Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson says he may have to run for president so he can erase secularism in this country, which is to say, so he can try to force Christianity on everyone. He’s only one of the latest examples of many Christians trying to legislate their specific religious beliefs on the rest of us, and who apparently believe the Constitutional separation of church and state doesn’t apply to Christians, who should be free to impose that religion on everyone. Not surprisingly, Robertson is ready to jump on that bandwagon and make us all good Christians, whether we want to be or not. And apparently being president sounds like a good plan to do that, in his mind, as reported by Right Wing Watch.
Enough is enough.
This nonsense of trying to dictate religion to other people has to stop. Besides being in the Constitution that we are all guaranteed freedom of — or freedom from — religion, there are some busybodies who simply won’t leave it alone. Even if the separation of church and state wasn’t written into the Constitution, trying to impose your beliefs on others is simply wrong. No, you probably won’t find a passage in the Bible saying “Thou shalt not shove my religion down other people’s throats,” but there’s a little something called morality and common sense that says that trying to force your ideas on others is wrong, arrogant and downright rude.
Mr. Robertson, if you want to run for president, go for it. It’s a free country and that is your right. (Normally I would say that the chances of you being elected are slim to none, but this year’s political arena has certainly shown that anything is possible.) Should you run for president and be elected, though, it’s probably a good idea to point out that you can’t just sit in the Oval Office, snap your fingers, and say we’re all going to be good Christians, as defined by you, the self-appointed spokesman for Jesus.
First of all, the president can’t just write any laws he wants, even though one might think that from listening to Donald Trump speeches. But sorry, The Donald has it wrong. The president cannot simply write whatever laws he or she wants in a vacuum. New laws start as bills and must pass the House and the Senate, then you get to sign them into law, or veto.
Second, even if you could magically turn the entire Bible into law, Mr. Robertson, you cannot legislate beliefs. You can’t force people to believe something they don’t believe or don’t want to believe. If you want to believe in an old guy with a long beard that sits on a cloud who acts as heaven’s bouncer, go for it. But for the love of God — pun fully intended — stop trying to force us to believe what you believe.
The bottom line is, other people’s religious beliefs are, you know, what they believe, and quite frankly, are simply none of your business. So mind your own business. Stop telling people who they can love. Stop telling people who they can marry. Stop telling women what they can do with their bodies, whether through abortion or even birth control. Stop telling people who they can worship, and that they are not allowed to choose not to worship any deity. Just… stop, for the love of all things holy. Live your life, and let other people live theirs.
Unfortunately, this is a lesson that many more than Robertson need to learn, and the problem grows worse daily, it seems.
Friday, the lawsuit against a former Indiana state trooper was dismissed when the woman who filed the suit decided it was enough punishment that he was fired from his job. This officer had been previously warned about using his position of authority to “preach” to civilians he had stopped or arrested. He pulled over this woman and proceeded to preach about Christianity to her and ask her about her own religious beliefs and if she had been “saved.” People were commenting on how he should sue her for defamation of character.
Sorry, but he deserved to lose his job. Using his position of authority to try to force his religion on someone else violated her civil rights. She was not free to leave or refuse his sermon and invasive personal questions about her own beliefs, and was likely afraid of the consequences if she answered “incorrectly.” That’s religious bullying and intimidation and violated her religious freedom.
Here’s a good standard to live by, regardless of your faith. Whenever you start feeling the need to try to impose your religious belief system on others, imagine the roles reversed and someone trying to force another faith on you, such as the Jewish faith, or the Muslim faith, or whatever. How would you feel if a Muslim officer pulled you over and started grilling you about becoming a Muslim and asking your personal beliefs? That’s no different than what that Indiana officer did. It’s unsolicited and unwelcome.
How would you feel if a president of another faith started legislating his or her religious beliefs that aren’t in line with your own? Sorry, the president is Jewish so you must observe the Shabbat from Friday night to Saturday night, which means not only no work, but you can’t use electricity: no TV, no cell phone, no internet. Oh, the president is Muslim, so you now have to stop and pray five times a day, whether you want to or not. When people say they want to legislate prayer in schools or teaching creationism, it is no different.
Which brings us back to the simplest of answers. Believe what you want to believe, but mind your own business when it comes to others’ beliefs. You know, that whole “Do unto others” thing. And add in a little “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Yeah, practice that sermon, Mr. Robertson.
[Photo by Matt Rourke/AP Images]