Monday, December 12, 2005

Separation of Church and State.

I just saw a piece of spam go by about a petition to stop some alleged group of anti-religious people from passing a bill to stop the use of radio waves for preaching the gospel. It's interesting to see this, because the same groups that are pushing so hard to end the separation of church and state are the groups that are apparently worried about losing their freedom of speech - their freedom to push their view of the gospel on others using the radio waves.

I don't even know if this is a real conflict or not; I suspect it's a hoax. But the point is to push this idea that there's some kind of conspiracy in the United States to suppress religion, which I believe is at the root of a lot of the fear that divides our country.

The fact is that there is no move afoot in the U.S. to suppress religion. Why? Because most Americans are religious. There is no popular support in the U.S. for suppressing religious speech. What there is, though, is a move afoot to use religion, which should be a source of peace in the world, as a way to divide people. This kind of fear mongering is most sad because it insults the intelligence of the people at whom it is targeted.

The fact is that the Constitution expressly forbids the government from restricting speech based on content, except in cases where the content is found to be obscene. The government is strongly enjoined against regulating religion. At least, right now it is. If a government action can be shown to have, as its main effect, the restriction of religious speech, then that action is unconstitutional, and an honest Supreme Court, regardless of their beliefs, has no choice but to rule such action unconstitutional.

If you are a religious person who is concerned about the government suppressing your right to freedom of speech about your beliefs, your best hope for preventing this is to work to keep the Constitution strong. This doesn't mean amending it. It doesn't mean stacking the courts. It means placing the question "do I agree with this person's politics" below the question "will this person uphold the Constitution?" The Constitution was written by men of faith who wanted very much to prevent the kind of thing you fear, and the Constitution has done that faithfully for more than two hundred years.

Please, don't let anyone try to convince you that the way to keep your right to practice your religion safe is to undermine that document.


Blogger Patricia said...

Well said, Ted!

Monday, December 12, 2005 6:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

I suspect we are related by virtue of how I found this article. I just wanted to drop in and say that I agree with you and can give many ways in which organized religion is fighting to abridge my rights by calling them "special rights". It makes me quite angry!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 9:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

The best revenge is a life well lived. Did you find my blog through my mother? :')

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 10:37:00 AM  

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