, though!
So what is the problem here? The story itself tells us that the expenditure to send federal employees to a conservative Christian sponsored political seminar on Gay Rights is perfectly “legal.”
The emphasis here is that the group in Indiana is a politically conservative Christian organization fighting against one segment of our community because of their sexual orientation. That would indicate that the anti-gay marriage fight is based on religion.
If the movement is supported as a religious fight against what they believe to be a “sin” in the eyes of the Christian God, or gods, and wholly based on biblical writings, then the anti-gay marriage laws appear to be inserting Christian values into American law, and;
If these biblical values are supported by legislators, state or federal, and are enacted as the law of the land, then it appears that government is making a law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
Therefore, all anti-gay marriage laws should be deemed unconstitutional under the “Establishment Clause” of the First Amendment.
In addition, there are various local, state and federal laws that declare that sexual orientation cannot be used as discrimination in terms of jobs, housing, and education among others. Would an anti-gay marriage law also be in violation of these?
This is the same argument I use concerning anti-women’s rights legislation making the choice of carrying an embryo or a fetus that may be unviable, conceived through rape or incest, or because of the age of the woman, not the choice of the individual(s) but of the state. This too is based on conservative Christian values. Therefore, this is a religious argument thrusted upon the citizenry by the same politically conservative Christians. This could also be declared a direct violation of the First Amendment.
Conservative Christian groups declare such criticism of their political positions in terms of Thomas Jefferson’s “anti-Christian” wall of separation between church and state and, therefore, an attack on Christianity. I can assure my conservative friends and foes alike, it is not.
On the contrary, I believe it is the politically conservative Christian movement is attacking the Constitution of the United States. The only governing document created by the Founders as the only basis of the American government today. A document that makes no mention of God. The single exception is the document was agree to by “Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven.” And even here, this language was very common and typical of the era.
It speaks to religion twice (Article VI and the First Amendment) and in both cases tells the new nation that church and state are separate entities and must remain so.
The Constitution declares that the United States’ government is not based on a religion convenient with God, but based on the laws of man.
It is clear to me that the attacks here are not on Christianity, but on the document that has held this nation together for close to nearly 225 years. It is an attack on those who do not believe as the politically conservative Christian groups believe.
This attack was made clearer to me through a letter I received from Fr. Richard Partika of Duluth, Minn. On the front the envelope is attached a sticker stating “Love your country, but never trust the government” followed “GOD BLESS AMERICAN.” Yes, all in caps.
On July 25, 2011, Fr. Partika wrote in the Duluth News-Tribune, “There are bigots and ignorant groups who’d like to drive all religious influence, especially Christian, out of a voice when it opposes too much of their basely immoral legislative ideas.” He continued;
In reality, evidence in documents, speeches, monuments and inscriptions on government buildings are in harmony with religion, the Declaration and the Constitution.
My response to Fr. Partika can be found at InkandVoice.com/editorials dated also July 25 and was printed in the Duluth paper shortly thereafter.
Though Fr. Partika claims that he was not attacking those that wish to remain a secular and pluralistic nation, he, as do others of his ilk, is and has no other argument than name calling and proving misinform.
In his letter to me received on Monday, I am called a narcissist and a self glorified elitist, and that I am living in a “dense fog.”
The Father states that the “Declaration of Independence ruled out allowing for an official state religion to operate freely.” (Italics added)
Does this mean that there is a clandestine state religion operating in violation to the Constitution? It was not the Declaration of Independence as his letter declared.
His voice was only one of many who refer to the Constitution as “their document” to be maneuvered any way they feel fit, especially when it comes to supporting their conservative Christian beliefs and forcing those beliefs on all of the citizens of the United States.
No, this is no war on Christianity. It is a war on the foundation of the American experiment itself, our Constitution.