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The Intelligencer
Dick Newbert
Mon, September 12, 2022 at 5:33 AM·3 min read

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” — First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Certain recent Supreme Court decisions have embraced high-priority political objectives of conservative — primarily Christian Right — activists; justifying their opinions on “originalism” and questionable interpretations of the First Amendment.

These range from empowering individuals and organizations to circumvent laws most Americans must obey (notably, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania); providing religious schools access to public tax dollars (Carson v. Makin), and eliminating abortion rights protections (Dobbs v. Mississippi Department of Health).

Chillingly, more than one Associate Justice has openly signaled other unenumerated rights — currently enjoyed by and popular with millions of Americans, but which are in conflict with Christian Nationalist agendas — should be challenged…and would be warmly welcomed.

Christian Nationalists, together with the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and other domestic extremist groups that parade around in pseudo-uniforms waving American, MAGA, Trump and QAnon flags and chanting “USA! USA!” represent a dangerous, anti-democratic movement whose ideology abhors the separation of church and state and has no problem of undermining the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or any other part of the Constitution, even through violence, if necessary.

Their goal is nothing less than assault on individual rights and democratic self-government and institutions leading to a new order of religious authoritarianism. Their America would be a white, autocratic theocracy based on fundamentalist principles which would rewrite history, reject science and institutionalize discrimination against religious minorities, women, people who identify as LGBTQ-plus, immigrants, people of color and others they see as different of a threat to their perceived security or societal status.

Sadly, some members of Congress, willing to ignore their oath to “support and defend the Constitution,” have given voice to such radical ideologies.

Republican Congresswoman and self-described Christian Rightist Lauren Boebert proclaimed, “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.” adding, “the church is supposed to direct the government.”

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie-Taylor Green is arguing the Republican Party needs, “to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian Nationalists.”

Boebert, Green and their fellow travelers reject the original intent of the First Amendment, government must not “impose a state religion on the public, or place undue restrictions on religious practice, but must recognize the right of the people to believe and worship, or not, as their conscience dictates.”

Rather than aggressively combating such un-American attitudes, former President Trump, who has frequently demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law, his oath and the Constitution, openly fans the flames of their anti-democratic rhetoric and actions.

Collectively, they have lost sight of the America our Founders envisioned and that Christianity is a religious faith, not a political movement or party.

Those using Christianity as a cover for conservative political agendas seem to have forgotten;

• Our nation’s Founding Fathers, not the Apostles, wrote the Constitution;
• They added a Bill of Rights, not the Ten Commandments;

• Despite most being Christians or deists, the Founders’ clear intent was freedom of religion not control by any religion;
• Nowhere in the Constitution is Christianity mentioned; and
• They created a pluralistic democracy, not a theocracy which many came to this country to escape.

Every American has the inalienable right to worship according to their personal beliefs.

However, they do not have any right to impose their beliefs on, discriminate against or interfere with the rights of others nor should they be immune from obeying the laws of our nation. To permit such actions can only lead to intolerance, oppression, lost liberties and the ultimate demise of our fragile constitutional republic.

Dick Newbert lives in Langhorne.

This article originally appeared on The Intelligencer: Guest Opinion: Christian

https://www.yahoo.com/news/guest-opinion-slippery-slope-toward-093313473.html

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