The President and his White House staff backed by the Republican Party has literally attacked the First Amendment provision of separation of church and state.
Why are they so bent on changing our democracy to a Christian religious state rather than freedom for all religious thought?
President Trump has weaponized the Executive Branch administrative tool of Executive Order to undermine the separation of church and state by awarding Christian organizations funding of public tax dollars that support not only those institution’s religious dogma but enhances their ability to proselyte that dogma. In spite of Executive Privilege to establish a theocracy, freethinkers and proponents of religious freedom must develop a template to fight back. Here are a few suggestions on countering the President’s attack.
- Take (copy) from the Religious Right and the Tea Party the public relation faux paradigm that they are the ones under attack and show that in fact we, First Amendment protection proponents, are the ones under attack.
- Recognize that we are a minority and always will be. Why? Because blind faith is easy; critical thinking is difficult. It’s work.
- Speak out that to be a nonbeliever, a freethinker, is not odd but admirable. It is an indicium of intelligence.
- Create our own memes, short, specific verbal responses to use in conversation that conjure truth and reason. This may be bumper sticker fallacy, but it works for those who can only think that far.
- As distasteful as it may be, accept that money is a power that pushes thought, at least mass thought and is needed to protect rights. The Religious Right tapped industrialists. Where can the funding source for the First Amendment Protection be found?
- To counter religious prejudice and influence, organize local community groups of freethinkers throughout the land, perhaps along the 18th-century coffeehouse model.
- At Christmas, organize a parade of mourners for the Jewish children murdered, effectively protecting Jesus, in the Herod story.
- To counter the blind faith of the Religious Right, prepare a simple presentation showing myth is not evidence.
- The demographics of the 2012 election showed the changing ethnicity of America. Don’t leave them out in the teaching of the First Amendment. Include the Asian, Indian and Hispanic population and do so in a manner consistent with their cultures.
- To counter the blind faith of the Religious Right, get the word out on the inconsistencies in the Gospels.
- Create and launch a social media campaign educating about the separation of church and state and utilize cartoons in the message.
- Call into question the purpose behind preachers and priests lying about the veracity of the Bible and how it was written. Expose their true motivation.
- The Religious Right has well organized and well-funded think tanks (Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute, Federalist Society, etc.)
- While the Executive Branch has provided government funds for religious social programs, a campaign should commence for government funds for a Freethinkers social program.
- Traditional public media sources have been cowed from reporting on free thought or critical thinking. But that is because freethinkers have allowed themselves to be cowed. Every local newspaper has a religious section. Submit freethought articles to it; or, organize and force a freethought section.
“We have retired the gods from politics. We have found that man is the only source of political power and that the governed should govern.”
Robert Green Ingersoll,
July 4, 1876
In her delightful book, Freethinkers, a history of American Secularism, Susan Jacoby gives the background of that quotation:
“On the centennial anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Robert Ingersoll, the foremost champion of freethought and the most famous orator in the late-nineteenth-century America, paid tribute in his hometown of Peoria, Illinois, to “the first secular government that was ever founded in this world.” Also known as “the Great Agnostic,” Ingersoll praised the framers of the Constitution for deliberately omitting any mention of God from the founding document and instead acknowledging “We the People” as the supreme governing authority. This unprecedented decision, Ingersoll declared, “did away forever with the theological idea of government.”
The place to start in countering the President’s push for theocracy is to financially support and participate with those who are already in the fight:
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
The Humanist Society
Freedom From Religion Foundation
We can do this.