The typical Tennessee Republican is closer in philosophy to Iranian clerics than the American Founding Fathers. Take, for instance, the idea and ideal of “freedom of religion.” Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and company believed strongly in freedom of religion, and they believed even more strongly in keeping the fledgling American government free from the pernicious influence of religious zealots and their witch-burning, holy-war-waging churches. So they built what Jefferson called a “wall of separation” between church and state.
But the last thing Iranian clerics and Tennessee conservatives want is real freedom of religion. What the holy rollers really want is not freedom of religion, but to turn the federal government into a theocracy and public schools into places where innocent children can be brainwashed into believing things that make absolutely no sense, so that they can be controlled and milked of their money when they grow up. This is why both Islamic and Christian fundamentalists condemn all human beings to “hell,” then offer them “salvation” for believing absurdities that make God seem more like a medieval inquisitor than an enlightened, tolerant being.
That Tennessee Republicans don’t actually want freedom of religion is easy to prove. Albert Einstein created “thought experiments” to help explain why other people’s thinking about basic physics was off base. I have developed a simple “thought experiment” to prove that Tennessee Republicans want to overthrow true freedom of religion, and subvert the U.S. Constitution.
In the first stage of my thought experiment, I ask a simple question: “Do most Tennessee conservatives want to allow Christian texts and symbols to be allowed in public schools?” The answer is obviously “yes,” because Republicans have been fighting for prayer to be allowed in public schools, to keep the “Christ” in Christmas, to allow Bible classes to be taught after hours, and to either keep evolution out of the science books or to at least insert references to a Creator.
In the second stage of my thought experiment, I ask another simple question: “What would Tennessee conservatives say and do, if the texts and symbols being used in public schools were Muslim? What would happen if prayers were being made to Allah rather than Jehovah, if the texts being used were Korans rather than Bibles, and if the Creator made man out of a clot of blood rather than clay?
Obviously, Tennessee conservatives would have hissy fits if the Koran was being taught in public schools. Therefore, it is clear that conservative Christians don’t mean real “religious freedom” when they use the term. What they really want is the right for Christianity and its texts and symbols to receive preferential treatment in schools, to the extent of the exclusion of other major religions like Islam. They also want the Ten Commandments to receive preferential treatment in government buildings, even though the first commandment is completely incompatible with freedom of religion. Thus, they are working to subvert the Constitution and undo one of the most important advancements of the American Founding Fathers.