Separation of Church and State

San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone issued a notice Friday that he would no longer allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion, an escalation of his feud with the Catholic Democrat over abortion politics. The Archbishop said that he had warned Pelosi in April that she must either repudiate her support of abortion rights or not refer to her Catholicism in justifying them.

I’m not Catholic, so I don’t know what Communion is or how big a deal not receiving Communion is. It must be serious though, because an article about it appeared on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle this morning.

But I do know that Nancy Pelosi is a United States Congressperson who holds the office of Speaker of the House of the U.S. House of Representatives. The people she represents are not all Catholics and the majority of her constituents support abortion rights. A Pew Research survey last spring found that 67% of American Catholics support pro-abortion rights politicians like Pelosi and Biden receiving Communion.

Pelosi is a politician whose job it is to represent the interests of her constituents. She is not a church leader. Archbishop Cordileone is a religious leader and is not a politician. Just as political leaders should not discriminate against or punish their constituents for their religious beliefs, church leaders should not discriminate against or punish their flocks for their political beliefs.

In fact, even Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, when asked about the effort by U.S. bishops to refuse Communion to public figures who support abortion rights, said that he never denies anyone Communion, and urged bishops to be pastors, not politicians.

And let’s not forget that one of the core principles of America is, as Thomas Jefferson wrote, the separation of church and state.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people, which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

To the Archbishop of San Francisco and other members of the Catholic clergy who wish to punish members of their church who don’t oppose abortion rights, I suggest you at least heed the words of your own Pope, if not those of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson.

Reblog: The End Of “Liberty and Justice for All”

I am reblogging Jill’s post. If I had written it I might have titled it “The End of Liberty and Justice for All As Long as You’re a Straight, White, Christian Male.” Because if you’re not straight, if you’re not white, if you’re not Christian, and if you’re not male, liberty and justice doesn’t seem to apply to you anymore.

I wrote an angry post last night when I first heard about this because I was mad as hell. But Jill’s post expresses much more eloquently the injustice and the potential ramifications of this initial draft decision…and not just on abortion rights, but on the rights and liberties of others.

Please read Jill’s excellent post and leave any comments you may have there.

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court voted to take away a substantial portion of the rights of women when they voted in private to strike down …

The End Of “Liberty and Justice for All”

The Handmaid’s Tale Becomes Real

According to an historically unprecedented leak of a draft opinion, the Supreme Court justices privately voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade case that has guaranteed the right to abortion for nearly a half-century.

This initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito was circulated inside the Court. It’s a total repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights, as well as of a subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood v. Casey — that largely maintained the right.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito wrote in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives,” the leaked opinion says.

Fandango’s opinion: If this draft opinion holds and abortion is declared illegal in the United States, the government will essentially be taking control of women’s reproductive rights, including forcing women who become pregnant, including as a result of rape or incest, to give birth. We are witnessing the American democracy evolving into a conservative Christian theocracy and are ushering in a real-life American Handmaid’s Tale. And, no, I’m not joking.

One-Liner Wednesday — Evil

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.”

Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and Catholic theologian

Blaise Pascal died in 1662, but some of us (like me) believe what he said four centuries ago is still true today.

Be kind — or at least courteous — in your comments, please.


Written for Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt.

Thursday Inspiration — I Believe

For this week’s Thursday Inspiration prompt from Jim Adams, I’m taking a shortcut. His prompt is the word “believe” and to use the photo above and to write a post around that word. Well, I discussed the notion of believe in a post I published on October 25, 2018, and feel that it fits this prompt, so here it is.


I’m a Believer

If you’re reading this because you think this post is about the 1967 song “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees, it’s not. Not even close.

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What this post is about is that I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He’s a fairly religious person and he knows that I’m an atheist. He told me that he didn’t understand how anyone could be a “non-believer.” Apparently he believes, like many people, that being an atheist means that you’re a “non-believer.”

Do you tend to call those who don’t believe in God “non-believers”? Well, if you do, your definition of “believer” is way too narrow. You’re thinking that the word “believer” applies only to a belief system, a religious belief system. A belief in a supreme being, a greater intelligence, a supernatural deity. And for most Americans, that means believing in God, Yahweh, Allah, or whatever you call your deity.

As an atheist, I believe that God does not exist. I believe that Christians, Jews, and Muslims made up God in the same way that Greeks and Romans, for example, made up Zeus and Jupiter and all the other gods they believed in.

But just because I don’t believe that God exists doesn’t make me a non-believer. Because that would imply that I don’t believe in anything. I believe in a lot of things.

I believe that we didn’t exist before we were born and that we will cease to exist in any form after we die.

I believe that our universe is almost 14 billion years old and that the planet we live on is 4.5 billion years old. I believe in evolution. And I believe that we are working pretty damn hard to destroy our planet’s ability to sustain human life.

I believe in a woman’s rights to choose. I believe in free speech, in freedom of (or from) religion, in equal rights for gays, and in gun control. I also believe in the separation of church and state.

But wait, there’s more that I believe. I believe that humans are fallible and that we all make mistakes. Some more than others. I believe that most people are good, decent, and moral, regardless of their religious beliefs — or lack thereof. And I believe in my country. Just not in “God and country.”

Yeah, I know. You’re thinking that these beliefs make me a liberal, which is the next worst label a person can have after atheist, right?

You’re also thinking that these are not beliefs. These are philosophies. These are ideologies. And you’re thinking that I’m expressing political opinions, not, you know, beliefs.

Sorry, I don’t believe that. Yes, these are philosophical beliefs. They are ideological and even political beliefs. But they are, nevertheless, beliefs. Other than from a very narrow religious perspective, just because I don’t believe in God, doesn’t make me a non-believer. I have a whole host of beliefs. Because I am a human being and I am alive.

There is not one of us — unless you’re dead — who doesn’t believe in something.

And now, for those of you who took the time to read my 520-word post, here’s a reward for your effort.