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3 More Places Where Religion Is Creeping Into Your Daily Life

3 More Places Where Religion Is Creeping Into Your Daily Life

They’ve decided legislative sessions can begin with strictly Christian prayers. You can have overtly religious displays in the state house. You can mandate school prayer, hold church services in schools, make the Bible the state book and even write creationism into the state statutes.

It seems as if everywhere you look, religious proclamations and public expressions of (Christian) faith is popping up all throughout the public square. In an effort to prove that there is truly no such thing as a separation of church and state, the religious right has decide to put its own stamp on every secular event or instance if can find. If you object, well, you’re obviously just trying to squelch their first amendment rights to openly practice religion, as well as their right to free speech in any form.

But it’s not just schools and state houses. It’s on your street corner, your polling place and your summer festivals.

Here are 3 new ways religion is creeping into the public sphere:

1) The Watchmen on the Wall.“ Did you know there is no such thing as church and state separation? Well, if you didn’t, the “Watchmen” are dedicated to ensuring you do, since their goal is to crumble any partition that keeps the United States a secular country. Led by Family Research Council, the group had their annual “national briefing” this past weekend, with Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, exhorting pastors to be more politically involved, especially at the pulpit.

“We have a responsibility to speak on the moral issues. Abortion, homosexuality, these are moral issues. This is a free country, you can do what you want to do but I want you to know it’s a sin against God. This is a sin,” said Graham, who warned his fellow pastors that they aren’t being aggressive enough if they aren’t being “targeted” for their actions. “Could we get our heads chopped off? We could, maybe one day. So what? Chop it off!”

Preaching politics used to be discouraged by churches out of fear of losing their tax exempt statuses for engaging in campaigning. But within the last few years, churches have begun to outright challenge that rule, with Family Research Council leading the charge to violate the law.

2) Creeping classroom creationism. Speaking of tax exempt status, a group of atheists are allegedly challenging the church’s tax status, claiming that it counts as discrimination, and the theocracy crowd couldn’t be happier. Yes, that’s right, the people who support religion in the public sphere are hoping that the case could somehow be used to give them greater freedom to get creationism into public schools as “science.” According to one legal analyst, by putting themselves on the same frame as churches, the atheists have opened the door to creationism because apparently creationism is to Christianity as evolution is to atheism.

“Because if atheism or humanism are religions themselves, and public schools decide to teach the tenets of those religions while excluding the tenets of other theistic religions, then that is discriminatory treatment in and of itself,” Liberty Counsel lawyer Harry Mihet told OneNewsNow. Of course, that ignores the obvious difference between creationism and evolution — that evolution isn’t a “tenet” of any “theism” anymore than, say, gravity is.

3) Theres Jesus in the Bratwurst. The days of a summer festival simply being a summer festival is over. The Madison, Wisconsin Brat Fest was revamped this year to give it more Christian appeal, after the festival’s sponsor had a religious experience at a Christian music festival the year prior. He decided to add an additional stage to his event to focus on this new outreach, then invited a well-known anti-abortion activist to run it. “Our message will be calling people into a relationship with Jesus,” said Bob Lenz, who shortly thereafter was disinvited once Madison residents, including local politicians, complained. The service itself went on, however. About 1000 people showed, and the organizer said he’d like to bring it back next year. Attendees were enthused to have a new push at a new audience. “Every other organization is out here doing their thing to bring about change, why shouldn’t the church (do that) here? It’s just great to see our faith allowed to be out in the open,” one supporter told the local news.

 

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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144 comments

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5:00AM PDT on Jun 6, 2014

Thank (the non existant!) god that I don't live in the USA. Its religious nutters are even worse than the wee frees in Scotland, at least the latter will never be taken seriously.

11:16AM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Why should anyone have to listen to, or waste their time, on such ridiculous nonsense in a public forum?

No one has to respect religious belief. In most circumstances, it would be impossible for anyone to actually respect religious belief. Religious beliefs are childish, irrational, obscure, dangerous, and based on unproven stories. Shunning and derision would be a natural reaction to religious belief. It would be easier to accept if it were a child with an imaginary friend, or with some fear of a monster, you could have the patience for them. However, the willful ignorant who believe just to believe, against all facts, reality, and even common sense, should be shown the same disrespect they have shown everyone else by trying to impose their delusions on others.

11:15AM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Carole L., thank you for bringing up a great point. There are literally thousands of denominations and variations of christianity and most christians don't know their own bible.

"DO NOT THINK THAT I HAVE COME TO ABOLISH THE LAW OR THE PROPHETS; I HAVE NOT COME TO ABOLISH THEM BUT TO FULFILL THEM. For truly I tell you, UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH DISAPPEAR, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, WILL BY ANY MEANS DISAPPEAR FROM THE LAW UNTIL EVERTHING IS ACCOMPLISHED." - Matthew 5:17-18

If someone is a follower of Christ, then they are a follower of the old testament.

10:44AM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Phillip W
“Carole L. stated, "The religious folks need to start 'living' their religious beliefs and not just 'preaching' them."

It's dangerous for the "religious folks" to start "living" their religious beliefs. Imagine them having the freedom to do this:”

Deuteronomy is old testament. Christians are supposedly “follower of Christ”, which is new testament. I was raised by fundamentalist, when I was younger we were taught in church that since Jesus' time the old testament did not pertain to us and we were to live by the new testament. Which is living a Christ-like life.

Today’s fundies have forgotten (or turned their backs on Christ) and gone old testament on us. Though they themselves do not live by what they preach try to force the rest of us to live. Perhaps they feel if they can force the rest of us to live by their personal beliefs (because they obviously cannot) they'll gain godlessness via osmosis.

Which has led me to state; If you can't practice what you preach, preach what you practice.

10:18AM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Kamia T
“I'm confused. If it's okay for Muslims to stand up for their beliefs loudly and openly; LGBT advocates also to do so, and even atheists to demand that their beliefs be honored, why is it not okay for any Christian organization or person to also be as vocal? I thought that was what America was about -- founded so each group that came here could practice their religion and hold their beliefs.”

have any of those other groups gone b4 SCOTUS to try to force the rest of us to listen to their prayers b4 a public community meeting starts? No one is denying them the right to pray to “their” god, what we object to is them forcing the rest of us to listen. It appears fundies need an audience to hear their prayer spectacles and appease their egos.

10:18AM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Joe R
“Whats the issue with Christian prayers?
if they are Jews they can pray, if they are muslim we give them the quran to place the hand on at swearing in, when a Chriastian says his or her own prayer it is an "imposition to everyone"? what the .... obvious discrimination from nut jobs like aclu.”

perhaps it has to do with their “sit down, shut up' or get out!” when we “pray” and you're not allowed to pray to your deity cuz ours is the only “one True” belief attitude.

10:17AM PDT on Jun 2, 2014

Carole L. stated, "The religious folks need to start 'living' their religious beliefs and not just 'preaching' them."

It's dangerous for the "religious folks" to start "living" their religious beliefs. Imagine them having the freedom to do this:

"If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery." (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)

3:21PM PDT on Jun 1, 2014

I am glad to see Christianity coming back to the forefront where it should be. There is no other name under the sun that a man/woman may be saved than Jesus Christ. I pray this country may come back to the laws of God on which this country was founded & so that we may live in peace & harmony.

12:36PM PDT on Jun 1, 2014

I respect a person's right to be religious, but freedom OF religion also includes freedom FROM religion. I don't know why so many (not all) religious people, can not respect someone's wishes not to be religious. Prayers are held before government meetings, Christmas, a religious celebration, is a federal holiday. "In God We Trust" is on our money. Quite honestly, what more could religious people possibly ask for, short of an executive order forcing nonbelievers to convert immediately?

Your religion does NOT trump MY freedom to be free from the influence of it. The place to pray is in your church and in your own home, not in a government meeting. When my tax dollars go to support proselytizing or even the practice of your religion, I have a big problem. If I wanted to support your religion, I would join it. Being forced to support it by allowing prayers or religious ideology in anything supported by my tax dollars is a complete violation of my freedom from religion.

11:48AM PDT on Jun 1, 2014

Kamia, believe me, religious people are EXTREMELY vocal.

I don't think anyone really cares if they want to talk about their religion. That's just purely freedom of speech.

For me personally, when they try to force their religious beliefs onto others through law, is when I draw the line.

For example, this is a rather minor one. There was recently a Supreme Court case that said that praying before a city council meeting was okay.

Why should prayer be held before a council meeting? What does that have to do with the meeting? Not everyone has a religion and even if they do, not everyone has the same religion. A moment of silence would have had the same effect.

Sure, you can say, well if they don't want to pray, they can just leave or sit there quietly. If someone does so, they are probably going to be socially ostricized.

If people want to "preach", why not do it for a WILLING audience?

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