Nothing stokes the ire of my soul more than political blowhards and mouthpieces of the Religious Right who blatantly misrepresent millions of people of faith when they piously proclaim the evils of marriage equality in America.
Let me be perfectly clear: I am a Christian and have been since officially proclaiming so at age 10 in the oldest Baptist church in Charleston, S.C. Baptist DNA runs through my veins as the names of Roger Williams, John Leland and Walter Rauschenbusch are permanently etched into my personal and theological psyche.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) once said of himself and his Religious Right allies: “We will never have the elite, smart people on our side….” After Santorum’s recent comments about church-state separation, it’s not hard to see why. During a conference call with members of extremist pastor (and failed Virginia political candidate) E.W.
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA), is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him to pop off regularly.
OK, now we’ve done it. Those of us who advocate things like separation of church and state, secular government, LGBT rights and self-determination when it comes to issues of sexuality have really torqued off the Religious Right – so much so that some of them are thinking of going into exile.
Editor’s Note: Today is the congressionally mandated National Day of Prayer. “The Wall of Separation” is pleased to offer this guest post by James C. Nelson, a retired justice of the Montana Supreme Court. Nelson was appointed to the court by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1993 and was reelected to the position three times, serving until his retirement in 2013.
Way back in the 1630s, the leaders of Puritan Massachusetts got the bright idea that every adult in the colony should be required to swear a loyalty oath to the governor that ended with the phrase “So help me God.”
The iconoclastic Puritan preacher Roger Williams was not impressed.
“A magistrate ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate man,” he observed. Doing so, Williams asserted, would cause the oath taker “to take the name of God in vain.”
Starting tomorrow, same-sex couples in Rhode Island will be able to legally marry – despite the best efforts of a local Religious Right activist to stop them.
The Rhode Island legislature approved marriage equality earlier this year, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the measure into law. At the time, Chafee invoked the spirit of the state’s founder, iconic religious liberty pioneer Roger Williams.
Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.
As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense.