Friday, May 18, 2012

Mr. Peters: Did they not teach civics at your HS or Ave Maria U?

NOM's Thomas Peters is enamored with Kalley Yanta, the Minnesota anti-equality twinkie. In the NOM blog, Mr. Peters links to her newest anti-equality video with:

Video: What About the Separation of Church and State?

Kalley Yanta of the Minnesota Marriage Minute answers the question "isn't it wrong for churches to be involved in campaigns [to protect marriage]"?

She responds: "Churches, like everyone else, not only have a constitutional right but a duty to speak out about important issues in the public square. There is a growing movement in America to silence Churches and people of faith ...


First of all, this is an intentional confusion of the principle of separation of church and state and the Establishment Clause enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution. That mush is then put in the blender with some self-victimization and "eureka, we have a talking point."

Then there is the obligatory "oh, poor me." Ministers have a First Amendment right to speak out on anything that they choose. However, my words carry the same weight as someone wearing a collar. What concerns people is when churches blur the line with a ballot committees. Donations to churches are tax deductible while donations to ballot committees or political campaigns are not. If the church is a conduit, that gives them an unfair advantage.

The greater concern is that we are most certainly enacting laws that most certainly are in recognition of religion.  Campaigns to enact laws to ban gay marriage equality are always orchestrated by fundamentalist religious organizations. Indeed, National Organization for Marriage is a proxy for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. They seek to ban gay marriage because it offends their interpretation of their religion. The Supreme Court, in Lemon, extended the Establishment Clause to apply to state laws     mandating that they have a secular purpose. So far, two federal courts have determined that Proposition 8 had no secular purpose.

As a society, we are seeing increasing insults to the First Amendment by religious groups and the elected representatives whom they support. This erosion began in 1973 when Roe v Wade was decided mobilizing the Christian right. Seven years later, Ronald Reagan brought those same Christian activists into the White House.
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