Religion in Society

Religious Right Wants Separation of Church and State -- in Egypt

| by Jerome McCollom

O.K., it took the fear of an unlikely Islamic regime in Egypt to get conservatives (and especially religious conservatives) to care about the intermingling of religion and the government.

The same people who state we are a "Christian nation" and that the walls of school classrooms should be lined with copies of the 10 Commandments, and that teachers should be leading children in prayers and reciting biblical verses, now have found religion, so to speak.

Well, of course, they say religion in government is not so good -- when it is not their religion. When it is their religion, than it's different. Then non-believers in any religion, such as me, are told to be O.K. with bans on gays being able to marry who they love, because of the religious beliefs of the far right. I am told I shouldn't have a right to die if I am in great pain, because of the religious beliefs of the right-wing. 

Magazines such as Playboy, or even books such as Tropic of Cancer, risk being censored and their creators put in jail because of the religious beliefs of people like Pat Robertson. We have blue laws that ban things like the selling of alcohol in numerous states on Sundays and even the selling of cars on Sundays in Wisconsin because of, yes, the religious beliefs of the same people who now say we should be concerned about a religious state in Egypt.

I clearly do not want an Islamic government in Egypt, but I want no religious governments at all. The simple fact is that Christian conservatives wouldn't be opposed to greater restrictions on the rights of gays in Egypt, but they would rather not have it done in the name of an Islamic state.

The most frustrating thing is, they seem to totally be unaware of this hypocrisy on their part. If pointed out to them, they would probably vehemently deny it. They would believe that their religious beliefs deserve to be privileged, but the religious beliefs of Muslims in Egypt doesn't.

They might even say it's because their religion is true when Islam is not. Muslims, of course, would say the exact same thing. We have a secular state that is a direct product of the Enlightenment and we keep that while we suffer from attacks by the Christian right to turn us back to the Middle Ages.

Mr. Madison, Mr. Paine, Mr. Jefferson and others gave us a heritage of reason and liberty that is necessary to defend or we really will be the Christian version of Iran. Christian conservatives, like all groups, have the right to worship or not to worship, as they please. They do not have the right to force all other Americans to live under their religious laws and dictates.