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Move over, Hester: Speaker Mikey's in town...

Remember Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Puritan society in his novel, The Scarlet Letter? Poor Hester Prynne violated the laws of the church, which meant that she broke society’s laws, too. At the beginning of the novel, the reader joins Hester as she leaves the safety of the town prison and makes her way back into the society that jailed her.


Reading the book for the first time in the 11th grade, I had a hard time understanding how, in a free society, the religion of one group could also form its judicial system. That makes the laws of God the same thing as the laws of man.


Separation of church and state was also an 11th grade U.S. history lesson, so we students figured no more Hesters could be jailed for breaking the laws of her religion .


Or so we thought.


We fought a war 250 years ago to separate the colonies from a king who was not only ruler of the government but leader of the church. A quick walk through British history shows what a mess that ideal leads to: remember Henry VIII, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell? Heads rolled, literally, if one didn’t buy into the going religion of the day, and our forefathers were savvy enough to realize this. Hence, separation of church and state, wisely built into our Constitution.


And that worked just fine, until now.


Ever heard of the City Elders? It’s a local group that has begun to dig their talons into school boards, city councils, and boards of supervisors. There is at least one on the Augusta County school board, according to reporting in the Daily News Record, and the organization hosts a myriad of believers in surrounding counties.


They all adhere to the principal that the Bible, not the constitution, is the ultimate source for law. They believe that their job is to spread the fallacy that this country was founded on Christian principals, when a good study of history would clear that misconception up pretty quick.


Admittedly, there are some similarities between the laws of the land and the Ten Commandments. For example, our laws forbid murder and theft, just like the Bible.


But the law doesn’t forbid adultery; however, the ten commandments does. Which might make one question why, if the Bible is the predominant source of law for these right wing believers, does the leader of the City Elder’s political party consistently violate that commandment? And why does that political party still support him?


Hmmm…Seems a little hypocritical, but most of this stuff does.


But lets move on. As concerning as these far right extremists are in local government, we now have the political figure two steps from the White House adhering to the same principals. Speaker of the House Michael Johnson believes the Bible should be the voice of authority in all things government rather than the constitution that he took an oath to uphold (you know, the ”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…” stuff?).


Seems oaths don’t mean much to Speaker Mikey, because even though he is an ardent defender of First Amendment, according to Politico, this only applies to Christians. No Christian involved, either side of the argument works for him.


In addition, his dedication to Christian values, like love thy neighbor or the Golden Rule, doesn’t extend to the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Speaker, “Your race, creed, and sex are what you are, while homosexuality and cross-dressing are things you do.” This means that the most powerful man in Congress doesn’t believe that 7.1% of the population exists, much less deserves the rights that the rest of us enjoy.


And consider that he led the legal battle to overturn the 2020 election, a legal argument thrown out by the Supreme Court. But he continued to spread lies and voted against certifying Biden’s win. Evidently, his copy of the Bible left out the commandment, “thou shalt not bear false witness.” “Thou shalt not steal” didn’t bother him too much either, as he tried to steal every vote cast for our current President, including mine and probably yours.


You see the hypocrisy in this man, right?


We should be really worried that political figures so attached to one religion are throwing out the constitution for their own beliefs. The constitution was written to serve all Americans; the Bible was not.


Maybe we should all get out our embroidery thread and work on our own scarlet letters. If the City Elders and Speaker Mikey get their way, we’re going to need them.

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