Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish - where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source - where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials - and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”- John F. Kennedy
Maybe it’s just me, but garbage like this leaves me cross-eyed and…more than a little irked:
Tennessee lawmakers have filed unconstitutional, divisive and misguided bills that would make the Holy Bible the official state book.
Both Tennessee and United States' constitutions expressly respect the rights of individuals to worship freely, but also prohibit the state from favoring one religion over another.
This protects all of us, whether we choose to belong to a religious congregation or not.
We can live peacefully in society without religious tests and choose which religious institutions to attend and which scriptures to honor.
Making a religious text the state's official tome isn't like the innocuous act of choosing a state beverage (milk), fruit (tomato) or rock (limestone). This sends a message of exclusion and divisiveness in a state that is becoming more and more diverse.
The bills filed by Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Crossville, and Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, in addition to abridging Tennesseans' constitutional rights are unnecessary and tell non-Christians that they are unwelcome in the Volunteer State.
The co-sponsors include Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin; Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster; and Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro.
Religious minorities already feel under attack by past legislation such as that involving the prohibition of Sharia law, which while on its face targeted radical Islamists, had the practical effect of demonizing all practicing Muslims.
During the course of the last few years, the community of Muslims and foreigners has grown significantly in Tennessee.
The Nashville metropolitan area has the highest population of Kurds (13,000) of any other in the country and significant numbers of Somalis, Egyptians and other immigrants or refugees from countries where Islam is the dominant religion. The foreign-born population, at 11.9 percent, is among the highest in the nation.
That has caused some confrontations between long-time residents and new Americans, who often came to this area as immigrants or refugees. Take for example the recent controversy of opponents trying to block the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro.
Some Christians may feel threatened by these newcomers because they don't share the same religious beliefs as they do.
However, many came here for the same reasons America's forefathers did: for freedom.
Consider the words in our state and nation's constitutions:
Tennessee Constitution, Article I
Section 3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.
Section 4. That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this state, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Sexton and Southerland's bills stand antithetical to these documents.
Let's be clear that to oppose them is not anti-Christian in the least bit.
Respecting the right of Christians to worship freely is paramount to living up to the freedoms we enjoy, and Christians shouldn't feel they have to apologize for their beliefs.
However, neither should Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, nor atheists.
Remind our lawmakers that their job isn't to favor one religion over another and that they have a responsibility to protect the rights of those who share their beliefs and those who don't.
Passing this legislation would do the opposite.
And whadda surprise – it was spearheaded by Republicans! What a shock! [Snark off].
This is actually a compound fuckup – both constitutions forbid this sort of nonsense. As if that’s not enough, our culture is paying homage to a book that is nothing but fairy tales. Talking donkeys, a flood that never happened, a tower that never existed, an exodus that never took place – we as a species really need to break free of these childish fantasies.
Republicans – they lie, twice. Once when they proclaim ‘limited government’ and then proceed to tell adults which adults they can marry as well as restrict reproductive rights. The second, is that Christian ‘free will’ nonsense which they pay lip service to, but will sacrifice on the altar of their delusion if the ends suits the needs.
Till the next post then.