It is beyond comprehension that there are any Americans alive today who doubt the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution as the unchallenged law of the land, and yet there is a rabid movement in America that not only eschews the Constitution as faulty and irrelevant, they actively reject it with alarming frequency. The religious right, teabaggers, and their Republican facilitators claim they love this nation and its founding document more than any other demographic in America, and regularly claim returning to the original intent of the Constitution is their raison d’être. However, for at least a half-a-century one specific demographic has made a concerted effort to abolish the Constitution that so-called “real Americans” have adopted with a clear goal of scrapping the founding document save the 2nd and 10th Amendments.
The primary target of teabaggers (their chosen name) and the religious right is the 1st and 14th Amendments, Article VI, Section 2, and Article III Sections 1 and 2 that defines the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and the judicial branch as the arbiter of the constitutionality of any law. Although the frequency of challenges to the Constitution’s validity as the law of the land have increased since the election of the first African American President, the efforts to reject the Constitution began in earnest well over 75 years ago. The primary argument of those who hate the Constitution is that “the word of God as revealed in the Bible takes priority over all human knowledge,” and it is used today more than in 1927 when theocrats argued the bible should be taught in public schools. Forty-one years later, the Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas that banning the teaching of evolution contravened the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because the theocrats primary purpose in teaching the bible as science is purely religious.
The purpose of this screed is not to argue that the Christian bible is not the law of the land, or that the judicial system has supreme authority to adjudicate what is, and is not constitutional, but rather, that the religious right has rejected the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings for decades with veritable impunity and have no intention of stopping. Recently there was an article decrying the religious right’s attempt to abridge Americans’ civil and human rights according to their claim religious liberty affords them the god-given authority to abridge other Americans’ Constitutional protections. The premise of the article is beyond dispute; the religious right, teabaggers, and Republicans are on a crusade to deny Americans their Constitutional rights, but it failed to acknowledge the religious right’s campaign is founded on their rejection and hatred of the Constitution they are convinced is subservient to the Christian bible. It is a hatred they have harbored since the founding of this nation as evidenced by their continued attempts over 200 years to impose biblical law on Americans.
It has been forty years since the Supreme Court ruled, in Roe v. Wade, that it is a woman’s Constitutional right to decide when to give birth, and yet Republicans in states and the United States Congress have rejected the High Court’s ruling as illegitimate, and by extension deny the Constitution as law of the land as they continue passing legislation restricting women’s Constitutional rights because it is contrary to evangelical zealots’ Christian bible. Today there are as many attempts to abort the High Court’s ruling as there are evangelicals claiming god’s law supersedes the Constitution.
It has been 46 years since the High Court ruled that teaching the bible creation story as science in public schools is patently unconstitutional. The religious right attempted to re-litigate the High Court’s ruling again in 2005 when they renamed creationism “intelligent design” that was ruled unconstitutional because it was still “teaching religion.” The religious right cannot comport the Constitutional authority of the judicial system to rule that the Establishment and Separation clauses are the law of the land. Republicans are frantically passing unconstitutional legislation inserting creationism as science in public schools and stealing taxpayer dollars for public schools to fund private religious instruction to teach the bible as science.
It has been 52 years since the Supreme Court ruled that prayer in public schools is a violation of the Constitution and the judicial system have been vigilant in forbidding public schools and other government agencies from interfering with Americans’ constitutional right to follow their own consciences when it comes to religion. Republicans and the religious right disagree with the High Courts’ Constitutional authority to rule that official prayer had no place in public education, and with state Republican legislation are using devious means to force America’s children to be indoctrinated into the Christian religion by mandating teacher-led prayers.
The following year the High Court ruled in Abington Township School District v. Schempp, another case dealing with prayer in public schools, that school-sponsored bible reading and recitation of the lord’s prayer was unconstitutional. In fact, in the written opinion Justice Clark wrote, “Once again, we are called upon to consider the scope of the provision of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof’.” Even the High Court acknowledged that regardless the U.S. Constitution, and Supreme Court rulings, the religious right cannot, and will not, accept that American law is not the purview of “the word of God as revealed in the Bible,” or that it does not “take priority over all human knowledge” including the Constitution as law of the land.
Some naïve Americans believed that last year’s Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage would put an abrupt end to Republican and the religious right’s biblical prohibition on same-sex marriage, and yet the decision only served to embolden fanatical Christians who are rabid to reject the Constitution and impose the bible as the law of the land. It has been less than a year since the High Court ruled the Constitution affords all Americans 14th Amendment equal rights, but there has been no shortage of Republican legislation in states and Congress to subvert the Constitutional authority of the Supreme Court. Republicans and evangelicals will continue attempting to deny gay Americans’ equal protection under the law despite ruling after decision striking down bans on marriage equality in Republican-controlled states.
Any American that believes the religious right’s attack on human rights, the U.S. Constitution, and other Americans is insignificant, or on the decline and not a threat to democracy, is either incredibly naïve or has not been paying attention to what is happening in this country with increasing frequency. The religious right has about as much respect for the Constitution as they do other Americans’ rights, and they have been engaged in a long-term effort to destroy both in the pursuit of theocracy as America’s government for decades.
Invariably, some Christians object to being lumped in with evangelical fanatics rejecting the Constitutions’ protection from religious imposition and domination. They proclaim loudly that they are opposed to forcing the Christian religion down the throats of Americans or denying other Americans their constitutionally-protected equal rights and it is certainly true. But it is difficult to take “those Christians” seriously while they clutch that bible to their bosoms and “cherry-pick” the “Jesus parts” out of the preponderance of hateful parts. Many, many Americans fail to see any difference between their cherry picking and evangelical extremists choosing passages to subvert the Constitution and Americans’ civil and human rights.
Frankly, few Americans, even Secular Humanists, could not care less how or why any American chooses to follow any religion and have no desire to abridge their right to worship as they see fit. But when they claim Christianity gives them authority to deny other Americans’ their Constitutional rights, and seek to destroy the Constitution and democracy, then maybe it is time to reconsider their right to religious freedom if for no other reason than to defend the Constitution from its greatest threat; Christians who will not accept that the bible is not the law of the land.