14 December 2007

Hello, Constitution? Fuck off! Sincerely, Congress

This came to me via a friend of mine who found it on GovTrack:

H. Res. 847: Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith

Full text of the bill is here.

How is this not a violation of the Establishment Clause? How is this not a slap in the face to every non-Christian living in this country—which was founded on religious pluralism and government non-involvement in religion?

Here is the text of my letter to my representative, who voted YEA on this resolution:

Rep. Miller;

As somebody who has voted for and supported you during your Congressional career, I am more than a little dismayed by your support of HR 847, passed on 6 December of this year.

The Founding Fathers of this country have made clear through their writings that no one religion should be endorsed or promoted over any other religion in this country. They made it clear through a Constitutional prohibition of the establishment or endorsement of any religion, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Asatru, Wicca or Santeria.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut "…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…" (here is the link for your perusal: He wrote that while sitting in the White House as the 3rd President of the United States.

Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli of 1796 clearly states "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." (again, here is a link: Given comments that have been made to the troops about God being on "our side" in the Iraq War, I find this passage rather darkly ironic.

More recently, recently-retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said in her opinion on "McCreary County vs. American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky" that "When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual's decision about whether and how to worship."

Religious freedom is what this nation is founded on. When one religion is favoured over another, whether via resolution expressing sentiment or via force of law, people who do not adhere to that belief system are made to feel insignificant or unwelcome. It's human nature. The wording of HR 847 differs markedly from HR 747 (recognizing Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs the world over) and HR 635 (recognizing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan) in that it specifically promotes Christianity. Furthermore, the resolution's author, your honourable colleague Steve King of Iowa's 5th District, has gone on record as saying that "the foundation of this nation and this culture is Christian", and that the resolution was intended to assert this status in the wake of "an assault on Christianity."

Rep. Miller, I do not assault Christianity when I wish somebody a Joyous Yule during the winter holiday season. I do not assault Christianity when I wear a Mjolnir pendant (one of many symbols of my faith, Asatru) or use the heathen origins of the days of the week. I do not assault Christianity when I procure a small tree for my living room so that I can decorate it with garland and lights as my ancestors did centuries ago. Yet I am feeling assaulted when people like your colleague from Iowa use language in a resolution that sends the message that non-Christians are somehow unwelcome in this country.

I do not appreciate being made to feel unwelcome or unnecessary because of my religious beliefs, Rep, Miller, and I am certain that the other non-Christian constituents in North Carolina's 4th Congressional District feel the same way.



I think that about sums it up, don't you?

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