"Ugly and venomous toads are indeed loose in our land. But a precious jewel of opportunity is provided to labor by their presence."
- William Shakespeare
Many right-wing politicians have expended a great deal of effort in promoting a neo-McCarthyism agenda in the drive for their own version of an idealistic, America. These people have expounded upon the premise that as a Christian Nation, we must stay true to the beliefs that our founding Fathers enfolded into the Constitution. By this, they are asserting that if you are not Christian, you are not American. Quite simply, it is a transparent attempt to strengthen and continue the invasive characteristics of the Patriot Act; the legislative outcome of the same xenophobic paranoia that infected this country during the McCarthy Era.
Along with the Christian Right, the Republicans and their Tea Party cousins have taken up the fight to convince Americans that we should continue along our isolationist agenda to protect the interests of our Democracy by denouncing Islam. Not only is this an affront to the freedom to worship that our ancestors first came to this country for but it is an attempt to promote the demonization of Islam in an action that is unconstitutional according to the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Our "Founding Fathers" set up a Secular State not a Christian one and to protect this establishment, the 1st Amendment created two distinct restrictions. The first, the Establishment Clause, has two interpretations:
1) The "separation" or "no aid" interpretation prohibits the establishment of a national religion by Congress or,
2) the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation, prohibits the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another.
The preferential interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government's entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause. There is a reason for this separation: Our founding fathers and mothers came here to escape religious persecution not to establish it anew.
There is also the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution which says that Congress cannot pass a law for the government of the Territory which shall prohibit the free exercise of religion. This means Muslims by the way, even if at Ground Zero.
Interesting, isn't it? The Party that has most vehemently called for the return to days of our forefathers, their beliefs in God and the Christian principles they claim are part of the Constitution of this Great Nation are advocating for unconstitutional actions by bringing Christianity into favor as the National Religion. They are mounting a direct assault on the 1st Amendment with deceptive facts and calling it Patriotism.
In the blindness resulting from this ethnocentric initiative, many of these self-termed Christians seem to forget one very important detail; Jesus was from the Middle East and very much, non-white. They have also conveniently forgotten that our Founding Fathers were endeavoring to escape prejudice and oppression. In their view, our present Patriot Act initiated negation of our Constitutional rights is an exercise to protect America from an invasion of a Global society but the reality is they are using God to promote their own version of oppression much like the communist hunters did in the 1950s during the second Red Scare.
One example in particular gives me great fits when I hear it: When we say The Pledge of Allegiance we say Under God, don't we!?! This statement/question is a perfect example of the ignorance they employ to mislead us Americans. Just so you know; the term "Under God" was added in 1954, dead in the middle of the proud time in American History called the McCarthy Era. Along with this misstatement, the Right have employed other tactics which have resounding similarities to those employed in the 50's during the McCarthy Era. First a little history"
Joseph McCarthy was a U.S. Senator from 1947 until his death in 1957. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, McCarthy's tactics and his inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate. If you don't recall what that time in our history represented, let me remind you and in the process, draw some disturbing parallels.
The term McCarthyism , coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy's practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic , reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents. (Wikipedia)The Red Scare, named after the purposeful deception and promotion of anti-communist activities in America, was the over riding reality of the time and created a fear campaign similar to the current anti-Islam campaigns. Howard Zinn in his book, A People's History of the United States makes the following observation of the period of time after WWII prior to and during this period:
""Right after the war, the American public, war-weary, seemed to favor demobilization and disarmament and the Truman administration (Roosevelt had died in April 1945) worked to create an atmosphere of crisis and cold war. True, the rivalry with the Soviet Union was real--that country had come out of the war with its economy wrecked and 20 million people dead, but was making an astounding comeback, rebuilding its industry, regaining military strength. The Truman administration, however, presented the Soviet Union as not just a rival but an immediate threat.
In a series of moves abroad and at home, it established a climate of fear--an hysteria about Communism--which would steeply escalate the military budget and stimulate the economy with war-related orders. This combination of policies would permit more aggressive actions abroad and more repressive actions at home."