For a very long time, the Religious Right has contended (incorrectly, of course) that there’s no such thing as “separation of church and state” in the U.S. While they are correct when they say that phrase is not found in the Constitution or any of its amendments, they’re wrong when they claim it’s not even implied. No less an authority on the matter than the author of the First Amendment, James Madison, himself once explained this in writing:
Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.
So this contention is factually incorrect.
Put more bluntly, they are lying about the Constitution.
Even so, despite being as obviously wrong as they are, they aren’t holding back. In fact, they’re going even a bit further. Texas governor Rick Perry, for example, recently stated openly that there is no such thing as “freedom from religion.” In other words, it is perfectly legal, as far as he’s concerned, for government to force a non-believer to adopt a religion.
In that same vein, a Rightist pundit — who’d been G.W. Bush’s last press secretary — used her virtual podium on Fox News to declare that atheists ought to leave the country, as the Raw Story reports, and her colleague Bob Beckel agreed (WebCite cached article):
Fox News host Dana Perino this week suggested that atheists should leave the country instead of trying to maintain the separation of church and state.
In a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Court, atheist lawyer David Niose argued that the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the state’s constitution.
“I’m tired of them,” Perino complained on Wedneday [sic].…
“If these people really don’t like it, they don’t have to live here,” she added.
“Yeah, that’s a good point,” co-host Bob Beckel agreed.
Here’s video of this pleasant little exchange, courtesy of the Raw Story:
I’m old enough to recall all the “love it or leave it” talk that was common back in the 1970s. It was hurled most often at Vietnam war protesters. The implication is that Americans are required either to support whatever the US does — whether right or wrong — or shut up and leave the country. It’s been 40 years or so since then, and I’d thought people had gotten over that sort of thinking. I guess they haven’t?
The bottom line is, we have two Rightist pundits averring that non-believers should be forced either to swear the Pledge of Allegiance, including the “under God” phrase, or else be thrown out of the country. I can’t think of many better examples of religiofascism than this. Can you?
Hat tip: mepper, via Reddit.
Photo credit: fredthompson, via Flickr.Tags: america love it or leave it, atheism, atheist, atheists, belief, believer, bob beckel, christian right, christofascism, christofascist, christofascists, dana perino, david niose, establishment clause, first amendment, fox news, freedom from religion, freedom of religion, love it or leave it, pledge of allegiance, religiofascism, religiofascist, religiofascists, religious right, Separation of church and state, socas, under god