Why the hell would any atheist or freethinker support Ron Paul?
This one confuses the fuck outta me. The guy has made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state— at least, not when it involves keeping the church from controlling politics. For starters, he’s been known to go on the odd rant about… Well, I’ll let him speak for himself:
The framers of the Constitution never in their worst nightmares imagined that the words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech …..” would be used to ban children from praying in school, prohibit courthouses from displaying the Ten Commandments, or prevent citizens from praying before football games.
Ok, so let’s look at his complaints:
First, the establishment clause has never been used to ban children from praying in school. It has, of course, been used to stop teachers and other officials from pushing their religion on others, including manditory prayers and religious education.
Second, what business does a courthouse have placing any religious code in a position of prominence? For those of you saying, “yeah, but it’s not *just* a religious code,” let’s look at the actual commandments he wants the state to promote via the courts:
1. You shall have no other gods before me
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy
5. Honor your father and your mother
6. You shall not murder
7. You shall not commit adultery
8. You shall not steal
9. You shall not lie
10. You shall not covet
Note that the first four commandments are specifically religious in nature, and act specifically to promote adherence to Judeo-Christian teachings. In other words, when courts promote a religious code, they are establishing the religion who’s code they are promoting as equivalent or as valuable as the legal code they are meant to ensure adherence to.
Third, he makes reference to prayer before football games. While I’m not sure of the specific incident he speaks of, there have been several cases of state-run facilities being told that they cannot use events like games and graduations as excuses to promote sectarian religious beliefs. On the other hand, I’ve yet to hear of a case where individuals acting as private citizens (that is, while not acting as a representative for some state-run agency) have been barred from praying. Indeed, any such incident would likely result in a ruling in favour of the citizen, unless they were being particularly obnoxious about it.
That’s not his only rant about the “war on religion,” of course. For instance:
The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers…
Yes, it actually does. Let’s start with Jefferson’s writings where he described the “wall of separation” between church and state. Then, there’s Madison’s later recommendations, including the “total separation of the church from the state.” There’s more out there of course ( I haven’t even mentioned the Jefferson Bible yet), but even this took all of five minutes to find with Google.
Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion.
“Replete with references to God?” Ok, let’s test this one out. A search of the text of the US Constitution for the word “God” returns 0 results. The word “Lord” appears once, in the line “Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth.”
The Declaration does, admittedly, use the word “God.” It appears once, when talking about “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Somehow, this doesn’t really fit my definition of “replete.”
I may continue this later, but if you’re an atheist or consider yourself a skeptic or freethinker and support Ron Paul, you need to take a serious look at his views on religion— and how they’ve affected his voting record.