Christian bullying (Part 2)

This the second of a two part series on Christian bullying. In case you missed Part 1, here are excerpts to set the stage for Part 2:

Our country was designed to accommodate citizens of whatever convictions about religion, with no governmental adjudication or even favor to one or another of these convictions. Government could be neither religious nor anti-religious; it must be a-religious.

Government, however, is composed of individuals like governors, police officers, school teachers, and driver’s license clerks. Every person who speaks for any part of government must carry out the a-religious commitment—not in their private lives, of course, but in their governmental capacity. That line of thought is simple and enables “we the people” through a careful process to decide the largest questions, including what will be “rights.” The personal self-control necessary to maintain governmental discipline right down to specific topics and specific persons (e.g., in marriage license applications) has not proven to be easily maintained, whether due to carelessness, lack of understanding, or zealous proselytizing.

Our rights belong to us acting as individuals. They do not belong to the government at federal, state, or local levels. They do not belong to the positions of mayor, sheriff, or County Commissioners. They do not belong to the County Clerk position and office. So while Kim Davis—the individual—is free to express and to practice her religion, for the County Clerk to do so is just as clearly a violation of others’ rights, a civil offense. Insidious nullification of lawful rights by piously mouthing commitment to misconstrued religious rights does not give up easily.

The Christian Right and others have confused the latitude allowed to government operatives with the religious freedom they possess as individuals. Unless those two matters are kept separate, our government cannot be one “of laws, not of men.” Americans’ rights would then depend on the religious views of whichever government employee they interact with. That would be an intolerable situation for a country that values liberty. But, as I shall illustrate in my next post, we have crossed that line in many ways, blatantly representing the robbing of freedom as religious freedom itself.

The purpose of this post, “Christian bullying (Part 2),” is to lay out a few real situations in which bullying happens all across America in many walks of life, so much that a constant stream comes even to my restricted attention. It is as if violations of Jefferson’s “wall of separation” might more accurately need to resemble a dam holding back the religious theocratic flood. It is not my intent to display more than a sampling of it. In fact, besides space limitations and my not having access to all the bullying, I’m including almost exclusively instances in which the “testimony” is in the bullies’ own words—in other words, ones for which I can could find a quotation. (Trained in scientific research, I am compulsive about fair handling of citations, but I’ll apologize at the outset if any have been mistakenly recorded.)

Finally, a word on words: “bully” and “bullying,” ones I’m sure Christians will consider to be unduly harsh. After all, most of the persons and groups included below do not think of themselves as bullies. They are merely doing God’s work (even if an idiosyncratic version thereof); they mean well. But when a public official refuses to issue an automobile vanity plate for ATHEIST, while issuing one without question for BAPTST based on the clerk’s beliefs, just what is that? When the Internal Revenue Service allows ministers and other clerics to avoid income tax on housing allowances, while others must pay, just what is that? When government officials (e.g., school boards, councils, commissions) can turn public meetings into opportunity to sermonize or otherwise favor some specific interpretation of Christianity, just what is that?

Daily in this country’s public schools, teachers lead or encourage audible group prayers consistent with his or her convictions, not recognizing the difficulty for children to choose between mockery for their dissent or submission. Daily in this country whole schools are subjected to Christian pictures, slogans, and activities, clear violations of the Constitution. Daily in this country, officials stand up for teachers’ “religious freedom” (which they have fully in their personal lives) by running roughshod over the religious freedom of children and their parents. Thomas Jefferson warned a fledgling nation about the evil in doing “good.”

As this essay is posted, the whole country is aware of the shameful refusal of a County Clerk in Kentucky to issue marriage licenses to gays, along with the pandering political candidates who appeal to and energize a public convinced that their religion deserves not only free expression but free control over others. I use the word bully freely in describing the use superior power and intimidation not for lawful purposes in lawful ways, but to force an outcome or enforce personal values on others too weak, too young, too vulnerable, or too much in the minority to escape or resist.

Moreover, I regret that I have secured dates for most, but not all entries.) So the following are but a few examples I have chosen from the many I review every month. Further, inasmuch as all points of view have individual “crazies,” persons whose ranting represents no one but themselves, to the extent possible, I only quote persons in positions of legitimacy. That includes public officials and religious leaders, but not random “persons on the street” except when they obviously represent a large group. I regret not having recorded dates for every entry. I have also chosen to present, for the most part, only recent entries among the many I have.

Bullying public school students by imposing or favoring Christianity. The courts have agreed that when schools endorse a religion or allow students on school time or property to do so, it is a violation of Constitutional neutrality of government. This does not apply to bona fide private schools, but does apply to charter schools operating under the auspices of public boards of education. Teachers and whole schools that see Christian symbols, activities, evangelizing, and showing favor to Christianity are particularly insidious since they are dealing not only with captive audiences, but ones unequipped to argue back or to be strong when forced to be unlike other kids.

“Before every game at Grady Stadium [Atlanta], the pastor would come down and pray before every football game. I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.” Allen West, former Florida U.S. Representative, suggesting that coercive school prayer kept football players free from injuries. Atlanta, Georgia. 2015.

“Jesus died on the cross for our sins.” Message delivered by Horace Turners, an evangelist known as “Bible Man,” allowed to lead monthly assemblies during school hours, preach sermons on bible readings, and distribute religious literature. Coalmont Elementary School in Altamont, Tenn. in the Grundy County Department of Education. March 2015.

“We are Christians at College Oaks.” Inscriptions on T-shirts sold to students by College Oaks Elementary School, Lake Charles, Louisiana, in Kids for Christ program. 2014.

“Establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview.” State of Kansas’s grounds cited before the U. S. District Court to stop adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) because they do not include a religious point of view. December 2024.

“[The theme] reflect[s] our strong belief in prayers.” Promotional explanation of the annual “Keep Christ in Christmas” parade by Piedmont, Alabama City Schools. 2014.

“We Pray Salvation.” Printing, along with large Christian cross on Licking Valley School District, Newark, Ohio marching band t-shirts. 2014.

“To fire a bus driver for praying for the safety of the children [is not right].” George Nathaniel, pastor of Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis, commenting on a school bus driver fired for refusing to stop leading hymns and prayer to students on his public school bus. Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dec. 2013.

“I personally love my job as a public school teacher because I am able to talk with many kids about Jesus.” Unnamed teacher at Vidor High School where Christian prayers are broadcast over loudspeakers at football games. Vidor, Texas. 2014.

“It’s about God being in our children’s schools. It’s about us standing up for the fact that God’s in our school.” Lisa Huski, parent of student in Mountain Peak Elementary where permanent plaques announce “Dedicated . . . to faithful teachers in the name of the Holy Christian Church.” Midlothian, Texas. 2014.

“To see as many Men, Woman [sic], Boys, and Girls make a legitimate decision to follow Jesus and be BORN AGAIN.” Self-described goal of “Jubilee Gang,” a group giving an assembly at Licking Valley Elementary School, Newark, Ohio.

“We are asking local churches all across Middle Tennessee to adopt a school to serve as the point person for prayer on that school campus. This will be a multi-church, multi-denominational time of prayer at each of the more than 200-plus schools. We would like to know which schools your church would be willing to adopt and serve as the liaison in your community.” Trey Reynolds, Wilson County director of First Priority of Greater Nashville, Tennessee.

“The countywide event will be held Sunday, Aug. 2, from 2-4 p.m. on the campus of every public school in Hawkins County, including the independent Rogersville City School.” Announcement by Expecting God’s Help, a Christian group teaming with First Priority in Hawkins County, Kingsport, Tennessee.

“TO ALL FOOTBALL PLAYERS, PARENTS OF PLAYERS, COACHES, AND STAFF. . . We have to wear a breastplate of righteousness, helmets of salvation, and we must wear our cleats for the preparation of the gospel of peace. We have to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. ‘PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’ Ephesians 6:10-13.” Villa Rica High School football booster club, Villa Rica, Georgia. 2015.

“We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!” First Baptist Villa Rica video, concerning video shot on Villa Rica High School grounds just before football practice. Villa Rica, Georgia. 2015.

“Uniting the Local Body of Christ with a Plan of Action to Influence the School with the Gospel”. …”Christ-Church-Campus” …”The Hope of Christ in Every Student.” Expecting God’s Help, a Christian group in Rogersville, Tennessee. 2015.

“Nobody else in the school seemed to be bothered by it.” Evangelical Christian painter Warner Sallman regarding painting “The Head of Christ” hanging in the [school] hallway for decades. Some residents were displeased at its removal, one saying “”There were only one or two evolution kids and they didn’t seem to be bothered by it.” 2015.

“We are permanently planting churches in Central Florida Schools,” The Venue Church, speaking of public school systems of Orange and Seminole Counties (in and near Orlando), Florida. 2013-14.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” and “If God be for us who can be against us?” Monument at entrance to the football field unveiled by Madison County School District, Danielsville, Georgia. 2014.

 “We’re all about wanting to see the cause of Christ go further…in more public arenas in the American culture…We want to see Christ in our schools. [This is an] attempt to bully us.” Pastor Justin Coffman, explaining to Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt why Christian plaques mounted by the Midlothian Independent School District, under suit as a church/state violation, are justified. 2014.

“Wednesday Morning Devotions.” Buchtel Divo Group, begun by Brad Lingenhoel, teacher with Akron Ohio Public Schools, for students in the school library before school. 2015.

“May God grant me the strength to always live by this creed.” Bethel High School Naval Junior ROTC, along with prayers “in the name of Jesus.” Bethel, Connecticut. 2015.

“The school board is being attacked because they pray in the school board meetings [and] their teachers have bible sayings in the classroom . . . We certainly stand with our school board,” Pastor Jeff Buchanan, First Baptist Church, in support of Levy County School Board, Bronson, Florida. 2015.

Many children have been introduced to the Gospel and have given their hearts to Jesus.” Claim about its Christian teaching by Northwestern Elementary School, Wicomico County Public Schools, Maryland. 2014.

 Bullying young adult athletes by imposing or favoring Christianity: These instances are taken from college level circumstances, often in athletic situations, wherein coaches become tax-paid missionaries.

“I’d do it anyway. I did it anyway at Florida State. I don’t care about political correctness; I want to be spiritually correct.” Legendary former Coach Bobby Bowden when asked by a Fox & Friends interviewer what he thought about “Orange County [Florida] right now saying there’s no place for faith in football” and his own having repeatedly used his tax-supported coaching position to preach, pray, and otherwise proselytize for Christianity. 2014.

“That’s what he is, he’s a preacher… He preaches the Word – the gospel … what we all need to hear . . . [teaching them to] stop being sissies for Christ.” University of South Carolina president Dr. Harris Pastides, commending USC football team chaplain Adrian Despres. 2015.

“I am a character coach at Wichita State because I love God, I love basketball players, and I love helping basketball players learn how to love God.” Chaplain Steve Dickie, with the Wichita State University basketball team to lead team prayers, bless team dinners, and “influence for the glory of God.” March 2015.

“Our message at [the University of] Georgia doesn’t change, and that’s to preach Christ and Him crucified, it’s to win championships for the state of Georgia and win souls for the Kingdom of God, so we’re going to continue down that path. We [also try] to get these guys plugged in to church. I tell people … that come to Georgia that are not Christians and allow me to speak in their lives, I encourage them to walk with Jesus. I encourage them to get into Bible study. I encourage them to get in the Word. I encourage them to memorize Scripture.”” Rev. Kevin “Chappy” Hynes, University of Georgia football chaplain. 2015.

“We can’t allow [church/state separatists] to move into these areas that traditionally have always been a part of the football program. Faith, family, football—have always gone together. Here’s [Freedom from Religion Foundation] coming in and trying to tear that out.” Pastor Troy Schmidt, First Baptist Church of Windermere, Florida. 2014.

“Our goal is to see peoples’ lives changed as they discover God’s purpose for their life….using sports as a platform to help people answer questions of faith and to point them to Jesus. We dream of a day when there are Christ-followers on every team, in sport, in every nation.” Athletes in Action (a Christian youth sports ministry), granted $300,000 for its mission by the state of Ohio. 2015.

“We build our program around faith in Jesus Christ.” Steve Prohm, Iowa State University head basketball coach describing his previous coaching job at Murray State University in Kentucky. 2015.

Bullying the general public and non-Christian beliefs by using the power of the state to promote Christian dogma, beliefs, and actions above other philosophical positions: The Christian Right has twisted the meaning of religious freedom to include its freedom to tell others what to do, choosing to ignore that every government employee who deals with the public is an extension of the state, not an independent individual—see my immediately previous post “Christian bullying (Part 1)” for the reasoning. An easy (and very frequent) example would be protecting a public school teacher’s “religious freedom” to proselytize children, overlooking the religious freedom of children and their families. Moreover, convinced they represent God, the faithful are wont to justify governmental endorsement of Christianity based on the claim that the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. In fact, it does both inasmuch as freedom of logically includes freedom from. For the rationale, see my post “Freedom of religion requires freedom from religion,” October 8, 2014.

“How are you going to tell [teachers] they can’t pray? You’re violating their Constitutional rights.” Gerald Dial, Alabama State Senator, in support of a bill making it acceptable for public school teachers to participate with students in prayer. 2014.

“On God’s authority.” Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County, Morehead, Kentucky, when asked on whose authority she was not issuing marriage licenses [for gays]. Sept. 1, 2015.

“At the end of the day, we have to stand before God, which has higher authority than the Supreme Court,” said Randy Smith, leading the group supporting Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. Morehead, Kentucky, September 2015.

“The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion. Founding Fathers did not intend to preserve religious liberty for non-Christians.” Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy, American Family Association. Sept. 2011.

“If the people who come before us are upset by [the Bible displayed at city council meetings], let them go to whatever country, ask for whatever type of Bible they want. This is a Christian nation.” Cecil Bradbury, former mayor, Pinellas Park, Florida. 2014.

“Jesus Welcomes You to Hawkins.” Sign on city property in Hawkins, Texas, Will Rogers, Mayor. 2015.

“Share the Gospel and bring people to Christ and strengthen their beliefs,” Irma Hernandez, Deputy City Manager, Orange, Calif., describing the purpose of Mayor’s Prayer Breakfasts for which city personnel coordinate invitations, arrange musical performances and speakers, suggest the mayor’s bible verse selections, set the theme of the keynote message, and prepare Mayor Teresa Smith’s opening remarks. 2013, 2014.

“This is a good Christian community that welcomes people who move here. But if you want to attack God, you should leave.” Mike Tavalario, official with Johnson County, Tennessee.

“The official state book will be the Holy Bible, published by Johannes Prevel.” Louisiana Rep. Thomas Carmody, in introducing HB503 to legislate this declaration, 2014.

“Christ.” Word emblazoned, along with a Christian cross, on the official seal of the Sheriff of Humphreys County. Waverly, Tennessee. 2014.

“The Town of Montgomery is PROUD to keep CHRIST in our Christmas celebrations.” Text on Facebook page of City of Montgomery, Louisiana. 2014.

“We’re a Christian nation with Christian ideology . . . we need to move toward our Christian heritage.” and “The freedom of religion doesn’t mean that every religion has to be heard.” Al Bedrosian, member, Board of Supervisors of Roanoke County, seeking to exclude non-Christians from offering pre-meeting invocations. Salem, Virginia. May 2014.

 “57 percent.” Public Policy Polling, a survey organization, in a nationwide survey of whether the Republican Party “base” “supports establishing Christianity as the national religion” (vs. supporters of Rick Perry 94% and Mike Huckabee 83%). Feb. 2015.

“We should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.” Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen. March 2015.

“Your group is a strictly an anti-religion group intending to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms . . . The City of Warren cannot allow this.” Mayor James Fouts, Warren, Michigan, in rejecting a non-Christian citizen’s request to set up a so-called “reason station” in a city hall atrium in which Tabernacle Church (Church of God) had already been issued a permit to establish a “prayer station.” July 2014.

“[It would] end up being a problem, just as if I were to allow a Nazi group during our MLK celebration. [It] is intended to deprive all organized religions of their constitutional freedoms.” Jim Fouts, Mayor of Warren, Michigan, in rejecting application for an atheist display in city hall in which the “prayer station” of a local church was accepted. February 2015.

“We need to . . . amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it [sic] lines up with some contemporary view.” Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, candidate for president, 2007 and 2015.

 “The servitude of the African race . . . is abundantly authorized and justified . . . by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations.” Texas Ordinance of Secession, declaring a Biblical basis for enslaving blacks, enacted Jan. 22, 1861.

Gays “want to make Houston another San Francisco . . . Drive them out of our city . . . Send them back to San Francisco . . . Sometimes you have to do that when people are totally opposed to God like that, and wickedness rises up.” Steven Hotze, MD, proprietor of Hotze Health and Wellness Center, launching his “Faith, Family, Freedom Tour” in advance of Houston elections. Houston, Texas.

“I think what you have to do is ask a very specific passage of the Bible and specific portion of the Constitution.” Ben Carson, MD, seeking Republican nomination for US presidency, in reply to Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” who asked “Does the Bible have authority over the Constitution?” 2015.

“When the Christians exercise dominion, good things happen. When we surrender dominion, bad things happen . . . God has made us in charge of this planet and He’s given us dominion and we’re supposed to exercise dominion . . . God has given us dominion, we have to do that.” Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. May 12, 2015.

“Americans have the freedom of religion, but not freedom from religion. That’s why I am introducing legislation that requires Congressional approval before any change would be made to military oaths . . . The moral foundation of our country is in serious danger if we allow radical groups to dictate whether or not we can freely express our religious beliefs. It’s time to take a stand.” U. S. Representative Sam Johnson of Texas, to “protect the religious freedom of American troops” by not removing the Christian reference in the military oath.” March 2015.

“Official Faith-Based Partner.” Designation by Northwestern Elementary School, Wicomico County Public Schools, Maryland, granted to Mardela Springs Wesleyan Church. 2014.

“Save Tennessee for Jesus.” June Griffin, introduced as the “minister today” in her prayer for the Tennessee Legislature, January 2015.

“[Marriage licenses would have to be approved by] an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi.” House Bill 1125 filed by Oklahoma State Rep. Todd Russ, who explained, “Put it back to what it was supposed to be and was originally a holy matrimony and a very solemn and spiritual vow.”

“It shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to hire and employ any person because of said person’s atheistic practices and beliefs.” U.S. Congressman John Ashbrook of Ohio in a motion for inclusion in revision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“I don’t see what good it would be to take it out of the constitution. I don’t think you would have the support to remove that from our constitution at all.” Mississippi State Rep. Scott DeLano, disagreeing with a proposal to remove from the Mississippi Constitution the words “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”

“The State of Mississippi hereby acknowledges the fact of her identity as a principally Christian …. State….accordingly, the Holy Bible is acknowledged as a foremost source of her foundling principle.” Proposed constitutional amendment put forth by the Magnolia State Heritage Campaign as an initiative to be placed on the ballot. 2016.

“In your place, what would Jesus do?” Wording of large framed picture of Jesus displayed in the main entranceway of the courthouse in Jackson, Kentucky. 2014.

“We are going to say a prayer. If any of you are offended by that, you can leave into the hallway and your case will not be affected.” Judge Wayne Mack, Montgomery County, Texas, introducing a minister who read from the bible at length then asked all to bow their heads and pray.

“We, the people of the United States recognizing the being and attributes of Almighty God, the Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures, the law of God as the paramount rule, and Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior and Lord of all, in order to form a more perfect union….” AND “We, the people of the United States, humbly acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the Ruler among the nations, His revealed will as the supreme law of the land, in order to constitute a Christian government, and in order to form a more perfect union…” Unsuccessful proposals to Congress to amend the preamble of the U.S. Constitution by the National Reform Association and Christian Amendment Movement, respectively, to declare the US to be a Christian nation. Mid-1860s. [Congress was presented by similar proposals in 1874, 1896, and 1910, all unsuccessful. In fact, a similar idea was floated, but defeated by the drafters of the Constitution.]

“Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country. . . The Supreme Court is not the Supreme branch and it’s certainly not the Supreme Being. . . This . . . undermines . . . our fundamental right to religious liberty!” Donald Trump, candidate for US president, in tweeted comment September 2015.

“Other religions are in the minority. The U.S. and the Constitution were founded on Christianity. This is what the majority of people believe in, and it’s what I’m standing up for.” Carroll Mitchem, Lincoln County Commission, explaining why only Christians are allowed to give invocations at Commissioners’ meetings. Lincolnton, North Carolina. 2015.

“[I] urge everyone who does not know Jesus Christ to go and find Him.” Board President James Na, statement in public meeting of Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education that normally open with prayer and often include bible readings. San Bernardino County, California. Dec. 2014.

“I think what they want is an affirmation that the people of the state of Maryland don’t care about the Christian faith, and that is a little offensive.” Christopher B. Shank, Minority whip in the Maryland Senate, interpreting why a secular coalition is calling for removal from the state constitution of a prohibition against atheists holding office. 2014.

“Anytime you find a group of people whose lives have been adversely affected [by] major fire . . . storm or a disaster . . . is an evangelistic advantage . . . I may be able to share with you a word from Christ.” Police chaplain E. Baxter Morris, who rides with Montgomery (Alabama) police with access to crime scenes, 2013.

“To exclude church-owned vehicles, which are designed to transport 30 passengers or less, from the definition of commercial motor vehicle for the purposes of commercial driver’s licenses.” Mississippi House Bill 132 as passed, to exclude churches from requirement that bus drivers have commercial driver’s licenses. February 2015.

“Religious liberty in America is in grave danger. . . this is about . . . the ability of Christians and other religious people to serve in positions of public trust. If this is not resolved . . . this will, in effect, establish a reverse religious test barring those who hold biblical views of marriage from positions of public service.” Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President. Sept. 3, 2015.

“A faith infused gospel music mega event . . . enjoy some all-night Saturday revelry in anticipation of a feverous day of Sunday worship and prayer.” City of Jonesboro and other sponsors of Gospel Fest concert (advertised with Christian imagery on the city’s official Facebook page). Jonesboro, Georgia, 2015.

“When Christians say we shouldn’t be involved in politics, you’ve got to be kidding me. We are the government.” Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin (retired), now executive vice president of the Family Research Council, who maintained that Muslims are not entitled to First Amendment protections. 2015.

Bullying justified by erroneous and prejudicial explanations of lawmaking and Supreme Court judicial review. Ever since Marbury v. Madison in 1803 established the authority of federal courts to judge whether executive or even Congressional actions violate the Constitution, there have been a number of such actions. A court does not make law, but it does have the right to declare Executive Branch and Legislative Branch actions to be contrary to the Constitution. Unfortunately, I don’t normally seek to record either intentional or ignorant misconstructions of SCOTUS’s role. But many like the few below have occurred recently with respect to gay marriage by religious persons wanting law to reflect their religious definition of marriage.

“The Dred Scott decision of 1857 still remains to this day the law of the land which says that black people aren’t fully human.” Mike Huckabee, former governor and two time presidential candidate, in argument with radio host Michael Medved, explaining why the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision is not binding. Sept. 2015. [Huckabee ignored his legal training, for the Fourteenth Amendment changed the Constitution such that the earlier and, frankly, shameful treatment of African Americans was nullified.]

“He [Jesus] explicitly outlined what marriage is … So when people say Jesus didn’t talk about same-sex marriage, he did by virtue of talking about what marriage is.” Mike Huckabee, on MSNCB’s “Morning Joe” explaining why the Bible is against gay marriage though it isn’t mentioned. Sept. 2015. [The bullying aspect is that whatever the Bible has to say is relevant to American civil law. Persons who believe gay marriage is wrong can still say so and certainly can avoid it themselves, so religious freedom is unaffected. But Huckabee and other theocrats think what (they think) the Bible says should trump democratically established American law.]

“Friday’s Supreme Court Justice decision to make same sex marriage ‘The Law of the Land’ is yet another example of America’s highest court usurping its authority by making law. It started by taking prayer out of school, then legalizing abortion and now spits in the faces of all Christian organizations.” Kevin Jackson on The Blackspear blog, member of the Liberty Alliance, saying the Supreme Court action is “better known as treason.” 2015. [The court declared that state laws providing for marriage of opposite sex parties while not doing so for same sex parties violated the equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the Constitution. There was no usurpation; there was no lawmaking.]

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body.” Bobby Jindal, governor and presidential candidate. 2015.

“For the first time we’re seeing a Christian woman thrown in jail for standing up for her faith. . . I stand with anyone else that the government is trying to persecute for standing up for their faith. It is inconsistent with the first amendment of the Constitution. We are a nation that was formed by people fleeing religious oppression and coming to seek a land where we could worship free of the government getting in the way.” Ted Cruz, U. S. Senator and 2015 presidential candidate, interviewed by Megyn Kelly on Fox News. [Early settlers to America did seek freedom to worship in their own way, but right away began governmentally stopping others from worshipping in their own way. They sought freedom to squelch the freedom of others, a characteristic of religion generally. The freedom of worship of the Christian woman (Kim Davis), whose “persecution” Cruz decries, was never limited by anyone. What was limited was her authority as a single individual from deciding what the law of the land should be in Rowan County, then—adding insult to injury—demanding that her illegitimately proclaimed authority be seen as her exercise of religion. Ms. Davis is not a martyr, but a bully.]

About John Bruce Carver

I am a U. S. citizen living in Atlanta, Georgia, having grown up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and graduating from Chattanooga High School. I served in the Electronic Security Command of the U. S. Air Force before receiving a B.S. degree in business/economics and an M.Ed. in educational psychology, both at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I then completed a Ph.D. in clinical (and research) psychology at Emory University. I have two daughters and three granddaughters. An ardent international traveller, I have been in over 70 countries for business and pleasure. My reading, other than novels, tends to be in history, philosophy, government, and light science. I identify philosophically as a secular humanist, in complete awe of the universe including my fellows and myself. I am married to my best friend, Miriam, formerly of the United Kingdom and Canada.
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