Respecting an Establishment of Religion

I’m sure I’m going to open myself up to charges of religious bigotry here, but I think this adds up to legitimate cause for concern. It can’t be a coincidence that a state whose governor recently declared war on birth control would have legislators seeking to establish christianity as the state’s official religion.

The resolution would recognize “a Christian god,” and it would not protect minority religions, but “protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs.

The resolution also recognizes that, “a greater power exists,” and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, “justified recognition.”

State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored the resolution, but he has refused to talk about it on camera or over the phone.

KMOV also contacted Gov. Matt Blunt’s office to see where he stands on the resolution, but he has yet to respond.

Yeah. I just bet they don’t want to talk about it. One wonders just what they would say and how they would say it. Part of me thinks they’d like to have it both ways, i.e. get enough press to send a clear signal to their base but not enough to alert people who might balk at the idea of “an official state religion.” In a way, I hope this gets more press and that maybe one or two more states follow suit, enough to get a decent amount of press, because it would almost certainly turn a great many Americans —and many of them christians themselves — right off.

Of course, the troublesome question is: what if it passes? Exactly whose version or interpretation of christianity becomes the “official state religion”? What exactly does it mean for a state to officially and legislatively “recognize a christian god”? How does it affect non-christian citizens of the state, who don’t belong to the “official state religion”? For example, can they really expect impartial hearing if they come before the court on matters related to religion or that tend to stir up religious passions? (Like the legal recognition same-sex relationship, rights and protection of same-sex couples, or gay adoptions.)

And before I get any conservatives gleefully reminding me, I know that the first amendment only prohibits the federal government from making a law “respecting an establishment of religion.” Missouri may be well within its constitutional rights on this one, but it still ought worry just about anyone who doesn’t belong to the religious majority in that or any other state.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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3 Responses to Respecting an Establishment of Religion

  1. Tim Who? says:

    Over my dead body!

  2. Dwight says:

    Two things

    -We can be sure that mainline protestantism, orthodoxy and catholicism will not count as Christian, a kind of southern evangelical protestantism will count.

    -The first amendment covers all states and locales, not just the federal government because of the 14th amendment, so no, this legislation is not by any stretch if the imagination, constitutional.

  3. Mike in Missouri says:

    Here’s the actual text of the resolution:

    Whereas, our forefathers of this great nation of the United States recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation; and
    Whereas, as citizens of this great nation, we the majority also wish to exercise our constitutional right to acknowledge our Creator and give thanks for the many gifts provided by Him; and
    Whereas, as elected officials we should protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object; and
    Whereas, we wish to continue the wisdom imparted in the Constitution of the United States of America by the founding fathers; and
    Whereas, we as elected officials recognize that a Greater Power exists above and beyond the institutions of mankind:
    Now, therefore, be it resolved by the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-third General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, that we stand with the majority of our constituents and exercise the common sense that voluntary prayer in public schools and religious displays on public property are not a coalition of church and state, but rather the justified recognition of the positive role that Christianity has played in this great nation of ours, the United States of America.


    I’m at a true loss to explain what this really means.  

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