Johnston High School - 6500 NW 100th St, Johnston, IA

The Black & White

Johnston High School - 6500 NW 100th St, Johnston, IA

The Black & White

Johnston High School - 6500 NW 100th St, Johnston, IA

The Black & White

America: A Theocracy in Disguise 

All three branches of the government are undeniably influenced by religion, causing it to become abundantly clear that the United States, a country with no established national religion, has become a Christian nation.

The legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their ‘legislature’ should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” -Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence.

The Founding Fathers made it abundantly clear that religion must hold no influence over the government. A separation of church and state means not only may religious institutions have influence upon the government, but one’s personal beliefs must also remain separate from their role within the government. A politician’s job within the United States is not to reflect their values and beliefs but to reflect their constituents. This principle has been completely lost in the modern day; legislators make laws on their religious beliefs, not the will of the people, judges issue verdicts based on religion, not law and the president vetoes laws that don’t fit their religious narrative. Religion has a chokehold on the American government, and it can be tolerated no longer, the will of the people reigns supreme in this land, not the will of god.

America has not always had an issue with religion, to most it seemed like a nonissue until John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, ran for the presidency. Many Americans thought Kennedy would let the church influence his policies, but instead, he was a shining example of one building a wall between their religious beliefs and their job.

“I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for President, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters—and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as President—on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject—I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come—and I do not concede any conflict to be even remotely possible—when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do the same,” Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy perfectly describes the role of a public servant, they are not to act not in accordance with their religion, but in accordance with the national interest. However, no longer are there public servants, only politicians. 

An election in the United States’s intended purpose is to elect a public servant who will represent their constituents, regardless of their personal beliefs. Nowadays, an election forces a citizen to choose a candidate whose beliefs are set, who plays a character and who is a politician. Politicians do not reflect the beliefs of their constituents, they reflect their own. The citizen is responsible for picking the candidate that holds the beliefs closest to their own, choosing the lesser of two evils, not a representative. 

Religion is so prevalent in the modern-day government because politicians are no longer representatives, they act in their interests, and they put their religion into their policies. Public servitude is dead, and so is the separation of church and state.

Religion has infiltrated every branch of the government, but it holds the most power within the judiciary system. The courts are constantly clogged up with baseless lawsuits brought by Christian law firms whose sole intentions are to further demolish the wall between the church and the government. 

The most notorious of these firms is the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) which in their words promises to protect religious freedom, marriage and family, parental rights and the sanctity of life. ADF is consistently on the wrong side of history with its cases, working to take away LGBTQ+ rights and limit access to abortion.

303 Creative v. Elenis was a Supreme Court case decided in 2023 where Lorrie Smith sued the state of Colorado over Colorado’s anti-discrimination laws preventing her from barring LGBTQ+ couples from using her web development services. Smith was looking into creating wedding announcement websites and was outraged at the fact that if an LGBTQ+ couple approached her wanting her services, she could not deny them. It is important to note that no LGBTQ+ couple ever approached her, she just couldn’t stand the possibility of it happening. ADF represented Smith in Colorado’s district court and lost before appealing to the Supreme Court. Ultimately, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court decided in ADF and Smith’s favor, effectively legalizing discrimination.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was the Supreme Court that overthrew Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, allowing states to ban abortion. In this case, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, sued Thomas Dobbs, a state health officer with the Mississippi State Department of Health, over a 2018 Mississippi State law banning abortion past 15 weeks. ADF represented Dobbs with the sole intention to overthrow Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court case that ruled Americans have a right to have access to abortion. Taking the precedent into account it’s clear Dobbs should have lost this case but rather the court in a 6-3 decision ruled in his favor, throwing out Roe v. Wade and leaving the legality of abortion up to the states. This decision led to abortion bans across the nation, putting women’s health at risk and taking away their rights. 

ADF did not win these cases because they were in the right, or even because they’re good lawyers, they won because the judicial system is rife with corruption. ADF’s tendrils are deeply intertwined with the government, Supreme Court Justice Amy  Coney Barrett delivered lectures to ADF from 2011 to 2016, Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was known to consult with ADF and current Speaker of the House Mike Johnson was an attorney for ADF. These organizations ensure that every decision made by the government is made with a Christian perspective, America is a theocracy in disguise.

Mike Johnson is currently the Speaker of the House of Representatives and is one of the most egregious examples of a politician influenced by religion. He worked as an attorney for ADF, working to criminalize homosexuality. Johnson is an outspoken homophobe and of all people, he is the Speaker of the House. 

Why is same-sex marriage a threat? The answer is simple: because we tamper with God’s created order at our peril. If activist judges can reject thousands of years of history and legitimize homosexual marriage, then transsexual and group “marriages” of every sort must logically follow. If you were shocked by the moral lapses at the Super Bowl you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Experts project that homosexual marriage is the dark harbinger of chaos and sexual anarchy that could doom even the strongest republic,” wrote Johnson in an opinion piece for the Shreveport Times.

Johnson’s claim that homosexual marriage is the “dark harbinger of chaos” unsurprisingly, is unequivocally false. Numerous studies have found that there is a genetic component to homosexuality, meaning it is inherently natural. Johnson and other members of the Christian right utilize fear-mongering to push their religious beliefs that homosexuality is unnatural, despite science stating otherwise. Politicians are allowed religious beliefs but one cannot say they are still acting in the best interest of the nation when they ignore the scientific evidence because it disagrees with their religion. 

These members of the so-called “religious right” faction of Congress hold their religion above anything else but their religion contradicts their beliefs. You can’t call yourself a Christian and vote against feeding the poor as Jesus did. You can’t call yourself a Christian and vote against public healthcare. You can’t call yourself a Christian and fund foreign wars, assisting in the murder of millions. You can’t call yourself a Christian and give tax breaks to the rich leaving the burden upon the poor. You can’t call yourself a Christian and slander your colleagues and constituents. You can’t call yourself a Christian and lie about your actions. You can’t call yourself a Christian while you hold Trump on a pedestal. The religious right has lost sight of their religion. They are Christian no longer, they contradict too many of the core beliefs of Christianity and so they twist the Bible to fit these beliefs. Christianity within the government has been completely contorted, there are no true Christian politicians any longer.

While the majority of Americans may be Christian, there is a significant portion who are not and those people are not represented within our government. Over 100 million Americans are represented by a single representative in the House and a single senator on the religious front. It cannot be said that religion isn’t influential on the government. Religion is immensely important to so many people, and too important for it to be improperly represented within the government. The amount of Americans who are unaffiliated with religion is on the rise, yet still, there is a significant lack of representation for them. America is a Christian nation.

The justification for this lack of non-religious representation is an often touted belief that a person who lacks religion also lacks morality. Theists argue that the entire concept of morality is based on religion, without a god there is no “good” or “bad,” god is needed to act as a baseline for morality. However, morality is not an exact science, every person has their unique morals and code of ethics. Religion paints the world in black and white, right and wrong, but in reality, the world is many shades of gray. Religion is not necessary for morality because morality is different for everyone. Not to mention, a politician’s job is not to act morally, it’s to act in the best interest of the nation. Regardless of religious beliefs, leading a nation is not moral, a politician will have to make immoral decisions as the interest of the nation does not always align with what is conventionally moral. Morality is not necessary to lead this nation, religion is not necessary to lead this nation.

Many also say that religion is allowed to influence the government because it is not explicitly stated in the Constitution that there should be a separation of church and state. However, the Establishment Clause of the Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof.” While it does not have the exact wording of “separation of church and state” it’s pretty clear that that is the intention. Congress is prohibited from creating laws respecting religious establishments, meaning Congress cannot create laws on a religious basis nor create laws that favor one religion over another. Yet this has been largely ignored by Congress, laws are frequently based on religion and Christianity is heavily favored by the government.

Laws are supposed to be created with the interest of the nation in mind, yet the reasoning behind laws is frequently based on religion. Up until the landmark Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBTQ+ couples were not guaranteed the right to marriage. The reasoning behind denying LGBTQ+ couples the right to marry was the Bible verse Leviticus 18:22, which states “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Ignoring the fact that legislation should not be based on the Bible at all, this verse does not condemn homosexuality.

Leviticus 18:22, in its original Hebrew, does not state that a man shall not lie with another man. Dr. K. Renato Lings, an expert in Hebrew and Bible interpretation, found the surrounding context of the passage to all be condemning incest and rather interprets the passage to state “Sexual intercourse with a close male relative should be just as abominable to you as incestuous relationships with female relatives.” 

Legislation cannot be based on religion because every single facet of religion is up for interpretation. This is why so many denominations of Christianity exist, every person who reads the Bible has their interpretation of it. Basing laws on religion will never be in the interest of the people because of this. Religion has no place in government.

The other significant issue that often finds itself intertwined with religion is women’s right to abortion. Christians believe that personhood begins at quickening, or when the fetus begins to move in the womb, and that abortion pre-quickening is generally acceptable. However, scientists ended up finding that quickening is an arbitrary point in gestation and concluding that objectively, abortion before quickening is no better than abortion after quickening, leading many modern-day Christians to be against abortion at any point during pregnancy. It is this Christian belief that abortion is killing a living being that all abortion bans are based on. 

Christian organizations often lobby in state legislatures to get these bans approved, and have been known to pay people off to support their position. Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in the case Roe v. Wade under the pseudonym Jane Roe, seemingly changed her views on abortion, becoming an Evangelical Protestant and advocating against abortion. However, upon her deathbed, she confessed her true views and that she was paid to advocate against abortion.

“I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. That’s what I’d say. If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass. That’s why they call it choice,” said McCorvey

It was found that McCorvey had received $450,000 from Christian organizations for her activism against abortion, despite her being pro-choice at her core. This fact begs the question, If these Christian organizations paid her to condemn abortion, how much are our legislators getting paid to outlaw it?

America has a problem. Religion is more influential in the government than the people are. Politicians act in their best interest, not the people’s. A government intended to be separated from religion finds itself woven with the threads of Christianity. As the people grow increasingly non-religious, Christians tighten their grip on the nation. As much as they may try to deny it, America is a Christian nation. It is ruled by Christians, laws are made to benefit Christians, and the courts favor Christians. America is a theocracy.


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About the Contributor
Sam McAlister
Sam McAlister, Staff Writer
Sam is a senior and it is his first year in the newspaper. He enjoys running on the cross country team and also likes to be one with nature by hiking and being outdoors. He loves to cook and you might find him working at Panera.

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