Separation of Church and State, Garofalo Style
Self-styled intellectual, Janeane Garofalo, has struck again, giving an interview to the A.V. Club recently. I’m not going to bother dissecting her idiotic ramblings; they pretty much speak for themselves. Also, AWR Hawkins already did it on BigJournalism.com.
Instead, I’m going to address just one statement, because Garofalo makes the same mistake many self-styled progressives make when it comes to this issue.
Secondly, when I talk about people wrapping themselves in the flag and hiding behind Jesus—that’s an anti-intellectual thing to do in the political process, because legally, allegedly we have a separation between church and state. That’s a legal precedent that’s never observed. When people are trying to do something that’s not in your best interest, they will wrap it in the flag and hide behind Jesus, which is a corrupt thing to do.
Yes, yes, yes. The Separation of Church and State ploy. Anyone who identifies the symbol of America (the flag) with God (or, more specifically, Jesus) must be anti-intellectual and corrupt.
It’s not like the framers of the Declaration of Independence made that “mistake.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Separation of Church and State. A phrase not actually in the Constitution, but coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802.
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Jan. 1. 1802.
I suppose Thomas Jefferson, who was President of the United States when he wrote this letter, is anti-intellectual and corrupt for mentioning the “common father and creator of man,” thus conflating church and state.
See, people like Garofalo mistake what Jefferson meant by religion. He wasn’t talking about removing God from the American political debate. He was against any official church being able to dictate to the people. Consequently, Jefferson himself often referenced God. Of course, Garofalo has likely never read any of this, as Jefferson has never appeared on the New York Times’ Best Seller list, nor has he ever written for the Village Voice.
Not convinced? Jefferson didn’t sign the letter “President of the United States,” you say. Fine. Let’s look at another famous document separating church and state the left loves to invoke, never realizing it totally undoes their fanatical anti-religious zealotry: The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom (also by Jefferson.)
Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time; that to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind; that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that, therefore, the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to the offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow citizens he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing, with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly, That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
And though we well know this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no powers equal to our own and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law, yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.
Really, what Jefferson seemed to believe was that no private citizen or civil servant should be forced to profess a faith, nor should he be prevented from professing one. (Read the above and other documents by the founding fathers on the freedom of religion here.)
Garofalo herself states she has no problem with religion as long as it’s used for good, like “Gandhi or Martin Luther King.” No doubt, both great, great men.
The truth is, Garofalo has no problem with any legislation that forces a morality on all US citizens, as long as it’s her morality. In her twisted mind, a pro-life stance is somehow anti-Christian.
“[Conservative talk radio hosts] have conned the American people into thinking there is such a thing as a pro-life, pro-war, pro-gun, pro-death penalty Christian.” (Source: Wikiquotes)
If you read through the rest of her political quotes on that page, you’ll see she’s just a poor student of history, not to mention a fabulous propagandist (and liar) for progressivism.
But that’s what progressivism is: a lie. And one of the biggest lies it tells is that Americans, particularly those in government, must divorce themselves from their most deeply cherished beliefs in order to be valid and taken seriously.
No moral framework, unless it’s a secular, socialist one. No consistency with traditional values. Nothing, nothing is allowed to be put in any sort of context whatsoever. If you’re anti-progressivism, you’re just wrong. Period. And if you happen to be a Christian, or anyone who attempts to speak from a personal perspective that includes a profession of faith, you will be divorced from it.
If you know how to actually read, Garofalo and her ilk stop sounding hip, reasonable and progressive, and start sounding like the moral authoritarians they claim to be fighting. By claiming secularism, they’d like to be able to divert you from that fact, but it’s not working.
Freedom to worship, or not. Freedom to believe, or not. Freedom to profess, or not. That is the true spirit of Separation of Church and State. And no law shall remove that right. Not from a private citizen. Not from a politician. Not from anyone. Not even Garofalo herself.