The Religious Right has been driving a sledgehammer into the wall of separation of church and state for 30 years, and has enjoyed an especially-intimate relationship with the politically powerful for eight years running. They have achieved significant successes: Bush’s faith-based initiatives, the partial-birth abortion ban, the passage of parental-notification laws, the Bush appointments of Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and the constitutional amendments against gay marriage just passed in Florida, Arizona and California. There are doubtlessly many other successes I’ve left out, especially at the state and local level.
Now, bow your heads and let us gloat. Because the Religious Right had some significant defeats this election, and I think its time to celebrate!
First and foremost, let’s sing a hallelujah to the crushing, sweeping, stunning blow to Amendment 48 in Colorado. Hip-hip-horrrahhhh!! Your possibility of getting sued in court by a fertilized egg claiming its right to your body and property is just not gonna happen!
Washington state passed the nation’s second assisted suicide law in the country! Now individuals who are suffering and who rationally decide to end their life with dignity have more opportunity to do so humanely. This is a “right-to-life” issue: the right to choose to control your life, and that includes ending interminable suffering, even if evangelical Christians don’t want you to.
Another attempt to severely ban abortion in South Dakota failed! Hurrah!! Proponents tried to make a previous draconian abortion bill more palatable by allowing rape and incest victims or women in danger for their health to have an abortion if necessary. Oh, gee, thanks for the crumb, but all women in South Dakota will get to retain at least most of their right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy according to their decision.
And candidates favored by the Religious Right suffered some losses at the polls. Hurrah!! In five of eight Senate races, the Religious Right’s favorite candidate lost (Colorado, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Dakota); and two races are in a run-off (Georgia and Minnesota). In eleven races for the House, six incumbent Representatives favored by the Religious Right were ousted (Colorado, Florida, Idaho, North Carolina, Michigan and Virginia). And three incumbents held off religious challengers (Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania). This means that it will be more difficult for evangelicals to forcibly decide for all of us that we should abide by a biblical morality.
Cheers to us all! The Wall of Separation of Church and State is still there. It’s big!!! It won’t come down… for the time being, at least!