Missouri Legislature v. Establishment Clause

Behold HCR13, which if passed would move Missouri towards establishing Christianity as the state’s official religion.

Ed Brayton has a good point-by-point analysis, but he misses one important if subtle point:

Whereas, as elected officials we should protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object;

Besides fanning the religious right’s martyrdom complex, note how Christians have the “right” to express their beliefs but others merely should be “show[n] respect” for theirs. Clearly, those proclaiming how their religious beliefs are under attack are reluctant to extend the protection they demand to those who might think their beliefs are under attack by, I don’t know, the legislature wanting to establish an official state religion.

But since HCR13 would be such a blatant and egregious violation of the Establishment Clause, why would anybody even propose it in the first place? Joshua Holland has the right idea:

But people who write bills like this aren’t trying to make law. Their intent is to further the right’s narrative that Christians are a persecuted minority under siege. They want to guarantee that the good folks at the Anti-defamation league, the ACLU and Americans United fight to have their silly legislation overturned, proving that those civil rights groups have an anti-Christian agenda (and perhaps even a direct association with Satan). And bills like this — you couldn’t write a piece of legislation that more obviously violates the Establishment Clause –are meant to give those groups a victory in court, thereby proving the existence of out-of-control activist judges dedicated to stymieing the popular will of the Christian majority.

Quote of the Week #82

They laughed at Copernicus. They laughed at the Wright brothers. Yes, well, they also laughed at the Marx Brothers. Being laughed at does not mean you are right.

– Michael Shermer

Comments Off