I feel a bit silly having to write about this in the year 2010, especially when this ground has been gone over time and time again by pretty much any intelligent person that has an opinion on the simple idea such as the separation of church and state. However, this does need to be said and not just for political purposes or to try to change anyone’s mind about how to vote or whatever. It needs to be said because there are people, a lot of people, and some of those people have a lot of power, because there are people that simply believe that the morality and laws of their particular religion can trump the laws and morality of others simply because they wish it to be so. The latest issue to hit us here in Iowa is the retention of the three Supreme Court justices.
Now for most Iowans this is a simple issue, I mean, we are one of the few states that allows equal protection under the Constitution and Iowans don’t want to be the state that roasts those unafraid to challenge the status quo. But yet we have people that are organizing against these justices. Read this from one of our Congressmen:
Hi. This is Congressman Steve King. I was an author of Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act, which by law defined the covenant of marriage to be exclusively between one man and one woman. Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court defied our Constitution and the will of the people by imposing same-sex marriage on Iowa. In their decree, the judges actually admitted they had created a right that was unimagined in the Constitution that they and I have sworn to uphold. When judges confer unimagined rights, it’s time to remove them, because judges with the audacity to create unimagined rights will also take your rights away. These activist judges even threaten your constitutional right to remove them. On November second, flip your ballot over, vote “no” on Judges Ternus, Streit and Baker. This election, send a message against judicial arrogance. I’m Congressman Steve King. Enough is enough. Vote no, no and no.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Steve King’s politics or are religious or whatever, it is obvious to anyone with an elementary understanding of the Constitution that the law applies equally to everyone. Furthermore, a good few minutes of critical thinking on the issue of throwing out judges because you disagree with them will show exactly how harmful it is to attempt to replace a judge every time you disagree with them. Is Steve King and others like him advocating throwing out judges and replacing them with ones they do like, simply because they (correctly) interpreted the Constitution? Shall we throw out the judges that ruled “Separate but equal is inherently unequal” or throw out the Fifteenth (right to vote based on race) or Nineteenth (right to vote based on sex) simply because they were unpopular at the time? Perhaps if Congressman King were alive then he would try to, but that doesn’t make it any more correct.
So what does all of this political mumbo jumbo have to do with an atheist blog? Well this issue has a lot to do with it. For starters the only reason that anyone could possibly work up a coherent framework wherein people that are of the same sex should not have equal protection under the law is when they take up a religious one. That is where this entire issue stems from: religious fear and an attempt of a religious group to persecute a perceived minority. In order to do so this loud and irrational minority is attempting to co-opt Iowans into effectively repealing the 14th Amendment.
If you were to ask a person why they wish to remove judges that extend rights to all Iowans the only thing they can reply with is “marriage is between a man and a woman”, you’d ask them why or how, and then we get the god word again. There is no rational and coherent measure by which you can justify denying the rights of all Iowans, and our state is worse of because of this religious fervor, not better. This kind of nonsense is not only directly caused by fundamentalist religious beliefs, but is actually a symptom of such blind devotion to such an archaic frame of mind. Keep this in mind as religious groups attempt to strip the rights away from others, and see how this is as definitive of religion as anything can be, and catalogue this as yet another negative aspect of religious faith.