I was disappointed that The Forum published an article by a regular columnist calling for taking up arms: “But as for me and my household, we have put on our belts, breastplates, shoes, helmets, and taken up our shields and swords to stand.” Bette Grande laments that “government no longer respects our God-given rights.” She quotes the Constitution “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” promoting her interpretation providing supremacy of religion over secular law. In Grande’s view, the religious tradition never to be compromised by governmental action: “principles that founded this country…Judeo-Christian values.”
What happens when one religion or religious tradition conflicts with another? What happens if your religion believes that women should always serve their husbands and not work outside the house? I’m afraid Grande would inform us that Congress has no right to enact equal employment rights for women when the employer is a Godly Christian. Or, that such Christians have the God-given right to ignore any such act – spilling heathen blood if necessary.
Grande writes informing us that there are “millions of Americans who are now engaged and are fed up with misplaced priorities (any priority that she might disagree with) and dysfunction of government, the manipulation from big tech, and the active cooperation from much of mainstream media.” It is those millions she calls to don the breastplates and pick up the sword.
This effort to promote religious intolerance over secular law, to thwart secular democracy, has been brewing for decades most notably made public when our Pledge of Allegiance was modified in 1954 to add “under God.” Then, in 1956, when the original “E pluribus unum” (1776 motto meaning “out of many, one”) was supplanted in 1956 by “In God We Trust.” And, more recently as the Supreme Court rules to exempt those claiming religious reasons to exempt themselves from secular laws.
The public has the right to make of this country whatever the majority desires following a process meant to avoid impulsive adventures. If a theistic state is the future it will leave many of us disappointed, especially if achieved by the sword and not civil debate.
I would hope The Forum appreciates that when their columnists no longer have the capacity to use language to affect an issue, they should not be given the forum to promote taking up arms. Otherwise, The Forum morphs from a platform for informed discussion to active complicity in fueling a smoldering violence threatening our country. A violence prodded by foreign adversaries preying on the weakest among us.
Joe Richardson lives in Fargo.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.