American Theocracy Here We Come?

Missouri Resolution lll-Willed, Intimidating, and Ignorant

Statement by Annie Laurie Gaylor
Foundation Co-President

There is a chilling echo in Missouri of the fanaticism of the mullahs calling to execute a man for converting from Islam to Christianity.

When it appeared the heresy trial this week might be suspended, moderate” cleric Abdul Raoulf demanded: “Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die.”

An ignorant, ill-willed and intimidating resolution endorsing Christianity as a state religion, recently approved by the Missouri House Rules Committee, shows the willingness of some American religious extremists to embrace theocracy.

Introduced by State Rep. David Sater, R-Cassville, House Concurrent Resolution 13 falsely claims that U.S. founders “recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation.”

The resolution ominously states that elected officials should “protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs.” In a self-contradictory afterthought, it adds that officials should show “respect for those who object.”

The House, it resolves, stands “with the majority of our constituents and exercise(s) the common sense that voluntary prayer in public schools and religious displays on public property are not a coalition of church and state, but rather the justified recognition of the positive role that Christianity has played in this great nation of ours.”

(Never mind that private “voluntary prayer” has never been found unconstitutional–only vocal prayer sanctioned, scheduled, and hosted by public schools, and imposed on a captive audience of schoolchildren as part of school events.)

Although not carrying the weight of law, this proposed resolution does carry a message of intimidation.

Hasn’t Rep. Sater read the Constitution he took an oath to uphold? The U.S. Constitution is godless. Far from “recognizing a Christian God,” it refers to no god at all, because our founders wisely claimed no pipeline from a divinity, instead placing sovereignty in “We, the People.” Constitutional references to religion are exclusionary, such as that there can be no religious test for public office. Our Bill of Rights protects individual liberty from majority tyranny.

Unlike Islamic theocracies, we don’t have state religions in the United States. If the “right” religion is determined by the majority, the Missouri legislature, in order to “stand with the majority of our Constituents,” ought not stop at recognizing the “Christian God.” It should endorse the one worshipped by the most Missourians, the Southern Baptist deity! (Tough luck for Missouri Roman Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, American Baptists, atheists, agnostics, Jews and Muslims–you’re outnumbered.)

Founding father Thomas Paine, a Deist who ardently rejected Christianity, very truly observed in The Rights of Man:

“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but is always the strongly marked feature of all law-religions, or religions established by law.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is a national association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics) that has been working since 1978 to keep church and state separate.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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