Reading the Godless Constitution

So the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has decided to begin the 112th Congress by reading aloud the entire U.S. Constitution.

I'm a big fan of the Constitution and I'm all for reading it — publicly or privately, silently or aloud. If almost anyone else were proposing this stunt, I'd say it couldn't hurt. But I pay attention, and after years of seeing this lot disrespecting national symbols and institutions by reducing them to tribalist slogans and playground taunts I don't relish the idea of these idiots doing the same to the Constitution. I don't want to see it distorted and disrespected the way the John Birchers of the tea party movement treat the American flag, the national anthem, the names and memories of the founders and every other symbol they can usurp for use as a culture-war weapon while failing utterly to comprehend its meaning.

I'm also worried that some member of the GOP's growing Bircher contingent — Michelle Bachmann, maybe — will come away from this reading convinced that President Obama should be impeached because he only counts as three-fifths of a person.

What I'm most interested in watching for during this stunt, however, is to see if any of the more theocratically minded members of Congress notice what the Constitution does not say. Unlike these pious politicians, the Constitution never mentions God. At all.

The intellectual ancestors of the evangelical religious right once regarded this as the most glaring and dangerous supposed flaw in America's governing document. But the godlessness of the U.S. Constitution was not an oversight, it was a matter of deliberate design — a principled choice for which the framers fought passionately.

I'm reading a lively and insightful account of that fight in Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore's The Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness. (Thank you, Ed Brayton, for the recommendation.)

I was very pleased to see the authors give Roger Williams his due as an essential American advocate of the Baptist principle of separation of church and state. Kramnick & Moore provide a fine overview of that doctrine, which is the central distinguishing tenet of Baptist Christianity. Actually, it's the only distinguishing tenet of Baptist Christianity. It's what "Baptist" means, with everything else Baptists tend to believe flowing from that (including the unwieldy individual freedom of conscience that allows us only to speak of what Baptists "tend" to believe). The teaching about voluntary, adult believer's baptism developed as a rebuke and rejection of mandatory state-church baptism as a rite of citizenship.

But what is most valuable to me in this unfailingly interesting book is the collection of voices from the opponents of America's "Godless Constitution." I had read most of the other side of this argument — the side that won the argument because it was right. But I hadn't previously read the vehement objections of the losing side.

The viewpoint of that side is echoed today in the voices of the evangelical right calling for religious hegemony. Then, as now, the argument was that such hegemony was necessary to provide social order and a basis for morality without which the nation would be ungovernable. Then, as now, the advocates of a sectarian Constitution believed that only sectarian religion could provide a basis for such morality. And only their own sectarian religion at that.

So for the sectarian opponents of the Godless Constitution, then as now, the stakes were enormously high. The Constitution proposed by the framers in 1789, they said, was a form of national suicide. That Godless document — with its separation of church and state, its disregard for the overarching sovereignty of God, its absolute prohibition against religious tests for public office and against the establishment or privileging of any official sect — would bring rapid calamity and doom. Their warnings of the consequences of such a Constitution were dire, apocalyptic and unambiguous. If the Constitution did not establish an official sectarian Christian religion, they believed, then Christians would find themselves subjugated to some other established sect.

This is the great fear of all religious hegemons and it arose, then as now, from the great incomprehension of such believers. They could not conceive of the world that Roger Williams imagined and advocated — a world in which religious belief is voluntary. They believed that religious rule, involuntary belief, was inevitable and unavoidable, and that if it was not explicitly staked out for their sect then it would be claimed by some other.

The "no religious test" clause was perceived by many to be the gravest defect of the Constitution. Colonel Jones, a Massachusetts delegate, told the state's ratifying convention that American political leaders had to believe in God and Jesus Christ. Amos Singletary, another delegate to the Massachusetts ratification convention, was upset at the Constitution's not requiring men in power to be religious "and though he hoped to see Christians [in office], yet by the Constitution, a papist, or an infidel was as eligible as they." In New Hampshire the fear was of "a papist, a Mohomatan, a deist, yea an atheist at the helm of government." Henry Abbot, a delegate to the North Carolina convention, warned that "the exclusion of religious tests" was "dangerous and impolitic" and that "pagans, deists, and Mahometans might obtain offices among us." If there is no religious test, he asked, "to whom will they [officeholders] swear support — the ancient pagan gods of Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, or Pluto?"

More specific fears were clearly at work here. The absence of religious tests, it was feared, would open up the national government to control by Jews, Catholics and Quakers. The Rev. David Caldwell, a Presbyterian minister and delegate in North Carolina, worried that the Constitution now offered an invitation to "Jews and pagans of every kind" to govern us. Major Thomas Lusk, a delegate in Massachusetts, denounced Article 6 of the Constitution and shuddered "at the idea that Roman Catholics, Papists and Pagans might be introduced into office, and that Popery and the Inquisition may be established in America." A delegate in North Carolina waved a pamphlet that depicted the possibility that the pope of Rome might be elected president.

The fear drives the incomprehension. Gripped by this fear, they simply cannot comprehend the meaning of no establishment — responding always, then as now, that if they are not permitted to establish their official sect, then someone else's sect "may be established in America."

No establishment just baffles them.

Fear of Quakers, and of their pacifism and antislavery views … helped fuel the debate. In Charleston, South Carolina, a writer in the City Gazette warned on January 3, 1788, that "as there will be no religious test," the Quakers "will have weight, in proportion to their numbers, in the great scale of continental government." An anticonstitutional article written for the New York Daily Advertiser that same January and widely reprinted within days in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts papers pulled no punches about the social repercussions of Article 6. No religious tests admitted to national lawmaking: "1st Quakers, who will make the blacks saucy, and at the same time deprive us of the means of defence — 2dly. Mahometans, who ridicule the doctrine of the Trinity — 3dly. Deists, abominable wretches — 4thly. Negroes, the seed of Cain — 5thly. Beggars, who when set on horseback will ride to the devil — 6thly Jews etc. etc." Not quite finished with the last, the newspaper writer feared that since the Constitution stupidly gave command of the whole militia to the president, "should he hereafter by a Jew, our dear posterity may be ordered to rebuild Jerusalem."

Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you. Then, as now, "saucy" blacks, Jews and "beggars" were among the most feared and resented and despised.

The prohibition of religious tests was seen by many opponents as the operative sign of the Constitution's more basic flaw — its general godless quality, its seeming indifference to religion. Disputants around America complained, as the writer "Philadelphiensis" did in November 1787, of the framers' "silence" and "indifference about religion." … This view was most powerfully put by the Carlisle, Pa., pamphleteer "Aristocrotis" in a piece aptly titled "The Government of Nature Delineated or An Exact Picture of the New Federal Constitution."

Aristocrotis contends that the delegates in Philadelphia have created a government that for the first time in world history removes religion from public life. Until 1787, "there was never a nation in the world whose government was not circumscribed by religion." … This, Aristocrotis suggests, "is laying the ax to the root of the tree." …

Other critics of the Constitution shared Aristocrotis' demand for the retention of a Christian commonwealth, with a similar desire to see religion be an integral part of public life. In New Hampshire, "A Friend to the Rights of the People," writing against "the discarding of all religious tests," asked in an interesting shift, "Will this be good policy to discard all religion?" The answer was, of course, no, for despite the Constitution "it is acknowledged by all that civil government can't well be supported without the assistance of religion." No man, he concluded, "is fit to be a ruler of protestants, without he can honestly profess to be of the protestant religion." During this same New Hampshire ratification debate, a delegate argued that to ratify the Constitution would be to overturn all religion and introduce a godless America, suggesting even that if the Constitution were adopted, "congress might deprive the people of the holy scriptures." An Anti-Federalist writer warned in a Boston newspaper on January 10, 1788, that since God was absent from the Constitution, Americans would suffer the fate that the prophet Samuel foretold to Saul: "because thou has rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee." In short, if Americans in their new fundamental law forgot God and His Christian commonwealth, God would soon forget them, and they would perish. The same apocalyptic theme was picked up by Massachusetts Anti-Federalist Charles Turner, who feared that "without the presence of Christian piety and morals the best Republican Constitution can never save us from slavery and ruin."

These objections contain two strains of thought that are also echoed in the arguments of the contemporary evangelical religious right. On one level there is the incorrect, but principled argument that sectarian Christian morality is necessary for successful government and the prospering of any nation, and that therefore this Christian morality must be engendered and promoted by the state as an official, established religion. At the same time, on another level, there is the gross violation of that very Christian morality through sordid and fanciful lies deliberately told to stoke fear, agitation and resentment. The two things always seem to go hand in hand. Then as now, those arguing for the necessity of sectarian morality in government always go on to then say, "ZOMG!1! — the Congress is going to take away your Bible! Aieeee!"

It is not always the case that history provides us with a clear winner and a clear loser in a battle of ideas, but that is the case here.

The Anti-Federalists, and especially those who argued for a sectarian Constitution with religious tests and established religion, were wrong. Demonstrably wrong. More than 200 years later, the Constitution still stands as the guiding document of a free and democratic nation and none of the calamities and apocalyptic consequences that they prophesied have come to pass. "If X, then Y," they said, without reservation or qualification. If the godless Constitution is ratified, then America will break apart into ungovernable anarchy, or it will be subjected to the tyranny of Jews or pagans or some other established official religion. That is what will happen, they said, what will certainly and inevitably happen.

And it did not happen. They were wrong. They were proven wrong. And their heirs, the hegemonic evangelicals of the religious right, are just as wrong today.

Even more wrong, actually, since the Anti-Federalists of the 18th Century were at least arguing for an idea that had not yet been proven wrong, while the 21st-century evangelical hegemons are arguing for an idea that has already, for generations, been proven conclusively and laughably wrong. The sectarian Anti-Federalists were not fools — they believed their idea would eventually be proven true. They were merely wrong. But the hegemons of the evangelical religious right are fools. They are attempting to resurrect an idea they know is wrong, repeating a failed argument that they know has failed and will fail and fail and fail and fail again.

This foolishness is, now as then, a product of fear and the incomprehension and hate that it breeds. The religious right is still convinced that if they are not allowed to establish their religion, then some other sect will get to establish theirs instead. And the religious right is still wracked by fears of saucy blacks, Jews and beggars.

That's why someone like Gary Bauer can write, without irony, that he wishes Christians in America had all the rights and privileges, respect and deference, that Mohomatans Mahometans Muslims now enjoy in this country. "In a variety of contexts," Bauer says, with apparent sincerity, "American Muslims are treated better than American Christians."

That's insane, but one tends to make insane assertions when one starts out from a premise of an idea proven false for centuries.



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  • Caravelle

    Look up these people and see where they came from. Then, apologize.
    Chris Gardner
    Oprah Winfrey
    Marilyn Monroe
    Sean “Diddy” Combs
    Tom Cruise
    Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
    Andrew Carnegie

    How many people are there in the US anyway, 300 million ? You’ll need to quote a lot more than a dozen names to prove your point. Or, you know, you could get some statistics.

  • F B

    How many people are there in the US anyway, 300 million ? You’ll need to quote a lot more than a dozen names to prove your point. Or, you know, you could get some statistics.
    You may be as blind as you please, but as I said, there are millions of these stories and millions of average Americans who just want a job, a home and a family. I am one of those who came from scarce beginnings and made a middle American life for myself and my family, I’m proud to say.
    Many of the “poor” in America are there by choice in conjunction acts of congress.

  • Caravelle

    You may be as blind as you please, but as I said, there are millions of these stories and millions of average Americans who just want a job, a home and a family. I am one of those who came from scarce beginnings and made a middle American life for myself and my family, I’m proud to say.

    Proof by repeated assertion fails to convince. Non-anecdotal cite ?

    Many of the “poor” in America are there by choice in conjunction acts of congress.

    “Many of the”. Wow, that’s almost as precise as “millions”.

  • sharky

    There are literally millions of examples of Americans starting life in abject poverty, working poor families and average American homes who made it big in life either in monetary wealth or stature.
    Okay. Where are our literal millions of millionaires?
    If millions of Americans made it big in monetary stature, they would pass on their estates to their children, some of which could have fallen into abject poverty again, but most of whom would have been able to hang on to their estates in some part, if not get richer. Especially since you only specified about eight generations.
    So I shouldn’t be able to throw a rock without hitting someone who can buy an oil well on a whim. Only… I can.
    Either “making it big” really means “could buy a house by the end of their life,” or you’re making stuff up on the spot.

  • Thurgood Marshal’s daddy was a porter on trains.

    At that time a train porter was one of the best jobs open to a black man.
    Look it up.

  • But there are literally oodles of squizillionaires in America who were born into abject poverty! I shouldn’t have to cite any evidence! You people should literally be able to see it because it’s literally so obvious!

  • sharky

    I am one of those who came from scarce beginnings and made a middle American life for myself and my family, I’m proud to say.
    It’s as if nobody, in any other country, has come from scarce beginnings and gone on to be completely average.
    Yes, the American average is better than a lot of averages, but that’s not what you’re arguing.

  • P J Evans

    @ F B
    More anecdata to go with all of the anecdata you’re trying to argue from:
    My grandfather grew up in a county where there was – and still is – only one high school. His family didn’t have the money for him to board in town, so he didn’t go to high school. But he grew up to own a dairy, and later he worked in an aircraft plant, running a sheet metal brake.
    Yes, it’s possible to go up from being poor in the US, but it’s not likely, starting out at the bottom, to become rich without a lot of luck.

  • I have the snark reflex under control again so I’ll now attempt to make a more thoughtful response.
    It’s in accurate and possibly disingenuous to use examples from the 200+ year history of the US in an attempt to prove something about current social mobility. Social mobility isn’t a constant and it’s not exactly at a record high right now. It’s still better here than in many countries, but we’re nowhere near the top of the list. France currently has better social mobility than we do. (Noted both because French society is normally thought of as more rigid than that in the US and because the “Yeah America, We’re #1” folks tend to get their knickers in a twist about France.)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    I wondered why this thread came back to life, but now I see. Wow. I thought such chauvanism only existed in parody.
    The “foreigners yearn for” bit–get your hand off it, FB. I work in a field in which it is common for people to spend a few years overseas. Do you know what is the single most frequent statement I hear from colleagues considering their options? “I don’t want to live in America”. Outside my field, too, when people are thinking about possible countries to move to, if they’re limited to largely English-speaking countries, the US is first to get crossed off the list. I don’t know how many ‘foreigners’ you actually know, but you seem to be blissfully unaware of the fact that your country’s reputation as a decent place to live SUCKS.
    The US is not the world’s first democracy, nor is it the largest democracy, the most democratic democracy nor the most free democracy. So seriously, wake up to yourself and stop belittling hundreds of millions of people. We are not blind. We are sick to the back teeth of American exceptionalism, though.
    I find it amusing that you cite medicine as evidence of the superiority of the US over the rest of the world. Your health care system is an embarrassment to the developed world. On just about every metric the US sticks out from the OECD trend – on the bad side. You spend vastly more money for worse outcomes.
    Your knowledge of medical history is woefully inadequate if you think the US is responsible for the vast majority of scientific advances. Congratulations on the polio vaccine; that’s really great. But let me walk you through some more key achievements in a range of medical disciplines.
    The man who developed the theory of vaccination and developed the smallpox vaccine, arguably one of humanity’s greatest medical achievements? English. The person responsible for savings the lives of tens of millions of women and babies through preventing ‘childbed fever’? Hungarian. Developer of the germ theory? French. Father of genetics? Austrian. Discoverer of x-rays? German. Inventer of the microscope? Dutch. The guy who figured out that cholera was transmitted via drinking water? English. Scientist who isolated anthrax, cholera and tuberculosis and developed the guidelines for determining if a given organism causes a particular disease? Prussian. The woman who championed the use of medical statistics in hospitals, saving countless lives? English. Team who described the structure of DNA? Two Brits, a Kiwi and an American*. Penicillin? A Scot. The guys who laid the foundation of immunology and transplant science? Australian. Surgeon who performed the first heart transplant? South African.
    Let me know if I should keep going**. A few examples don’t prove anything, but they do disprove your chest thumping implication that without America medicine would be stuck at the leeches and incantations stage.
    *I wouldn’t focus on making James Watson your American hero here, because he’s an arse.
    ** This is a very Eurocentric list but feel free to google “history of medicine” alongside China, India or Persia for scads more.
    tl;dr: Get over yourself.

  • Lunch Meat

    I don’t make this stuff up, gentlemen.
    Seriously? I don’t usually say this, but: shut up. Not all of us here are gentlemen, not all of us want to be, and not all of consider it a compliment or a term of respect. You don’t even deserve for us to interact with you until you start treating us with respect.

  • The USA would definitely be a distant second if I could get a job in New Zealand or the Nordic countries.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    OK, point the second because this really gave me the shits:

    Since you say you are in Australia, where personal liberty depends on the whims and fears of the political class, where the backwards moving government stole all of your guns because they are afraid of you, I guess I don’t blame you for hiding out in a cave.

    How is it that in Australia political decisions are deemed as being made by “the political class” whereas in your beloved US of A it’s “we the people”? Tell me what the difference is? Especially since the percentage of people who participate in our elections is vastly, vastly higher than yours, and our electoral system is more democratic?
    I assume by the gun thing you’re referring to the 1996 gun law reforms. Were you here then? Or have you just decided that it’s not possible for a society to decide that they are not too fussed about the freedom to murder dozens of people in minutes?
    In 1996 a seriously disturbed man murdered 35 strangers. Australians said “That’s fucked” and the government responded by restricting the availability of guns*. Some people were unhappy about it, but a greater number were not. We have political parties that oppose these laws, but at elections that are amongst the most free and fair in the world they don’t get much support. If we were upset about it, democracy provides the means for us to change the law back, but the electorate has decided that it’s not a big issue. Why are you opposed to democracy?
    We watch massacre after massacre in the US. We see children killed; we see children become killers; we see communities torn apart and the nation go into grieving with alarming regularity. But very little changes. This is hard to understand from this side of the world because the culture is so different. In the aftermath of 1996 the majority of Australians weighed up our freedom to own guns with minimal restrictions, and our freedom to live without fear of gun violence. We decided that guns were worth less than our lives, and the lives of our fellow citizens. You may love guns more than us so the decision is not the same; fine. But don’t you dare speak so condescendingly about our choice.
    * Here I will give kudos to a government that I really, really didn’t like. This was a very tough thing for them to do, given their constituency and they deserve credit for it.
    tl;dr: Life > guns and to hell with your superior moral code if you think otherwise.

  • @Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

  • Look up these people and see where they came from. Then, apologize.
    Chris Gardner
    Oprah Winfrey
    Marilyn Monroe
    Sean “Diddy” Combs
    Tom Cruise
    Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
    Andrew Carnegie

    Yeah, if *seven* americans could do it, the MILLIONS who haven’t are just slacking off.
    (Sidenote: We like to think that any child in america today could grow up to be president, be she female, nonwhite or even nonchristian. That’s a hard case to make when *even among white men*, all but 46 of them couldn’t manage it)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    Point the third: social mobility.
    I’m very excited for Oprah and Tom Cruise growing up poor and becoming spectacularly rich. But as I said in my first point, examples can’t prove a hypothesis, they can only disprove it.
    There is a wealth of literature comparing social and conomic mobility between different countries. This one is by no means the definitive work but it summarises many other works and it’s produced in the US rather than one of the apparently non-free countries whose citizens are apparently blind so that may lend it some credibility to American chauvanists.
    Let me pull out the key messages, as highlighted by the author (sorry for the caps; it’s a direct copy and paste and I’m too lazy to rewrite):
    Putting these two things together suggests that Americans may be more full of shit about their capacity to get ahead than in many other countries. You are a nice case study.
    Some numbers, because quanitification = yay.
    In the USA, about 50% of a parent’s earning advantages are passed on the their children, compared to around 20% in Canada, Norway, Finland and Denmark. BUT this is skewed at the very bottom of the income spectrum, so we get these two conclusions:
    * The earnings of American men are more closely tied to the earnings of their fathers than are those of men in other countries.
    * Starting at the bottom of the earnings ladder is more of a handicap in the United States
    than it is in other countries.
    * “According to this measure, rising on one’s own bootstraps is harder in the United States than it is in several northern European countries.”
    Case study:
    A six-country study looking at men born in 1958 found that 8% of men whose fathers were in the bottom income quintile rose to the top income quintile themselves. Yay, rags to riches. But in the other countries in the study, 11% to 14% rose from the bottom to top quintiles in a single generation.
    Finally, a narky little point that I couldn’t resist quoting:
    * The notion of “American exceptionalism” is given new meaning in a second international study that also finds less—not more—mobility in the United States.
    So you see, sweetheart, you *are* special. Just not in a good way.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    Everyone got that by ” may lend it some credibility to American chauvanists” I meant “may have some credibility in the eyes of American chauvanists”, right?

  • Serpent

    and being respectful of other people’s beliefs.
    The rest of F B’s nonsense is being dealt with, but I just can’t get my head around this. Where in the Ten Commandments is there anything about being respectful of other people’s religious beliefs? Or is zie just asying that everyone else should respect the beliefs of those higher in the kyriarchy?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    @Sue W
    I dunno which of my soapboxes you’re referring to, but thanks :)

  • Spearmint

    Wow that is a lame and irritating troll.
    Thanks for smacking it with Reason, Sgt. Pepper.

  • Murgatroyd

    Sgt. Pepper for the head of our whimsical and fearful political class, to lead us boldly backwards!
    *neglects to tend to the smoke rings which suffocate the semaphore-trained pigeons, causing the cats to get stuck in the tubes.*

  • Caravelle

    Lori :

    France currently has better social mobility than we do.

    And considering all the articles published these days headlined : “Schools in crisis – is the social elevator out of order* ?”, even that’s not very good.
    *Yep, that’s our go-to metaphor.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band

    Hey Pius, Aussies and Canadians tend to get on really well so don’t rule us out!
    Given that the only part of the country not underwater at the moment is dealing with bushfires, and that we have a skills shortage already, I reckon there will be some jobs going for tradies who want to come here to build houses, roads, drains etc.
    Anyone know how to get water out of mines?

  • (I should know better, I should know better, I should know better …)
    F.B.: I know of no smear campaigns against political candidates due to their religious beliefs by their direct political opponents. If you know of some examples, please enlighten me.
    Well, I’m currently without internet access for most of the day, so I can’t really Google right now, but if you insist, I will, starting with the “Obama is a MUSLIM!” crowd and going back to the hullaballoo over JFK being Catholic.
    F.B.: Also. In American politics we use the term “representative” to describe those who we elect to public office.
    My, what a lovely case of condescension you have there, grandma. Yeah, I am in fact aware of twhat “representative” means, ass, and believe it or not, the US is not, in fact, the only country which elects representatives. Hell, I’m told some countries* even have proportional representation, instead of first-past-the-post, which certainly seems to me like it’ll result in a more representative, er, representation.
    (* Like, say, Belgium. Where I’m from.)
    F.B.: So we can rightly assume that in order to be elected they would pander to the as wide a group as possible. History bares this out. I think about 95% of the US population self claim one religious affiliation or another. The largest group being those of the Christian faith.
    No, sorry, doesn’t fly. Believe it or not, we do have Christians in Europe as well, and Christians make up more than half of Belgians would identify as Christian (specifically, Catholic), and yet, any poltical campaign that included images of a politician in Church would be looked at askance, and probably be the best way to torpedo one’s career.
    In the US, not going to Chrurch, or at least not being seen to go to Church, will damage a campaign quite badly.
    (Also, I am sceptical of your 95% figure, but I suspect that by the time I can post this, someone else will probably have refuted that.)
    I see that you’ve responded to the Ten Commandements thing in another post, and … yeah, okay, I can’t even. Whether or not they’re “a good idea” isn’t the fucking point, you twazzock. They’re a religious text. They shouldn’t fucking be in a governement building. Oh, and also:
    being respectful of your parents
    I respect my parents because they’ve earned my respect, by being good parents and pretty damn awesome people. Do not fucking diminish that by telling me they should have earned by my respect simply by bringing me into the world.
    (who did not abort you)
    My mother did not abort me because I was a planned and actively wanted child, as were both my brothers. And again, the fact that they chose to have kids is not, in and of itself, something that’s worthy of respect, as such.
    F.B.: Additionally, since the US Constitution allows no religious test to hold public office
    The governement may not instate any religious test to hold public office. That doesn’t mean that, in practice, there isn’t one. Because there is. And no one needs to amend the constitution to enshrine a theocracy in the letter of the law for there to be a de facto one. Revoking the right to legal abortion, or witholding the right to same-sex marriages, or whatever, on purely religious grounds, is theocracy.
    F.B.: Mr. Caravelle […] Mr. MercuryBlue […] gentlemen
    It may interest you to know, you condescending douche, that only one person* on our side of this conversation is, in fact, male.
    (* That would be Pius Thicknesse, in case you’re still confused.)
    And also, seconding Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Hearts Club Band in re: STFU with the “foreigners yearn to be American” bollocks, because: no, and also: hell no.
    (… No offense meant to any non-F.B. USAians, mind. I know a lot of awesome and lovely USAians, but overall, I’ll take my nanny state over the American Dream.)

  • Caravelle

    Aw, I think Sgt Pepper broke F B.

  • The thread was alive and I got an Internet? Wow. Sorry I missed it.