Anyone who has taken a Constitution class in high school knows that the First Amendment protects the right of all people to express almost any idea they want in the public square (with the exceptions of inciting riots, threats of violence, etc). Yet there is one group the various pundits insist need to be silenced for the sake of our nation and that is Christians.
Recently, Lou Dobbs lamented the influence religion has on politics. He said churches “are driving that political adventurism as those leaders conflate religion and politics.” Apparently he suggests the government should do something about shutting up those damn Christians who keep expressing their points of view.
In a democratic republic such as this one, all people get an equal say in what they believe the state should be about. That includes atheists, agnostics, wiccans, Jews, Muslims and even those pesky Christians. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those groups expressing any of there views. A diverse and tolerant society requires nothing less.
The idea that the Bill of Rights, under the moniker of the Separation of Church and state, is designed to restrict citizens from petitioning their government based on some perceived ideological characteristic is absurd. We’ll skip past the fact that the First Amendment requires institutional separation, not state mandated atheism.
What Lou Dobbs, and others like him, are upset about is that they are on the losing side of issues. And what do they suggest to fix it? Convincing arguments? Helpful debates? No. They want to silence the opposition. This is un-American and the citing of “national values” to stifle free speech borders on absurd. If you can’t handle a country where all people get their say, well, I do question your patriotism.
The bold assertion that the people in the pews are separated from the people behind the pulpit is novel and interesting, considering it is coming from someone who has little grasp on what people in the pews believe or want. Apparently Dobbs things that the people in the pews are at once automatons that follow whatever their pastor says but at the same time acutely aware that their pastors “are a class unto themself.” Either they’re stupid or their not. With the amount of “church shopping” that goes on, it’s pretty clear that if the people don’t like the message, they go somewhere else.
Most importantly, what Dobbs is lamenting is that people aren’t blaming immigrants for the immigration problem. When the government of the United States and Mexico signal to their people loud and clear that they aren’t going to enforce the law, what did you expect was going to happen? Imagine a college town saying they aren’t going to enforce drinking laws for a weekend. You’d have a town full of drunk freshmen passed out in the gutter. Duh.
There is more to the debate than blaming immigrants versus amnesty and proposals take that into account. Of course people think the border should be secured but they don’t necessarily believe that immigrants should be rounded up for what really amounts to a failure of the government.
The attempt to silence Christians should be called what it is, censorship. No one is trying to mandate forced Christianity down the throats of citizens. No one is attempting to silence non-Christian points of view. It is long past time that Christians are cynically discriminated against simply because they don’t hold to whatever elites consider the “right point of view” to be. Because you know if those same Christians were saying the same things, they’d be pointing towards them as proof they’re right.
John Bambenek is the Assistant Politics Editor for BC Magazine and is an academic professional for the University of Illinois. He is a syndicated columnist who blogs at Part-Time Pundit and the executive director of The Tumaini Foundation which helps AIDS orphans and other children in Tanzania to get an education. He is the current owner of BlogSoldiers, a blog-only traffic exchange.