Mixing Religion and Government
Who would ever venture to disagree that there is a body count associated with mixing religion and government? Enshrined in government at the state and local levels are laws and even constitutional amendments that fly in the face of the Establishment Clause, and their effect is a measurable one. In my home state of Florida, discrimination against LGBT individuals is codified in the state constitution, passed by merit of popular vote the religious-backed notion that gay people are not entitled to the same rights to marry as straight people are. It was only two years ago that a circuit court overrode the prohibition on gay adoption in the state of Florida, and it still stands throughout most of the Southeast that a person can be fired from their job, kicked out of a rented home or asked to leave a place of business or restaurant because they are gay.
With these injustices fomented from the pulpit and ensconced in the harsh reality of everyday life, is it any wonder that gay teens are 400% more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers? Religion steers and guides the actions of state legislators, Congressional representatives and Senators across the nation. Politicians have become beholden to the outlandish radical fundamentalism of the Christianist right and endeavor to legislate morality while the infrastructural and educational integrity of our nation declines.
Right now in America, pastors proclaim a lack of mandated prayer in schools as a sign of the end-times, and get up in arms about an inability to slather the local taxpayer-owned buildings in bawdy commercialized religious paraphernalia. Simultaneous to these loud protestations of opposition to government-imposed religion come demands for condemnation of basic, organizational outreach on the part of Atheist or Agnostic organizations. “Blasphemy!” they cry, urging their legislators bought up like so many cheap trinkets to sponsor bills to assign a level of illegality to a thing they themselves do, but for another version of faith.
The religious right empower a culture of anti-choice, woman-hating murderers who have bombed and assassinated those working at family planning clinics. Operation Rescue, with cooperation from legislators, have pushed forward legislation to make it more difficult for a woman to seek an abortion in many states – keeping it technically legal but all but impossible to obtain in states like the Dakotas, Kansas and others. As a result, poorer women end up dead from complications, or bring infants to term while in abusive relationships.
There is no greater truth than the fact that a body count is a verifiable effect of mixing religion and government. We need only look to the world’s current theocratic governments to see what harm and destruction radicalism in the intermingling of faith with the civil power can do.