"...but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." U.S. Constitution, Article VI, Paragraph 3, 2nd Clause.
It is in this little known and rarely mentioned section of the main body of our Constitution that the separation of religion and government lives. The First Amendment, which prohibits the establishment of an official religion as the faith of the nation and guarantees the individual can believe (or not) in any faith they so choose, flows from this passage. Yet, the Bush Administration has been mounting a relentless attack on this basic principle of our democracy almost from its beginning. It has been trying to inflict a fundamentalist theocracy upon the nation with precious little resistance. Notice I don't say Christian. There is no relationship between the Bushies and the faith of Christ. Christianity teaches love, peace and conciliation. The Bushies believe in fear, hatred and divisiveness. As Bradley Whitford said on "Real Time with Bill Maher" just after Katrina, their religion is supply-side economics.
The nomination of James Holsinger to be Surgeon General is the latest example. Holsinger, as I have written before, is a high ranking official of the United Methodist Church. Recently, he violated the church's discipline to justify the homophobic activities of a UMC minister in Virginia. He also is part of the heirarchy of a church that claims to "cure" homosexuals of their "disease." These are just two examples of what he plans to impress upon the body politic.
Let's move on to Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzo, as both Attorney General and Counsel to the President, ignored long standing American statutes, not to mention the Constitution, to justify the use of terror, suspension of Habeas Corpus and other Constitutionally guaranteed rights based on the unchecked power of the Executive in a time of "war." In reality, this is Leader Principle, the Leader cannot be wrong therefore he is always right. This is the kind of circular logic dominating thought at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Believing that the ends justify any means helps here as well. Recently, Congress has intensified its search into the inner reaches of Gonzo's mind. However, since he considers his constituency to be one, Bush, he couldn't care less. Do we?
The Terry Schiavo case brings the fundamentalist's tactics into sharp focus. Congress was called into emergency session over a weekend by DeLay and Frist. Frist, an alleged M.D., even made a diagnosis from the floor of the Senate without bothering to do even the most rudimentary physical examination of the patient. Bush received the legislation he wanted so that he could sign it at warp speed. Fortunately, the courts stepped in to stop the nonsense. How long we can rely on that is problematic as Bush has had many appointments to the federal bench, both confirmed and recess.
How much longer will our sacred tradition of absolute religious freedom continue? Does anyone out there really care?