Dispatches from the Creation Wars

When Authoritarians Cry Censorship

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina has co-authored a new book decrying the alleged censorship of “god talk” in this country. It looks like a typical anti-ACLU screed, but it is highly ironic coming from DeMint. Here’s what OneNewsNow had to say about it:

Senator Jim Demint is taking liberals and secular elites to task over decades of support of government-imposed secularism. The lawmaker accuses the government of intimidating those who say what is wrong with America.

Yes, of course. Every time someone says “I think this is what’s wrong with America” they are immediately thrown in jail. Huh? What on earth is he talking about? He doesn’t seem to have any idea. But he’s got the religious right talking points down pat:

Senator DeMint (R-South Carolina) has co-authored a book with Clemson University professor Dr. J. David Woodard called Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It’s Wrong. DeMint says the book traces the decline of American culture back to the 1960s when the government took prayer out of the schools, and he shows how it has morphed over time into separating God from country.

It is mind-boggling to me that anyone in their right mind could possibly attack the Supreme Court ruling that took government-written and government-mandated prayer out of public schools. If forcing schoolchildren to recite prayers written by the government is not a violation of both the establishment clause and the free exercise clause, please tell me what possibly could be a violation. If that doesn’t fit, nothing fits. Government-enforced religious exercises cannot possibly not be a violation of the first amendment.

“Today almost anything you suggest is wrong,” explains Demint. “People feel like [it’s] a violation of the separation of church and state because every value has some religious connection to it. And those who speak out usually whisper because of the intimidation.”

DeMint says Americans must have the right to say what is wrong with the country, without fearing the government or organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

I’d be willing to wager a sizable amount of money that DeMint cannot find a single case where anyone has ever been punished by the government for “saying what is wrong with the country.” And there is irony here on so many levels. First of all, DeMint is an enthusiastic supporter of Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program and his other various unconstitutional policies.

DeMint is about as authoritarian as it gets. During his campaign for the Senate in 2004, he declared that all gay teachers should be fired, as should all pregnant female teachers (because the woman shouldn’t be working, she should be at home taking care of her kids). He also favors a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Oh yeah, DeMint cares so much about civil liberties, I’m going to take him seriously on this one.