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Mar 03 2013

Farah Lies About Freedom of Religion

Joseph Farah has a column claiming that we are less free now than we were under King George III in 1776. In that column he tells some rather blatant lies about the state of freedom of religion, in the usual “Christians aren’t allowed in the public square” fake persecution myth.

How about freedom of religion?

Barack Obama often refers to it as “freedom of worship.” But that’s a whole different animal. Yes, it’s true, you can worship virtually any way you want in America in the assembly of your choice. But just try taking your faith into the public square.

Yes, by all means try that. People do it every day, of course, without a problem. Religious groups hold prayer rallies on public grounds, hand out religious literature and preach on public sidewalks (the ACLU, in fact, often defends their right to do so when some ignorant local satrap tries to prevent them from doing so), and broadcast religious programming over the public airwaves. Politicians invoke their religious beliefs thousands of times every day and no one tries to stop them.

This is the classic use of the term “public square” without ever defining it. The only thing they can actually be referring to (because these are the only restrictions that actually exist) is the government not being allowed to endorse their religion, but they want their followers to believe that Christians are not allowed to speak publicly. That is obviously false.

The Ten Commandments are forbidden in any institution controlled by government.

I wish that were true, but it isn’t. The Supreme Court upheld the placement of Ten Commandments monuments in many cases in 2005. Is Farah ignorant of that ruling or is he just lying?

Prayer is forbidden in public schools by the order of the U.S. Supreme Court.

No it isn’t. Government-mandated prayer is forbidden in public schools, as it should be. But students and teachers pray in school millions of times every day and no one tries to stop them. They do this as individuals and as groups, in events like See You At the Pole and before and after school in official student groups. Again, is Farah ignorant or is he lying?

The Bible, which was the foundation of early education in the 18th century, is forbidden from government schools.

Again, false. Lots and lots of schools have courses in the Bible as history and literature and the Supreme Court has upheld their ability to do so — as long as it’s done in a scholarly, non-proselytizing way (which means most of those classes ought to be unconstitutional).

This is the same old persecution myth being relentlessly repeated by frauds like Joseph Farah, who are either absolutely ignorant of the law or are just plain lying. Or both.

15 comments

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  1. 1
    dingojack

    “…and in unrealted news – Farah’s mouth seen to be moving. Film at 11.”
    Dingo

  2. 2
    Argle Bargle

    Farah is complaining that since the government isn’t forcing his particular flavor of religion down everyone else’s throat then Christians are being persecuted.

  3. 3
    John Pieret

    … is Farah ignorant or is he lying?

    Those are not mutually exclusive. I guess it is some of both.

    Their real complaint is that they are not being allowed to use public schools, etc. to proselytize not only their own children but everyone else’s.

  4. 4
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    The WND with a straight face suggests on one hand that Christians are less free than they were in some tyrannical past, and on the other they suggest climate scientists should be jailed.

    Freedom. They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

  5. 5
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    John Pieret:

    Their real complaint is that they are not being allowed to use public schools, etc. to proselytize not only their own children but everyone else’s.

    Which they also weren’t allowed to do under King George III.

    Oh no! Farah is right. Some things are just as bad as they were in the bad ol’ days before the Colonial Bullets For Freedom program.

  6. 6
    reverendrodney

    Pardon my paranoia but the more I hear that we had it better under King George III and utterances of “anti-colonialism”, the more I think the ultra-extreme batshit crazy religious right wants to undo the entire American Revolution.

  7. 7
    dingojack

    reverendrodney – maybe then they’ll be able to do the full-monte fawn at Lord Monotony’s feet.
    :) Dingo

  8. 8
    Dave Maier

    Points for “satrap” — there’s a word you don’t see every day!

  9. 9
    fifthdentist

    Don’t be silly, reverendrodney, they would much rather undo everything that came after the Dark Ages.
    Or as they call that time, the good old days. When hardly anyone questioned authority or religion (which were basically the same thing), and those who did were quickly burned at the stake. When people died of diseases that are easily treatable or preventable today because it was god’s will.

  10. 10
    redmann

    And Bible passages have been read into the Congressional Record. There;s also Randy Forbes and H. Con. Res. 34,

  11. 11
    Ed Brayton

    Dave –

    A word I learned long ago when I was coaching debate, when one of my students jokingly called me a satrap and I had no idea what he meant.

  12. 12
    uzza

    Re that persecution myth, Candida Moss is coming out with a new book “The myth of persecution: How early christians invented a story of martyrdom”. It should be interesting.

  13. 13
    Ouabache

    The part that bugs me is that if we actually did allow government-mandated prayer they would use that as an example of Obama trying to force his commie socialist views on our precious children.

  14. 14
    eric
    [Farah]
    The Bible, which was the foundation of early education in the 18th century, is forbidden from government schools.

    [Ed] Again, false. Lots and lots of schools have courses in the Bible as history and literature and the Supreme Court has upheld their ability to do so — as long as it’s done in a scholarly, non-proselytizing way (which means most of those classes ought to be unconstitutional).

    He may be talking about the Freshwater case, where an Ohio biology teacher claims to have been fired for keeping a bible on his desk. He wasn’t – the district had other reasons – but the relevant point here is, the administration never forbade him from having it in school, they asked him to keep it in his desk drawer during class.

  15. 15
    JustaTech

    I think that one of the challanges that comes up in a discussion of “freedom of religion” with the average American (not the nutso-author of this bit of lunacy) is that they don’t know enough Eurpoean history. Certianly I didn’t, and I was a good student. But until I started reading fiction about Mary and Elizabeth Tudor and the 30-years war, I didn’t really understand that “government control of religion” meant that you might be devout Catholics one week and equally devout (or not) Protestants the next week.

    That is the kind of *lack* of freedom of choice that was such a driver for many early American colonies (who were then just as tyrranical). Freedom of religion is the freedom to choose your religion (or no religion) and keep your head, your house, your job. It’s not the freedom to take those things from other people.

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