Thursday, August 23, 2012

Right Wing Attacks on the Separation of Church and State

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

When he was still indulging visions of the White House, the right wing's snot-nosed ideologue --Rick Santorum --was stirring up fears and spreading distortions about the First Amendment. Wing nuts have done this before. Fear mongering, they believe, rallies an increasingly radical religious fringe. The word for it is demagoguery. Rick Santorum, for example, has said that the separation of church and state is NOT absolute. I beg to differ and so would have Thomas Jefferson who described a WALL OF SEPERATION between Chruch and State. And I will venture that Jefferson was in a better position to know what he was talking about and that Jeffeson was infinitely more intelligent than Rick Santorum.

The following is the text of the letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801.
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut. Gentlemen

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th JeffersonJan. 1. 1802.
ADDENDUM: Rick Santorum is of an authoritarian mentality that asserts a 'right' to believe claptrap i.e, 'intelligent design' and at the same time DENY you the right to believe the truth about modern theories of evolution even as they themselves lie about them or raise strawman fallacies. At the same time, they label both facts and theories --'Darwinian' --as if 'Darwinian' were a bad word. It's NOT!

Tragically --the right wing has a mental 'blind spot'. The 'right' is INCAPABLE of applying to themselves objective rules of logic and evidence. While most intelligent people today are comfortable with the fact that the 'laws of physics' apply everywhere in the universe and are discovered, described ONLY by observation and empirical methods, the 'right wing' inclined live in a pluralistic universe and never consider for a moment that their thought processes are, in fact, reversed.

Intelligent 'folk' will follow a premise logically to a conclusion. The right wing --rather --ASSUMES the truth of an ideology, a prejudice, a mentally impaired rationalization --and accept ONLY those conclusions which conform to the prejudice. The 'open mind' is anathema to them if not completely unheard of in their circles. By any definition, the American right wing is a 'kooky cult'!


bamboo investments said...

Scary stuff. America is lucky Rick Santorum didn't catch fire. Makes me happy to be a Brit where most of us think religion is so much tosh.

Len Hart said...

bamboo investments, thanks for commenting. I used to get to the U.K. almost every year, visiting in-laws. I am a native Texan who was welcomed warmly throughout the Midlands, London, East Anglia and various locations along the channel.

You're right about Santorum. The bad news is that he is not alone. These are trying times for Democracy and freedom in America.