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.