Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
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02-06-2016, 06:22 PM
Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
Iowa Governor Accused by Some of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion

Quote:Advocates for the separation of church and state are acting swiftly to scuttle a plan by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad ® to flood the state’s 99 courthouses with praying, Bible-reading Christians activists for four days.

The Des Moines Register reported that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Iowa, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and the group Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers have roundly condemned the action as a high-handed attempt to establish Christianity as the official religion of the state government. The plan, they say, is a direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

Branstad issued a proclamation earlier this year calling on Iowans to participate in a statewide Bible reading marathon from June 30th to July 3rd that will be held in front of all 99 courthouses in the state simultaneously.

Christian preachers and activists are planning to lead rounds of prayer and Scripture readings — some as frequently as every 15 minutes — as regular Iowans attempt to pay their speeding tickets, finalize their divorces and obtain permits and licenses. The rallies are being coordinated by a number of Christian groups including the Iowa Prayer Caucus, the National Governor’s Prayer Team and the United States Prayer Council.

In his proclamation, the governor urged Iowans to “read through the Bible on a daily basis each year until the Lord comes.”

“The government is supposed to be neutral toward religion,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor of FFRF to the Register.

“Can you imagine the uproar if the governor used state resources to encourage people to go to a ‘God is Dead’ rally or a vigil to review how divisive religion is?” Gaylor continued. “Everyone can see how inappropriate that would be. This is exactly the same type of violation.”

Both the ACLU of Wisconsin and FFRF are reviewing the matter for potential legal action.

The ACLU of Wisconsin told the Register‘s Jason Clayworth that Branstad’s proclamation does not pass the so-called Lemon Test, in reference to the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court Case “named after Alton Lemon, the plaintiff in a case that determined it unconstitutional for Pennsylvania to reimburse private schools for salaries and textbooks.”

The Lemon Test poses three questions:

1. Does the government action have a secular purpose?
2. Does the government action have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion?
3. Does the government action foster an excessive entanglement between government and religion?

If the government action in question violates any of these three questions, it is illegal under the Constitution.

Branstad’s office dismissed the idea that there was anything wrong with staging marathon Christian rallies on public property.

“The governor issues many proclamations that recognize events, activities and different organizations’ causes,” said spokesman Ben Hammes. “Requests come from a broad spectrum of Iowans that reflect the broad diversity of Iowa.”

One of the event’s top organizers, Iowa Prayer Caucus director Ginny Caligiuri, has dismissed the idea of a separate church and state as “a fallacy.” Those rules are in place, she told the Register, to protect churches from government overreach, not the other way around.

The ACLU’s Rita Bettis disagreed, saying, “The governor’s proclamation is frankly outrageous and embarrassing, and inconsistent with our core American and Iowan principles of inclusion and respect of all its people of all faiths, as well as those who are not religious,” Bettis said Tuesday. “Our U.S. and Iowa state constitutions protect from precisely this sort of government overreaching and endorsement of a particular faith.”

Bolding is mine. o.O It seems like an absolutely blatant violation of all three parts of the Lemon Test. Also, since when is the Establishment Clause a fallacy?

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02-06-2016, 06:36 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
Censored Censored Censored

I sincerely hope that no citizens participate.
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02-06-2016, 06:45 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
(02-06-2016 06:36 PM)julep Wrote:  Censored Censored Censored

I sincerely hope that no citizens participate.

Me too. If folks want to hold rallies in support of their faith, I'm fine with it. It's the part where they do it on government property, at the behest of a government official, that is unreasonable (at least to me).

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02-06-2016, 06:47 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
Holey fuck-a-moley! Facepalm
Weeping Censored Hobo No

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02-06-2016, 07:39 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
What the fuck, Iowa?

I feel like fundamentalism is a cancer, with which our nation/culture has been ill for a long, but that we're slowly overcoming through information therapy ... only to have have it pop up in a new location where the people aren't getting enough of that medicine delivered to the cells.

Someone get Iowa the internet and some libraries, please.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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02-06-2016, 07:47 PM (This post was last modified: 02-06-2016 07:53 PM by Anjele.)
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
Wonder if he is including all the Catholics in Eastern Iowa where I grew up.

My dad always called him 'Braindead'. Guess dad wasn't too far off in his assessment.

added...Good lord - the man is Jewish-Lutheran-Catholic. That's one way to try to cover your bases.

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02-06-2016, 08:07 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
(02-06-2016 06:45 PM)Shai Hulud Wrote:  
(02-06-2016 06:36 PM)julep Wrote:  Censored Censored Censored

I sincerely hope that no citizens participate.

Me too. If folks want to hold rallies in support of their faith, I'm fine with it. It's the part where they do it on government property, at the behest of a government official, that is unreasonable (at least to me).

What pisses me off most is that it's always atheists, like the FRFF, who has to stand up to the Christian fundamentalists in this country.

Reasonable theists have exactly as much reason to be outraged (and terrified) by the erosion of the Wall of Separation as anyone else. I wish more of them were like you, and actually thought about the ramifications, Shai Hulud.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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02-06-2016, 08:40 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
(02-06-2016 08:07 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(02-06-2016 06:45 PM)Shai Hulud Wrote:  Me too. If folks want to hold rallies in support of their faith, I'm fine with it. It's the part where they do it on government property, at the behest of a government official, that is unreasonable (at least to me).

What pisses me off most is that it's always atheists, like the FRFF, who has to stand up to the Christian fundamentalists in this country.

Reasonable theists have exactly as much reason to be outraged (and terrified) by the erosion of the Wall of Separation as anyone else. I wish more of them were like you, and actually thought about the ramifications, Shai Hulud.

Actually, here in Tulsa and I think Oklahoma as a whole, the leader and founding person of our Separation of Church and State Group is a minister. He's also been active in many legal battles to keep religion out of our government. He spearheaded the lawsuit to keep the 10 Commandments off the State Capital lawn.

So not all the religious are turning a blind eye.

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02-06-2016, 09:18 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
(02-06-2016 07:39 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  What the fuck, Iowa?

I feel like fundamentalism is a cancer, with which our nation/culture has been ill for a long, but that we're slowly overcoming through information therapy ... only to have have it pop up in a new location where the people aren't getting enough of that medicine delivered to the cells.

Someone get Iowa the internet and some libraries, please.


You can bring them to a book, but you cannot force them to read. The double edged sword of freedom is the right to remain ignorant.

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02-06-2016, 09:47 PM
RE: Iowa Governor Accused of Trying to Make Christianity the State Religion
(02-06-2016 08:07 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(02-06-2016 06:45 PM)Shai Hulud Wrote:  Me too. If folks want to hold rallies in support of their faith, I'm fine with it. It's the part where they do it on government property, at the behest of a government official, that is unreasonable (at least to me).

What pisses me off most is that it's always atheists, like the FRFF, who has to stand up to the Christian fundamentalists in this country.

Reasonable theists have exactly as much reason to be outraged (and terrified) by the erosion of the Wall of Separation as anyone else. I wish more of them were like you, and actually thought about the ramifications, Shai Hulud.
completely off topic, it is very nice to have you back around RS Thumbsup
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