If fundamentalist culture warriors won…

How would life in this country change if religious fundamentalists managed to “take it back?” A few predictions:

 The nation would be christened the United States of Christian America.

 Independence Day would be replaced by a day commemorating our rebirth as God’s favorite country.

 The Constitution would be discarded, the Supreme Court abolished and the Bible enshrined as the law of the land.

 Under “Stand Your Ground for The Unborn” laws, women could legally shoot their doctors dead for mentioning the health hazards of unlimited pregnancies.

 Due to the impending Apocalypse and Rapture, the Environmental Protection Agency would be abolished as irrelevant.

 The Department of Christian Education would forbid lessons on sex, evolution and environmental science while requiring curriculum on abstinence, Genesis (either version) and humanity’s right to use the planet however it wants right up to the End Times.

 An “infidel brain drain” of academics, researchers, scientists, executives and artists to other countries would leave us dependent on people with degrees in Bible studies.

 To meet a Christian Communications Commission (CCC) mandate to uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage and families, broadcasters would present endless reruns of “Father Knows Best” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”

 All forms of commerce, business and entertainment except for religious broadcasts and reruns of “Father Knows Best” or “Cheaper by the Dozen” would cease from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday.

 Facebook’s biggest growth in pages would be for prayer circles. Popular phone apps would include “Ultimate Heretic Hunters” and “Born-Again Birthday Cupcakes.”

 Contraceptives would be illegal. Abortionists and homosexuals who failed to heed loving Christian appeals to renounce their sinful ways could be executed.

 The “War on Porn” would beget a black market in banned books, DVDs and contraceptives, which would beget billionaire crime bosses.

 Christmas ornaments failing to meet the “Jesus is the reason for the season” standard would be banned.

 Halloween would be marked by prayer vigils and re-enactments of the Salem witch trials.

 Prisons would be turned into Christian re-education centers and executions (by hanging or stoning) would be public.

 Adults who failed to reproduce would pay deadbeat taxes as noncontributing members of society.

 In addition, single females 18 years or older would pay a spinster tax until they entered holy matrimony.

 Applications for jobs, college, passports, drivers licenses, marriage licenses, mortgages, leases, credit, loans, government benefits, guns and library cards would require checking one of the following boxes: “Born again,” “Christian,” or “Heretic.”

 Checking “Heretic” or failing to check any box would be grounds for denial of the application.

 Rates of depression, domestic violence, suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction would skyrocket, while funding for any form of treatment except prayer would disappear. 

 Our borders would be closed to any immigrants who didn’t swear they had accepted Jesus as their personal savior. The Department of Holy Land Security would deport alien heretics.

 Mexico and Canada would plead for help in coping with millions of illegal immigrants seeking asylum from oppression in God’s favorite country.

Public policy: If you want to play, you must pay (taxes)

Once again, the Catholic Church is seriously out of step with its parishioners and with mainstream Americans – far enough so that it has crossed the line into conduct of dubious legality.

In sermons all over the country, priests and bishops are urging opposition to a rule requiring no-copay insurance coverage of contraception for employees of faith-based organizations. Part of the Affordable Care Act, it covers millions of people employed in church-affiliated hospitals, social service agenies, charities and universities.

According to the dire pronouncements thundering from pulpits, this narrowly crafted rule constitutes a massive assault on the separation of church and state, and that all church-run organizations ought to be exempt from the contraceptives rule. In fact, many critics say any exemption from the coverage rule is too broad. Here’s how the American Medical Association’s journal of ethics puts it:

“Expanding the exemption would affect millions of teachers and guidance counselors, doctors and nurses, clerks and janitors, by interfering with their access to preventive health care that they deem necessary and in line with their own religious and moral beliefs. For those employees who do adhere to their employer’s religious position on contraception, providing coverage of contraception would not in any way force them to use it in violation of their beliefs.”

This is another example of extremism on the part of those who insist that their religious rights include foisting their particular notions of right or wrong on all people, regardless of their beliefs. 

And using their pulpits to urge followers into opposing public policy decisions approved by publicly elected officials appears to violate the no-electioneering rule required of tax-exempt organizations.

If church officials want to lobby for or against acts of government, let them first agree to pay taxes. Tax exemptions ought to be swiftly yanked from churches trying to influence public policy. There is no good reason for American taxpayers to subsidize those who seek to impose their beliefs on everyone.