Maybe it is because the fear of losing medicaid, health insurance or having the costs for insurance skyrocket has sucked all the air out of the room. Or maybe it is the continuing saga of how Republicans worked with a foreign government to influence the last election has distracted our attention. There are simply so many things going on at the national level that state issues sometimes get lost.
So it was easy to miss the quietly reported news that once again Iowa and its governor – this time Kim Reynolds – will once again trample on the establishment clause of the constitution by encouraging bible readings to take place on government property across the state.
By encouraging bible readings to take place on courthouse lawns or inside courthouses the governor is promoting one religion – Christianity – over how many thousands of other religions. Beyond that she is promoting religion itself over non-religion or as some might phrase it secularism.
There may not be a count, but from what I have heard there are upwards of 5,000 religions in this world. Based on the establishment clause should not each of these religions be given equal access to read their holy book on government property?Should not Muslims be allowed to read the Quran? Should not Hindus be allowed to read the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita? Should we not also allow Buddhists to read the Tripitakas? You can see where this is going.
Also, should the non-religious not be allowed to read some books from Dawkins, Darwin, Hitchens or Carl Sagan.
Doing that would at least be fairer, but in truth that would in reality also be violating the establishment clause. Best to simply keep the reading of any religious text off government property except when an individual decides to read some to themselves.
As we enter the festivities for the founding of our country we are reminded of how hard the founding fathers fought to keep religion out of the public square and most certainly to keep it from being entangled with government. The power over both a citizen’s secular and spiritual life can be overwhelming. The founding fathers saw what it did in Europe and wanted none of it.
Yet for some reason despite countless examples to the contrary, Republican officials continue to push hard for religious (specifically Christian) involvement in government from tax breaks to school funding to religion being taught in public classrooms to public prayer at public events (invocations at the beginning of a legislative day) and now we can add bible reading on public property.
Officials must know such conduct is at best over the line, but the prospect of the votes such allowance garners, they are more than willing to step on the constitution – you know – just a little.
Here is a short 2 minute video from Corinth, Mississippi on their bible reading on the courthouse lawn. Mississippi seems to be a state that Iowa has a lot of admiration for these days.