We obviously have a system that promotes a separation of Church and State. The week begins with Sunday at Church – then we take a day to cool off and return to a mentality of sanity, so we can go vote. Most elections are held on the first Tuesday of November or April. Church is always on Sunday, no matter which month. And that is how America works – faithfully keeping religion separate from politics.
That scenario is more so today than in the past. Newsweek Magazine is reporting that some preacher somewhere read a report from someone else and deduced that Christianity has less influence on politics today than it did in 1988. I happen to think that is good news – given the state of contemporary evangelical dominance of Christianity in America.
As noted in the Newsweek article, many liberals fear an evangelical theocracy. This fear has not been without justification. Beginning with Ronald Reagan the Republican Party shifted from a Party of educated intellectuals focused on support of a Constitutional Government with a Capitalist economic system to a party of evangelicals who viewed our government as something evil. This shift to superstition and fear as fundamental elements of reason, and contrary to The Bill of Rights, was a facade designed simply to get Republicans elected.
There was never any intention by the Republican leadership to actually implement any of the evangelical notions of a Church dominated State. They may be ambitious, but they are not fools. In retrospect we can see that the evangelicals were fooled again – first by their wealthy televised preachers, and then by the Republicans. But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. The Newsweek article points out the difficulty of measuring actual religious impact on public policy.
While the born again Republicans touted values promoting school prayer and opposition to same-sex marriage – they changed nothing. Fortunately for all of America, our system of checks and balances works well enough. Republican legislators wrote new laws to support their evangelical agenda, knowing two things: 1) The new laws will never pass the muster of Constitutional challenge in America’s courts. When the laws failed to pass muster, the Republican leadership shifted the blame to what they called ‘activist judges.’ What nonsense – these politicians are masters of blaming others. and 2) The evangelical right wing-nuts will vote for them again. Nothing need change. Blame the courts. Blame the ACLU. Blame educated idiots. Blame the ‘liberals.’ Advocate a dumbing-down of the populace – they are easier to manipulate.
But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. With thirty years experience with evangelicals advocating a theocracy – America has wised up. The reality of America is that Religion is more healthy when separated from Government; and Government is more healthy when separated from Religion. Vast amounts of legislative effort have been spent on issues that have no hope of implementation in a country wisely devised by our Founding Fathers.
Sadly, the impact of right wing-nut evangelical lunacy did have consequences. The fundamental ideology is one of imposing cultural values on others. The pinnacle of this ideal was manifested in the administration of President George W. Bush. Death by military violence escalated, torture became standard, and civil liberties of Americans faced the greatest threat in our history. Ironically, Constitutional protection of people from government was at an all time low. This mentality is just a shadow of a full blown theocracy – such as is found in Iran.
All of us should cheer when the courts find laws to be unconstitutional. It means our system is working.