Wednesday 20 March 2019

Subversive Christian News - South Dakota Theocrats

Gov. Kristi Noem
Noem signs Capitol concealed firearm carry, 'In God We Trust' laws.

The Christian plan to subvert the US Constitution and replace democratic government in the USA with a Christian theocracy took another step forward yesterday.

Despite the very clear constitutional prohibition on established religion, Governor Kristi Noem, signed into law a bill requiring all public schools to prominently display "In God We Trust". According to this report by Lisa Kaczke in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

Every public school will be required to prominently display the national motto, "In God We Trust," beginning in the 2019-20 school year, according to a bill signed into law by Noem this week. The bill requires the display to be easily readable and no smaller than 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. A prominent location is defined as a school entryway, cafeteria or other common area where students are likely to see it, according to the bill.

In other words, the clear endorsement by the South Dakota state government is to be thrust into every student's face. Imagine the hysteria if the law required schools to display "Allahu Akbar" or "Imagine! No Religion!" (the latter slogan actually expressing the clear intent in the First Amendment).

The First Amendment, for those not familiar with it, states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The first clause in that sentence is known as the Establishment Clause. It limits the power of government, specifically to ensure what Thomas Jefferson described as a "wall of separation between church and state". Keeping the two seperate is intended to prevent the government from controlling the religions of the people and from religions controlling the government.

Beginning with Gitlow v. New York (1925), the Supreme Court applied the First Amendment to states—a process known as incorporation—through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Wikipedia) There is no doubt then that the Establishment Clause constrains state as well as federal government.

But not content with forcing a religious slogan on the hapless students of South Dakota, the bill also commits the taxpayers of South Dakota to paying the cost of any lawsuit resulting from this breach of the Establishment Clause. Not the Christian churches and their ministers or the legislators themselves who have broken the law, but the taxpayers themselves, who are the very people the Establishment Clause seeks to protect. The fact that they make provision for any ensuing lawsuits shows that they know they are probably opening themselves to them and that their actions are probably unconstitutional. They are clearly challenging the US Constitution itself as a test of their own powers. What will follow if they get away with this relatively innocuous display of defiance?

In effect, this provision commits the victims of this abuse of power to paying for it one way or another. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader articles continues:

Whether to require the display was a sticking point between the Senate and the House during the legislative session. The Senate Education Committee changed the bill's language to allow public schools to display it, but not require it, and the House State Affairs Committee changed it back to a requirement. The House then added a section stating that if displaying the phrase results in a lawsuit, the state attorney general will provide legal representation at no cost to the school district or school board and the state will assume financial responsibility for any legal expenses related to the lawsuit.

This is a clear example of assumed Christian privilege, since it is inconceivable that any other religion or Atheism would seek, or be permitted, to impose, its dogma on school children and expect the state to pay for it. Christians not only feel entitled to special treatment under the law but entitlement to ignore the law when it doesn't suit them.

To fundamentalist Christians, the First Amendment is not seen as the basis of a free society, to be valued and protected, but as an unfair constraint on their privileges and their assumed right to impose their dogma on others.

The biggest single threat to the political integrity of the United States as a free country, comes not from external enemies or fundamentalists of other religions, but from Christian fundamentalists. Their commitment to the principle of freedom of conscience is inversely proportional to their power to abolish it.

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  1. Informative and interesting article. Thank you for sharing.

  2. And to think that South Dakota was once progressive enough to elect George McGovern their long-time senator. I wonder what happened to that state.


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