Sunday, December 23, 2007

MAKING 2ND CLASS CITIZENS OF NON-CHRISTIANS, AGNOSTICS AND ATHEISTS

On Dec. 11, H.R. 847 was passed in the House of Representatives
"Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans," it begins, "is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States. . . ." It goes on to state, among other things, that "Christianity [is] the religion of over three-fourths of the American population," that "American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ," and that "Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace."
"Now, therefore be it Resolved, that the House of Representatives . . . expresses continued support for Christians in the United States . . . acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States . . . rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and expresses its deepest respect to American Christians."
. . . Among those voting for the resolution was a Jewish member of Congress who has asked me not to print his name. He was outraged and appalled by the bill, he told me. But he was also afraid. He thought it would hurt him with his mostly Christian constituency if he voted against it. He told some of his colleagues about his anguish. They advised him not to be stupid. It would be better for him politically if he voted for it.
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So much for separations between church and state.
We must satisfy ourselves in this do-nothing, incapacitated Congress with separations between good sense and religious demagoguery.
Jews, Muslims, Hundus and Buddhists (with apology to those I have neglected) maynow move to the back of the bus, courtesy of the United States House of Representatives. One might logically ask whom they claim to represent.
In our fear of being pointed at, our terror of standing upon principle, our absolute panic at somehow being found wanting or out of it or not one of the 'patriots,' we have prostrated ourselves before the demagogues.
"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
There is a backlash coming across this wide country against those who would claim for themselves a relationship with God that is first among equals. Born-again evangelicals may want to ponder that. All tides turn and the 'my God is better than your God' tide is about to turn against those who have so misused the words of the Bible, Koran, Torah or other revered writings of religions that are not Christian. Nancy Pelosi, unable to find her legislative courage on matters of incredibly decisive importance to our national and constitutional well-being, in the nation she has sworn to serve--was not only willing, but able to muster a landslide victory for rousing the evangelical rabble.