Thursday, January 20, 2011

Governor Robert Bentley and the end of the Bill of Rights as we've known it

I especially liked this story and headline from Britain's Mail Online: Alabama Governor forced to apologize (emphasis mine).  Because that's about what it was.  In our increasingly intolerant, close minded, and conformist culture that is dumb enough to think that more drugs and sex on TV means enlightened liberalism, another line has been crossed.  A step that was pushed by many groups, including the increasingly bizarre Anti-Defamation League and its notion of more censorship in the name of Holocaust remembrance.

What we have here was a step, small but significant, toward the growing impatience to redefine the Bill of Rights as values  based: if you don't believe in the right values, you don't get the same rights.  Some would argue that rights have always been values based.  Perhaps.  But the hallmark of post-war liberalism was always that they shouldn't.  Under the mantra that there is no such thing as absolute knowledge, absolute truth, or absolute morals, it was ludicrous to accept the proposition that a country could demand conformity to any universal values system.

Of course at the same time, shrewd observers couldn't help but notice the emerging feminist movement, civil rights movement, and gay rights movement - among others - invoking notions of self evident truths and universal principals.  But since most of these, under the umbrella of 'equality', 'fairness', and 'justice' were pretty acceptable to the general public, not much was said or done to stand in their way.

But now it's almost impossible not to miss the sudden shift back to a time when there was such a thing as absolute truth, absolute knowledge of this absolute truth, and a demand for absolute conformity to this truth.  And we saw the next bold step in this movement in what happened to Governor Bentley. 

Now I don't care if his beliefs are right or wrong.  Wasn't too long ago that suggesting a person's religion was wrong was anathema.  Along with many other things, that has gone the way of the horse and buggy.  Nowadays it's quite vogue to declare various religious beliefs to be unacceptable.  And now, not only are they unacceptable, but they are not allowed.  Not if you want to enjoy the same right to public office as all Americans

Because now not only can you not practice your faith in a public setting or in an official capacity in, say, the State House, you also cannot practice it in a church of your faith tradition.  For the longest time, we were told that religion needed to stay out of the public forum. Sure, you could believe anything you wanted, no matter how stupid.  But keep it in your home and your church or place of worship.  See the shift?  Now, it's OK in some cases.  It's OK in long as it isn't something that offends this or that special interest group.  But we can no longer allow for such intolerant notions as allowing a person of obviously bigoted religious beliefs to practice his religion while being an elected official.  As even Glen Beck noted, if he wants to do so, fine.  He has a right.  But he has no business being an elected official. 

Take note, and take pictures.  Because centuries from now, as historians chronicle the decline and fall of American civilization, this will be one of those pieces in the puzzle that will help them understand how the land of the free so willingly gave up that gift of freedom for a bowl of stew.

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