Friday, July 13, 2007


Traitors to the Cause

You probably have already seen the video of the three anti-American protesters belonging to some supposedly Christian antiabortion wingnut group "Operation Save America" (they'll get no link from me) disrupting the business of the U.S. Senate but it's worth spreading around.

They issued a press release attempting to justify their criminal behavior, that reads, in as much as I care to quote:

Ante Pavkovic, Kathy Pavkovic, and Kristen Sugar were all arrested in the chambers of the United States Senate as that chamber was violated by a false Hindu god. The Senate was opened with a Hindu prayer placing the false god of Hinduism on a level playing field with the One True God, Jesus Christ. This would never have been allowed by our Founding Fathers.

"Not one Senator had the backbone to stand as our Founding Fathers stood. They stood on the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Let's take a look at the part about the Founding Fathers, shall we:

The Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom, authored by Thomas Jefferson, was the likely inspiration for the inclusion of the Establishment clause in the First Amendment. Jefferson wrote of the Act in his Autobiography:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

Thus, the Establishment clause was written in the context of a predecessor statute that intended to not only give equal status as a protected faith to Hinduism and other minority religions, but to deny Christianity any favored position. Moreover, it was the clear majority opinion, accepted as a matter of course, in the most populous and influential state in the country at the time.
The idea that such free and open-minded thinkers and true children of the Enlightenment as Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton, et al. would have been prostrated by the notion of a "Hindoo" saying a prayer in the vicinity of politicians is execrable history, ludicrous on its face, and nothing but blatant propaganda. But the theocrats are also wrong about the attitude of the less lofty figures of the time, the "great majority" of whom understood that their religious freedom critically depended on giving equal respect to those who did not share their beliefs.

So, in fact, it is these ignorant and bigoted protesters who betray the Founders and would destroy what they crafted.
See Ed Brayton's and PZ Myers' take on this as well.

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