Oh this is rich.
This week on Focal Point (an American Family Association radio show), host Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) showed his lack of Constitutional understanding by conveying to his audience that the First Amendment’s freedom of religion provision only applies to Christians. In his explanation, he asserted that the Founding Fathers meant “Christianity” when referring to religion, just like the kids in his schoolyard did when he was little, because apparently the framers of the US Constitution were no wiser than a 7-year-old.
By that theory, the only thing protected by the “free exercise of religion” is the free exercise of Christianity. No other religions are protected. So, despite some of the Founding Fathers being Deists, theistic rationalists, and even anti-Christian, all of them somehow came to a consensus over the idea that religion meant Christianity. Right, got it. But what about the Establishment Clause? Using his own definition of religion, then the First Amendment says that the government cannot make any laws regarding the establishment of Christianity. So Mr. Fischer, if everyone was already Christian, why the hell would they care? If everyone was Christian, why would they prohibit the government from pushing Christianity on its people? I think we’re done here.
Fischer’s claim is obviously absurd and self-serving, as he then catapults into the recent story about the Satanist group in Oklahoma that has requested equal representation by being able to erect a monument on government property next to the Ten Commandments. He uses his false assertion to claim that the Satanist monument is not protected by the First Amendment. He also claims that the First Amendment is so perfect that it has never needed to be be “tampered with” or amended. I suppose he’s never heard of the judicial branch of the federal government, which has been weighing in on First Amendment issues since the Bill of Rights was introduced. You see, Mr. Fischer, the Supreme Court’s job is to interpret the laws, because they’re, well, not perfect. In 1984, SCOTUS introduced the Endorsement Test, a guide we use to determine whether or not a government’s action amounts to an endorsement of religion. The test was brought about because government endorsement of religion is considered unconstitutional via the Establishment Clause, a concept that has been reinforced several times by federal courts.
Fischer’s lack of knowledge of Constitutional law is further illustrated by his tweet yesterday:
The Constitution doesn't prevent government from endorsing religion, only from establishing it. There is a huge difference.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) December 12, 2013
You can watch his full smattering of verbal diahhrea here:
The question that remains for me is whether or not he really believes this stuff, or if he’s just pandering to his audience. I really hope it’s the latter. I wouldn’t want to believe that someone who films a radio show with an image of the Constitution in the background has never turned around to read it.