It wasn’t so long ago — apparently 100 episodes of This American Life, or four calendar years — that President Bush, and his Cabinet, personally intervened to force a small-town government to open its public spaces to organized religious prayer, in seeming derogation of both First Amendment values, and the notion of local control.
Conservatives today talk about “statism” — the centralized government’s interference in the private affairs of you and yours — but could there be a better example of statism than the heavy-handed, Cabinet-level decision to cancel the act of a local government, for its failure to comply with the Cabinet’s values?
Let this be a poignant reminder that when we talk about religiously motivated law, we talk about commandments from on high, foisted upon us by the government; derived from God, perhaps, but executed by Caesar, in defense of Caesar’s god. The mind reels to think of the cognitive dissonance your average tea partier must manage to reconcile a love of Sarah Palin with her utter opposition to their putative values. Maybe they’re smarter than they look.