They’re not lost in space — just in constitutional confusion if not antipathy.
Militant anti-Christians are up in arms again talking about the “separation of church and state.” Raising their ire this time was the blessing of the new Space Force’s official Bible, which took place this past Sunday. The Holy Book will be provided to corps commanders who choose to be sworn in on it. But Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is apparently not pro-choice.
Weinstein, who really does go by “Mikey,” has made a career out of trying to purge America’s foundational faith from the military. He’s not shy about his biases, either, making statements such as, “Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation's armed forces.”
Weinstein had been lying a bit low since Barack Obama left office, according to American Thinker’s Andrea Widburg. But he’s back in the saddle after the aforementioned blessing, which appeared on Twitter in a now-deleted post:
— Washington National Cathedral (@WNCathedral) January 12, 2020
NPR reports on Weinstein’s un-blessing, writing, “‘The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy,’ MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein wrote in a statement denouncing the Bible blessing. “‘The utilization of a Christian Bible to ‘swear in’ commanders of the new Space Force or any other [Department of Defense] branch at ANY level is completely violative of the bedrock separation of church and state mandate of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.’”
Following the emotional disgorgement in the first sentence above is what is, delicately put, a lie. The “separation of church and state” is in the Constitution — the 1936 Soviet Constitution.
All our Constitution states, however, is that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (Note: This simply means that the central government may not establish a national church that one must belong to under pain of punishment.) And the Supreme Court never misinterpreted this to mean “separation,” not for the first 150-plus years of our history, anyway; that is, until 1947, when ex-Klansman Hugo Black wrote a perhaps prejudice-motivated opinion in this regard.
Some will point out that Thomas Jefferson used the phrase “wall of separation.” While true, this has also been grossly mischaracterized. Jefferson’s usage was in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association designed to reassure its members that, under his presidency, his unorthodox religious beliefs would not be imposed upon them.
And that the federal government would have no business thus dictating accords with the Establishment Clause’s text and meaning. After all, it mentions not government in general but Congress specifically — and thus only constrains that body’s establishment of religion.
In another pseudo-intellectual contortion, however, this limitation was applied to the states as well via a judicial rationalization known as the “Theory of Incorporation,” long after the Framers’ deaths.
Compounding the unconstitutional trespasses, Jefferson’s separation — after being “read into” the Constitution — has also been cast by activists as prescribing a complete separation of government and religion. School prayer and long-present religious symbols on public property, to mention two examples, have been eliminated on this basis.
Along with constitutional text, however, history also refutes this separation notion. Congress opened with Christian prayers at its very birth in 1789. Moreover, even though this was an action by a federal government body, those prayers remained exclusively Christian for most of our history and, to this day, are still mainly so.
In other words, you could believe that the First Amendment prohibits religious expression in government. That is, if you suppose that the men who created the Constitution had no idea what they meant when they wrote it!
And that, furthermore, a black-robed lawyer 150 years removed from the nation’s founding somehow knew their minds better than they did.
Yet the above is “only” the legal reality. What of the moral/philosophical one? Is it possible that “religion” occupies such a unique category, for good or for ill, that it simply doesn’t belong in the public square at all?
Let’s consider it. If the religious ideas in question really have been handed down by God, Creator of the Universe and Inerrant Author of All, don’t we have a duty to infuse our public sphere with them? Is it not then an imperative that we immerse schoolchildren in this divine light? Of course, naysayers may now respond, “Not everyone worships sky fairies! These are just man-made beliefs.”
Alright, but if so, why say that the man-made beliefs we happen to call “secular” may be in the public square, but the man-made beliefs we happen to call “religious” may not be? If they’re all man-made, wherein lies the difference?
Conclusion: Either these beliefs are man-made, in which case they can share the table with other man-made ideas and may be in the public square.
Or they’re from God and must be there.
Of course, law, historical knowledge, and reason matter not a whit to the unreasonable. Speaking of which brings us back to Weinstein. In this article, Widburg informs, “Mikey states his determination to destroy (tolerantly, of course) ‘evil, fundamentalist Christian creatures’ who are ‘bandits’ who ‘coagulate their stenchful substances’ in religiously based organizations that support marriage and oppose abortion. In fact, says Mikey, ‘the basis of their ruinous unity is the bane of human existence and progress: horrific hatred and blinding bigotry.’”
If only Weinstein would tell us how he really feels.
But as he spews bile, projects, and rejects reality, Weinstein would do well to consider that there’s a place where Ecclesiastes warns “neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall be.”
It’s called Hell.
Photo: pamela_d_mcadams / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.