Law Isn’t Holy

November 10th, 2011

Episcopalians often talk of their approach to the mysteries of faith as a three-legged stool – scripture, tradition and reason. My faith continues to evolve and I am certainly no theologian, but I have spent the night in a Holiday Inn Express and a lifetime supported by that stool, so I know what those legs mean to me:

Study widely. Worship respectfully. Think independently.

And this I believe. No one has the right to tell me or you what to believe at the expense of our freedom or to impose the tenets of any religion on the laws of this republic.

But that’s just me. Don’t let anybody else decide what you believe.

As published in The Daily News, November 11, 2011, and in The Memphis News, November 12-18, 2011



When I write about politics and religion – lately, the same thing – questioning the judgment of some of our elected officials and self-anointed saviors, I’m apparently not only risking their self-righteous wrath, but the very wrath of heaven. Or, as we say around here, I am going straight to hell. So here goes.

Who the hell do you think you are telling us what to believe, and using our tax dollars to ram what you believe down the throats of poor young women instead of providing them with help and care based on modern medicine instead of the doctrine of the church of Nashville and the chapel of the county commission?

I personally believe God has a place in the heart, mind, and the very soul of this community, state and nation, but legislating on the basis of personal religious belief, mine or anybody else’s, to the exclusion of those who don’t share it is not only arrogant and unconscionable, it’s un-American.

The Pilgrims didn’t come over here for Thanksgiving dinner; they came to get away from the turkeys persecuting them for their beliefs. Franklin, Jefferson and George himself weren’t Christians, they were deists, believing in a supreme being but supremely distrustful of organized religion. The recent resolution Congress passed – the only thing they’ve passed except wind and the time of day – declaring “In God We Trust” the country’s official motto, says God, not Jesus. The God of Jesus, and also of Abraham and Mohammed. The God of the Bible, and also of the Torah, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon.

If you believe in any or all or none of that, you are no more or less an American because of it.

If you are tried and judged in the name of any of that, or have any doctrine or belief system forced on you before public acceptance or services are rendered, history has other names for that.

The Spanish Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, Kristallnacht, talk radio and the scheme to destroy Planned Parenthood are just a few that come to mind.

Christ Community Health Services is a faith-based organization that’s placed itself, like the women it would serve, in a difficult position. Take the public money and take the chance of compromising your faith in order to keep it, while the women either have to take the missionary help that’s offered or get no help at all.

Ask yourself this question – if the name of the faith-based organization was Islamic Community Health Services, think they’d have gotten a penny from our sanctimonious brethren of the gavel?

I believe if Jesus walked into any Memphis worship service and stood before the black and white congregations, all of one color or the other, what he'd say about how his words have been twisted for personal and political gain and what he'd say about what’s been done in God’s name would scare the bejesus out of everyone present.

I’m a Memphian, and we’ve elected no one to speak for God.


Richard Higgins: AMEN!!!

Scott Blake: Amen Brother Dan

Lyn Forsyth: Thank you! I could not agree more, and I can't think of how anyone could say it any better!

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