On his radio broadcast yesterday, Bryan Fischer spent two segments laying out his argument that, when the founders of this nation used the word "religion," what they really meant was "Christianity." [...]Well that certainly simplifies things. We simply declare that "religion" means Jesus only and we're done! While we're at it we can also say that when the founders said freedom they meant pants, and when they said liberty they meant a nice warm cup of milk, and when they said quartering of troops they meant standing in line for a Twilight movie.
"If by 'religion,'" Fischer said, "the founders, and the founders of the state of Oklahoma, meant Christianity, then you can ban a monument to Satan because that's not Christianity ... You can say 'no, we're not going to let you do it. Our Constitution protects the free exercise of the Christian religion; yours is not a Christian expression, we're not going to have that monument.' If we don't understand the word 'religion' to mean Christianity as the founders intended it, then we have no way to stop Islam, we have no way to stop Satanism, we have no way to stop any other sort of sinister religion practice that might creep onto the fruited plains"
(Aside: I always feel bad for subjecting people to Bryan Fischer, a mid-tier pseudopundit who is really just so spiteful and vicious and stupid a person that we would probably all be better off pretending he did not exist ... but there's that American Family Association thing. No, these people actually get treated seriously, actually get to appear on the teevee, actually get supposedly serious people to ask their supposedly serious things, actually get to pretend to get all bent out of shape at how cruelly they are treated by anyone who does not particularly like a dose of batshit with their morning coffee. Given that, it seems sketchy to ignore them, and if nothing else knowing the name Bryan Fischer will at least allow you to quickly determine, upon seeing his snarling mug on the teevee, that the producers of that particular show really do think you are an absolute idiot.)
Back to the point, if we must: Eh, I suppose we really ought to put some choice Jefferson quotes in here or the like, but that would mean giving the argument five minutes of respect, or at least two, or at least one, and I don't think we need to do that. Suffice it to say that the world the American Family Association clods are going for would be a morose place indeed, if you are not part of their preferred flock. And just wait until they start explaining which branches of Christianity they consider legitimate and which they don't—the family values tent is a small, small place, and I've always wondered why each one of the various loudmouths on the subject are so sure that their preferred version would win out, if we started thinning the ranks of which sub-religions we were going to respect and which we weren't.