Separation of Church and State
Relentless Assaults by…
Mind Readers and True Believers
Religious Leaders and True Believers… always trying to throw Separation of Church and State into the trash bin of forgotten history. I refer to the Religious Leaders and True Believers who peer into the crystal ball with their “finite” minds to read the “infinite” mind of God, as they tell the rest of us… what’s up with God.
Whether its prehistoric or current events, whether the old world or the new world, we see a consistent theme. We see non-stop waves of finite-minded, Religious Leaders and True Believers, reading the infinite mind of God, and telling the rest of us what “truth,” what “dogma” and what religion God prefers for mankind (Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Rastafarians, Islamists, Sunni Islamists, Shia Islamists, Wahhabi Islamists, to name a few)… each proclaiming their moral truth and moral dominance over the other. Logic alone, tells us they cannot all have the moral truth of God’s mind… they profess to have. Question ??? Is the God of infinite mind sending out inconsistent signals about what truth and what religion is best for his children ??? Or, are the Religious Leaders and Mind Readers… reading God’s mind in error ???
As we await the final decision from God about what truth, what dogma and what religion God prefers, all we can do is wait, sit around the campfire, and sing Bob Dylan’s song, God is on our Side… all the disparate, campfire voices, singing a tune of melodic dissonance with the same-o lyrics of moral truth and dominance. Yes, God is on our side !!! Tis, tis and tis. Or, maybe, as we bask in the glow of the firelight awaiting the final decision from God, we could all sing Kumbaya my Lord. At least that song is in harmony with the “message” of the man in sandals… he who walked from Galilee to Jerusalem preaching the intuitive human doctrine of the Golden Rule, reflecting those undeniable values… inclusion, acceptance, moral non-judgment, forgiveness, compassion and loving one another.
The past speaks for itself. The present ??? Merely an echo of the past. As Taliban official, Molvi Mohammed Sadiq Akif, recently told us, “It is very bad to see women (without hijab) in some areas (big cities) and our scholars… agree that women’s faces should be hidden… Allah gives respect to females in hijab.” (Detroit Free Press 8/18/2023, page 8A). Well, there you have it. Now we know what God prefers for women. I am sure the Taliban’s Molvi Mohammed would also tell us… God is against educating women. And, not to leave out the American Christian Mind Readers and True Believers… Republican, Evangelical Televangelist, Pat Robertson, told us in 2022 that Putin was “compelled by God” to invade the Ukraine so humanity could get on with Armageddon and the end times. (See Daily Beast article of 2/28/22 by Justin Baragona). Count me out. Valuing the gift of life as I do and having buried so many loved ones over the course of a long life, I have lost my appetite for Armageddon. I have also lost my appetite for the patriarchal, Roman Catholic Church reading God’s mind and telling women that God does not want them as Priests or Deacons.
Today in 2023 America, the Christian’s go-to opening salvo against Separation of Church and State is, “America is a Christian Nation”… to which the 200 plus year old Bill of Rights (non- establishment of religion clause) responds, “No, it ain’t.” Today in 2023 Israel, Right-Wing religious nationalist’s Jews have gained control of governance of the State of Israel in complicity with a compliant, running-scared and indicted Netanyahu… while the Israeli protesters in the “Marches of the Masses” defiantly respond, “No, you ain’t going to take away our human rights… by handing over control of government to Right-Wing, religious zealots.” For the non-Israeli, Middle East it’s Islam and the endless battle for purity of dogma between the warring factions of Sunni, Shia, Wahhabism… by governmental leaders who read the mind of God and control the masses with violent crackdowns and the usual slogans… Jihad, Holy Wars and Death to the Infidel. For India it is Hinduism and its undeclared war of religion against the infidels of Islam. And, the only common ground ??? for these warring factions who all read God’s mind to suit their own needs is… “God is on our side.”
In the first half of the 21st Century in America, right-wing Christian theocrats have seized the levers of power… some in Congress and others in the U.S. Supreme Court, aka the Super Majority, Federalist Society, Right-Wing, Catholic Justices (Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney-Barrett and Neil Gorsuch… former Catholic from Georgetown Prep, now attending Episcopal services). As we speak, those Right-Wing, Catholic Justices are structuring a political “theocracy” (case by case by case, by case), and purposely un-separating Church and State and remaking our America in their own, cultural likeness, image, and religious view… the Right-Wing, Christian view. That is the same, Right-Wing Christian view of “superiority” and “exclusiveness” that led to the forced Christianization of Native Americans, and to (what Christian Catholics use to call) the “Pagan Babies” of the world that they sought to Christianize.
FOUNDING FATHER’S SOLUTION…
The “human right” that protects the rest of us from these “theocratic” Mind Readers of God’s infinite mind ??? The doctrine of Separation of Church and State… set forth in the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights… “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” That non-establishment clause, in essence, says… Government don’t you establish any State Religion, and don’t you favor (or give a leg up) to any one religious belief system over another. Government… stay out of the business of religion. Or, as John F. Kennedy said in 1960 when he was running to be America’s first Catholic President…
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute – where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote – where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference – and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish – where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source – where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials – and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”
Separation of Church and State… given to us by America’s Founding Fathers, is
- An absolute must,
- A 1st Amendment, Bill of Rights… must,
- A human right… must
… a must that our Founding Fathers recognized, when they adopted the 1st Amendment non-establishment of religion clause. Americans and all of God’s children across the globe need protection from those finite Mind Readers and True Believers who claim to know the infinite mind of God. Americans and all of God’s children across the globe need to be protected from the governmental theocracies of finite minds who are all too willing to put their “governmental stamp of approval” on the unprovable, theocratic dogma and beliefs God whispers in their ear.
PUTTING THE STAMP OF CHRISTIANITY ON AMERICA
The Federalist Society, Super Majority of Christian Supreme Justices in the religious fervor of their Right-Wing Christianity have lost sight of the Founding Father’s 1st Amendment, non-establishment clause, and President John F. Kennedy’s decades’ old warning. Today (2023), the U.S. Supreme Court, Super Majority, Right-Wing Catholics are short-sighted, parochial thinkers whose rigid, religious indoctrination of their youth deprives them of insight into the larger, non-Christian world. Although they would studiously deny it, they are unwitting theocrats, living in a world of denial, and lacking insight into how and where their Christian, cultural wars are leading them (and leading the unwilling rest of us).
- See Town of Greece vs Galloway case (2014…) where the Right-Wing, Christian Justices allowed a Christian prayer by a Christian Chaplain to begin legislative sessions for the Town of Greece (in upstate New York)… despite the legitimate complaints of a Jew and an Atheist, requesting that the “law-making power of government” be separated from the “unprovable” religious belief system of Christianity. The Right-Wing, Christian Supreme Court Majority basically said… Don’t sweat it. It ain’t no big deal. Had the tables been reversed with an Iman reading some verses from the Koran, it would have been a big deal… an “Oh No, you ain’t allowed to do that in America” big deal… for the Right-Wing, Catholic Justices. Or, as my Bookie Father would say about a sure bet, “Take that to the bank.”
- See also the Little Sisters of the Poor vs Pennsylvania (2020) where the Super Majority of Right-Wing Catholic Justices gave the good old, Catholic, Little Sisters of the Poor veto power over the Obama Care Law that provided contraceptive insurance benefits (at taxpayers’ expense) to the good Sister’s women employees. And, how do the good Sisters justify asking our Supreme Court for veto power over an Act of the American Congress and over their women employees who want birth control coverage under Obama care ??? The answer. The “Free Exercise” of Religion clause of the 1st Amendment. More specifically, the good Sisters whispered into “the all too willing ear” of the Right-Wing, Catholic Justices that… “Birth control is a Sin” End of story. An unprovable belief, “Birth control is a Sin”… won the day for the Little Sisters, even though Jesus never said a word about it in the Sermon on the Mount, even though the women employees of the Little Sisters don’t believe birth control is a Sin, and even though birth control is not a Sin for the rest of the women in America. See the Guttmacher analysis of a 2011 poll which indicates that 99% of women, including 98% of Catholic women, have engaged in the practice of birth control (New Yorker magazine article of March 19, 2012. Page 23).
In the last analysis, the U.S. Supreme Court relied upon the 1st Amendment’s “free exercise” of religion clause to give the Little Sisters of the Poor veto power over a law passed by our American Congress… even though the claims of the Little Sisters were based on their mere, “unprovable” belief that birth control is a Sin, and not based upon any “exercise” of religion. Just sitting around merely “believing” the “unprovable” belief that birth control is a Sin… is not an “exercise” of religion (not attending Church, not praying, not a mass, not a rosary, not a novena, not setting up a manger scene in your front yard, etc.). Analogously, it is not an “exercise” of football to just sit around on the couch watching a football game while drawing up offensive plays in your head… no matter how fervently you “believe” in the trustworthy-ness of your imaginary plays.
- See also 303 Creative vs Elenis (2023)… where the Super Majority of Right-Wing, Catholic Justices (belatedly seeing the weakness in the “free exercise” of religion clause used in Little Sisters of the Poor) took “political cover”… by adroitly shifting away from the “free exercise” of religion clause of the 1st Amendment to the “freedom of speech” clause of the 1st Amendment. That clever shift provided “political cover” for the Right-Wing, Catholic Justices to engage in the sophistry of creating their own false syllogism: (1) the Plaintiff Web Designer is an artist and (2) she believes that LGBTQ is a Sin. Therefore, the 1st Amendment freedom of speech protects her “unprovable” belief that gay marriage is a Sin — even though gay marriage is a Constitutionally protected right. That’s not only the sophistry of a false syllogism. It’ also a red herring (diversion)… all “smoke and mirrors” to throw the rest of us off the scent of the real issue. The real issue ??? The Plaintiff, wannabe web designer (just like the Christian, White Supremacist Ku Klux Klan felt about Blacks) wants nothing to do with LGBTQ customers because she reads the mind of God and tells the rest of us that God tells her that the LGBTQ lifestyle is a Sin. And, on that basis, the Right-Wing, Catholic Justices gave the Web Designer a green light to discriminate against and shun the constitutionally protected class of gay marriage because, well because… what those consenting, gay adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms is a Sin as God tells the wannabe web designer and the Right-Wing Catholic, Supreme Court Justices.
Or, as the Supreme Court, right-wing Catholic Justices had to acknowledge in their written opinion… It’s okay for the wannabe, web designer to discriminate against and shun America’s Constitutionally-protected LGBTQ community because… the wannabe web designer’s Christian “beliefs” told her that same sex marriage violates the “Biblical Truth” that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. See page 4 of the Courts opinion. There it is. Plain as day. The wannabe web designer was given carte blanche authority by the Right-Wing Catholic, Supreme Court Justices to discriminate against and shun those who she tells us are Sinners… religious dogma she was indoctrinated with by those Mind Readers and True Believers who taught her which way was up when she was a child.
SUPREME COURT RULINGS… EXTENSION OF KKK DISCRIMINATION
Apparently lost on the Federalist Society, Right-Wing, Christian, Supreme Court Justices is that… their ruling allowing the Town of Greece, the Little Sisters of the Poor and the wannabe website designer, 303 Creative, to “discriminate” against others on the basis of “unprovable” religious beliefs is just a return to the good old days of Ku Klux Klan Christianity… that was used to justify discrimination, shunning and a White Supremacy that boldly claimed their Christian God gave their Christian, White selves… the role of Lord and Master over God’s inferior, Black children.
- To enslave Blacks for 250 years in America (1619-1865),
- To discriminate against and shun Blacks for another 100 years (1865-mid 1960s) under Jim Crow laws of “separate but equal” (“no White skin, no service”)… until (somewhat) remedied by the Civil Rights Acts of the mid 1960s (Black skin now gets service and sits upfront in the bus),
- Followed by another 50 plus years of racial discrimination, shunning and second-class citizenship via red lining of home ownership, redlining of “all White” neighborhoods, restrictive covenants in deeds and redlining of home equity (“no White skin, no mortgages”),
- Followed by the never ending, still ongoing murder and torture of Blacks by Whites as “symbolized” by the murders of Emmett Till (1955), Medgar Evers (1963), Martin Luther King (1968), Ahmaud Arbery (2020) and George Floyd (2020).
- And, over my lifetime, how many times have I heard White Supremacist Christians give an awkward, half ass, “reading God’s mind” explanation that the Bible shows that “discrimination” and shunning of Blacks is approved by God because… when Cain killed his brother Able, God put a Black mark on Cain making it “open season” for Christian, White Supremacist to do as they wish to Blacks.
Reminiscent of anything ??? For me, reminiscent of graduating from Law School in 1969 and being admitted to the Michigan Bar on December 2, 1969 in the Livingston County, Circuit Court (Judge Paul Mahinski presiding in Howell, Michigan). Fresh out of the University of Detroit Law School in 1969, I was well versed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s growing body of Constitutional rights (under the legendary legacy of U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice, Earl Warren)…
- Right to vote for Blacks … striking down literacy tests and poll taxes
- Right to legal representation for indigent Defendants by Court Appointed Counsel
- Right to Miranda warnings from cops to suspects,
- Right to suppress evidence obtained by the government in violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments
- Right to interracial marriage for mixed race couples
- Right to (and decriminalization of) contraceptives for married couples, etc.
But, what I was not versed in, as I left Law School in 1969… was the “influence” of the Ku Klux Klan in Livingston County, Michigan, an influence that spilled over to some Jurors chosen to sit in judgment in criminal and civil cases in the Livingston County Circuit Court. Therefore, in 1970, when I was “court appointed” counsel to represent a Black man (from Detroit) in a CCW criminal case (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) in Livingston County, it surprise me when local attorney, Irish Brian Lavan Esq. (may he rest)… told me to be prepared during Jury selection to ferret out prospective jurors who were sympathizers (or card-toten members) of the Klan. What ??? I thought that was long ago and far away in the deep South. “Oh, contrar“… says Lavan. Unbeknownst to my inexperienced, 26 year-old self, the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Christian Pastor, Robert Miles, lived in Livingston County (a 45 minute drive up I-96 from my hometown City of Detroit). Who you ask ??? The Right Reverend Robert Miles, cloaked in Christian superiority and religious bigotry and head of the Church of Jesus Christ the Savior. Grand Dragon, Robert Miles, was hidden in plain sight and living in Livingston County… at least, when he wasn’t doing time for Conspiracy to bomb school buses that were used to desegregate Michigan schools.
Robert Miles, Ku Klux Klan, Grand Dragon and White Supremacist Pastor used his Christian pulpit and Christian Bible to preach Christian superiority of God’s White children, telling his followers that God created Black-skinned children inferior to the White children, and, therefore… White Christians had an absolute right to discriminate against Blacks and shun them socially. Or, if they looked twice at a White woman… lynch ‘em too. Reminiscent of today’s U.S. Supreme Court ??? Sadly, Yes, as the 21st Century, Federalist Society, Super Majority Right-Wing Christian Justices tell us… that 21st Century Christians are still authorized to use their “unprovable” religious beliefs of intolerance and hate to discriminate against and shun the next group down the American totem pole, LGBTQ Sinners. See 303 Creative vs Elenis (2023) mentioned above.
Postscript. The verdict in the CCW Trial of my Black client in Livingston County ??? Not Guilty. To be informed is to be forewarned. Thank you… Brian Lavan, Esquire. The Jury (with forewoman, Mary Christmas… her real name) came back with the not guilty verdict a couple days before Christmas 1970. Great Christmas present for my client and me too… no ??? You can’t make this up. And the Prosecutor from all those years ago ??? Tom Kizer Esq. who went on to become an outstanding lawyer. I still count him as a good friend today in 2023… 54 years later. But, as I’ve often been admonished in the Courtroom, “Mr. Lauck, let’s stick to the point.” So, back to the point we go. Thank you for the reminder, your Honor. The point ??? The penchant of today’s Evangelicals and Right-Wing Catholics to throw away the 1st Amendment’s Separation of Church and State and adopt Christianity’s unprovable belief system as the religion that governs America.
Because of the predilection of the present, Federalist Society, Super Majority, Right-Wing, Christian Justices on the U. S. Supreme Court (Alito, Thomas, Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrett) … the human right of us Americans to chart our own course and our own “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” free from the imposing over-reach of the “unprovable” beliefs of Religious Mind Leaders and True Believers is being denied to left wing, liberal Christians and non-Christians, alike. Today, in 2023 (and for many generations to come), the rulings of the Right-Wing Christian, Supreme Court Justices will legally shackle the rest of us Americans with an “unprovable,” right-wing belief system (birth control is a sin, and so is LGBTQ). With the present Right-Wing, Christian Supreme Court (in lockstep with the Evangelical Christians and Right-Wing Catholics), the rest of us are “second class” citizens in the American Christian theocracy. The religious battles of the theocratic Middle East over the purity of doctrine and dogma and the religious battles of yesterday’s Spanish Inquisition… have come to the shores of America. And, with those religious battles… so goes the loss of our God given free will to live out our “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness” as we see fit… all in violation of the “don’t establish” a religion clause of the 1st Amendment, a violation of Separation of Church and State doctrine. And what are we left with after all these losses ??? An America sliding down the slippery slope to “Theocracy.”
The left-wing, liberal “live and let live” Christians and the non-Christian segment of America can ill afford to let the Right-Wing, Christian theocrats of the U.S. Supreme and the U.S. Congress take over and violate Separation of Church and State, and create an American theocracy of Christianity. Separation of Church and State ensures that no one is punished, discriminated against, or shunned for what they “believe or don’t believe.” Punishment for criminal acts is the way of life in a Democracy. But punishment, discrimination, or societal shunning for what we choose to believe or not believe is unconstitutional in America. Religion and Government wearing the same hat and enforcing a religious belief system by force of law is the accepted staple and Hallmark of Theocracies… like al-Qaida, ISIS, the Taliban, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. whose governments tell everyone what “unprovable” religious beliefs they must believe or suffer the consequence for being an infidel. And, as the present Super Majority, Right-Wing Christians of the U. S. Supreme Court now allow… let’s read God’s infinite mind and let the dogma wars, discrimination and societal shunning begin anew. All of us should (no, make that must) have a natural distrust of all those “finite,” human minds who read the “infinite” mind of God, and tell the rest of us what God demands of us… a harbinger of loss of freedom and human rights and a recipe for disaster.
Many (not all) but too many of those Mind Readers and True Believers of today (2023) were unwittingly set up for religious indoctrination when they were just kids. Now, that they have seamlessly slid from the “unprovable,” indoctrinated religious beliefs of childhood to the “unprovable,” political beliefs, of adulthood… they present a clear and present danger to our American Democracy. I speak of the January 6th invaders, Q’Anon followers, Neo Nazis, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Ku Klux Klan, Pat Robertson, Right-Wing Evangelicals, Right-Wing Catholics, those 900 (plus) indoctrinated adults (and their children) who drank the cool aid and died in Jonestown Guyana in 1978, those 303 indoctrinated souls (and their children) who starved themselves to death in Kenya in 2023, and all the others who claim to have a pipeline to the infinite mind of God, and claim to have all the answers to the impenetrable and unsolvable mysteries of life and death.
Dear God. Deliver us from evil (and ignorance) and give the rest of your children in America and across the Universe deliverance from those True Believers who claim to read your “infinite” mind. Instead, let them read the “finite” mind of man, and see the overwhelming need to follow in the footsteps of the man in sandals who journeyed from Galilee to Jerusalem criticizing the patriarchal system of his time and spreading the “good news” of… inclusion, acceptance, moral non-judgment, forgiveness, compassion and loving one another. Let us first be a citizen of the world and then a patriot of some postage-stamp parcel of land. First let us be a child of God and then a member of some organized religion.