This Is What Happens Without Separation of Church and State

Brunei has banned public Christmas celebrations, and the usual promoters of the War on Christmas are apoplectic. The commenters of Jihad Watch are calling for a ban on Islam, while others snark that Muslims must be weenies (my word, not theirs) if their faith can’t stand up to Santa Claus hats.

This is from the same people who threw an epic fit over the building of an Islamic center in lower Manhattan and who whine incessantly about being oppressed because people wish them “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” These are the same people whose god is such a wimp he can be ordered out of public schools by Supreme Court decisions. And these are the same people who insist they can use government offices to enforce their own religious beliefs, such as by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Many of these people would vote for Marco Rubio, who declared the United States is governed by God, not the Constitution. And don’t get me started on Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

(Note that several GOP candidates have claimed God told them to run for president. Why does God hate America?)

What these meatballs don’t get about Brunei is that this is what happens when there is no separation of church and state.

On my other website I devote several articles to Buddhism in China. It seems lots of people in the U.S. think China bans religion, and that is not true. Officially, the government in Beijing supports religion. In recent years, Beijing has sunk a lot of money into restoring temples (many destroyed during the Cultural Revolution) and building big religious displays, such as the gigantic Guanyin of the South Sea.

They do this for other religions, too. The government has restored many cathedrals destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Sounds nice, right? But the cathedrals are administered by the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, part of the Chinese Communist Party bureaucracy. The CPCA also appoints bishops and, I believe, pays the salaries of clergy. The Vatican doesn’t recognize Chinese clergy as authentic. See also China’s Outrageous Reincarnation Policy.

In the case of Buddhism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions, much of this investment is about tourism. Monasteries, shrines and temples are expected to make money. I understand the fabled Shaolin monastery is a regular cash cow for Beijing.  See also The Disneyfication of Tibet.

This is what happens without separation of church and state.

As most of you know, the establishment clause of the First Amendment essentially forbids Congress  (and through the Fourteenth Amendment, state and local government also) from favoring one religion over another. This is not about banning religion from the public sphere outright, just not showing favoritism. Governments can either ban nativity scenes on public (as in government) property or allow other religions to promote their holidays as well, including Muslims, Satanists and Pastafarians. Lots of groups are demanding that Festivus poles be displayed on public grounds this year, in protest of nativity scenes.

Last month a Pew survey found that white Christians are now less than half of the population. Conservative Christians who continue to claim separation of church and state is the work of the Devil had better think about what might happen if a non-Christian religion ever claims enough followers to become a majority in the U.S. Without separation of church and state, what happened in Brunei could happen here.

14 thoughts on “This Is What Happens Without Separation of Church and State

  1. I like huevos rancheros for my Christmas breakfast, and I am offended when people wish me Happy Hollandaise.

  2. Robert:

    Christmas won after Secularism threw a pretty good shoulder block and also knocked out Christmas’ left knee. But Christmas came back with a spectacular flying mare which threw Secularism out of the ring, and then Christmas climbed out of the ring and jumped on its opponent. Of course, some people will say that it was all scripted, but that is Secular Humanism for you.

  3. The seperation of church and state is one of, if not THE most most important and intelligent things our Founding Fathers put in the Constitution and the Bill of Right – along with freedom of speech, of course.

    I just wish they could have told us how to seperate the Church – or any religious institution – from the stupid.

    But of course, they couldn’t have forseen that several hundred years in the future, a bunch of power-hungry conservative “Christians” would try to sell a group of “Deists” as latter-day apostles of Christ.
    All to fleece the gullible (and stupid) rubes, for political power.

    And, of course the same people are the ones who’ve misread the 2nd Amendment.
    But, that’s a tragic story for another post…

  4. To me separation of church and state is a myth. Politicians by nature will always appeal to the voters most basic instincts, whats more basic than religion? Even when it’s written into the constitution like it is here it is far from separate, our government favors Christianity with all sorts of taxpayer funded programs. I would argue if not for our tea-bagger fools and their Christian sky-wizard there would be no Conservative movement in this country! Maybe I’m confusing politics and government but can they be separated?

  5. Many of these people would vote for Marco Rubio, who declared the United States is governed by God, not the Constitution.

    I was reading somewhere that this is why Ted Cruz has surged ahead of Trump in, I believe Iowa. Rubio has questionable evangelical bona fides but Cruz has solidly locked up the evangelical vote. And so he inherits the Sarah Palin contingent. Someone called him Sarah Palin with a PhD.

    Separation of church and state is way beyond the average wingnut’s comprehension. All they know is that the bad guys won in Brunei, and so, as if were a basketball game, they’re gaining on us.

  6. When Civics classes in middle school are required to teach that the US is NOT a Christian Country (nor is is Jewish, Buddhist or Muslim) and that ALL religions have equal protection under the law (not according to their national or regional popularity) …

    When historical examples of how religious bias coupled with national enforcement have led to persecution & genocide – and this is systematic going back to before the middle ages…

    When American History points out that the Spanish Inquisition was still underway & being debated when the US Revolutionary War began…. (religious persecution isn’t ancient history as Auschwitz proves)

    When it’s pointed out in US History that members of the KKK (AKA domestic terrorists) invariably self-identify as ‘Christian’…

    Maybe… just maybe… a firm majority of atheists, agnostics and religious people will treat religious bigots in the US with the contempt they deserve whenever bias rears its ugly head.

  7. I don’t believe there is any sort of God, but if there were I could see a mischievous God actually telling several different Republicans to run for president, promising each that they have the full and complete backing of the one and only God. Then this prankster would sit back and watch the hilarity.

  8. JDM: Maybe what you describe is what is actually happening. So we should just enjoy the show.

  9. Unfortunately, such a prankster would likely have little interest in the well being of such an inferior type of beings as humans. So our enjoyment would as likely as not be an impediment to the entertainment value enjoyed by an omnipotent being.

  10. Robert asked who won the war on Christmas in 2015. I don’t think that anyone did. Instead it degenerated into silliness. It consisted of a debate over the design used on the December paper cups at Starbucks. Last year’s cups had some symbols on them: evergreen boughs, and snowflakes. This year’s cups were plain white. This was regarded as an attack on Christmas by some.

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