The Founding Fathers took the trouble to separate the state from religion in the US Constitution, but a resurgent political movement seems determined to turn the country into a theocracy.
I am not talking about Islamic extremists who would impose Shariah law, although I am sure they exist in America as they do in other countries.
I think it’s the Evangelicals who are more of a threat. Not all born-again Christians, of course, just a politically active faction often referred to in the media as the Religious Right.
They want to impose Biblical law on America. Not the law of the New Testament – love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself – but the law of Leviticus, which calls for gays to be stoned to death.
They are organized politically around selected sections of Judaic law, disregarding laws that don’t resonate with their emotional biases.
These Evangelical extremists reject the authority of secular law, raging at the Supreme Court when the justices rule against their prejudices, and crusading for politicians who pander to their pet causes.
They profess to answer to “a higher power.”
Some fanatics have even taken the law into their own hands, assassinating abortion doctors and attacking abortion clinics, for example.
Opposition to these latter-day crusaders seems disorganized and irresolute. Distracted by false skirmishes such as the “war on Christmas,” and sabotaged by misguided allies such as the activists who banned prayer in the schools and rail against crèches on public property, the defense against an evangelical takeover has been unfocused and ineffective.
It’s ironic that while America’s leaders wage war against the theocracies of the Mideast, there is a growing threat of theocracy at home.
It’s not what the majority of Americans want, of course, but I suppose many fear they might seem sacrilegious if they oppose the extremists. And I imagine that’s how some Sunnis must feel when confronted by the barbaric excesses of ISIS.