Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The First Amendment is for Christians Only!

Yesterday I wrote an article censuring the Rev. John Hagee, in which I wrote:
Hagee rails against the United State's policy endorsing multiculturalism in terms of religious equality and expression (which many Theofascists, withholding more than a tinge of racist sentiment, regard as a threat to their so-called "religious liberties"!) in keeping with the promise of our Nation's First Amendment promise that, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." 
However, just today it has come to my attention that (thanks to Right Wing Watch)  Bryan Fischer of the Theofascist American Family Association (AFA) has released a statement insisting that all non-Christian religions must be legally and Constitutionally prohibited under the guise that the First Amendment does not apply to them, writing (more at the above hyper-link):
[T]he First Amendment was written neither to guarantee freedom of religion to Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus nor to prohibit their free exercise of religion.  It wasn't written about them one way or another.
It was written for one specific purpose: to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion ... We must be clear: the first amendment does not prohibit the free exercise of alternative religions, but neither does it guarantee it.  it simply does not address the issue at all.
Fisher has even gone on record insisting that Native American nations should have been forcibly assimilated (indeed, American can very easily be likened to the Borg of Star Trek infamy), citing that the "superior" (his word!) European settlers had the moral, Christian authority to conquer the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas - even declaring that the Native Americans deserved to be conquered:
[Pocahontas]...recognized the superiority of the God whom the colonists worshipped over the gods of her native people, she recognized the superiority (not the perfection) of their culture and adopted its patterns and language as her own. In other words, she both converted and assimilated. … Had the other indigenous people followed her example, their assimilation into what became America could have been seamless and bloodless.
Hence, according to Fischer's pseudo-logic, a community has a legal allowance to prohibit what religions can practice in their community under his interpretation of the Constitution known as "Constitutional Originalism".  This interpretation was put forth by active Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who famously said that the Constitution does not protect women or Gay men during an interview in California Lawyer (January 2011) when asked:
Q: In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don't think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation. So does that mean that we've gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both?
 A: Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that. ... But, you know, if indeed the current society has come to different views, that's fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don't need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box. You don't like the death penalty anymore, that's fine. You want a right to abortion? There's nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn't mean you cannot prohibit it. Persuade your fellow citizens it's a good idea and pass a law. That's what democracy is all about. It's not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.
An America governed by such an interpretation of the Constitution has raised an alarm, such as the following which appeared in the New York Times (8 January, 2011):
For starters, Justice Scalia said a return to the founders’ vision means states could impose the death penalty on anyone — including juveniles or the mentally retarded, for example — and there would be no abortion rights or rights of assisted suicide for the terminally ill.
“If you took the originalists at their word,” said David Strauss, a liberal University of Chicago law professor, “you could punish people for criticizing the government, the federal government could discriminate against anyone it wanted to, and there’s a real argument that the interstate highway system is unconstitutional. The federal prison system and criminal law would be in serious question, and forget the Federal Reserve. It would be gone.” 
Would, I wonder, the Supreme Court's zeal for "Constitutional Originalism" lead them down this path when pressed?  If their zeal is strong enough, it certainly could, but the cultural motivation must be there, I believe.

No comments:

Post a Comment