Congratulations, U.S. America and such as! You have survived yet another calendar year without the establishment of a theocracy or the utter banishment of religious faith! It was a year in which the most momentous SCOTUS decision on church and state was a fairly narrow (and stupid) ruling that allows churches to ignore fair employment practices as long as the employee is a “minister” of some sort — which certainly sucks if you teach at a church school, and like everything out of the Roberts court, keeps narrowing who can sue for employment issues, but doesn’t exactly reshape the basic church/state relationship in a fundamental way. Which is not to say that there weren’t plenty of attempts to tear down that wall of separation, deny it exists at all, or claim that the Atheist Muslim Secularist in the White House wants to put all Christians in a gulag. And so, let us review just a few of 2012’s finer religio-political collisions. A caveat: We won’t have much of anything to say about Mitt Romney’s Mormonosity, because really, how many magic underwear jokes does the world need?
Really, we could do a whole post on “Idiotic Things Rick Santorum Said About Church and State.” You will be glad to know that we will show some restraint. There’s just so much to choose from. How about that time when he said that John F. Kennedy’s famous pledge to put the Constitution ahead of his Catholic faith just made Ricky so mad he could projectile vomit rosaries? Or maybe his frothy response to the SCOTUS case that we referenced a moment ago, where Ricky claimed that the Obama administration wants to force Lady Priests on America, when what the administration had actually argued was that church schools shouldn’t get away with firing disabled people. And of course, there was Santorum’s greatest moment, when he discovered that requiring insurance companies to cover whore pills would equal outlawing God forever. This set off a whole bunch of attempts to protect Jebus by giving employers the right to opt out of any regulations that might go against their “religious beliefs and moral convictions.”
But hey, how about the kids? In the schools, where God isn’t allowed, so He lets maniacs shoot them up? Turns out, the kids are all right, at least in terms of not having Jebus thrown at them. Sure, maybe Bradlee Dean manages to dupe some school districts into paying him for an in-school revival meeting now and then by falsely advertising it as an “anti-bullying” presentation (where he bullies gays and non-Christians), but the ACLU is keeping an eye on him now. And then there’s the kind-of inspiring story of teen atheist Jessica Ahlquist, who successfully sued her Rhode Island high school to get a an official “school prayer” banner removed from the gym. Yes, she received death threats and a state legislator called her an “evil little thing,” but she stuck to her guns and in the end, the Constitution won, and people who were pissed off by the crappy treatment she received even put together a scholarship fund for her, so yay, First Amendment.
Also, you may have heard a thing or two about Louisiana’s attempt to throw state money at religious schools, which resulted in some kind of awkward moments, like when some state legislators found out that might include Muslim schools too, or shelling out public funds to a guy calling himself a prophet, and of course paying for textbooks that say the Loch Ness Monster is real (a story which not only embarrassed Louisiana, maybe a little, but which inspired Yr. Doktor Zoom to start buying Christianist textbooks on the ebays, for all to enjoy). Happily, that little voucher law was declared unconstitutional by a state court in November, which was surprising to almost nobody at all. Still, we should expect an appeal, which will also go nowhere. What happens next in Louisiana schools? Maybe, if they’re smart, they’ll follow the example of the New Orleans school district, and actually teach reality? Ha-ha! Fat chance! They know we love writing about them on Your Wonkette too much!
There are a lot of other things that happened in church and state cases this year (we hardly even mentioned Sharia Law!), and we would love to tell you more about them, but suddenly we are run over by Jesus in a truck.