A recent story out of Missouri has many people in an uproar. A local television station reported that the legislature is considering making Christianity the state’s “official religion“. The only problem is the bill under consideration never says that.
I read several liberal blogs (One, two, three, four, five…) and none of them give the actual text of the document. They just parrot the line about “official” religion and give some pithy comment about a theocracy and the Constitution. (Our good friends at Insulted actually do bother to link to the resolution and discuss it, albeit from a left-wing perspective.)
Liberals and non-Christians, please do me a favor and read the actual resolution. And please remember to quote the entire 1st Amendment which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” but wait there’s more “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It’s funny how often that second part gets left off.
Most likely, you disagree with this resolution. I’m not sure I would support this resolution. But can we at least be honest and say that this does not support or establish Christianity as the state religion of Missouri. It says the majority of Missouri citizens are Christians and that the elected officials recognize the role Christianity has played in the history of our nation.
Even if this was establishing a state (not national) religion, it could be argued that it is not unconstitutional. The 1st Amendment cannot be used because when it was written nine of the 13 states had state religions.
The amendment dealing with a prohibition of the states rights is the 14th Amendment. It grants all citizens “equal protection of the laws,” but it never says that a state cannot establish a religion suffice that it does not violate the rights of citizens who are not of the established faith.
While liberals continue to implore us conservatives to read the Constitution, they should be reminded that the Constitution does not ban “government” from establishing a specific religion, it specifically bans the federal government from establishing a religion.
I am not arguing for a state religion. I think state – and especially national – religions were a bad idea (for both religion and state), but you liberals who see theocracy behind every bill should really examine what you are pointing at. Let me stress that because I know you want to read something in this that is not there – I do not support a state religion of Christianity or anything else. I think it would be harmful to both the religion and the state.
I’ll address the main point that is angering most people. The resolution reads, “Whereas, as elected officials we should protect the majority’s right to express their religious beliefs while showing respect for those who object…”
This does not mean the Missouri legislature will (or can) do anything other than protect everyone’s right to express their religious beliefs. This resolution would not change any laws that already guarantee that right. It would only voice support for Christians expressing themselves in the public arena. You may not think it is needed, I may not think it is needed, but this resolution does not a theocracy make.