BY SHARON MARTIN
A column in the Washington Examiner lamented that members of Congress were banned from saying Merry Christmas in letters mailed to constituents. Fortunately, the columnist, Mark Tapscott, included the actual ruling from the franking commission. It made perfect sense. Legislators cannot mail out their Christmas cards at taxpayer expense.
That didn’t stop angry Christians from crying, “Foul.”
One commenter wrote, “It’s time for a constitutional amendment protecting the rights of Christians.”
We already have one: the First Amendment.
What we may need is an amendment to protect taxpayers from unscrupulous legislators who mail out their holiday greetings at our expense.
In that same vein, Chris Wallace, in an interview with Archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl, asked about the regulatory changes that will pull some federal funds from Catholic hospitals and charities.
Cardinal Wuerl was deeply distressed. He should be. Until churches are expected to pay taxes, they should not receive any taxpayer funding. What do they think they are, multinational corporations?
Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has his own religious worries.
“There is steady encroachment of secularism through the courts to redefine America as a nonreligious country,” Newt Gingrich said on Face the Nation.
Gingrich called the power of the courts “enormously dangerous,” and he suggested that federal judges should be arrested for unpopular rulings. He was most upset by a California ruling that was later overturned in a higher court.
Isn’t that the way unpopular rulings should be handled?
The real danger is this idea that one religion should dominate the country.
Consider Saudi Arabia. It’s a religious country. Women are not allowed to drive, but a ruler recently suggested that they might get the chance to vote someday.
Consider Afghanistan. A rape victim can be sent to prison for adultery if she refuses to marry her rapist.
Pat Robertson implied that he would like us to be more like these religious countries. He would deny us a cherished freedom. Freedom isn’t the right of Christians to have their own nation but the right of Christians to worship as they please in a country where their neighbors have the same right. A secular country where freedom to worship as one chooses is written into the constitution is both more free and more safe than a religious country.
May there be no “bodies in the streets,” as Robertson suggests, because of an actor’s right of free speech. And may each of us do what we can to protect all our freedoms in the coming year.
Happy New Year.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer