Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Orrin Hatch thinks government should be in the business of religion

It is with some alarm that I see my Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, calling for the destruction of the wall separating church and state in The Washington Times. Senator Hatch is one of the oldest and longest serving members of the Senate. He is also one of the most conservative as well as one of the most influential members of Congress. I am somewhat relieved that his article was not published in The Deseret News or KSL.com.

After reading his missive, I came to the conclusion that he has a secret wish to re-make American into the Christian mirror image of Iran. In Iran, the dominant religion is Islam. All others are second class and are subject to discrimination, violence and public humiliation. Trust me, you don't want to be a Christian living in Iran. It would seem that Hatch would like to impose the fate of the Iranian Christian upon the American Muslim (or anyone else who is not Christian for that matter), because that's what we're going to get if we tear down that wall.

Once the wall between church and state comes down, Christian dominance in government will be overt rather than subdued. The rise of arson against black churches, the terrorist attacks against Planned Parenthood and other places of service for women will continue, unabated. The people who commit such crimes will only be emboldened.

Hatch further claims that state sponsored religion was common among the several states shortly after the birth of this nation. He wonders why there should be any question at all of Christian dominance in government, for they are only thinking of us. Having witnessed second hand via the news numerous atrocities in the name of the Christian vision of God, I doubt his sincerity.

Just as the Muslims worldwide have denounced the recent attacks in Paris as not representing Muslims worldwide, I don't think that the spate of burning churches and women's clinic shootings represent mainstream Christianity. But I know that the fringe will always be there. There will be groups like ISIS and The Army of God, claiming the right to take the life of another in the name of the Great Maker. When they take the life of an innocent human being, that only makes them less of an authority to me.

Hatch would have us believe that The Founding Fathers or the Framers (take your pick), founded a Christian nation. They did not. They were not devoutly Christian nor did they have any intention of creating a Christian nation. Worse still for the proponents of government Christian-style, they prohibited government from getting into the business of religion. Anyone who has ever seen the streets of Tehran around 1979 can get a clear picture of what life would be like if somehow Christians established overt dominance in our governments at the federal, state and local levels.

There are few conservatives I happen to agree with, but from time to time, I find a relevant quote that fits the scene. Barry Goldwater is one of my favorite. Though I may disagree with him in many areas of political discourse, he has a few gems I happen to love, like this one:
“Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.”
This is why we should not let God into the door of any public office or legislature. For once we start running government in the name of God, the preacher's vision of a Christian nation will be imposed upon the rest of us, without so much as a debate. Let us remind them that the freedom from religion is what makes this country so great.
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