Archive for October, 2010

The Separation of Church & State

“The Separation of Church and State.” We hear that phrase used on an almost daily basis. Especially when someone is offended by a Christian symbol, or prayers, in a place “they” deem inappropriate. Like government properties. Or public schools. However, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

“But it’s in the Constitution,” you argue.

Well…. I double-dog dare you to find it in the Constitution. Go ahead. Go look. Take your time. I’ll wait.

So? Did you find it? No? Color me surprised.

For those who don’t have time to look it up, here’s the amendment in question:

  • Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.

    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 for a redress of grievances.

It says nothing about avoiding any mention of Christian symbols on government property. What it does say is the government can’t force you to join a religion. Nor can the government create a national religion.

So where did the phrase come from? A letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists Association in 1802. They had written him, expressing concern the Constitution did not reach the state level. He wrote back to reassure them their religious freedom would be protected. He promised that no religious majority would be able to force out a State’s official church. The original text says, “…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

See? It has nothing to do with the government not allowing religious symbols on government properties. It has nothing to do with prayer in school. So what do you say we quit having hissy fits if somebody deigns to erect a cross in front of a courthouse? You want to add a religious symbol from your religion? Go ahead! I don’t mind.

A right or a privilege?

I think we, as Americans, frequently take our right to vote for granted. But the thing is, voting isn’t just a right, it’s also a privilege and a responsibility. And it should never be taken for granted.

Yeah, I know, I’ve been guilty of taking it for granted. I’ve been apathetic in years past even when I have voted. But as I get older I realize how important it truly is. In 1917, women suffragists were IMPRISONED for daring to picket the White House to receive the vote. President Woodrow Wilson (*sarcasm on* great man that he was 🙄 *sarcasm off*) had them arrested and tried to have them declared insane. They were beaten. They were force-fed when they went on a hunger strike. So, if you’re a woman of voting age, you owe it to those brave women who came before us to vote.

However, that isn’t where I’d planned to take this blog post. I am sadly disappointed in some of our country’s states because they were too lazy, or some lame excuse, to get absentee ballots out to our troops who are overseas. Troops in Afghanistan. Troops in Iraq. Troops all over the world. Those brave men and women are being disenfranchised and a lot of people don’t seem to care. And that is truly shameful.

Why can’t we all just get along?

Y’know, I get tired of being angry and ranting here. But I have to let off steam somewhere or I’ll blow a gasket. So you, my adoring public, get to be the recipients of my, um, *cough* Words of Wisdom *cough*. 😉

I caught about half an hour yesterday of the so-called “One Nation Rally”. It was sponsored by some 400 groups, including the AFL-CIO and the Communist Party. I have nothing against unions, per se. My dad used to be a Teamster. I respect most union members. But union leaders? Not so much. As for the Communist Party? 🙄 Please. Dream on, comrades, it ain’t gonna happen.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch any longer than I did because I could feel my blood pressure spiking. The speakers had a lot of nerve calling the people on the Right racist bigots (there’s that card again!). Pot, meet Kettle. I thought it was especially ironic that Van Jones kept harping on the “hateful rhetoric” from the Right. Would that be just like the hateful rhetoric spewing out of your own mouth there, Mr. Jones? And he was far from alone. I have never heard such racist vitriol in my life!!! If I said some of the things I heard at this rally, my mother would probably wash my mouth out with soap (even at my age!).

The attendance for the “One Nation” rally was considerably smaller than the 8/28 “Restoring Honor” rally. Even the Left-leaning NPR and Associated Press admits this. This group may have been a lot smaller, but they were a lot messier. From pictures I’ve seen that were taken afterwards, it looks as if not a single person there picked up any trash and properly disposed of it. (I’d be in trouble with my mom over that, too, if I’d done it.) Look how they trashed the World War II Memorial:

Honestly, I’d love for us all to get along and work together but name-calling and lying isn’t the way to make me like you any better. Nor does it inspire me to want to work with you. On anything.