Overheard (November 2022)
A nation as diverse as America needs to reckon head-on with the current push to weaken the separation of church and state, indeed, to resist creating, for all intents and purposes, a national religion.
Linda Stamatoa of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, in her column, “Christians, please listen. There is no national religion in America.”
The court has unmoored itself from both the Constitution it is sworn to protect and the American people it is privileged to serve. This could not be happening at a worse moment. . . . It is precisely during times like these that the American people need the Supreme Court to play the role Chief Justice Roberts memorably articulated at his own confirmation hearing — that of an umpire calling balls and strikes, ensuring a fair playing field for all. Instead, the court’s right-wingers are calling balls for one team and strikes for the other.
Editorial, “The Supreme Court isn’t listening, and it’s no secret why.”
New York Times, 10-1-22
Each of us, regardless of one’s personal beliefs, has a responsibility to speak out against those who would use government to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else. We must preserve our constitutional separation of church and state.
Minnesota state Sen. John Marty.
For months, conservative Christianity’s uncompromising quest for political power has been central in the midterm elections. Candidates have openly rejected the historic principle of the separation of church and state. Rituals of Christian worship are embedded in right-wing rallies. Abortion abolitionists believe they are fighting a holy Christian mission.
Reporter Elizabeth Dias.
The New York Times, 10-10-22
I still live in the Commonwealth of Religious Deference, where rules can be broken and citizens can be denied basic services as long as someone has decided that’s the way God wants it.
Kate Cohn, in her column, “I don’t want your god in charge of my health care,” regarding how Catholic hospitals that receive public funds can still turn away patients who seek services that go against Catholic teachings, such as abortion care.
Washington Post, 9-26-22
Conservative Christians have a deep sense of victimhood and fear about a secular America and are willing to end democracy to prevent it. . . . I feel like I should not have to write this, but having conservative religions joined at the hip with an authoritarian single-party state can only end badly.
Brynn Tannehill, in his column, “American Christianity is on a path toward being a tool of theocratic authoritarianism.”
New Republic, 10-6-22
The attack on women’s self-determination and autonomy is as much a part of MAGA’s fascistic affinities as is the cult’s fondness for violence and white Christian nationalism.
Jennifer Rubin, in her column, “The war on abortion rights meshes perfectly with MAGA authoritarianism.”
Washington Post, 10-3-22
Once a country is habituated to liars, it takes generations to bring the truth back.
Gore Vidal, as quoted in the 2013 movie, “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia.”
Josh Hawley is disturbingly wrong: The U.S. Constitution is not based on the bible.
Headline of newspaper editorial, after Sen. Hawley told the National Conservatism Conference, “Without the bible, there is no modernity. Without the bible, there is no America.”
Kansas City Star, 9-17-22
The majority of students chose to attend this field trip on the promise of free food and the opportunity to skip class, however, the majority of students were not only disappointed by this event, but traumatized, as well.
Alexis Budyach, a senior at Baton Rouge Magnet High, in a Facebook post, after 2,100 students attended what was billed as a “College and Career Fair,” but what was actually called a “Day of Hope” and held at Living Faith Christian Center.
Baton Rouge Advocate, 9-21-22
If we take a clear-eyed look at our history, we see a widespread, centuries-long Christian defense of white supremacy.
Robert P. Jones, who leads the Public Religion Research Institute, on the strong connection between racism and the right-wing movement.
Washington Post, 9-28-22
The melding of MAGAism with QAnon — and toss in a helping of Christian nationalism — seemed inevitable. . . . The irrationality has spread from the evidence-free belief that sinister players (China, Venezuela, the CIA, the media, Democrats, voting machine companies) conspired to steal the election from Trump to the conviction that American politics has become a clash between patriotic Christians and cannibalistic Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
David Corn, author of American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy, in his column, “Donald Trump and the birth of QMAGA: The storm is coming.”
Mother Jones, 9-23-22
Bringing religion into civil government accelerates conflict, often leads to civil and religious war, and uses force to enforce religious beliefs. If you think there is conflict now, just wait.
Gene Goffin, in his column, “The crushing weight of government religion.”
The (Grand Junction, Colo.) Daily Sentinel, 9-25-22
I’m not religious in the sense that I’m [not] dedicated to a religion. I’m much more of a spiritual person. I would say I’m a seeker.
Singer Shania Twain, following an interview with Oprah, where, as Twain remarked, “As soon as we started talking about religion, it all went sour. So, I said, ‘Let’s stop talking about religion!’ She is quite religious.”
Yahoo News, 9-28-22
Political parties and ideologies with winning ideas don’t need to ban books. Christian nationalism, however, features inferior ideas that can’t compete in the modern world without cheating.
Marty Essen, author, in his op-ed “Christian nationalism and book banning.”
The Missoulian, 9-7-22