Real Religious Freedom
In a constant bombardment and assault on the Constitution to gut the first amendment, the theocratic movement continues to complain about religious persecution and that this country needs to return to its Christian roots. They want laws passed to post the Ten Commandments in schools and on public property; to have taxpayer money pay for their religious-based schools, have creationism taught, have organized prayer a part of the school day and mandatory Bible readings as part of a common school curriculum. There is even a move to restore blasphemy laws, (but just ask them to tell you what the penalty would be!). Laws that if were ever passed would set our society back to the puritan days of religious intolerance.
Yet, how would the religious community react if Congress was to pass legislation requiring churches and other houses of worship to comply with these same laws that they want to apply to the public? Or laws directly affecting their freedom of religion. After all if these laws are good enough for our public schools, common squares and for us individually, why shouldn't they be good enough for the religious institutions including churches, temples, synagogues, and religious based schools as well. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you're going to have a theocracy, you're going to have to have rules.
In view of this the following is a list of laws that should be enacted to ensure religious equality in all churches. The fact that there is ten of them is no coincidence since a law should be enacted to make sure Biblical numbers should be reflected in our daily doings. Such numbers as three, seven, ten, twelve, 14, 40, 144, ...you get the idea. But, first things first. In order to provide adequate oversight and administration of these laws concerning religious activities, Congress would also have to create the Bureau of Churches as a Cabinet Post and appoint a Secretary of Church Affairs, or as I would prefer, a Pythonese, "Minister of Ministries."
So, here are ten laws that Congress should pass. Call it the:
Uniform Church Act
1. Require all churches to post the ten commandments where it is visible to the general public.
2. Require all churches to tithe to the Federal government. 10% only. This is not a tax but a charitable donation or love gift.
3. Require all religious based schools will teach only creation based sciences.
4. Require daily reading of the Bible (or accepted religious text) in all religious schools.
5. Prohibit religious based schools from teaching any sex education courses that are not abstinence based. Teaching about AIDS and/or STD would also be prohibited.
6. Require all churches and religious based schools to provide statistics and demographic information on their students, congregations, or assemblies. Must adhere to all EEOC and Title Nine laws.
7. Require all churches to report their membership and attendance on a quarterly basis. Subject to annual audit.
8. Require all churches to report their contributions and incomes on a quarterly basis. Subject to annual audit.
9. Require all churches and religious based schools to observe all religious holidays as described in their religious texts.
10. Churches would be required to place statements in all Bibles (or other religious text) that, events depicted within are historically accurate, and completely and totally without errors, omissions, or contradictions.
It would indeed be interesting to hear the reaction (uproar would be more like it) of the religious community if just one or two of these was ever introduced into Congress. All of a sudden the establishment clause would be the hottest topic in the land. The separation of church and state would be a firmly embedded constitutional principle; that Jefferson said what he meant when he used the metaphor of the wall of separation in his official communication with the Danbury Baptists in 1802. Or, how about the religious right crying that it's those atheist and agnostics that want to tear down the wall that is so dear to the preservation of religious freedom in this great democracy. That "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." would be heard from every steeple of every temple, synagogue and church that valued its religious freedom and prosperity. Maybe then and only then, when their religious freedoms are truly in jeopardy, will they understand how precious our religious freedom is to us.