War on Christians?

The fundamentalist Christian right often laments that there is a “war on Christians” by secular society in the U.S. Indeed, as Easter approaches, such complaints inevitably increase. Consider, however, these clearly un-Constitutional clauses in various state constitutions that make atheists ineligible for public office (or at least not accorded the same rights to run for public office), including Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

It’s unbelievable today that such blatantly un-Constitutional clauses can remain, even today, in the constitutions of various states. You don’t have to be an atheist or agnostic to see such clauses as being profoundly offensive. Indeed, one of them, if enforced, would discriminate against Jews and Muslims, specifically the Massachusetts Constitution, which states:

Any every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

True, this section was amended to read (something the source listing this prohibition fails to mention):

As the public worship of God and instructions in piety, religion and morality, promote the happiness and prosperity of a people and the security of a republican government; — therefore, the several religious societies of this commonwealth, whether corporate or unincorporate, at any meeting legally warned and holden for that purpose, shall ever have the right to elect their pastors or religious teachers, to contract with them for their support, to raise money for erecting and repairing houses for public worship, for the maintenance of religious instruction, and for the payment of necessary expenses: and all persons belonging to any religious society shall be taken and held to be members, until they shall file with the clerk of such society, a written notice, declaring the dissolution of their membership, and thenceforth shall not be liable for any grant or contract which may be thereafter made, or entered into by such society: — and all religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

However, that still seems to expand the protections only to those who belong to a religion; so it’s only marginally less offensive.

The whole concept of a “war against Christians” is nothing more than the whining of fundamentalists who want to keep seeing their religious iconography and language incorporated in governement.

(Hat tip to The Antecubital Fossa.)

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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