Legislation in Iowa permits different organisations to put up displays at the Capitol, and Evangelical Christians are among the groups to have erected displays. The 1st Amendment renders this perfectly normal, and anyone of any faith can provide displays… or can they?
It seems that some Evangelicals think differently. One of them, one Michael Cassidy, decided that a statue of Satan was an affront to his beliefs, and beheaded it. Yes, seriously.
Cassidy argued that he acted in order to:
“awaken Christians to the anti-Christian acts promoted by our government.” “The world may tell Christians to submissively accept the legitimization of Satan, but none of the founders would have considered government sanction of Satanic altars inside Capitol buildings as protected by the First Amendment,” Cassidy told The Sentinel. “Anti-Christian values have steadily been mainstreamed more and more in recent decades, and Christians have largely acted like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot of water.”
This line of reasoning represents a typical hypocrisy found among Christian fundamentalists, who would argue their rights are impeded if any other groups were granted the same rights. Never mind that Christians had already exerted their 1st Amendment rights, under permitted legislation, to put up displays; any measure by a group or organisation disapproved of by Evangelicals is to be met with a hostile response, and for that matter, a response that violates the law.
The online response of Evangelicals has been quite typical. Over at Insanity Bytes, IB (a Christian herself) pointed out the double-standards at play, not to mention how acts of property damage hardly define someone was worthwhile following or voting for (Cassidy once ran for political office). Bruce Gerencser pointed out the hypocrisy in no uncertain terms. Despite the obvious cognitive disassociation, fundamentalists – like Silence of Mind, for example – are asserting the USA as a Christian nation, despite the explicit wording of the 1st Amendment:
IB, For crying out loud, Satan pays us a visit and then a Christian beheads him. And you are concerned about the property crime.
SATAN HAS NO PROPERTY IN GOD’S COUNTRY!
IB, whatever religion you practice, it ain’t Christianity.
All this tells me is that SoM has little respect for the Constitution, and the rule of law. He is not alone; a great many radicalised Christian fundamentalists hold to the flawed idea that those who have different beliefs should not be permitted to express them. Freedom of speech is it seems, allowed only when like-minded believers express their opinions to one another and to others. The moment things flow the other way, there is outrage.
I know many good Americans, but as a nation, there is this strange trend to drift towards a theocracy, in ignorance of the country’s very foundations. The deeply polarised country needs healing, and it needs less interference from fundamentalist forces.