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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ."

Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment 1

Our freedom to practice our religious beliefs as we see fit is under attack by the Religious Right. And, in the bitterest irony, the persons spearheading this attack are doing so in the name of "Religious Freedom." Nothing could be further from the truth! Their stated purpose and intent is to make sure that conservative Christian religious beliefs are codified into law, at the expense of all other citizens who may not believe the same as them. Their attacks are many and extensive, and threaten the very religious tolerance that was the core motivation of our Founding Fathers when the Constitution was first penned. By pushing to get their members elected and appointed to school boards, library boards and local, state and federal government positions, they are trying to impose their restrictive vision on our entire society, even though it is often not shared by the majority of their constituents. Examples from recent news stories are as frequent as they are disturbing:

You'll note that in most of the cases mentioned above, the uncompromising position of those trying to further the Religious Right's agenda resulted in sometimes-lengthy and often-expensive court actions on the part of citizens to block the flagrant actions of appointed officials that, in theory, were supposed to be supporting their desires, not furthering their own agenda. I'm sure the taxpayer's money they wasted in each of these court cases, attempting to thwart the will of those paying their bills, is money that could have been better spent elsewhere!

Not surprisingly, the Religious Right's overwhelmingly Caucasian make-up and exclusionary message attract many people who are intolerant of diversity in general! As a result, the "religious" objections presented are frequently nothing more than thinly-veiled racism. For example:

In other cases, they openly condemn any books that stray from their conservative Christian views, or discuss alternative religious practices:

Most disturbingly are the many attempts to legislate conservative religious values:

Not to be outdone by their state counterparts, our Federal Congresscritters are equally busy trying to subvert our religious freedom:

These are just a few of the many efforts under way all over the country to undermine the religious plurality that has been a hallmark of our society, and replace it with a narrow, conservative "Christians-only" culture that has no tolerance for religious diversity or differences in interpretation.

In his book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, noted Science Fiction author and visionary Robert A. Heinlien noted that people don't pass laws to stop themselves from doing something they don't believe in. Rather, they pass them to stop others from doing something the law's framers don't believe in, regardless of those others' beliefs. This speaks to the very core of the Religious Right's agenda: they are convinced that they know what is right and best, and want to ensure that you comply with their way of thinking whether it is your belief or not! And that attitude is un-American!

At this point I must state here, for the record, that I myself am a Christian, and that I personally believe to be true many of the beliefs that motivate these groups. But in a country where, by law, a person's religious beliefs are his or her own private business, it is not my place to force others to believe the same as I do! And any attempt, no manner how well meaning, to do so is a violation of the Amendment quoted above! While a member of the US military, I swore an oath before God to protect the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic." That oath has not been negated by my retirement, and in my opinion anyone trying to subvert the Constitutional rights of our citizens is an enemy of the domestic variety that needs protecting against! Of course, my weapon these days is the electronic "pen", not a gun . . . at least until they try to close my church!

If you are as concerned as I am about the Religious Right's attempt to weaken or eliminate our right of religious freedom, then please check out the People For the American Way. This organization, made up of members espousing diverse religious beliefs, keeps a close watch on the Religious Right's activities.


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