Monday, January 21, 2008

Blogging Suspended Until Barfing Stops

Sorry. I'm fresh off my first reading of the full text of H.R. 888 ("Affirming the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as `American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith"), the latest and boldest Christian Nation resolution to be introduced in the House. Good job I had lunch first, as it's completely killed my appetite for at least the next month, although if I read it one more time lunch may be making an encore appearance.

It will take some time to go through the resolution point by point, but the short version of the rebuttal should go something like Whereas half the Founding Fathers were slave owners, and whereas nonwhites were calculated to be only 3/5 human, and whereas that one time George Wallace called for segregation forever, the United States should get its ass back to slaveholding and trafficking at the earliest possible convenience.

Jesus Haploid Christ. On a Triscuit. House resolutions are nonbinding and traditionally used as goodwill measures to buff up representatives in their constituents' eyes, such as when resolutions are passed noting the 200th anniversary of some prairie town's founding or recognizing the local band director as a great American. No harm greater than an egregious photo op, no foul, right? But once this piece of shit passes with maybe four or five no votes--what congressperson is going to stand up to be counted among the Christian-haters in an election year?--it will swiftly gain mythic proportions and be cited as justification for any bit of fundamentalist Christian local statute or school board decision that comes down the pike.

Mythic is the key there. There is no point beyond which the truth cannot be stretched, no misrepresentation too blatant for the Christian Nation apologists to employ. Quote mining, fabrication, and willful ignorance are the order of the day, and no matter that they seem to bump up pretty hard against that injunction against bearing false witness--it isn't really lying if you're lying for Jesus.

Yes, religion played an important role in society during the natal years of this country. Yes, several Founding Fathers were openly religious, and some of them agitated for an explicitly religious government. But in the end, they cranked out an explicitly nonreligious Constitution, with supporting documents clearly expressing their intent to keep faith and government separate, in order to protect the integrity of both. It doesn't matter what provisions the first Continental Congress made for official prayers, church services, or Liberty Bell inscriptions. They predated the Constitution. And the Constitution does not authorize those official religious acts that happened prior to its ratification. The simple fact that something happened once does not serve as fiat for it to continue into perpetuity.

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