Monday, August 22, 2005

The Constitution Breached by False Religion

I find a lot of affinities between the Constitution and the Bible, both of which express great suspicion for concentrated power and warn stridently against authoritarian governments founded on abusive religious practices. In fact, if there is one message which could be distilled from the entire Bible, it would probably be that most religion, most of the time, is a mortal threat to the freedom and welfare of humanity. So grave is this threat that the Bible declares it intolerable, and emphatically states that there can be no justice and no peace as long as false religion is allowed to take root. Now, the history of monotheism follows from that partially conflicted message, and no one can defend it in its entirety. But the gist of it is quite clear and is strongly echoed (with serious and consequential distortions) by the liberal movements of the 18th century, including the cause of American independence and the adoption of the Constitution. The founders saw no greater threat than that posed by the abuse of power under the cover of religious authority. The Constitution is simply a bulwark against such a government ever coming to power in the United States, which would potentially spell disaster for American freedom, pluralism, and independence. It had never happened here until the disputed election of 2000. The situation we are faced with today, courtesy of the Bush administration, is everything that the Constitution was designed to prevent. It is a government dominated by partisan issues of loyalty and ideology, with a ruling ethos of fundamentalist beliefs, market-driven economics, and militant adventurism abroad. It is soaked in an acid bath of corruption which has eroded all semblance of checks and balances. The judiciary and small pockets of Congress barely retain their independence but they are virtually ignored by the decision-makers in anything that counts. The economy is built on a breathlessly unsustainable model of foreign borrowing, national deficits, and consumer debt. And at every level, every abuse is justified with reference to the religiousness of the ruling party, which is considered to be beyond dispute. Just as the Bible condemns and just as the framers forewarned, state religion and political corruption have merged into a single amorphous entity whose claim to power is its own infallibility. It is a monstrous state of affairs which, if left unchecked, will be the beginning of a painful, permanent change in the American character and way of life.

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