The 'one-way wall' theory of chruch, state separation

Hey AN: I know you've all read enough about blasphemy day, but consider this post the transition from that back into church/state issues. Please visit me at Good Reason News too and leave a comment if you like. Thanks.

By now, anyone reading this site should be familiar with last Wednesday's 'Blasphemy Day' celebration. But if you're not, the Center for Inquiry latched this idea onto Freedom of Speech day, in particular as a reaction against the reaction to a 2005 series of Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad in a less than flattering manner. Of course, Muslim fundamentalism is so anti-free speech it wouldn't matter if the cartoons were flattering or not, depictions of Muhammad aren't allowed.

Today I read something interesting on Fox news, stay with me here, about blasphemy day. Of course, I had to ignore the ridiculously slanted headline "On Blasphemy Day, Freedom of Speech Is in the Eye of the Beholder." And of course, the angle Fox seemed to present is that, this holiday would be OK if it were only targeting Muslims, you know I guess cause they're brown, but when you mess with Christians it's just plain wrong. It's 'cracked' as one source put it.
“It strikes me as completely cracked,” said Diana West of the International Free Press Society, which sponsored Westergaard’s trip to the U.S. “The probable threat to freedom of expression is not coming out of Christianity.”
The Free Press Society, on the other hand, is squarely focused on Islam, which West says “is not a religion structured like Christianity or Judaism. It is not simply a divinity and faith. There’s no separation of Mosque and State.”

Well, first off there are endless examples of Christianity offending the freedom of speech and secondly, in this example, Muslims didn't really offend the freedom of speech. Unless you count people protesting and causing violence as an offense to freedom of speech, but that's a familiar road for Christians, now isn't it?

Now to be sure, this International Free Press Society, which sounds like a good name, is actually a group started a few months ago and seems to have a specifically anti-Islam agenda. I suppose, we'll have to wait to see if it responds to Christian or Scientology threats to free speech the same way it's responded to Islam before we can really see what this group is about.

But either way, West brings up an interesting point. Is there separation of Mosque and state? Of course, she's wrong in that that's what sets Islam apart from Christianity and Judaism. Christians in America are frequently trying to insert church into s... Haven't we all been hearing these 'one-way' wall arguments from these revisionary Christian conservatives lately? That is, that the wall between church and state is only supposed to keep state out of church, not the other way around? (By the way, if anyone out there's got an original source on this, or at least a source on this arguments recent revival, please drop me a line, I'd love to know.)

And, isn't there a whole Jewish state not being acknowledged in that quote — one with an insanely secretive government that the U.S. puts up with, even though they'd probably never put up with that sort of nonsense from any other country?

Just sayin'.

But regardless, West is right in that amongst the biggest problems in Middle Eastern culture is that they're used to being ruled over by a religious organization, and those countries stand as the perfect example to those in the U.S. supporting the 'one-way wall' theory as what could happen to the the U.S. if we allow religious influence over our government.

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Comment by Billy Deaton on October 3, 2009 at 9:56pm
Wow, thanks so much for this insight, greyfoot. The letter to the Danbury Baptist Church is an oft forgot document, but an important one in American history.

I'd also add that, even if it were the case that the nation was founded on Christian principles, (which I would of course need defined by the person making that claim before I can agree or disagree with it), I'd have to point out that that wouldn't make this a Christian nation. Just in the way that democracy being a Greek principle doesn't make every democracy Greece.
Comment by greyfoot on October 3, 2009 at 1:45pm
The biggest fallacy propagated by religious people, as I'm sure you know, Billy, is that America was founded on Christian principles. The subsequent reasoning that we are then a "Christian nation" is understandable and even presently accurate, but the truth of our inception is quite the opposite. Jefferson's "wall of separation" letter was a response to the Danbury Baptist Church's complaint that Connecticut adopted a state religion, thereby going against, the Danbury Baptists reasoned, the very principles upon which the country was founded.



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