A new Pew Research Center poll found that more Republicans want more religion in politics. Or as conservatives put it, “The American public said they want religion to play a role in U.S. politics.” (More)

I don’t write much about Scuiridism because there are lots of versions. In a nutshell – and that’s how squirrels like our religions – the only thing they agree on is that squirrels were here first. And science says that’s true, at least for modern mammals. A few million years later the first human ancestor came along, and guess what? It was another kind of squirrel. You’re welcome.

Anyway, with so many varieties of Scuiridism to choose from and no way to prove any of them – except for our genesis – we let other squirrels believe what they want and don’t argue about it. But you humans fought lots of wars over religion and banished or even tortured and killed people who disagree. That even happened here in the U.S., and James Madison and members of Congress didn’t want it to happen again. So they wrote the First Amendment:

Madison’s original proposal for a bill of rights provision concerning religion read: “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.” The language was altered in the House to read: “Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.” In the Senate, the section adopted read: “Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion….” It was in the conference committee of the two bodies, chaired by Madison, that the present language was written with its some what more indefinite “respecting” phraseology.

The First Amendment says only that “Congress shall make no law” and the early Supreme Court interpreted that to mean that state governments could give special privileges to specific religions. But the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause said that states must provide “due process of law” and the Supreme Court said that meant states could not enforce laws that violate basic constitutional rights. The Court said that applied to religion, first in 1940 with the case of Cantwell v. Connecticut and then in 1947 with the case of Everson v. Board of Education, where Justice Hugo Black wrote this for a 5-4 majority:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between Church and State.”

In other words, you started acting like squirrels. But a new Pew Research Poll found some Americans don’t like that:

Analysis also shows that growing support for religion in politics is concentrated among those who think religion has a positive impact on society. And the desire for religion in public life is much more evident among Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP than among Democrats and Democratic leaners.

Or, as conservatives put it: “The American public said that they want religion to play a role in U.S. politics[.].”

Well, no. Actually it’s pretty much just Republicans who think so:

The survey finds a growing appetite for belief in the ballot box, and politics in the pulpit. These shifts are largely happening on the Republican side of the aisle. And among Republicans, the changes are driven by white evangelical concern that the country is becoming less favorable to religion and, inexplicably, more hostile toward white evangelicals.

Take a look at that last clause. Or better yet, the Pew Research data:

See that first line under “Protestant?” More White Evangelicals say “there is a lot of discrimination against Evangelical Christians” than say there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims, Blacks, or Hispanics. Yes, really.

And by “a lot of discrimination,” they mean religious employers can’t force women to pay twice for birth control – once with their insurance premiums, and again at the pharmacy – and religious people shouldn’t have to testify in court about child labor violations. Also, immigrants should have to abandon other religions and adopt Judaism or Christianity, because the First Amendment doesn’t protect Islam.

Except Thomas Jefferson disagreed:

Campaigning for religious freedom in Virginia, Jefferson followed [John] Locke, his idol, in demanding recognition of the religious rights of the “Mahamdan,” the Jew and the “pagan.” Supporting Jefferson was his old ally, Richard Henry Lee, who had made a motion in Congress on June 7, 1776, that the American colonies declare independence. “True freedom,” Lee asserted, “embraces the Mahomitan and the Gentoo (Hindu) as well as the Christian religion.”

In his autobiography, Jefferson recounted with satisfaction that in the struggle to pass his landmark Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1786), the Virginia legislature “rejected by a great majority” an effort to limit the bill’s scope “in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan.”

But hey, what did Jefferson know about the founding of the U.S.? Plus the Quran has lots of stuff about war. Kind of like the Bible, but the Quran is different:

Pat Robertson attempted to explain the difference between passages on war and killing in the Bible and the Quran.

Robertson, who regularly cites Qur’anic verses as proof that Islam is an inherently violent and genocidal religion, said the main difference is that God commanded the mass killings found in the Bible in order to curb the corrupting influences of idol-worshipers, while violent acts in the Quran were ordered by Allah.

“How can you say it’s not like the other? The other is in the name of Allah,” he reasoned.

And clearly God and Allah are entirely different. I mean, this guy knew that:

Around the ninth hour, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, saying “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” which is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Eli (translated in Matthew as “Eloi“) was a masculine form of the generic Hebrew and Aramaic title “god.” The feminine form of that title is Alah, and that came into Arabic as Allah. So either Jesus didn’t know that his dad and Allah were different gods … or Pat Robertson is as ignorant as he is arrogant.

I’ll go out on a limb (because squirrels do that) and believe the latter. You can believe what you want and it’s fine with me (because squirrels do that too). Just remember, we were here first. You’re welcome.

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Good day and good nuts