War on Christmas attacks religious free speech
by Mike Devine
“You can’t legislate morality.”
“They want to impose their religious beliefs.”
So go the arguments meant to persuade courts to ban voluntary prayer and Bible study in schools, ban nativity scenes and displays of the Ten Commandments on public property, and legalize same-sex marriage and abortion.
Judges shaped by the moral vision underlying such decisions have imposed them on an America whose revolutionary Founders were intent upon government by We the People, not by one king or five justices. The Constitution they ratified guarantees freedom of all speech, not just non-religious speech. Earlier this week we documented the actions of the educators of such judges that embrace a warped moral vision that bans Christmas trees as offensive but needs commissions to study whether offensive racial epithets deserve prominent display on “free speech” graffiti walls.
Happily, advocates of speech-squelching judicial activism have yet to muster sufficient popular support to see their religion-devoid vision ratified in even one of the 50 states. Indeed, they can’t legislate their morality.
Not that they haven’t tried.
Not so long ago my former S.C. Democratic Party tried to silence the “God talk” of Christians to avoid offending non-believers, then, amazingly, invoked the words of Jesus to justify high taxes and a turn-the-other-cheek U.S. approach to the Soviet Union.
Christians fled to GOP
Large swaths of the offended Christian demographic responded by retaining their free religious speech and creating a new political juggernaut called “Reagan Democrats.”These former Democrats were aware that the Pilgrims came to the New World to flee persecution for religious speech and that the Founders were inspired by their Creator that their rights came from God and not man.
The abolitionists who opposed slavery, President Abraham “The Great Emancipator” Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. were all inspired by scripture. Franklin Roosevelt quoted the Bible to justify saving the world from fascism, as did John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan in opposing “godless” communism.
What kind of nation would we be, and what kind of world would we live in, absent those Americans inspired by religious free speech?
Yet too many do not want to hear religious speech in the public square and wish to relegate those who wish to speak within the confines of church walls and stained glass. Recently they even turned on one of their own, when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dared utter the name of Christ in public.
Since the 1970s, Washington Democrats have confirmed federal judges primed for discovering illegal “establishments” of religion where predecessors had not: nativity scenes on government property, invocations at high school football games, the reading of a Bible at recess.
But the Constitution seemed content to ban only established churches like the one from which the Framers themselves had fled — state churches that fed off tax revenue and compelled worship attendance.
When President Reagan nominated the Constitution-fixated Robert Bork (pictured above), liberal U.S. senators crucified him upon a cross of political correctness and mischaracterizations of his record. Bork conservatives find no right to not be offended by the speech of others in the Constitution. Rather, they embrace its right to speak and vote against speech and laws they found offensive.
Look to the Bible
Last year Democrats in South Carolina opposed a bill that would require pregnant women seeking abortions to first view an ultrasound picture of the developing human being in their womb.
Would the words of Jeremiah that “before [God] formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee” be more persuasive than the Left’s “It’s my body”?
We need the wisdom and inspiration of religious speech. We don’t have the luxury of the “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys of cartoon fame.
In his classic book “Witness,” Whittaker Chambers describes the continuing choice of history to be as old as the Scriptures, where in Genesis the serpent invites Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge so that “ye shall be as gods.”
Man’s choice to be his own god resulted not only in banishment from Paradise but in the slaughter of millions under the names of Nazism and communism in the 20th century.
The majority of Americans who believe in Judeo-Christian principles need to legislate some morality we believe in. America needs the wisdom of religious free speech. (portions originally published in The Charlotte Observer)
Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer and Minority Report columns
[All links available at original Examiner.com edition.]
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson