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Journal DumbSwede's Journal: Judeo-Christian-Values Omit the Value of Freedom 3

A high percentage of my essays this year have dealt with Freedom of Religion issues, or more accurately Freedom FROM Religion issues. The Religious Right would have you believe that the Christian faith is under attack in America from various and nefarious quarters and that something must be done to stem this tide. I see no evidence of such attacks, but rather an attempt by the Christian Right to hold on to a privileged status for Christianity above other religions in America.

Fox News recently questioned viewers whether Keith Ellison, the recently elected congressman of Muslim faith, should be allowed to be sworn-in with his hand on the Koran instead of the Bible. Response was quick and negative. I couldn't help but feel the question shouldn't even have needed to be asked. How can we live in a country with true religious freedom if we only have the choice of the Bible as a stand in symbol for fidelity and truthfulness? One can imagine the stink this same group would make if there were a move to ban the Bible from being used for swearing-in ceremonies.

As a matter of record Keith Ellison dropped his request to be sworn-in on the Koran -- one can only imagine the death threats he and his family received over the matter.

And it isn't just an uneducated and intolerant Joe-Six-Pack on the street decrying Ellison's request to be sworn-in on the Bible, but people like columnists Dennis Prager of who recently appeared on MSNBC and who writes in his column "America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on." Wow, you can't get much more authoritarian on this issue than that. I for one would rather live in a country where the inductee, not America, decides what book they (any public official) take their oath on.

Just like Creationism has the gussied-up surrogate "Intelligent Design" to try and keep religion in schools, Christianity has the relatively new surrogate of "Judeo-Christian Values" as in "This country was founded on Judeo-Christian Values" to try and maintain its privileged status in law and government.

I for one start to shiver anytime someone in government talks about values, ignoring aside the numerous incidents of hypocrisy from those extolling the need for government to do something about them, because generally it means giving up freedoms and being coerced in to some kind of groupthink, most generally Christian groupthink, because lets face it, Christians are the majority in America.

One has to admire a well crafted phrase like "This country was founded on Judeo-Christian Values" though, it is just burgeoning with positive connotation words like: values, founded and country. It even has boasts pseudo-inclusionism by hyphenating Judeo and Christian, a pair of words I believe is also used subliminally to evoke JC as in Jesus Christ. To a Christian ear such a phrase can only sound self evident. What I see is as self evident though is that the struggle for freedom on all quarters continues, least we no longer be able to pursue Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as we choose.
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Judeo-Christian-Values Omit the Value of Freedom

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  • ... that Representatives don't actually swear on a Bible when they're sworn in. (Senators do.) The Bible is there for an official photo-op. So the whole Keith Ellison frou-frou was about which book he should rest his hand on in the official photo. Like the rest of the representatives, he'll be raising his right hand and not swearing on anything in the literal sense.
    • Actually I was aware of this fine distinction, but for reasons of simplicity I omitted it. Whether a photo-op or and an actual swearing-in (as does occur for other offices with the Bible) the point still is the institutional bias for the Bible or against other books of faith.
      • The point still stands.

        I wonder what atheists and agnostics would swear on? Their own honor? I'm sure some of the more aggressively Christian types would assume The Origin of Species, but that's because they can't see atheism as anything but religion with the serial numbers filed down.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.