By psychusa | 2 February 2023
While it is certainly true that religion should never be the basis of politics, and separation of religion from state should be observed for the benefit of both, it’s easier said than done. American politics long ago looked the other way. One example that started in the 18th Century was the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), which led the struggle to limit and later to abolish the sale and distribution of alcohol products.
The harsh and dangerous life of male factory workers was a major concern at the time, with drinking a way to escape from a life of drudgery and misery. With men also usually being the main financial supporter in the family back then, alcoholism could destroy the viability of entire families. Women, and not men, mainly addressed the problem.
The Failure of Prohibition
As we all know, Prohibition as it was called was passed by the Congress in 1920 and had the direct opposite of its intended effect. It also led to the dominance of organized crime as a provider of booze and sparked political corruption in many of our major cities. It was repealed in 1933 when FDR became president.
While the movement did have positive effects promoting a more open role of women in society and politics, it probably also succeeded in establishing a permanent foothold for religious penetration into National politics. In the short run Prohibition probably discouraged further religious encroachment into politics, but such meddling was revived after WWII.
Religious Extremism and Fascism
Today we see a sinister direction being promoted in the name of religion by the right-wing, in some cases even bordering on extremist fascist and racist ideologies. While numerically still a minority in religious terms, they have become a much publicized and highly racist and reactionary segment of Christianity, largely exploited by the now fascistic Republican Party.
Six months after their Supreme Court victory, conservatives complain that strict new laws are not being sufficiently enforced. pic.twitter.com/4dHpBjwSLE
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) December 23, 2022
Democratic opposition to the religious right has been extremely careful not to look like they are criticizing religion itself. The historic failure of either party to penalize religious groups for openly dabbling in politics and violating their tax exemptions has had dire consequences in recent years. The number one consequence being the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court majority on purely right-wing religious grounds.
The Religious Right Believes it’s Untouchable
This same court is prepared to make ruling after ruling to dismantle the rights won during the New Deal, Civil Rights struggles and Progressive struggles of the 60s — 80s. Furthermore, we can expect rulings which will assist the fascist movement in taking over America and destroying what’s left of democracy and the Republic.
The religious right has come to believe it is now virtually untouchable. Even though much of its agenda is not supported by other Americans or various other religious groups, they are free to spread their poison without consequences and damage the reputation of religion in general.
Let’s examine how the Supreme Court and religious right can better be confronted without giving Republicans too much ammunition to counter that we are attacking religious groups. The first thing that comes to mind is probably the most difficult to achieve: To encourage and stimulate as many religious groups as we can to disavow the religious right and their agenda.
I’m not that knowledgeable anymore as to how the various religious groups view the political antics of the religious right, but it would seem that just as the Republicans reach out to reactionary religious groups, so should Democratic leaders evaluate what can be done to influence approachable ones. Even small successes can reap much favorable publicity.
Turning the Overturning of Roe V. Wade on its Head
"It’s a fundamental law of religion that all religions support freedom of conscience until they acquire the power to abolish it."
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) September 12, 2022
The Supreme Court majority is also vulnerable if only there was more interest in putting real pressures on them. Turning what they did into an act which violates the right toreligious freedom! Our Constitution’s founding fathers went out of their way to prevent sectarian Christian groups from meddling in government affairs and forcing their opinions on government. They knew that religious differences can easily become toxic. This was the basis for separating Church and State in our Constitution. The current Supreme Court, by its ruling on Roe v. Wade, has violated our Constitution. The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government.
Many Jews, Muslims and Christians believe that life begins at birth and that is when a soul is implanted. The Supreme Court ruling establishes a particular religious view as law to the exclusion of all others, which in effect bans any termination of a pregnancy. It denies the beliefs of long held social and religious practices and also violates the rights of individuals who do not believe in God or a soul, as they are unprovable “facts.”
Suing the Court?
The religious right can also be attacked on violation of religious freedom grounds, for advocating their religious dogma to become the law of the land. This is a strategy that should be looked at carefully. I believe it has merit. The strategy could culminate in suing the Supreme Court itself for violating Constitutional Freedom of Religion rights. It doesn’t have to actually work or even be ruled on, but it can be used to educate and reach out to people and religious groups to expose the dangers of this court to all of us.
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