Monday, January 07, 2013

The six biggest threats to America coming from the Religious Right.

Courtesy of AlterNet:

With most state legislatures starting their annual sessions this month, here is a look at some of the top threats to church-state separation expected in 2013, including school voucher bills, creationism ploys, “conscience” exemptions, anti-shar­iah legislation and so-called “religious freedom” and “prayer” caucuses. 

1. Religious School Voucher Subsidies 

Americans United anticipates proposals that benefit religious and other private schools to surface in many states this year, with major pushes expected in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Texas and Tennessee. 

Many people fail to recognize the REAL motivation behind the introduction of school vouchers, which is to undermine the public school system, render the teacher's unions impotent, and reinsert THEIR version of a conservative and religious philosophy into the classroom.

2. Creationism In Science Class

Every year, legislators attempt to introduce religion into public school science classes. Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) proposed a bill last year that would have mandated the teaching of “creation science” alongside evolution in public schools. 

That measure passed the Senate but died in the House after some lawmakers realized that it was blatantly unconstitutional and would have led to lawsuits. 

Kruse is back with a new proposal, and this time he claims his goal is to promote critical inquiry in the classroom. “If a student thinks something isn’t true, then they can question the teacher and the teacher would have to come up with some kind of research to support that what they are teaching is true or not true,” Kruse told the Indianapolis Star. 

Once again a blatant attempt to insert religion into the science classroom.

3. Prayer And Proselytizing In Public Schools 

Legislators regularly come up with new schemes to allow coercive prayer and proselytizing in public schools, and Americans United staffers expect this year to be no exception. 

In Virginia, a proposal was filed just ahead of the 2013 legislative session that would create a state constitutional amendment to “secure further the people’s freedom of speech and right to acknowledge God” on public property and presumably in public schools. This could lead to numerous lawsuits if it passes. 

Advocates of church-state separation said it is somewhat similar to Missouri’s deceptive “right to pray” amendment, a problematic constitutional provision approved by the voters last year. It opens the door for coercive prayer and proselytizing in public schools, allows students to skip homework if it offends their religious beliefs and infringes on the religious liberty rights of prisoners. 

There is of course NO law stopping children from praying in schools. What these people want is to establish a law requiring the school to lead the children in a Christian prayer. With no regard for the religious faiths of other children in attendance. And THAT is unconstitutional.

4. ‘Conscience’ Exemptions 

The news media has reported widely on the campaign by the Cath­olic bishops and the Religious Right to win “conscience” exemptions from provisions of the Obama health care reform, but this issue has also filtered down to the state level. Sectarian lobbies want to exempt religious institutions and individuals from a broad range of laws that ensure civil rights and civil liberties. 

A leading proponent of this type of legislation is the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a Washington, D.C., group that advocates public policy based on the “Judeo-Christian moral tradition.” 
5. State ‘Prayer’ Caucuses 

A similar movement to the one orchestrated by the EPPC is under way thanks to the efforts of U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). 

Forbes, a Religious Right favorite, is head of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Through the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation (CPCF), attempts are being made to establish “prayer caucuses” in every state legislature. 

Gee I wonder if one of those "Prayer cacues" could be led by a Muslim? Or a Hindu? Or a Buddhist?

Yeah, I didn't think so!
6. Anti-Shariah Laws The U.S. Constitution already prohibits government enforcement of religious law, but right-wing groups are insisting that legislatures take the extra step of banning shariah – Islamic law. 

“These laws are a solution in search of a problem and motivated by sheer animus toward a perceived Muslim threat,” said AU’s Rolat.

Essentially these laws have virtually NOTHING to do with any fear of the implementation of Sharia Law in America, as that is not really an issue, and EVERYTHING to do with the establishment of  America as being a "Christian Nation" whose laws must be derived from Biblical scripture. (I think you can guess which laws they would like to repeal, once that has been firmly established.)

The frightening thing about the Religious Right is that they invade local governments at all levels.

When Jerry Falwell first conceived of the Moral Majority, he  focused on getting evangelicals onto school boards, on city assemblies, and in all kinds of local government offices, realizing that once they had a foothold they could simply branch out from there.

These are coordinated efforts to fight progress in America and an attempt to retain the stranglehold that Fundamentalists have been able to exert over much of our government for the last thirty years now. As they find their values and belief systems rejected by the younger generation, they are only more determined to indoctrinate them before they reach the age where their critical thinking skills are fully developed.

Remember, a civil war does NOT always have to rely on bullets to be effective.


  1. Anonymous3:56 AM

    4. ‘Conscience’ Exemptions
    My husband is a nurse for a Catholic hospital and we just married, after being together for nine yard, because we're thinking of starting a family and I don't have good insurance. We were going through the information and there was a little inset that had this attitude: "Hey, in case you didn't know it, the healthcare reform act requires that we provide you with birth control...but...don't worry! We're doing all we can to stop that!"
    We laughed and laughed. Apparently, we're supposed to be excited about the idea of being treated like second-class citizens.
    For us, it doesn't matter, because, like I said, I'm trying to get pregnant. And it seems like most of the women in my hubby's unit are preggers constantly anyway. I just think the attitude of it was hilarious. Talk about being out of touch!
    Anyway, we all know that this isn't about's about $$$$$$$. They don't want to have to shell out $$$ for birth control and so they've pulled out the old Catholic card. I'm sure my husband could be allowed to have a vasectomy and it would be covered and I'm sure that, even if we weren't married, his insurance would cover Viagra. (Not that he uses it...but, I'm just saying). If they really cared about the immorality of birth control, they'd make a stink about those things, too.

  2. Anonymous5:18 AM

    It's really incredible that the Religious Right peddle the notion that their rights are being eroded and threatened - and the way these monied power brokers embolden their constituency is to use their donations and influence to introduce legislation to institutionalize coercive prayer and proselytizing not only in public schools, but all branches of the military, colleges, hospitals and whatnot also too.

  3. Randall8:58 AM

    The Enlightenment - the Age of Reason - began when some finally stood up and told The Church you're wrong!

    (Think; Galileo, Spinoza, Isaac Newton, Voltaire, etc.)

    When the church controlled what the populace was taught - and they did for hundreds and hundreds of years - we had The Dark Ages - and disease and plagues and starvation on a mass scale... a system where the chosen few lived lives of luxury and the rest were dirt poor and miserable.

    From the Enlightenment we got the industrial revolution, harnessing of electricity, medicine, improvements in agriculture... a middle class!

    And the IDIOT Christians in this country want to go back to believing in primitive superstition over science.

    Demons didn't make little Johnny sick, gang, and angels didn't cure him: GERMS made him sick and MEDICINE cured him. Anything else is a lie.

    If you believe in nonsense it is your own damn fault - because you know better.

    Teaching religion in science class is wrong - and you know it.

    If you don't think that's true - then think about this:
    What if little Johnny came home one day and told you that today in science class they learned all about how wonderful Allah is and that Muhammad came to save the world?

    Wrong God?
    Wrong Savior?
    Well that's what all the fighting has been about for the past several thousand years!
    You all think that the other guy's gods and messiahs are the wrong ones!
    ...but you can't prove it!

    It's NOT science because you can't prove it!

    It's superstition because you can't prove it!

    Believing it really really hard isn't proof:
    that bears repeating:
    Believing it really REALLY hard - is NOT proof.

    And that's the difference between science and superstition: everything taught in science class can be proven. Including evolution.

    THAT'S why it's WRONG to teach a religion as science.

  4. Anita Winecooler12:27 PM

    It's all based in fear and ignorance. My sister, a teacher in public school, got "reprimanded" for allowing "A moment of silent reflection" instead of "prayer" and, again, for using the term "Before the Common Era", instead of "Before Christ" during a Science lesson.
    How do those two terms stop someone from believing/praying?

    I think Charles Darwin put it best -

    "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

  5. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Darwin was a devout Christian of his day.

    1. Anita Winecooler1:34 PM

      That's exactly my point! Thanks for proving the premise of a self-proclaimed agnostic's quote still holds true today!


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