"Bigotry is the sacred disease" -- Heraclitus 6th Century BCE
Article VI, Sec.3 of the Constitution reads:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures,and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by the oath of affirmation, to support the Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
The First Amendment, ratified December 15, 1791, is quite unambiguous about this. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
It was our third president, Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809),who further defined separation between Church and State. In 1802, in a letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Jefferson wrote: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law regarding an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,thus building a wall of separation between Church and State'. "
"Every ruler should be an avowed and sincere friend of Christianity. He should know and believe the doctrines of our holy religion, and act in conformity to its precepts." So said Ezra Stiles Ely, Presbyterian minister, during a sermon in Philadelphia, July 4, 1827. Ely was a supporter of Andrew Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812, who went on to become our seventh president in 1828. Jackson did not agree with Ely's sermon and wrote to him: "Amongst the greatest blessings secured to us under our Constitution is the liberty of worshipping God as our conscience dictates."*
If polls are right, somewhere along the way a large percentage of Americans embraced an arrogant, dogmatic interpretation of Christ and his teachings. G.W. Bush is the ideal ruler envisaged by Ezra Stile Ely. An avowed Born Again Christian, he champions their cause. In their world, there is only one way. From issues as diverse as right to die, women's right to choose, and teaching of evolution, to use of public grounds for display of religious symbols and statues, the zealots want to force the rest of us to accept their position. A fully supportive administration is doing all it can to destroy the barrier between church and state. Christian groups, including Catholics, have become actively involved in the political arena and political leaders are assiduously courting them. There is something very hollow about them. The same people are critical of other nations where the constitution is based on scriptures; where archaic laws and practices prevail; where religious minorites are persecuted. The fundamentalists are reported to be waiting for rapture...the Second coming of Christ when the true believers will ascend to heaven. Hope it happens soon.
S.D. Legislature takes lead in antiabortion measures
Evelyn Nieves in the Washington Post:
"As national leaders on both sides of the abortion debate focus on the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearings of Samuel A. Alito Jr., they are watching states such as South Dakota pass more and more restrictions that might be upheld by a newly constituted, more conservative Supreme Court
." No one who supports women's right to choose should have any doubt about the fragility of Roe v. Wade. Attacks against it will continue and a Supreme Court loaded with agenda driven justices will eventually succeed in overturning the momentous decision made in January 1973.*****