Preaching To Meddling

February 20th, 2014

Like the Bible, people selectively cherry-pick our Constitution to justify selective behavior. Being no exception myself, and being relevant to both documents, the cherry I’m picking today is our founders’ wisdom in probibiting the imposition of religion – anyone’s religion – on everyone’s laws.

I pick the very American notion of inclusion over exclusion, open over closed, self-determination instead of of institutional control.

I pick the freedom of choosing my own beliefs and freedom from yours, and respecting that right for both of us and the law for all of us.

So did the founders.

As published in The Daily News, February 21, 2014, and in The Memphis News, February 22-28, 2014

Religious Law


Pharisee |ˈfarəsē|

noun • a member of an ancient religious sect, distinguished by strict observance of traditional and written law, commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity.

From the church of Nashville:

If you believe that religion should dictate law, then stand and repeat after me.

It is only necessary for me to believe in something in order to deny you anything.

If I believe that only those people who believe what I do should have a hamburger, I will not serve others a hamburger. Or anything else.

If I believe that only those people who believe what I do should have a couch, I will not sell others a couch. Or anything else.

If I believe that only those people who believe what I do are people, I will not treat others like people. But something else.

If I believe that only those people who believe what I do can be loved, I will not allow others to be loved. Only to be hated.

If I believe that a horn grows out of a horse’s head and makes that horse a unicorn, then I will deny the civil rights of anyone who doesn’t believe that and make myself a horse’s ass. And I will make that law.


• a self-righteous person; a hypocrite.

Note, brothers and sisters of the legislative gavel, since the Pharisees and Jesus were Jewish, they’ll differ with you on points of religion. Jesus, I believe, is going to differ with you on virtually every point.

I also believe when legislators impose religion on law, they mean their religion. They would be shocked if a Hindu denied them their steak or an Orthodox Jew or Seventh-Day Adventist their barbecue, enraged if a Buddhist would deny their carry permit or the Amish their SUV, stunned if an atheist told them who they could marry, and – most of all – inconsolable if so-called Christian law would be replaced with sharia law.

And since I believe that, I deny you the basis in law or in common sense to dictate anything to the citizens of Tennessee based on yours or anyone’s religion. But I really don’t have to; I have a Constitution that already does.

So just stop for God’s sake.

Stop paying attention to the pandering of small people to small minds for their own political gain. Stop giving credence to incredulous sanctimony, credibility to incredible hypocrisy.

Stop being silent when mean-spirited, self-serving legislation screams for condemnation, and make sure that the authors of such legislation are remembered for it and can’t slink away from the ugliness of it.

Brian Kelsey proposed a bill that is both unconstitutional and unconscionable and then tried to hide from it. While my religion requires that we forgive him, our conscience requires that we never forget what he did.

So it is written.

In my book, Jesus is about love and others before self. I’ll leave it to you what laws like this are about.

I’m a Memphian, and that’s what I believe.


I'm a Memphian by Dan Conaway

The book is available all over town – columns, comments and character references for a city filled with it and often absolutely full of it. Take a look.



guy miller: I agree Dan, Jesus could have stoned the crap out of the adulteror but he chose instead to teach us that we are ALL sinners. We should love each other as we love ourselves. Stephen Covey once said, "We judge ourselves by our intentions, we judge others by their results."

Jason: Should a caterer be made subject to being sued for discrimination and forced to pay money damages for refusing to cater an Aryan Nation convention? An NRA meeting? Board meeting of Monsanto? Haliburton? Corporation with record of polluting the environment? Tea Party? Just curious how far your belief in legally mandatory commercial exchanges extends.

Beverly High: Thank you for this. Beautifully written!

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