NO CIVIL POWER TO CHURCHES!
George Washington affirmed that moral structure in society must be based in its religion. Without some sense of the spiritual nature of our lives, and of the eternal consequences of our acts (whether we call that judgement or karma), we have no motivation beyond the material and sensual. Such motivation produces the milieu of predatory exploitation of one another which we refer to as immorality. However, our patriarchs also had the wisdom and experience to Constitutionally ensure that the secular government would not grant respect to any particular religious cult or institution over others...and though most were at least nominally Christian, they quite deliberately did not specify that Christian sects should be excluded from such firm separation of state and any particular church, or that only Christian sects should enjoy freedom and protection.
The notion that we are a Christian nation because they were all Christian is as absurd as saying we are a white nation because they were all white, or a male nation because they were all male. The devout in any sect may come to feel that only their own doctrine and organization are accurately called "religion" and everything else is cultism, mumbo-jumbo, or just evil foolishness. Such faithful are often too quick to define all ways but their own to be immoral, and when they seize the power of the law to condemn those they judge to be sinners, thus begins the route from religious freedom to sectarian tyranny -- which history has repeatedly proved to be a highly corruptible state.
The Constitution wisely defends not just Christian notions of morality, but gives free opportunity to any religious body to influence people openly to live by its particular moral tenets. This is in accordance with the scriptural exhortation that religious bodies refrain from "fornicating with the kings of the earth", which is to say, to avoid bedding down with secular powers and embracing the deadly sword of civil law. "Not by power or might, but by the Spirit," is the correct way, if the ministry of Jesus is taken as an example.
When the religious demand the use of punitive civil law to enforce their notions of morality, they proclaim their lack of faith in the power of their spiritual message, and imply it is their real belief that only the material motivations of armed enforcement and money fines have power in the Earth.
Rev. James Nathan Post
ISLAMIC MORAL CENSORSHIP IN AMERICA?
Under the rule of Ayatullah Khomeini or Saddam Hussein, censorship for obscenity is totalitarian. They have piously declared their choice of holy scripture, the Koran, is their moral mandate. By the definitions of their law, our entire American culture is obscene -- obscene that our women brazenly display their bodies, obscene they have the rights to speak, to own things, to vote, and to hold positions of power. It is obscene in their opinion that Bible and Torah spread Satanís evil false doctrines to tempt the faithful to decadent lustful pursuits. The most patriotic and pious citizens of Islamic countries burn Bibles in the streets today. They burned the sex books centuries ago, and their women are "protected from exploitation" like cloistered cattle. Their zero-tolerance policy on erotic pleasure goes so far as to circumcise women, removing those unmentionable parts which might lead them to self-indulgent lustful pursuits. Sure God is on their side, they feel responsible to impose their opinions wherever they can gain control.
Surely no American could believe himself justly treated if Khomeiniís moralist position were imposed upon us by local law. Who is he to say Allah gives him the right to define obscenity, and to force conformity to that definition upon all? I do not want Saddam telling me what is or is not obscene, and I also do not want a panel of doctors, lawyers, and preachers appointed by the Governor of my state telling me what is obscene. If it was worth risking American lives to stop Hussein in defense of freedom, then how can we permit that same freedom to be eroded here at home?
Censorship proponents object to fundamentalist Islamic censorship keeping the Bible out of arab schools and states, while Muslim prayer is imposed five times daily on students of all faiths. Then they object to the American law which protects the religious rights of all by denying to any one sect the power to impose its doctrine on school children. It is tragically clear their objection is that the law in each case keeps their brand of religion from being the one imposed on all.
The difference between spiritual piety and religious bigotry lies in the ability of the heart to hear the voice of God in many strange tongues. If an Islamic takeover of America declared the Bible by law an obscene book, and possession or promotion of it a felony, Iíd bet the Christian anti-obscenity activits would be in the front lines, waving the Bible in one hand and the Bill Of Rights in the other, and I would find them allies instead of opponents in my efforts to protect our precious American right to religious, literary, and artistic freedom.
For several thousand years, we have fought wars over the question of which of the descendants of ancient Chaldea (modern Iraq) is the true heir to the promises allegedly made by God to an ancient local cult leader named Abraham. Now gluttony, greed, and materialism destroy the environment, while naked women suckle starving children in the fields and alleys of the Third World. Our youth suffer the harmful physical effects of drug use, and also the greater psychological and social damage of persecution as outlaws for the same. Homeless girls sell their bodies for the price of a meal in the cities of our country and around the world. Minorities are urged to take racist attitudes and to join race-based activist groups as affirmative action for social justice. Corruption at the highest levels of business, government, and church is the grist of daily news, while America imprisons the highest percentage of its population of all the nations of Earth.
Moralistsí paranoid answer to all: less private freedom and more government enforcement of sectarian taboos in the name of "Godly morality". Poverty, drug wars, race wars, holy wars -- and then in the news I read some moralistís anguished confession, "I saw a page torn out of one of those hideous magazines and couldnít forget the shock of it for months." Shock -- for which she would dismantle the Bill Of Rights -- at seeing a sex picture blowing on the wind? What island is she living on? Her reaction calls for private counseling, not public censorship.
Some promoters of censorship would justify banning sexual art or literature as sociopathic, dangerous to society, because it allegedly can motivate disturbed individuals to depraved acts against helpless victims. It may be true -- and maybe other psychotics are motivated by old brown shoes, or Shirley Temple movies. If we choose to take such possibility of inducing violence in the viewer as justification for banning the work, we enter upon very shaky ground. Of all the art and literature in the world, surely none can compare in having motivated more readers to unreasoned violence, injustice, inquisition, hangings, burnings, genocides, even the long-ongoing war in the Middle East, to that trio of quarreling cousins, The Bible, Koran, and Torah. If looking at magazine pictures of naked women made one twisted individual want to kill one, he was certainly not typical of the readership. If his peculiar reaction must be taken as just cause for banning all pictures of naked women, then how could we not take the homocidal reaction of those legions of crusaders and avenging angels as justification for banning all three of those contentious occult scriptures?
However well-intentioned, anti-obscenity censorship will not cure the psycho-sexual problems of society, as proponents imply. Problems are best solved by open-minded examination of all available information. They are made worse by forced suppression of truth, no matter how offensive it may be to any individual or group. If we would preserve our American right to choose what we want to see, read, hear, or know about anything, we must oppose passage of any so-called "anti-obscenity" censorship bill.
FUNDAMENTALLY UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH
The Bible is explicitly anti-homosexual. To take the fundamentalist position, it is necessary to confront many such "uncomfortable truths". The Bible is also explicitly male supremist, beginning with the fact that God is Male, Man is Godís work and woman a helper (taken out of his body!) who should serve husband as Lord, and should not speak in church. That is, the Bible is fundamentally a sexist document. I do not write this in judgement or agreement, but in recognition of another such uncomf.trth.
The basic Bible plot line says God made a promise to Abraham if he and his line would obey Him, they would suffer a lot, but in the end God will destroy everybody else and they will inherit heaven and earth. Christianity and Islam have each lay claim to this Zionist promise (one through adoption, the other by the usurped eldest son), but all agree of His multitudes, God has a favorite family line. That is, the Bible is fundamentally racist (the UN not withstanding this uncf.trh.).
Though many of our founders had strong anti-church views, and all agreed on free diversity of religion, some say America is a Christian nation. NOT. The Biblical reign is not democracy, but monarchy imposed by the minions of a capricious authoritarian. For Adamís sin of disobedience, Man is doomed to implacable judgement (with options of sacrifice and contrition). That is, the Bible is fundamentally totalitarian (unc.tr.).
Todayís liberal churches make whatever excuses will keep the sheep in the fold ("pro-homo" or not), but the fundamentalist must indeed confront the fact that the Bible when taken literally proclaims a way of life very different from most of Americaís customs.
Likewise, the American who would serve the principles of freedom of thought, empirical truth, tolerance of diversity, personal morality, equality of sexes, equality of races, choice of lifestyle, choice of name of God, choice of sleeping company, and the application of reason to democratic rule should give careful consideration to the Christian zealot who would embrace the deadly sword of civil law to enforce the directives of God (u.t.).
THE WACO CULT: SPECIAL RESPECT?
How quickly we lose our sense of perspective when the name of Jesus is invoked. If Vernon Howell (aka David Koresh) had created the same group, armed with the same military weapons, using the same totalitarian power, sexual domination, centralized finances, prophecy of violent confrontation with the rest of the world, and outright shooting war against the United States government, but in the name of Islamic fundamentalism or "New Age" occultism, would the media and law have behaved the same? If he had shot four cops dead in the name of Satan, would we have waited two months wringing our hands and letting him preach on television, or brought in the B-52ís while the bodies were still warm?
Would we have called his mindwiped gunslinging followers "deluded victims", or terrorist fanatics?
Does taking the name of Jesus make them different from the followers of Manson or Khomeini, if they do the same things?
As for the word "cult" -- fundamentalists like Howell and Jim Jones use the rules of church structure Biblically ascribed to Abraham, who led his cult out of Ur (now Iraq) by promising them Heaven in return for obedience and sacrifice to his personal Name of God, and submitting their lines to his "seed". When a cult becomes large enough to have political lobbying power, the state starts calling it a church.
If His Holiness The Pope should (God forbid) proclaim as prophecy that God was calling His people to martyrdom by self-immolation, do you suppose 86 of his faithful flock would actually do it?
If our Constitution forbids "respecting" an institution of religion (that is, granting state favor to one religion over others), why should it be domestic policy only? Why grant such favor as diplomatic privilege, tariff relief, and foreign aid to, e.g., the Vatican, any Islamic state, or any other religious body which has gained the trappings of statehood? If David Koresh had founded an offshore state somewhere, would we have sent him defense hardware and humanitarian aid -- guns and money -- instead of a BATF invasion?