The United States has a long tradition of keeping church and state separate. The U.S. Declaration of Independence was based on Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, which was written by George Mason. When it became clear that the Bill of Rights would not be in the U.S. Constitution, Mason refused to sign it. He wanted to make sure that our country did not have an established religion. Fortunately for all Americans the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, was ratified just three short years after the signing of our United States Constitution.
The ban on an official government religion is explicit in our 1st Amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … ." Mason and many of the other Founding Fathers had seen the tyrannical results of requiring those in government to be lock-step in their religious convictions.
A modern day affirmation of this opinion came in 1992. Associate Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in Lee v. Weisman. "The mixing of government and religion can be a threat to free government, even if no one is forced to participate. ... When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion, it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."
Sadly, this has not stopped some religious zealots from trying to impose their beliefs on others by manipulating government policy. Worse yet, rather than abating as the years go by, these attempts at combining church and state have increased in recent years.
The following is Webster’s definition of religion: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. One of the most pernicious religions is that of earth worship. The central tenet of this mindset is the absolute belief in anthropogenic global warming or more commonly referred to as man-made global warming. (I wonder why the desire for nongender specific language was not avoided when naming this faux phenomenon, but I digress.)
The adherents to this religion have been asked to believe since the 1920s that we were cooling, then in the 1960s we were warming, then back to cooling in the 1970s, then back to warming in the 1990s. The belief system required to rationalize so many blatant contradictions is truly extraordinary. Global warming/cooling has been recently re-branded as Climate Change. The Church of Climatology has high priests such as Al Gore. Dispensation can be attained if you purchase "carbon credits." The most pious among these adherents can choose to purchase a Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Volt to show that they are "greener" than others are. It seems that Karl Marx, the author of the Communist Manifesto, was correct, when applied to the religion of global warming, that, "Religion is the opiate of the masses."
The Environmental Protection Agency acts as the ancient Pharisees. They have studied the scrolls of Rachael Carson, Al Gore, and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They act within the United States allegedly to protect the environment, when in fact they are advancing their religious dictates through a labyrinth of legalese.
February 21, 2012, was the first public meeting on the Wastewater System Preliminary Engineering Report. At the end of this very well-delivered presentation I asked the woman how much of this project cost would be needed, if not for changes in EPA standards. Her reply was that regular maintenance of the current system would only be a small fraction of the proposed upgrades. The reason is the EPA has added nitrous oxide to its list of gases that need to be mitigated because of their potential to increase global warming. The EPA has also signaled that phosphate mitigation standards will be tightened in the near future which will also lead to more upgrades and associated costs. We have gone from rightly keeping waterways clean to instead fighting a religious war with your tax dollars.
It seems that the flagellants of the global warming religion are never satiated. How many more examples are needed to prove that tyranny results from the combining of church and state?
(Rick Dow represents Ward 3 on the Havre City Council.)