Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

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Addie
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Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#1

Post by Addie » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:20 am

The Atlantic - Peter Beinart
Secular Democrats Are the New Normal

Instead of invoking God, O’Rourke and most other Democratic contenders identify religion as a source of division.


Were a Democrat from the Clinton, Bush, or Obama eras to watch the presidential-announcement video that Beto O’Rourke released on Thursday, they would likely be struck by how it ended. Or, more specifically, by how it didn’t end. O’Rourke did not close with any mention of God.

Until recently, such farewells were standard fare for Democratic and Republican candidates alike. Bill Clinton ended his 1992 convention speech with the words “God bless you, and God bless America.” At the 1996 convention, he declared, “God bless you, and good night.” Al Gore finished his 1999 presidential-announcement speech with the words “May God bless you. And God bless America.” John Kerry closed his presidential-announcement speech in 2003 by saying, “Thank you, and God bless you all.” Barack Obama ended his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention with the phrase “God bless you.” (Although Obama didn’t mention God at the end of his 2007 announcement speech, he began it with “Giving all praise and honor to God for bringing us here today.”) Hillary Clinton closed her announcement speech in 2015 with “God bless you. And may God bless America.”

O’Rourke exemplifies a new normal. None of the other major white progressive candidates—Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Kirsten Gillibrand—invoked God in their presidential announcements either. (Amy Klobuchar, who is running as a comparative moderate, did.)

Today’s white liberals don’t only talk about faith less than their predecessors did. They talk about it in a strikingly different way. Earlier Democrats invoked religion as a source of national unity. Bill Clinton declared in his 1992 convention speech, “There is no them; there’s only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In his 2004 convention keynote address, Obama famously announced, “We worship an awesome God in the blue states.” The implication was that religious observance was something Americans of both parties shared.

Today, by contrast, progressive white candidates more often cite religion as a source of division. In his announcement video, O’Rourke boasted that during his Senate campaign in Texas, “people allowed no difference, however great or however small, to stand between them and divide us. Whether it was religion or gender or geography or income, we put our labels and our differences aside.” The only reference to faith in Warren’s announcement speech was an acknowledgment that “we come from different backgrounds. Different religions.” The lone reference in Sanders’s was a call for “ending religious bigotry.” While white progressives once described religion as something that brought Americans together, they’re now more likely to describe it as something that drives them apart.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#2

Post by ZekeB » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:23 am

If Trump is an example of a Believer, I want nothing to do with his kind of religion. Nuff said.
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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#3

Post by Addie » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:20 pm

Morning Consult
Roughly Half the Electorate Views Christian Nationalism as a Threat

Affinity toward the ideology was best predictor of Trump’s support, per study


As 2016’s election wound down, political scientists scrambled to understand which issue pushed President Donald Trump over the finish line.

And while research showed economic dissatisfaction and prejudice toward immigrants and minorities to be a strong indicator of support for Trump, one study found that the best way to determine vote choice in 2016 was by gauging adherence to Christian nationalist ideology.

“Christian nationalism,” or the belief that the country is or should be a Christian nation that can often include social and political campaigns supposedly aimed at maintaining or reverting back to that status, is not a new phenomenon, but the fervor among its adherents grows stronger amid the United States’ shift toward a more diverse and secular country. A March 22-24 Morning Consult poll finds that nearly half of the voting public views that ideology as an important or critical threat to the vital interests of the country within the next 10 years.



Rachel Laser, president of the nonpartisan Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which opposes religion dictating public policy, said Christian nationalism is a threat because it takes up “efforts to restrict the space for religious pluralism in the country and give special privileges to a narrow segment of white Christians in America.” ...

Christian nationalism doesn’t strike the same level of concern among voters as white nationalism, a movement that has received increased media attention in the wake of tragedies such as last month’s mass shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and 2017’s Charlottesville riots and protests: White nationalism is viewed as a critical or important threat by 64 percent of the electorate.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#4

Post by Addie » Sun May 19, 2019 12:45 pm

Salon - Paul Rosenberg
Demolishing the right's "Founding Myth": America was never a "Christian nation"

Author Andrew Seidel on America and the Bible: A country built on rebellion and a book built on obedience


As I reported last year, nothing did more to elect Donald Trump than the belief in America as a “Christian nation.” By that measure, nothing could be more timely than a book that takes that myth head on and fundamentally destroys it. Such a book has just been published: “The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American” by Andrew L. Seidel, a constitutional attorney who works for the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Seidel is far from the first author to address the historical myths and confusions of political philosophy that sustain Christian nationalism. But no one has written a book quite like this before, because of its sweep, its depth, its viewpoint and its tone. "The Founding Myth" goes far beyond debunking the false history that Christian nationalists advance to a detailed examination of how biblical principles are fundamentally at odds with our constitutional order. The rare exceptions at the time of our founding — biblical support for slavery and the subjugation of women — do not reflect how we view the Constitution today.

In addition, the fact that the Constitution has evolved, and was designed to do so, points to another sharp contrast with the unchanging edicts of the Bible, many of which simply go ignored today in order to preserve the mythic appeal. Seidel also examines how linguistic trappings — “In God We Trust” on our currency, “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. — do not reflect deep principles of national political philosophy, but rather episodes of national weakness and political opportunism that cloud and obscure our true heritage.

To explore the book more fully, Salon interviewed Seidel by phone. This conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#5

Post by Addie » Tue May 28, 2019 8:29 pm

Chicago Tribune - Rachel Laser
Abortion bans are a result of the crumbling of church-state separation

The terrifying rash of state abortion bans spreading throughout the United States has captured the nation’s attention, but in order to stop this trend, those who are fighting back must also focus on its deeper cause: the ever-crumbling wall of separation between church and state.

The First Amendment prohibits the government from imposing one set of religious beliefs, or religion at all, on others, but that’s undeniably what these bans are doing. ...

These abortion bans are but one piece of a larger Christian nationalist effort sweeping America now. Last year, more than 800 state legislators across the country received the 150-page playbook of Project Blitz, a national initiative to codify a far-right evangelical Christian America. Project Blitz’s strategy is to pass an increasingly ambitious set of state laws, starting with bills that require prominently displaying “In God We Trust” and establishing Bible classes in public schools, and escalating to laws that would permit religion to be used to justify discrimination, particularly against women, LGBTQ people and religious minorities. More than 50 Project Blitz bills have already been introduced in 2019, from Virginia to Alaska and many states in between. ...

This year alone, the Trump administration has already allowed federally funded South Carolina foster care agencies to turn away prospective parents and volunteers who do not share their religion (evangelical Christian) and issued a rule allowing all health care providers to deny even lifesaving care to patients based on their religious views. These actions come on the heels of the rule the administration finalized in November that permits employers and universities to deny women birth control coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act on religious or moral grounds.

These days, some claim these policies that license discrimination are really just about protecting the “religious freedom” of conservative Christians. But the religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution is not meant to be weaponized. If the government makes me bear the cost of your “religious freedom,” then it prefers your religion to mine. And the First Amendment forbids the government from playing favorites. The Trump administration is undermining, not bolstering, true religious freedom.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#6

Post by Addie » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:50 am

CBS News
Trump backs push for Bible classes in schools

President Trump appeared to endorse efforts by legislators in several states to allow public schools to offer Bible classes.

"Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!" Mr. Trump tweeted Monday morning after "Fox and Friends" ran a segment on the topic.

Christian lawmakers in six Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country are pushing for legislation that would allow public schools to offer elective classes on the New and Old Testaments.

The push by conservative legislators in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia has stirred some controversy. Critics of the proposals, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), argue that public school classes on the Bible would jeopardize the separation of church and state enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Alabama, Iowa and West Virginia have also considered Bible literacy bills, but all of the measures were voted down, according to the Fox News report.

But in Kentucky, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed legislation in 2017 to allow public school students to take Bible and Hebrew scriptures classes. A year ago, in January 2018, the ACLU of Kentucky expressed concern to the Kentucky Board of Education after an Open Records Act investigation found that many courses violated constitutional requirements that say that religious texts used in classrooms must be secular, objective and not promote any specific religious view.

The ACLU said it found "public school teachers using the Bible to impart religious life lessons" and use of Sunday school lessons and worksheets for source material. These are not academic approaches to objective study of the Bible and its historical or literary value, the ACLU pointed out.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#7

Post by Addie » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:27 pm

The Atlantic - Adam Serwer
The Illiberal Right Throws a Tantrum

A faction of the religious right has concluded that if liberal democracy does not guarantee victory, then it must be abandoned.


By the tail end of the Obama administration, the culture war seemed lost. The religious right sued for détente, having been swept up in one of the most rapid cultural shifts in generations. Gone were the decades of being able to count on attacking its traditional targets for political advantage. In 2013, Chuck Cooper, the attorney defending California’s ban on same-sex marriage, begged the justices to allow same-sex-marriage opponents to lose at the ballot box rather than in court. Conservatives such as George Will and Rod Dreher griped that LGBTQ activists were “sore winners,” intent on imposing their beliefs on prostrate Christians, who, after all, had already been defeated.

The rapidity of that cultural shift, though, should not obscure the contours of the society that the religious right still aspires to preserve: a world where women have no control over whether to carry a pregnancy to term, same-sex marriage is illegal, and gays and lesbians can be arrested and incarcerated for having sex in their own homes and be barred from raising children. The religious right showed no mercy and no charity toward these groups when it had the power to impose its will, but when it lost that power, it turned to invoking the importance of religious tolerance and pluralism in a democratic society.

That was then. The tide of illiberalism sweeping over Western countries and the election of Donald Trump have since renewed hope among some on the religious right that it might revive its cultural control through the power of the state. Inspired by Viktor Orbán in Hungary and Vladimir Putin in Russia, a faction of the religious right now looks to sectarian ethno-nationalism to restore its beliefs to their rightful primacy, and to rescue a degraded and degenerate culture. All that stands in their way is democracy, and the fact that most Americans reject what they have to offer.

The past few weeks have witnessed a nasty internecine fight among religious conservatives about whether liberal democracy’s time has passed. Sohrab Ahmari, writing at First Things, attacked National Review’s David French for adhering to a traditional commitment to liberal democracy while “the overall balance of forces has tilted inexorably away from us.” Would the left have stood by liberal democracy in the face of such circumstances? In fact, the balance of forces tilted away from the left’s cultural priorities for most of my lifetime, and the left’s response was to win arguments—slowly, painfully, and at incalculable personal cost. ...

Indeed, the illiberal faction in this debate retains Trump as its champion precisely because the president is willing to use the power of the state for sectarian ends, despite being an exemplar of the libertinism to which it is supposedly implacably opposed, a man whose major legislative accomplishment is slashing taxes on the wealthy, and whose most significant contribution to the institution of the family is destroying thousands of them on purpose. It is power that is the motivator here, and the best that could be said for these American Orbánists is that they believe that asserting an iron grip on American politics and culture would offer the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Every authoritarian movement has felt the same way.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#8

Post by Lani » Sat Jun 22, 2019 6:47 am

What could possibly go wrong?

An Alabama megachurch will form its own police force after passage of controversial law
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/06/21/poli ... index.html
An Alabama megachurch plans to start its own police force thanks to a new law permitting the church to do just that.

The law, signed by Gov. Kay Ivey, authorizes Briarwood Presbyterian to "appoint and employ one or more suitable persons to act as police officers to protect the property of the school or academy."

A similar bill was proposed four years ago, but it was dropped by the Alabama legislature amid a public outcry over the Presbyterian Church in America's racist history, as well as criticism that the bill was unconstitutional and violated the Establishment Clause's separation of church and state. Briarwood Presbyterian is part of the PCA.
:snippity:
The ACLU of Alabama tweeted the new law undermines the separation of church and state are is "a threat to our freedom of religion and a violation of the Establishment Clause."
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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#9

Post by Notorial Dissent » Sat Jun 22, 2019 8:58 am

I have a hard time believing the law is even remotely constitutional, but then AL.
The fact that you sincerely and wholeheartedly believe that the “Law of Gravity” is unconstitutional and a violation of your sovereign rights, does not absolve you of adherence to it.

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Re: Issues 2020: Separation of Church and State

#10

Post by Addie » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:24 am

Salon - Paul Rosenberg
Under Trump, Christian nationalists are playing to win — and liberals are finally fighting back

"Dominionists" who want a theocratic America are pushing on many fronts. But they're not under the radar anymore


It’s easy for significant stories to get lost in the sound and fury of Donald Trump’s frontal assault on American democracy, epitomized by his militarized co-opting of Washington’s Fourth of July celebration. As my interview with Angie Maxwell, co-author of “The Long Southern Strategy,” shows, Trump’s presidency was decades in the making, with racism, sexism. and fundamentalism all playing crucial roles. The forces that brought him to power are ultimately far more consequential than he is.

That's why a cluster of recent developments involving questions of religious privilege deserve far more attention from the public and the media than they have received. These events reflect both the advancement of a theocratic, "dominionist" worldview that elevates the state-sanctified religious liberty of some at the obvious expense of others — and a rising tide of liberal, secular resistance.

On July 2, federal prosecutors announced they would retry humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren on two charges related to aiding migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Warren, whom Amnesty International has previously said “would be a prisoner of conscience” if convicted, was “detained for his volunteer activities motivated by humanitarian principles and his religious beliefs.”

Warren regards himself as a devout Christian, driven to follow the words of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew: “For I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me to drink, an alien and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you ministered to me.” Warren’s religious freedom clearly plays no role in the Trump administration’s thinking. It’s the negative space that throws everything else into sharp relief.

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