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Princess Talibania: Let the majority decide which religious monuments the taxpayers will fund!

I’m continuing to follow the adventures of my favorite orange-skinned virginal thirtyish bride of Christ, Princess Barbie Talibania. Regular Blenders will know she’s one of my favorite subjects, because she combines my fascination with reason-impaired fundamentalist theocrats with my perverse need to think dirty thoughts about pious little Christian girls.

Lately she’s been crowing about the Idaho Supreme Court’s 4-1 decision to allow her pet initiative on the November ballot. She and her group, the Keep the Commandments Coalition, collected 19,000 signatures requesting that the citizens of Boise should be allowed to vote on whether a Ten Commandments monument may be restored onto the grounds of a city-owned public park.

Recently, she replied to an editorial in the Idaho Statesman which pointed out the problems with such a vote taking place…

However, other points in the editorial require comment. They argue that the City Council was right to remove the original monument to head off a “free-for-all of religious expression.” Our response is, “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that the point of the First Amendment?”

Well, yes, dear Barbie, but only when we’re talking about private expression of religion. You know, that whole “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part that comes before the “or abridging the freedom of speech” part? It basically means you’re free to preach about Jeebus all you want, but the government itself shall not preach or squelch preaching.

In fact, before the whole Ten Commandments fiasco, there was and always has been a “free-for-all of religious expression”. I see Christian crosses everywhere – megachurches, necklace pendants, roadside memorials. You can’t scan the AM radio dial without finding a Jeebus station. A Christian book series is a runaway best seller. A Christian snuff film grosses $600 million worldwide. Damn near everywhere you look you can find this “free-for-all”. Even in government, where there is supposed to be a neutrality toward religion, we find prayers in Congress, In God We Trust on money, and religious iconography and idiom throughout our government buildings and documents. So it is not as if we need the Ten Commandments displayed in a school, courthouse, or public park to remind us that Jeebus loves us, every one.

What this is really about is government recognition of the supremacy of Christianity. The bible thumpers have over the past fifty years seen a culture that implicitly recognized unquestioning faith in Judeo-Christian scripture and mores as the bedrock of society to a culture that more and more explicitly recognizes science, individuality, multiculturalism, tolerance, pleasure, and profit as the bedrock of society. Along with that are declining church attendance numbers (and an associated drop in income, er, tithes), rising numbers of young people who find religion “irrelevant”, and increases in stats that bible thumpers perceive as socially regressive (out and proud gay people, cohabitation without marriage, availability of cable porno, whatever).

The bible thumpers need the reinforcement that they indeed are the good and righteous people and that this country was made for them and only them and people who will submit to their ways of thought. For them not placing the Ten Commandments in the park is tantamount to government declaring that their religion is no more or less important than any one else’s; or worse, that it is no more or less vital to maintaining a civil democratic republic than having no religion at all. And nowhere is that more apparent than in this statement from Barbie’s blog:

When asked if this opens Pandora’s box to other religious monuments, my response is quite simple. Present your proposal to the city, and if you get shut out like we did, go out and get 19,000 signatures in support of your monument, and I will be the first one in line to argue for your right to get a vote on the matter.

So then the huge Muslim population of Boise, Idaho, should gather 19,000 signatures from Muslims or people who support Islam to have a giant monument of Quranic scripture placed in the public park. So should the Baha’i, the Zoroastrians, the Wiccans, the Buddhists, and so on… And then Barbie will fight for your right to have your monument voted on by the overwhelming Christian majority of Boise, Idaho.

Oh, except for the fact that you’d be lucky to scrape up 19,000 Muslims in all of Idaho, much less the city of Boise, right Barbie? Which means, pretty much, that only the majority is able to get their monument placed in the park, and the minority just gets to pay the taxes for the upkeep of the park and the monument to a religion they don’t believe. Gee, Barbie, how mighty white of you to be the first one in line to stand up for the right to vote on the Muslim monument.

I wonder if she has thought that logic through to its conclusion? You know, Dearborn, Michigan, has quite a sizeable Muslim population. How about they vote for those Quranic verses in their parks, schools, and courthouses? What will you tell the poor Christian in Dearborn who calls you to complain? (“Move to Idaho!” I suppose.) Better yet, Boise has a sizeable Mormon population; are you cool with the LDS Thirteen Articles of Faith up there next to the Ten Commandments?

What these American Taliban never realize is that the separation of church and state doesn’t exist to protect the state. The state will exist, be it secular or theocratic, regardless of the existence of the churches. However, history has proved that only in the secular state can the churches hope to continue existing. Even if it is your religion that becomes the state church, your religion will never be the same once it is the state religion. Piety is replaced by politics, moral concerns with monetary concerns, and absolutes of sin and salvation give way to the relativism of public perception and the bottom line (look no further than the Catholic Church and the priest pedophile scandals).

Sigh. Sometimes it’s pretty draining to keep up with the American Taliban. I don’t know how Pam rides herd on the stable of black homo-bigot preachers; I’ve got my hands full keeping tabs on one minor-league anti-sex anti-woman anti-gay wingnut. In the time it took me to compose this, the FDA approved Plan B and now, against all science and biology, she’s saying:

Plan B is not simply something that prevents conception, it actually prevents a tiny baby from implanting on the uterine wall; therefore, it has the potential to be an early term abortion.

I will never find the time to rebut all this wingnuttia… anyone else want a shot at it?

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