Tea Partier and obvious theocrat Louie Gohmert used a House subcommittee hearing to argue with a faith leader about separation of church and state. Or, more accurately, he grilled Reverend Barry Lynn about whether he believed in “sharing the good news that will keep people from going to hell, consistent with the Christian beliefs.”
Lynn, for his part, is a church-state separatist, despite his faith. After Gohmert repeated his questions, asking what Lynn’s beliefs were and whether he wanted to work to keep people out of hell, Lynn shot back with this:
“Congressman, what I believe is not necessarily what I think ought to justify the creation of public policy for everybody. For the 2,000 different religions that exist in this country, the 25 million non-believers. I’ve never been offended. I’ve never been ashamed to share my belief.”
Well glory be! Someone stood up to the theocrats in a Congressional hearing with something that’s consistent with Constitutional freedom. Lynn was testifying before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice about religious freedom. Gohmert, of course, continued to try and get Lynn to clarify what he meant by “Christian,” since Lynn didn’t want to endorse or discuss a specific set of ideas in a Congressional hearing.
Back in April, Gohmert revealed that he thinks separation of church and state means that the church has a role in policymaking. When discussing some of the history of separation of church and state, he talked about a report about how the founding fathers saw the church’s role in the U.S. Like many theocrats, it seems he cherry-picked what he liked out of that report, or perhaps, the report itself was cherry-picked. He said, according to The Raw Story:
“But [the wall between the church and the state] was to be a one-way wall, where the state would not dictate to the church. But the church would certainly play a role in the state. And so President Thomas Jefferson had a little different idea of what separation of church and state meant when he used it in his letter to the Danbury Baptists. […] So that’s a little different idea than a lot of people have about separation of church and state now. Including some of our esteemed Supreme Court, who are not quite as familiar with our history as they probably should be.”
But worse than that is his belief that the Constitution only protects certain Americans, like those who cling to God and their guns. For someone who currently holds a federal office, that’s a dangerous way to be thinking. He gets that idea from a John Adams quote, which said that the Constitution would only work for a moral and religious populace. Adams, however, didn’t write the Constitution or the First Amendment. It’s also important to note that even the founders disagreed on how much of a role the church was to play in government.
In short, Louie Gohmert would turn this into a Christian nation if he could, and he believes that the government has a responsibility to keep people out of hell, even if those people don’t believe that there is a hell, or a heaven, or a god, or a savior.
Watch your tax dollars at work.