Religious Discrimination

This entry is part 33 of 47 in the series Blog1

Civil Rights, Part 4

True Believer: So what would satisfy you then; placing religion in the textbooks and the classrooms?


Thinker: Science involves a search for the truth and part of that has to embrace all possibilities behind creation.  Just like the foundation of impartial law includes adherence to religious commandments such as “thou shalt not steal” or “murder,” even so, it would be contrary to good science to not investigate God as a cause in the universe.

True Believer: There’s a lot of religious crackpots that would make a mockery of science if they were allowed in the classroom.


Thinker: You may be right, but even believers do not want dogmatic views taught in schools.  What we would like is the opportunity to present Intelligent Design from a scientific approach.  There are many scientists who do believe in God and these can present their views without favoring any one religion. It would be nice if textbooks could give some of the science behind Intelligent Design but in place of that they should at least have qualified guest lecturers give alternative points of view. Wouldn’t that be fair?

True Believer: It would be indoctrinating our kids with falsehood.


Thinker: Don’t you realize that this is what most of the 92% of believers think is happening now? We are not asking for a monopoly as your side has but a mere chance to expose kids to both sides of the argument.  What are you afraid of?

True Believer: I’m not afraid.


Thinker: Then let’s do it.

True Believer: So, are there any other areas where these poor abused people of the Right suffer discrimination or a violation of their civil rights?


Thinker: We find it a violation of fairness that the media as a whole is so biased against both conservatives and libertarians. This not only includes the news media but television shows and Hollywood

True Believer: I don’t see what you guys have to complain about.  You have Fox News and dominate talk radio.


Thinker: Conservative talk radio goes out mainly to the choir and most liberals I know do not listen to it. The only talk radio they listen to is NPR. Fox does give conservatives an opportunity to express themselves but they are only one among many that slant left. Many Hollywood movies and television productions ridicule people and views of the Right. The evil villain is usually some right wing religious guy or a businessman who is implied to be a Republican. Democrats also dominate the music industry.

True Believer: And whose fault is it that we prevail in entertainment?


Thinker: Unlike the education discrepancies a large part of the disproportion is the fault of the conservatives.  There is nothing stopping them from making more movies or music that positively represent their views or nullifies Democratic attacks but they are not as interested in this media as the Left.

True Believer: What are you complaining about then?


Thinker: We’re talking about fairness and the Left complains whenever the Right dominates in any area. For instance, the Right dominates in talk radio and instead of just trying harder to get good programs they want to pass legislation like The Fairness Doctrine that would force radio stations to supply an equal amount of liberal and conservative programming.

True Believer: That might be a good idea.


Thinker: Then would it be a good idea to do this with movies and entertainment? Do we need to pass a law forcing movies made that demonizes liberals as much as conservatives?

True Believer: Movies are not as political as talk radio.


Thinker: But movies and entertainment are very potent for they reach a much wider audience and influences the youth more than talk radio or Fox. Many conservatives and independents, young and old, attend Bruce Springsteen (and other) concerts and are exposed to him bashing Republicans in between songs. Of course, the Right does not like this but they don’t demand that conservative entertainers get equal access to liberal minds. You wouldn’t want that would you?

True Believer: No, but I maintain that talk radio is different because it centers on politics.


Thinker: But there’s not much difference between an entertainer criticizing the opposition than a talk radio guy. Talk radio has more quantity but entertainment has more reach. Neither of them should be forced to conform.

True Believer: Okay, I’ll admit you have a point here but with reservations.  I don’t think the extreme dominance of the Right is fair in talk radio.


Thinker: And we don’t like the extreme dominance of the Left in the other media, but we want the free market to influence change, not the force of law.

True Believer: So, where else do you see the Right as being treated unfairly?


Thinker: Many think the Christian religion suffers discrimination, especially those with fundamental beliefs. I personally am not a member of any religion so I don’t have a dog in this hunt but I do know discrimination when I see it.

True Believer: I think the problem is the other way around. Religious fanatics are always discriminating against gays and minorities.


Thinker: That may happen at times but I think the Left greatly exaggerates this. We’ve already covered gay marriage so let us stay on this subject. A problem for Christians is the Left has gone overboard in seeking to deny them expression on any public grounds or buildings.

True Believer: That’s all part of the Constitutional protection that gives us separation of church and state.


Thinker: The Constitution makes no mention of separation of church and state.

True Believer: I think it does.


Thinker: Let’s take a look to see what it does say. The original Constitution only had one mention of religion. Article Six says that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” I think we both agree that this makes sense.

True Believer: Looks like we finally have something agree on. It seems like there is more in the Constitution about religion than that.


Thinker: The Bill of Rights, passed later, does add some more. The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” This looks pretty easy to understand to me.  Let’s look at the first part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” Obviously this means that Congress is not supposed to pass any law that establishes any one religion as authorized and approved by the state.  Would you agree?

True Believer: I suppose.


Thinker: One of the reasons for this phrase is it was common practice through most of history for governments to decree what was authorized religion and what was not. This even happened in the early colonies and states and was still in place in some areas after the Constitution was passed. For instance, Connecticut had a state religion until 1818 and New Hampshire required that anyone who served in the legislature to be a good Protestant until 1877. The Founders thought it was right that people be able to believe as they please without State interference.  Do we agree that was a good idea?

True Believer: Definitely.


Thinker: The second part tells us that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the “free exercise” of religion. This sounds pretty clear cut to me.  People and religions should be free to believe and practice anything they want. The only limit should be that they obey the laws of the land.  Does that make sense?

True Believer: I suppose.


Thinker: The problem is that the Left has pushed the meaning of this amendment to restrict people from doing things that the least religious of the Founders never envisioned.

True Believer: Like what?


Thinker: Like the prohibition of any type of religious speech or symbols in any place they can cause them to be banned particularly on any type of government property. Attempts are made to prevent prayer or even the mention of God at graduation events. The Left tried to get a cross on a hill removed in my hometown of Boise. It was a local landmark that was built on private land but that didn’t stop the lawsuits. They are particularly adamant that there be no religious symbols or speech on public grounds.

True Believer: Isn’t that a good thing to have separation of church and state?


Thinker: It’s a good thing to a degree but if it goes overboard it can interfere with the free exercise of religion as guaranteed in the Constitution.

True Believer: Are you sure the separation of church and state is not in there?


Thinker: Yes, I’m sure. This mistaken notion was caused by many who cite a letter Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. He said,  “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”


The wall he talked about was the wording in the Constitution that would prevent the State from establishing or interfering with religion. The Left has taken this statement from a letter and assigned to it the force of law and used it to go way beyond what Jefferson envisioned.

True Believer: I’d say that the more we keep religion away from anything to do with the government the better.


Thinker: As I said, a reasonable amount of distance is fine but too much can interfere with individual freedom. You might recall, for instance, after the attack on the World Trade Center that in the rubble was found a large iron cross. This had special meaning for a lot of people and gave hope to a lot of believers in a time of doom and gloom. The cross was moved to the new World Trade Center which alarmed many on the Left who are suing to have it removed. The problem is this is an artifact of historical significance that just happens to have religious meaning and the vast majority of the people want it there.

True Believer: But if the Christians have their symbols there other religions should have theirs also.


Thinker: There are several problems with this thinking.  First, the cross that was unearthed has historical significance connected to the site and other religious symbols do not.  Secondly, there are hundreds of religions and it makes no sense to force many different symbols in a location that has little significance in connection with it.

True Believer: But if we allow one religious symbol we should allow other to make things fair.


Thinker: This kind of thinking just leads to confusion and the dissatisfaction of the majority. If there is some disagreement over religious symbols on display on any public land then they should go by the will of the people since the people own the land. If it is private land then they should be able to display any symbol they want. This freedom is one thing that makes America great.  In Saudi Arabia, for instance, it is illegal to celebrate Christmas, display Christian symbols or even utter a Christian prayer in the privacy of your home. We need to avoid extremes in both directions and trust in the common sense of the people.  Would you agree?

True Believer: as long as we are fair.


Thinker: If your definition of fairness is trying to make everyone happy that will never occur.  There will always be cranks that will want government to do something for them that irritates 99% of the populace.  True fairness occurs when decisions are made that cause the largest possible number of people feel satisfied.


Copyright 2012 by J J Dewey

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