Isn't a persecution complex a marvelous thing?

Only in America can a religion that has virtually taken over the government and society claim persecution. This week, it is the Liberty Legal Institute crying foul over the decision by the Supremes to hear a oral arguments on whether a Christian monument in front of the Texas state Capitol violates the First Amendment.

Supporters of keeping the monument on the Capitol grounds say the traditions of Western law are rooted in the Ten Commandments. America can't scrub the role of religion from its history, said Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Legal Institute, which defends religious freedoms and First Amendment rights and filed briefs in support of keeping the monument.

"What they're really advocating on the other side is a religious cleansing from our history," Shackelford said. "It should be treated with respect as our part of history, not some new form of pornography that has to be banned from our public arena."

Funny, that’s not the history I learned. I remember learning about Puritans escaping religious persecution—you know, fleeing the Church of England because it didn’t tolerate their particular brand of Protestantism. I also remember hearing something about the Founders being Deists, meaning that while they believed in the existence of God, they were pretty sure he stopped giving a shit about us lowly earthlings sometime around noon on the seventh day.

But I am sick and fucking tired of Christians accusing me and mine of ignoring our religious past. Yes, I understand that we are nation built upon Christian ideals, but inherent in that is the belief that those ideals and beliefs should not be forced upon anyone. Am I offended by displays of the Ten Commandments? I must admit, I don’t go into shock when I see them, nor do I feel that my personal beliefs are being trampled by the mere visage of a nativity scene at Christmas. What offends me is the conviction that a Christian is somehow more American than I am, and that the First Amendment exists solely to persecute and marginalize religious expression. We can wax poetic about religious freedom in a post-Saddam Iraq, but we have yet to fully embrace those ideals in our own country.

Am I pleased to note, however, that the Liberty Legal Institute hasn’t let me down: They are pulling a Newdow on Thomas Van Orden, the plaintiff in this case.

He generally refuses to discuss his background or why his law license was suspended several times for issues ranging from taking money for work he didn't perform to failure to pay fines. He is around 60 years old but won't give his age.

He told The Washington Post that depression cost him his practice and his family. In 1995, the State Bar ordered that a psychiatrist or psychologist certify whether he was mentally capable of practicing law. Although his license remains suspended, Van Orden still has the taste and sharp mind for practicing law.

Yep, he’s old, broke and crazy. Fortunately for us, that doesn’t make him wrong.

Check out Amanda’s take on the Liberty Legal Institute.

annamaria at 10:52 AM

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