[By Ron Williams, former attorney, Texas native, patriot and a frequent contributor to free press expression and open forum debates of note.]
Tea Party candidate for Connecticut Senate, Christine O’Donnell, recently stated in her debate with fellow candidate Chris Coons that the Constitution, as written, provides that the government shall not interfere with the establishment or operation of the church, but that there is no prohibition against the church being involved in the operation of the state. This is a most interesting interpretation of the Constitution.
This is an interpretation you hear many right wing conservatives espouse when they attempt to get government to somehow sponsor a church event or have the government provide money to support some church organized activity. The most common of these activities is probably getting the government to pay for private church operated schools.
Some conservatives espouse in the opinion that the government should be operated on strict principles of Christianity. After all, they argue that this government was formed on the principles of Christianity, so why should its daily operation not be based on those Christian principles?
There is a name for democratic governments, where religious principles dominate. They are called theocracies. One example of a religious-based “theocracy” is Iran. So if taken who its logical conclusion, as in Iran, the President of the United States, Congress and the Courts would all look to the pronouncements of a religious leader in interpreting the Constitution and in the implementation of any law.
If you are okay with that proposition, we then come to the next question. Christian beliefs will dominate government actions. Now, which version of Christianity will that be? Will it be the Mormons, so we can look to Utah for government principles? What about the Catholic Church. Catholics certainly are certainly Christians. That means we would look to the Pope for the operation of the American government is interesting that even in Italy, with all of its Catholics, the Pope still does not run the Italian government, But it seems that this would be okay with our conservative right wing brethren. If not Catholics, which branch of Gentile Christianity gets to call the shots?
Of course, I believe that when the right wing conservatives talk about applying Christian principles to the American government, what they really mean on their Christian principles. They believe that they get to decide what the rules are, what the laws are and how the government should operate.
One example of this might be the issue of abortion. One of the great tenets of the right wing movement is to be use the size and influence of government. They want to get government out of their lives. Whether or not to have an abortion is one of the most intimate and difficult decisions a woman can make. Then they would turn around and take the most intimate decision away from women. Right wing conservative would use the government to interfere in the intimate private lives of women. Explain to me how that is getting the government out of American citizen’s lives?
So what we come to, I believe, is that the people who call for the integration of church and state don’t really believe in democracy at all. They believe in a government run on their principles regardless of the feelings, beliefs, attitudes and opinions of other citizens.
And that is what is scary. A group of people who call themselves patriots who in fact are doing everything they can to destroy our current democracy. I believe we have to be careful of groups like this. What happened in Mussolini’s Italy and 1930’s Germany. You get some group who come into power via a democratic election, only to run the government based on their narrow political agenda. Real democracy is kicked to the curb. All the citizens then are required to follow the dictates of this new moral majority that control the government.
As a side note, notice how right wing Christians seem to cluster themselves around our military academies. Also, we should take note of the investigation surrounding the command structure at the Air Force Academy which has been investigated for proselytizing the Academy’s cadets
You say it could not happen here. And why not? If you believe I am being extreme to accuse these Christian right wing so-called “patriots” of being actually anti-American? Well go ask them how they feel about a government operated on Christian principles, and watch him say YES. Then ask them how they feel about those Christian principles being dictated by the Catholic Church.
I believe right wing Christian conservative are a danger to our democracy and should be recognized as such. A true patriot accepts the fact other patriots will have a slightly different view of democracy and allow those principles to be acknowledged in the operation of the democracy. The beliefs of these right wing zealots show that they do not believe in that sort of free democracy.