I’ve contended for years that our Country is engaged in a new Civil War. Not over slavery; for most Americans the issue of slavery is settled and settled correctly.
But other disagreements of who we are as a peoples, as a nation, what we stand for and what rights of the individual are paramount over the rights of the State and so forth have divided is into new Blue and Gray camps.
From time to time I want to talk about such issues. Today, the issue is one of Religion in America.
Religion has always played a big part in the lives of most Americans. But, until recently, religious and secular matters have been kept separate.
One has gone to one’s House of Worship for guidance in matters of faith in God and a religious code of morals and spiritual life and gone to a civil court in matters of secular law and matters of agreed on peaceful co-existence hammered out through human trial and error over time, not Religious Gospel..
Today, however, many people are contending that Religion -their Religion – should override, even supplant, civil law and everyone should live according to its commandments.
Enter Judge Roy Moore, once Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Judge, now Alabama’s Republican party nominee for a seat in the United States Senate.
He is most controversial. Why, is summed up in a Washington Post op-ed piece by Stephan Stromberg:
“As the chief of the Supreme Court of Alabama, he rejected federal court orders based on his apparent view that his personal religious convictions superseded the nation’s civil law. Moore’s refusal to distinguish the public interest from his private agenda was a brazen assault on the country’s core institutions, the likes of which even Trump has not matched. Civilized people do not get to decide which court rulings they follow. Moore’s empowerment will encourage zealotry and lawlessness.
Clearly Moore wants his religion – Christianity – not only to guide his personal life but your personal life. Moore believes this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote and ratified the Constitution, the guiding framework of principles under which we are all supposed to live.
Well, if the Founers intention was to make this a “Christian” nation, why didn’t they say so? They wrote the document.
Instead, what they wrote is plain to those who understand and speak the English language. They wrote in the First Amendment to the Constitution as one of the five freedoms guaranteed to us in that Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
James Madison who wrote the 1st Amendment was a Christian and he could have written “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion except for the Christian religion. But he didn’t.
Clearly, the intent is to ensure that you can practice your religion and I can practice my religion (and those who choose to practice no religion) can do so free from Government interference or preference (unless, of course, my religion commands me to do something such as cutting off your head in which case the civil law will call it illegal murder and step in to stop me).
Judge Moore doesn’t care about what the 1st Amendment says . He says his God is supreme and he says his God’s teachings must govern us all.
Okay, Judge Moore. Let’s suppose I say my God teaches that firearms are instruments of human misery and destruction and the 2nd Amendment should be disregarded. Okay? You get to decide which parts of the Constitution you’ll live by and I and everyone else gets to decide which parts we’ll live by?
Is that what they taught you in law school Judge Moore?
We can not and must not tell Roy Moore what God he should believe in and whose teachings he should follow. But the rest of us must not allow Roy Moore to force us to follow his God’s teachings.
That’s what the 1st Amendment is all about; that’s what America has been all about and has stood this Country is good stead since our Founding.
We must continue to welcome people who follow any religion of peace and tolerance but anyone who tries to make us all governed by their personal,particular religious creed must be fiercely resisted.
If this is part of our new Civil War – and it is -bring it on!