Yes, no doubt about it, I am a hard-core proponent of secularism. But don’t misinterpret my conviction. I’ll defend to the death Rush Limbaugh and everyone’s right to practice whatever religion they please. I will not, however, stand back and watch as they forcibly try to subject everyone else to their faith. Particularly young impressionable minds ‘‘full of mush,’’ as Limbaugh condescendingly describes today’s youth.

Defending classroom prayer, Limbaugh argues: ‘‘In no way does the state’s allowance of a time period to enable children to commune with their Creator, whoever they deem Him to be or however they choose to communicate with Him, indicate a state preference for a certain denomination.’’ But even Limbaugh’s argument is a contradiction onto itself in that it presumes everyone belongs to a faith, and that everyone’s religion subscribes to a male Creator.

Worst of all is the statement however they choose to communicate with Him, something Limbaugh could in no way actually defend. Clearly his definition of ‘‘prayer’’ is as it pertains almost exclusively to Christianity, for what if one’s way of communicating with their Creator involved screaming profanities at the top of their lungs whilst dripping hot candle wax on their nipples? Sounds absurd, sure, but no more so than many real religions and cults. Would Limbaugh then defend this practice in classrooms? For as he so perceptively put it: ‘‘. . . to deny children the time to pray comes closer to violating their exercise of religion than the allowance of that time violates the establishment clause.’’ In other words, it’s prayer time children: break out the candle wax and start screaming profanities——it’s your constitutional right.

For if Christians start worshipping in class, then the Muslims, Jews, Hari Krisnas and the Satan worshippers should have the same right. So some kids will be praising the Lord; others will be burning incense and chanting; while others will be decapitating chickens and drawing blood pentagrams in honor of the Lord of Flies——a real mess. Limbaugh understands that classroom prayer rubs some the wrong way: ‘‘People who want to pray to Allah or Buddha will be offended, even if the prayer is nondenominational.’’ Nondenominational? What the fudge! Can there be a greater oxymoron than nondenominational prayer? The fact of the matter is that classroom prayer, wholesome as it may be in theory, is almost solely accommodating to the Christian faith, and thus if allowed would be an infringement on other’s religious (or non-religious) beliefs.

If you want your kids to pray in their classroom, send them to a private, religious school.

Obviously kids should be allowed to pray in public school. And there are plenty of times they may do so outside their classes. Any time of the day a student can say a private prayer without even drawing attention to the fact. But for those who find comfort in unified prayer, then why not start a Prayer Club like all the other extra-curriculum activities? They could meet and do their prayer thing during lunch, or before or after school. There’s absolutely no reason it should be done in a classroom in front of everyone else. Those who think it should be are presumptuous that everyone’s in tune with their faith and that their faith is right for everyone.

When the Supreme Court ordered that the Ten Commandments be removed from high school bulletin boards, Limbaugh sarcastically chimed that, yeah, ‘‘the Ten Commandments include admonitions such as: Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. Really harmful stuff to expose to young skulls full of mush.’’ The thing is, there are probably hundreds of other religious ideologies that contain similarly moral messages. Are schools supposed to post manuscripts of all those different religious doctrines because of some positive message or lesson that’s meant to be gleaned from its text? Must they force all ‘‘moral’’ faiths onto these kids?

Hey, I have no problem if schools want to teach that stealing and killing are wrong, just so long as the words they use are their own and they don’t simply stand there like cavemen, grunting and pointing at the Ten Commandments. And if you feel schools must discourage kids from committing adultery, then your argument for the importance——the necessity——of this lesson had better be your own and not simply because it says so in the Bible.

Limbaugh proclaims: ‘‘It’s time we . . . returned religion to its honored place in the life of this nation.’’ Much like his loose use of the term ‘‘prayer’’ in the classroom (nondenominational prayer at that!), Rush is very non-specific in his use of the word religion. Whose religion——what religion——is he referring to? All religions? I doubt it. No, he means his religion. The Christian religion. It is this to which he refers, and nothing more. He says our public school’s failure to teach kids the fundamentals of his Christian religion (the Ten Commandments) is nothing less than ‘‘depriving children of their moral and mental nutrients during their formative years.’’ He then has the audacity to say he knows the arguments about separation of church and state; it would appear then he just doesn’t happen to agree with them.


In explaining how necessary religion is to government, Limbaugh gives many excellent examples of just how hypocritical our nation’s separation of church and state philosophy is; whose side is he trying to prove, anyway? He’s alluded to the fact that our government has used religious terminology from its beginning, from monuments and anthems (one nation, under God), the ‘In God We Trust’ on every currency denomination, to courts of law.

I don’t suppose this bothers the average God fearin’ citizen who accepts this stuff as easily as the obvious existence of the sun and the moon. But if in all those places where the fuzzy euphemism of God is mentioned in our government, what if they said something more specific like, say, ‘Jesus Christ’ instead? (That’s basically the same thing, is it not?) Then might people begin to understand how grave an encroachment this is on the spiritual freedoms of others, those who do not accept such as their own belief system?

But according to Limbaugh, advocates of secularism are only out to sever America’s religious roots. ‘‘Those who would undermine America . . . know they have to first chip away at the faith of Americans, at their very spiritual foundations.’’ He wrote in The Way Things Ought to Be how America was founded as a Judeo-Christian country; not as a country with tolerance for all faiths, but as specifically a Christian country. For as he explains: ‘‘When you look at the documents written by the men who founded this country, you find they were devoted to their [Christian] God.’’

So these men had passionate religious convictions before there even existed a state to tout its trust in God? Why then is Limbaugh so convinced secularism is prompting ‘‘this country to be a Godless one’’? Is he suggesting that without this pat reinforcement people would abandon their religious beliefs? He must not have much faith in the faith of others if he deems this the case.

I’d suggest that if Limbaugh truly believes this active government encouragement is so crucial to the spiritual foundation of his Judeo-Christian church-state, then it is he who views people in the condescending light he accuses liberals of. I’m not claiming to know the mind of Limbaugh, but there’s little denying this stance of his implies a belief that the religious faith of Americans is so weak it must depend on this government reinforcement to sustain itself. And of course if the state doesn’t see to it that this Christian faith is sustained, people will naturally look for less holy institutions by which to guide themselves . . . like, say, the very government Limbaugh wants encouraging this religious faith in them to begin with!

R.L.: ‘‘If [man’s] faith in God is destroyed, the void will be filled with something else. Throughout history that substitute for faith has been a belief in a man-made god called the state. Untold crimes have been committed in its name. . . .’’ What? And no blood has been spilt in the name of that man-made god called God? Some of the bloodiest and most despicable acts of hate have been waged in the various names of God. Is my point then that faith in God is a dangerous thing to be avoided? No, not at all. I only wish to point out that Limbaugh’s one-sided criticism of the state is in no way a valid example by which to contrast the holiness of faith. And it’s certainly no basis on which to argue for our government’s establishment of a Supreme Being.

Because, contrary to what Limbaugh says, the First Amendment is more than just Freedom of Religion; it is also Freedom from Religion. The freedom to pursue our own individual spirituality without being bombarded and subject to other people’s religious dogmas.

Unfortunately some are so emotionally dependent on their faith, and so convinced that they’re right, only they’re right, they tend to believe that the planet will fall apart into unmitigated chaos unless ruled by their mythology. Those in the grips of such religious fanaticism need to question whether they truly appreciate or understand the principles of freedom on which America was founded.


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