The Lie That Won’t Die

by

Remember when we told you how Cathie Adams, when she served as head of the far-right group Texas Eagle Forum, arrogantly questioned the religious faith of President Obama? Today we saw a perfect example of why that kind of religious bigotry continues to make the political rounds.

The far-right website OneNewsNow — “the day’s stories from a biblical perspective” — has a new post that recycles the long discredited claim that President Obama is a Muslim:

“Since before he was elected, controversy has stirred over the extent of President Obama’s ties to Islam. During the campaign, he spoke openly of both his Muslim upbringing and his adult conversion to Christianity. But now two major Middle East media outlets — Nile TV International and Israel Today Magazine — are reporting that the president has admitted in recent months that he is a Muslim.

Those outlets say that Obama, in a one-on-one meeting earlier this year with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, told Gheit that he was still a Muslim, the son of a Muslim father, and the step-son of a Muslim step-father; that his half brothers in Kenya are Muslims; and that he was sympathetic towards the Muslim agenda.”

Good grief.

Barack Obama — either as a candidate or as president — has never said he was brought up as a Muslim and converted to Christianity from Islam, as OneNewsNow implies. He has said he was brought up in an essentially secular household and joined a Christian church as an adult. In addition, as Media Matters for America reports, the reports noted by OneNewsNow offer no evidence beyond hearsay to back up their claims.

And “the Muslim agenda”? Actually, the point of such phrasing — like “the gay agenda” or “the feminist agenda” — is to suggest some dark plot that threatens everybody else. It’s a calculated smear designed to play on fear and bigotry.

OneNewsNow’s story quotes this fringe right-wing blogger and media celebrity Pamela Geller. As we reported last month, Geller is kind of an Ann Coulter with even less restraint and shame, and she has a number of fans in far-right Texas circles. OneNewsNow writes that Geller sees the absurd claims that President Obama is a Muslim as “further evidence of Obama’s sympathetic tendencies towards those who mean harm to the U.S. and his intent to reshape America’s religious foundation.” (That’s similar to Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar’s claim in 2008 that Obama sympathizes with terrorists who want to destroy America.)

It would seem hard to believe that these whackadoodles are taken seriously by anyone. But then we see people like Cathie Adams — who has expressed her own doubts about President Obama’s Christianity — become head of the Republican Party of Texas (although she lost that spot at the GOP’s state convention last weekend). In addition, a October 2008 poll showed that 23 percent of Texans believed Obama was a Muslim. Moreover, a poll less than two years later — just this past spring — showed that 57 percent of Republicans nationwide think the president is Muslim. And in May far-right members of the Texas State Board of Education insisted that references to the president in new social studies curriculum standards include his full name: Barack Hussein Obama. (Board members compromised, listing his name as Barack H. Obama.)

Remember all this the next time you hear religious-righters claim that they are somehow victims of religious persecution.

21 Responses to “The Lie That Won’t Die”

  1. Nameless Cynic Says:

    So, let me see if I’ve got this straight.

    Pam Geller, noted blogger and bikini model is reporting that Avi Lipkin is claiming that his wife heard that an Egyptian politician claimed that Obama told him… Well, as he put it:

    6. Finally, during the week of 14-18th of January 2010, just on the eve of my winter tour to the US, Rachel picked up a Nile TV broadcast in which Egyptian Foreign Minister Abul Gheit said on the “Round Table Show” that he had had a one on one meeting with Obama who swore to him that he was a Moslem, the son of a Moslem father and step-son of Moslem step-father, that his half-brothers in Kenya were Moslems, and that he was loyal to the Moslem agenda. He asked that the Moslem world show patience. Obama promised that once he overcame some domestic American problems (Healthcare), that he would show the Moslem world what he would do with Israel.

    Of course, earlier in that same story, he wrote:

    Today, the United States has a president by the name of Mubarack Hussein Obama. Until proven otherwise by a real live birth certificate, I would rather believe that according to the US Constitution, this president is ineligible to be president of the US because he was born in Kenya, not the US.

    But we should always believe every fifth-hand rumor spread by a birther, shouldn’t we? And I guess it’s good to know that globalism has given us Israeli birthers, isn’t it?

    That’s some quality reporting there, Ms. Geller.

  2. Ben Says:

    Dang it, how’s he supposed to keep it a secret if he keeps telling people?

  3. James_Breck Says:

    The religious right can’t and won’t accept the fact that there are actually democrats who are Christians – never mind that a large swath of American Catholics have always been democrats. In their minds if you aren’t born-again who believes the New Testament is the inerrant word of God you aren’t a real Christian.

    A few years ago Bishop John Sprong wrote a book on the psychology of Christians conservatives. He theorized that many of the rank and file born-again right wing evangelicals are people of low intelligence with inferiority complexes. They look to offset their inferiority by gravitating toward the Christian conservative camp because it fills a need – it gives them groups to feel superior to, i.e. those horrible gays that willingly choose a sinful lifestyle that is an affront to God, those awful Muslims who can’t go to heaven because they haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior, etc. etc. Their vision of heaven is an oh-so exclusive club and they’re privileged members in waiting.

    While it’s not accurate to group the entirety of the religious right as conforming to this psychological profile, Sprong has no doubt hit the target in part.

  4. Beverly Kurtin Says:

    Born Again Christians are our most dangerous enemy. They wish to totally destroy our Republic and its Constitution by replacing it with some form of Theocracy. Radical Islamics are our second most dangerous enemy; they only hit now and then.

    The BACs hit every day of the week; swallow their way of thinking or go to hell. What kind of a sick mind invented a Deity who burns people for all eternity? The Muslims just want to kill us by either blowing us up or cutting off our heads.

    Those who demand to see the “long form” of President Obama’s birth certificate are s*** out of luck: There IS no such an animal. All birth certificates are one short page. I want to see the long forms of those who demand to see President Obama’s long form. Problem? There IS no such a thing as a “long form.” Go to FaceCheck.Org for the definitive information

    I don’t know what the matter is with those people who refuse to accept that we have a State Department that certified that Mr. Obama is an American citizen. I’ve had people tell me that he isn’t because he was born in Hawaii. My question to them was, “And your point is?” “Hawaii is not a state!” After I pick myself up from laughing too hard to stand I reach into my purse and show them a print-0ut of an Internet page showing that Hawaii became our 50th state on August 21, 1959 and that President Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    Now that alone should shut up anyone with even a part of a brain, right? It usually does, but I’ve heard, “The Internet isn’t always right,” at which point I just shake my head and walk away; there is no sense in trying to communicate with a fool.

    Thank God that TFN isn’t read by fools.

  5. Charles Says:

    “It just goes to show you that quite naturally…”

    Latch onto that. I have my own Muslin theory as to why these far right fruitcakes think Obama is a Muslim. It has to do with being white Anglo-Saxon protestant (WASP), living down south, and the southern person’s fascination with frontier life and genealogy, and the southern man’s certainty about the Laws of Nature.

    I could write you a book on it, but I had to stay late at work tonight and do not feel much like it. Therefore, I will give you the short and annotated version:

    1) Laws of Nature (in the southern redneck mind): “Like Father—Like Son.” “We Are Our Biology.” “Chip Off the Old Block.” “God is like Jesus (Book of Hebrews in the New Testament). It is also reflexive: ” Jesus is like God.” So many laws—but they all end up in one place. The son will inevitably be the spitting image of the father. Therefore, if Barack Obama’s father was a Muslim, it just goes to show you quite naturally that the son (Barack H. Obama) absolutely has to be a Muslim. There is just no way around it.

    2) White Anglo-Saxon Protestants: WASPs believe that religion is inherited biology. If you have never even darkened the door of a church in your whole life, WASPs will automatically designate a person as having the same religion as their parents. When convenient for themselves, even the people who never darkened a church door will claim this biologically inheritable religion—like politicians who need to get elected. I will give you a specific example. In 2008, Fred Thompson, famous actor and former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, decided to run for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. He had always been a conservative, but he faced the special problem of needing to appeal to the Religious Right fruitcake fringe voter. That would be the people who refused to vote for John McCain. How would Fred do that when he had rarely, if ever, darkened the door of any church? That was the problem Fred’s campaign organization had to tackle. What was their solution? Fred would claim the conservative religion of his immediate ancestors (that being the Church of Christ). After all, it is inherited. Right?

    For those of you who do not know, this is not the United Church of Christ—no relation at all. The Church of Christ down south is a highly conservative off-shoot of the Southern Baptists (although its members would never claim it) that adheres to the theology of Scottish theologian Alexander Campbell. The Southern Baptists and historic Methodists down south refer to them pejoratively as the “Campbellites,” which is actually pronounced like the name of a famous cigarette “Camel Lights.” They have some interesting beliefs. They believe that only members of their church are going to heaven—no one else. It’s all in the name of the church—the Church of Christ. The Baptists are the Church of Baptism. Methodists have the Church of Methods.” No Christ in the church name—no salvation—or so it was explained to us by a Church of Christ elder who was a member of our car pool back in the early 1970s. Musical instruments are not allowed in their church services.

    3) Southern people have a fascination with their genealogy. They want to know where they “came from” both biologically and culturally. Most know it was from some smelly pioneer who went west and endured hard times to make a new life in the wilderness. By getting in touch with their ancestry, the modern southern person feels as if he is getting in touch with his true self. They would like to think that they have been bequeathed all of the “super powers” of their pioneer ancestors. One of those super powers was the backwoods religion of their forbears, which was developed and abstracted around the log home fireplace when the King James Bible was the only book in the house, which many could not even read, and the Harvard Divinity School was 700 miles away. Under circumstances like that and with the help of some roving backwoods preachers, they created their own religion, the religion Harold Bloom refers to as the uniquely “American Religion.” We refer to it today as Christian fundamentalism or evangelicalism, or whatever.

    My basic point is that the religious southern man feels that the faith of the forefathers is bequeathed by history and culture upon himself. If Barack Obama’s father was a Muslim and his ancestors before him were Muslims, and his familial collaterials in Africa are all Muslims, then Islam was the traditional cultural religion of President Obama’s ancestral forbears and, just as is the case with the southern man, this religious tradition has been bequeathed upon him by history. Therefore, it just naturally follows that Barack Obama must be a Muslim—just like he is a fundamentalist Christian. Obama could not possibly be anything else. For Obama to really be a Christian would violate the most basic and immutable laws of family history and human tradition—laws to which the WASP southern man heartily subscribes in his own life. Everyone else is just like me—Right? Wro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-g!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay. I have explained the inexplicable to you dear folks. You can send my Pulitizer Prize by mail.

  6. Mary O'Grady Says:

    Charles, what you say makes tremendous sense. I think you really should consider writing that book.

  7. Gene Garman, Baylor '62 Says:

    Sometimes all you have to do is ask, by email:

    Gene Garman

    07/31/2009 02:03 PM

    Laurie.Yoshida@hawaii.gov

    Subject: President Obama

    Laurie Yoshida:

    Does President Obama have an official record of birth in Hawaii?

    Thank you,

    Gene Garman
    Pittsburg, KS
    620-404-9667

    Reply:

    Yes he does. This link is to the statement from the Director of Health.

    http://hawaii.gov/health/about/pr/2009/09-063.pdf

    Laurie

    ********************************************************
    Laurie L. K. Yoshida
    Kaua`i Liaison
    Office of the Governor
    3060 Eiwa St., Room 106
    Lihue, HI 96766
    Ph: (808) 274-3100
    Fax: (808) 274-3103
    email: Laurie.Yoshida@hawaii.gov
    *********************************************************

    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

    News Release

    LINDA LINGLE
    GOVERNOR
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    CHIYOME LEINAALA FUKINO M.D.
    DIRECTOR
    Phone: (808) 586-4410
    Fax: (808) 586-4444
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    For Immediate Release: July 27, 2009 09-063

    STATEMENT BY HEALTH DIRECTOR CHIYOME FUKINO, M.D.

    “I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawai’i State Department of Health, have seen the original vital
    records maintained on file by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama
    was born in Hawai‘i and is a natural-born American citizen. I have nothing further to add to this statement
    or my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.”

    *************

    Gene Garman’s conclusion: BIRTHERS’ LIE!

  8. Gene Garman, Baylor '62 Says:

    Sorry,

    I sent the wrong video link relating to my previous commentary. This is the video link I meant to send relating to President Obama:

  9. Charles Says:

    Thanks Gene. I liked both of your videos.

    The persistent problem with the birthers is that they are like the holocaust deniers, First Amendment deniers, evolution deniers, and spherical Earth deniers. No amout of actual evidence is ever enough. For example, they would say that the M.D. in your video was paid off by a vast liberal conspiracy to lie about having seen the birth certificate. They would say that the legal document you showed was not a real birth certificate, and they would say that secret agents of the Democratic Party (reprsenting the vast liberal conspiracy) broke into the repository at night and secretly replaced the 1961 newspaper with an artificially aged exact copy, except for an added notation about Obama’s birth.

    When your senses just cannot tolerate the fact that a “negro” is in charge of the whole USA in the oval office and is only inches away from a briefcase that could cause 5000 nuclear warheads to come raining down on Cullman, Alabama, in a matter of minutes, you enter what the psychiatrists call a state denial or disassociation from reality.

  10. Keanus Says:

    Charles, you’ve fallen into the same trap that mires the religious right, lumping everyone under a convenient label, whether that lumping makes sense or not. I take particular exception to use of the term WASP. I could be easily labeled a WASP: I’m of English, Scot, Dutch, French and German ancestry (about as waspish as one can get), am white (surprise), and could be conventionally called a Protestant. But I’ve been a life long secularist (despite having relations who are atheists and some who are bible thumping evangelicals), never belonged to a church, strongly supported the Democrats for the last several elections, and know a slew of other WASPs (scattered from Boston to San Diego and Miami to Seattle) who did likewise. Most importantly I and my closest acquaintances, both relations and friends, are rationalists, strongly supporting positions that are empirically based or pragmatic, if data cannot be mustered in support.

    Other than that I agree that the religious right, tea party folks, or whatever one wants to call them, are in denial. They believe in a fantasy world that is at odds with reality. So when reality intrudes, they deny it. They are incapable of handling or accepting anything that contradicts their world view. They are simply not open to empirical reasoning. Period.

  11. Charles Says:

    Keanus. I was speaking only in the broadest terms of my own observations. Please don’t paint me as a 100 percentist. I am leaving it to any intelligent person (including you) to realize that I too know there are many exceptions to all things. If it were not for the exceptions, life would have little spice. Being an anthropologist, I will notice things that many people would not see because I can filter information in a different way than a lot of people.

    Back in the 1960s, some American anthropologists were operating on the assumption that they might be able to discover laws of human behavior (like E=mc2). That did not turn out too well. They quickly learned that any such laws, if they existed, would be what they came to term “probabilistic laws.” Given circumstance A with certain things held constant, there is a 70 percent chance that B will happen.

    So yeah, I sometimes paint with a broad brush, but I try to keep in mind that the reality is probably 70-30, 60-40, or 80-20 on a really good day. Although I have erred in the past, my net tendency is to avoid things such as, “Them Arabs is all alike.” I will leave that to the Religious Right and Tea Party. They are much more experienced at it.

  12. Beverly Kurtin Says:

    May I ask a question (she says as she asks it?) WHAT WOULD BE SO HORRIBLE IF WE VOTED FOR A MUSLIM PRESIDENT?

    There are questions we all ask, prime is “Is this the best candidate and the best for the job?” I’m Jewish. If the best for all of us was Muslim, I’d vote for him or her.

    I got a kick out of Helen Thomas’ telling the Jewish people to get the hell out of Palestine and go home to Poland and Germany. Poland is about 1012 years old, Germany is about820. ISRAEL IS OVER THREE THOUSAND YEARS OLD AND THAT IS WHERE JEWS HAVE LIVED FOR OVER THREE THOUSAND YEARS! There has never been been a single day that the land the Romans named Palestine to try to eliminate the name Israel forever. There has NEVER been a single day that Jews have not lived there. Heh, heh, heh..the Romans are gone but we Jews are still here, where are the Romans?

    Of course the Tea dunkers will probably deny my number but as I used to have at my desk: I upped my attitude; Up yours.

  13. Gene Garman, Baylor '62 Says:

    Great posts!

    I am simply one who appreciates the fact the Founding Fathers of 1787 and the members of the First Congress of 1789 got the intent of the law worded correctly and specifically from the beginning of our nation: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,’ and “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” that is, of “religion.” Perfect!

    Those same commandments, because of Supreme Court application of the Fourteenth Amendment, now apply to every level of government, from school boards to states. Now, if TFN and everyone in the USA would just understand and admit the words in the Constitution are “religious” and “religion,” the entire subject “thereof,” not church!

    “Strongly guarded … is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States,” James Madison, who, as a member of the Constitutional Convention and the First Congress, personally helped draft the wording of all three religion commandments in the Constitution, c. 1817, W&MQ 3:555.

  14. Charles Says:

    Beverly:

    Let me tell you about my dog Sam and follow it up with a question. Not too long after we were married, my wife decided that we needed a dog. She was a pre-vet major in college. We decided to adopt a dog at the pound. He was a mutt that appeared to be a cross between a beagle and maybe a Welsh corgi. Sam was a good dog with a pleasant and affectionate nature. However… You knew that must be coming. We soon noticed a most disturbing thing—not about Sam necessarily—but about other dogs. You have no doubt noticed that when new dogs meet, there is sort of a ritual social dance that involves mutual sniffing and other such things—usually followed with a “Hi. Glad to know you.” Sam never had the pleasure of that. Every new dog Sam met would pass on the formalities and go straight from first sight to “rip him to shreds.”

    The thing you have to understand here is that Sam was just minding his own business in a perfectly calm state when these attacks would come. We quickly learned that we could not take Sam for a walk in the park, to an outdoor concert, or to any other outdoor venue where other dogs were present. We had the good fortune of ending up living in a small town that enforced the local leash law like Murder One, so it became possible to walk him without being jumped by another dog. Our vet bills were enormous, and Sam came close to death a couple of times.

    It was as if Sam was born with some sort of chemical P signal on him that said to every other dog, “Kill first and ask questions later.” It would be like an a person walking around in Taliban-controlled portions of Pakistan wering a sign on their back that says, “I am American. Please kill me.”

    So, here is the question. Why are the Jewish people (historically and otherwise) like my dog Sam? It is as if you folks wear an invisible sign that says “Erase me”? I find that just as strange, myterious, and fascinating as the situation with Sam. I would appreciate any comment or education you might be able to offer me. Thanks!!!

  15. Beverly Kurtin Says:

    Charles, go to my blog at fwmetro.com then consider the following:

    Judaism has always been hated by people who wanted to worship their idols. We said, “No, there is only ONE Gd, worship only him.” Then some of us dressed differently, such as the Chabbad Jews who wear black hats, black woolen coats in the middle of summer and black pants, etc. They look “funny.” Some wear their sidelocks long marking tem as Jews. We do not eat like other people do. Not only do we not eat pork or shell fish we won’t even (especially the orthodox and ultra orthodox) eat off of plates in a home to which they’ve been invited; they bring their own paper plates and forks, etc.

    That’s not a reason to hate us, but in Torah we were told that some folks would hate us. Take a look in Genesis 12. What is strange is that it is there that Gd says “I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you and the world will be blessed by you.

    People have said that we’re no goodnicks because we are called the chosen people. Hey, we didn’t do the choosing, Gd is! Were we chosen for special favors? Heck no. We were chosen to obey commandments that nobody else had to keep. We’re nothing special, but bigots think WE think we are.

    They look at the wealthy among us while ignoring the majority of us who like everyone else has to make the decision between buying pharmaceuticals or food. I live on less than $20K a year I was making a decent income when a massive stroke cost me my career and the rest of my life. I’m NOT complaining…I’m alive, only 3% of people make it through the kind of stroke I had. Most Jews are just regular people like your next door neighbors. My next door neighbors didn’t know we Jewish until they saw our Menorah during Hanuka.

    BUT…the world has been blessed by us. When I was a young girl I didn’t dare go to the beach or be around a bunch of folks because of Polio. A Jewish doctor by the name of Salk not only discovered the cure but DIDN’T MAKE A DIME from it because he refused to patent it. “Would you patent the sun,” was what he said. Monsanto, on the other hand has tied the hands of the corn growers because they OWN the seeds outright. Jews have won 169 Nobel Prizes; the Arabs? Seven. Why? Because Jews don’t teach their children to hate and blow up churches. More on that next week.

    I’ve a pet reason for us being discriminated against and hated: Out and out jealousy. Want to use your laptop? Open it up and find the chips that actually run the thing…Made in Israel. Jews have exported more medical cures than any other country in the world. Like your cell phone? Guess where it was developed? Yeah, Israel. The list is nearly endless. The world HAS been blessed by us. But back to my pet theory. The Romans who renamed Israel Palestine after the Philistines in the hopes that the world would forget Israel…where are they? They’re gone. In fact, EVERY population that was around 3-4,000 years ago are kaput. Only ONE group has survived: The Jews. It has been the constant pressure that has kept us together knowing who we are and where we came from.

    Like a diamond that can only form by heat and pressure, the Jewish people exist because the Gentile world KEEPS us together. Plus, we have a strong belief that the Creator of the Universe has protected us and kept us going.

    If the Arabs ever decided to make peace with Israel, Israel would teach them how to make their deserts bloom. Jews want peace more than life itself, but as long as we are denied peace, we will continue to protect ourselves with whatever means necessary.

    As a little school girl I was mercifully picked on and spend more than one night in the hospital from the vicious attacks for killing Christ. Those kids didn’t know any better. But today’s people DO know better…bless us and you will be blessed, curse us and you will be cursed.

    As for me, I bear no enmity toward anyone; I love everyone. All I ask for in return is the right to continue to live as I see fit, is there anything wrong with that?

  16. Charles Says:

    Thanks Beverly. I love you—and blessings to you.

  17. Gene Garman, Baylor '62 Says:

    There is no law in the USA which says you cannot be an atheist, a Baptist, a Jew, a Muslim, or a Zoroastrian. You can believe whatever you choose to believe. However, no one has a right to do whatever he or she chooses to do in the name of religion. All actions are subject to the laws of the land which apply equally to everyone. The free exercise clause says only that the free, i.e., voluntary exercise of religion shall not be prohibited, which means totally forbidden. The wording in the exercise clause means just what it says. It does not say the exercise of religion shall not be abridged, which means reduced, as applies to speech, press, peaceable assembly, and petition. Please, read the words of the religion commandments. They mean exactly what they say, as my professors at law school used to say, which is why I wrote The Religion Commandments in the Constitution: A Primer. Too many Americans do not note the difference in the words used in the First Amendment, in respect to abridging and prohibiting. One words means one thing and the other word another, and they each apply to different subjects.

    The writers of the First Amendment got the wording correct from the beginning.

  18. Charles Says:

    Gene and all.

    This is the big new argument the Christian fundamentalists and Christian Neo-Fundamentalists have come up with to exempt themselves from the First Amendment. The argument goes something like this:

    My Christian faith is all about the Great Commission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world. We are evangelical in nature. That means we are required to spread the gospel by oral or written witness to everyone we encounter—no matter where we—no matter what time it is—no matter what is going on around us. We are quite literally charged with wearing our faith on our shirt sleeves for all the world to see. We are required to pray publicly whenever and wherever possible so other people will learn of Jesus Christ through the broadcast words of our public prayers. We are required not only to witness for Jesus Christ but to teach everyone we meet about the depths of the Bible and its gospel message. The depths of both must literally fill our lives to the brim, and it must spill over that brim into all aspects of the society and culture around us. We are supposed to want to be like this to honor Jesus. Many of us find this a burden and are not so good at living it out. But that is not the point. The major point is our faith REQUIRES us to do this. Therefore, if you do not allow us to do this, then you are taking away our First Amendment right to freely exercise our Christian faith.

    Now, get this straight. I think most of the Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals in Texas and elsewhere believe that we representatives of the mainline Protestand denominations, assorted Northern Baptists, assorted CBF Baptists, assorted agnostics, assorted Roman Catholics, assorted atheists, assorted members of the Greek Orthodox Church, etc. do not understand this basic thing about them. They assume we are ignorant of it. Otherwise, if we were not so ignorant of it, we would understand and let them get on with it without opposition. Simple. Right?

    Wrong. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who sat on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1902-1932, concluded long ago. The right of free speech is not absolute. “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.” In addition, free speech and exercise of religion can be legally abridged by the government when that speech constitutes a “clear and present danger.” What Gene says above is right. The First Amendment may not totally prohibit (or forbid) the exercise of free speech or religion, but both can be abridged to protect the people of the United States from a clear and present danger.

    The problem with the Christian fundamentalists and Christian Neo-Fundamentalists is that they believe (apparently) that they have the unlimited First Amendment right to preach to me when I am in my bathroom wiping my behind. They feel that their rights should extend to preaching to my daughter while she is in the bedroom inserting a tampon. Perhaps they feel that they should be able to break out one of my car windows to get their message to me while I am stopped at a traffic light. Perhaps they should be able to kick in the door while a Jewish family is at home praying and interrupt to get their message across. They have no such rights. This is also why they have no right to intrude upon a public school classroom to preach their unique Christian views to a room full of school kids whose parents take their to children to churches or other houses of worship that are not exactly like their own. Biblically, parents are charged with the religious upbringing of their children—not some hayseed country preacher with an ax to grind who can sneak his way into a public school. The right to freely exercise one’s religion is not absolute in this country.

  19. Beverly Kurtin Says:

    Yeah, there are those folks who just don’t understand the where, when, and how of talking about religion. I consider myself a patient individual and feel that a polite “No thanks” ought to suffice when saying I don’t care to discuss someone’s religion. Usually I can stop a discussion cold by saying, “I’m Jewish.” Nobody knows what we are but I’ve actually had people say that I couldn’t be one because I didn’t have horns on my head. That’s usually good for a five minute chuckle on my part. Many times they will ask me what we believe and it’s pretty easy going then: We believe that God is One.”

    Charles, as far as praying in public, Jesus said don’t do it. The ten suggestions talks about not idols. But I refuse to judge what anyone wants to believe; Love your neighbor as yourself is good enough for me (Lev. 19:18). Since the Torah is for everyone, not the private property of the Jewish people, loving each other as ourselves would stop all wars, fights, jealousies, etc. So you’re just as likely to see me hug a Christian as you are to see me hug a Jew or even an atheist. Or as we say in the south, Shalom y’all.

  20. Gene Garman, Baylor '62 Says:

    The free, i.e., voluntary exercise of religion commandment is plainly written by the First Congress. The free exercise of religion shall not be prohibited, i.e., totally forbidden, which means it is subject to the law. That is the constitutional principle plainly stated in English, and it is not difficult to understand. The words mean what they say, see Webster’s Dictionary.. The exercise of religion is not a license for anarchy. Not one word of the Constitution authorizes anarchy. All actions are subject to the laws of the land, regardless of religion, because, in the USA, the Constitution commands “religion” shall not be established by law or Congress or government at any level, regardless of which religion, whether Christian or Muslim. In the USA “religion” is irrelevant in terms of the law, is merely a matter of individual opinion, and shall not be established by Congress, by any state, by public schools, or by government at any level. If there is one thing the Founding Fathers and the First Congress made perfectly clear, it is the principle and law which commands “religion” shall not be established, its exercise shall be voluntary, and all actions, religion or not, are subject to the laws of the land, whether in or out of the public schools or halls of Congress. For example, as James Madison, Father of the Constitution, wrote, when Congress appointed a chaplain, its action violated the Constitution:

    [I]t was not with my approbation [approval], that the deviation from it took place in Congress, when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the National Treasury. [James Madison, July 10, 1822] Gaillard Hunt, Writings of James Madison, 9:100.

    By the way, if you like the above James Madison statement, which “the religious wrong” never quotes, you can find more of such in my book and on my “Space Age Calendar.” As everyone should know, there is a new space age calendar available, and the next year in the space age begins on July 20, 2010, or SA 42:1, the day the first human being stepped onto the moon.

  21. Beverly Kurtin Says:

    Oh BOY! Genealogy, my least favorite. Every African American is related to kings and others have told me that I’m going to hell for not believing like they do. And you are RIGHT about Southerners. I’ve had customers tell me that they had their genealogies and invariably they were related to this king, that governor that prince, etc. Then they ask me if I’ve ever had my genealogy. I tell them”No, but I do know my original relative.” They get all excited then I tell them who my ancestors were: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who was renamed Israel after a pretty good battle with an angel.

    The Nazis imprisoned, then murdered 47 uncles, aunts and cousins for no other “reason” that they were Jews. Thanks to thousands of Righteous Gentles, many of us survived the holocaust and the State of Israel has a special place of honor where we pay tribute for their selfless service to humanity and their love of God. Genesis 12:3 explains what I mean.

    Bev

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