Ruffling Feathers

My cousin Jonathan is someone I consider a “Good Christian.”  I know that can be a loaded term, but what I mean by that is, unlike some other family members (on my side of the family), he’s never once told me I’m going to hell for my heathen views (if he thinks so, he’s never said it…).  He talks the talk and walks the walk – volunteers at his church, coaches youth sports and is a teacher.  Married, kids, the whole enchilada – my life is richer for having him in my family.

So it is meant with no disparagement when I share the following exchange we had on Facebook today:

This is really just a scene setter.  Republican lawmakers, at the state and national level, are constantly attempting to subvert the constitution by, for lack of a better term, trying to “out-Jesus” one another.  This happens all the time – especially in states that have majority-Republican legislatures.

Jonathan posts “Is there any harm in this?”

The answer, in my opinion, is a complicated yes, there is harm in this.  Thankfully though, I do not have to get my “feathers ruffled” over it.  Thank God (pun intended) there is a Freedom From Religion Foundation that keeps my feathers from getting ruffled.  Think of the FFRF as the American Civil Liberties Union of the separation of Church and State.

Yes, it is hard to believe that in 2012, after decades of Supreme Court rulings and challenges to the 1stAmendment’s Establishment Clause, that we needa foundation to keep lawmakers from willfully violating the constitution.  I swear, it’s like being a parent of a 2 year old (they don’t call ‘em the terrible two’s for nothing).  You tell them to stop (whatever it is they’re doing) and they just continue doing what they do, then feign shock when caught for the umpteenth time.

The work FFRF does should not just be supported by atheists but religious people as well.  There is a sound reason for the separation of Church and State, best expressed by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists*:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” 

* The Danbury Baptists were a religious minority in Connecticut, and they complained that in their state, the religious liberties they enjoyed were not seen as immutable rights, but as privileges granted by the legislature — as “favors granted.”   Link 
It goes without saying that the two year old Republican legislators in Pennsylvania didn’t know they were doing anything wrong by declaring 2012 the Year of the Bible. 

Ah, but they DIDknow what they were doing when they passed an obscure provision in a law that puts a gag order on physicians from sharing information with patients whose illnesses might be related to fracking chemicals.
“Pennsylvania law states that companies must disclose the identity and amount of any chemicals used in fracking fluids to any health professional that requests that information in order to diagnosis or treat a patient that may have been exposed to a hazardous chemical. But the provision in the new bill requires those health professionals to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will not disclose that information to anyone else — not even the person they’re trying to treat.” Link
So now these two year olds are all grown up and are,well, just evil bastards!  This is politics 101.  Throw some bible, god, and country at people and politicians can get away with just about whatever sick agenda they wish to.

You can bet – hell, I’ll bet you my home equity – at least one Pennsylvania legislator sponsoring this provision received a generous campaign donation from the Gas Industry.*  On top of that, since most politicians aren’t that smart, chances are the Industry lobbyist wrote the provision for insertion to the bill. 

You see, if doctor’s are kept from telling patients that the root of their woes could be from exposure to say, a chemical used in the process of fracking, then the patient has no ability for recourse from those responsible for their ailment.  Duh!  No lawsuits! 

I’ll also bet my equity that the legislative sponsor of this provision voted for the Bible bill.  This would earn this person, in my book, the title of “Bad Christian” but “Good Republican.”

See, Republicans hate this thing called regulation.  Regulations kill jobs and stifle the beast that is the American economy.  Which is why fracking is not regulated – no need to share with the public how (or what) chemicals are pumped into the ground to release natural gas from shale deposits – or how these chemicals seep into ground and well waters, poisoning the lucky people to live in these areas. 

Just throw a bible their way – remember, these are value voters!  “I don’t care if my tap water burns, my state senator is a good Christian – he voted for the Year of the Bible…”  Smoke and mirrors, Politics 101.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a Freedom From Fracking Foundation that can take on corrupt practices of lawmakers in Pennsylvania.  We only have Josh.

*  All wagers made in this article are made in a purely rhetorical sense, and while true, are non-binding 🙂
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One Response to Ruffling Feathers

  1. Anonymous says:

    Once again, thanks Sean for taking the time for putting our breakfast table discussions into written words. It's reassuring not to feel like a voice in the wilderness. Today's news story was in praise of an 8 year old whose parents are supplying him with a lot of plastic bottles (more than 20 so far) to throw into the Potomac with "Jesus loves you" messages typed up by the parents. And a $1 bill to attract attention from those who might ignore trash in the river. Parents defend this littering by saying they pick up litter they see when walking down to toss plastic into the river, thereby "squaring things with the universe". Not as large scale as the politicians above but certainly a breeding ground for this type of thinking. Glennah

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