The Year in Quotes: Religious Freedom

by TFN

Threats to religious freedom — and the constitutional protections for that freedom — were evident in much of the far right’s political rhetoric in 2010. Some right-wing politicians even sought to turn religion and government into enemies by using faith as a political weapon. You can read more of our review of what the far right had to say in 2010 here and here.

“Our country was founded on religious principles … and our students will know that. . . . I think the [Founding Fathers] fully intended that our government would not separate church and state.”

— Gail Lowe, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, talking about new social studies curriculum standards for public schools, North Texas Daily, September 20, 2010

“The exact phrase ‘separation of church and state’ came out of Adolf Hitler’s mouth. That’s where it comes from. So next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of church and state, ask them why they’re Nazis.”

— Glen Urquhart, Republican congressional candidate from Delaware, Washington Post, April 2010

“WE [sic] elected a house [sic] with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.”

— John Cook, an elected State Republican Executive Committee member, explaining his opposition to current Texas House of Representatives Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who happens to be Jewish, Texas Observer, November 30, 2010

“That’s the question: Who do you worship? Do you believe in the primacy of unrestrained federal government? Or do you worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in him?”

— Texas Governor Rick Perry, painting the upcoming election as a religious crusade to take back the soul of the country during a Thursday night speech to Republican faithful and delegates to the Texas Republican state convention, Dallas Morning News, June 10, 2010

“And these programs that you mentioned — that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward — are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”

— Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite claiming that Democrats are violating the Bible’s First Commandment by trying to turn government into a god, Las Vegas Sun, August 4, 2010

“If we do not do something, we will not have any Protestants in government.”

— Oklahoma state Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, sponsor of a bill on Bible classes in the state’s public schools. Cordell’s statement came after it was pointed out that only one member of the current U.S. Supreme Court is a Protestant Christian — the others are Roman Catholic and Jewish, Tulsa World, April 8, 2010

“Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant, they’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments. . . . What in hell scares people about talking about America’s foundation of faith? . . . It is that world view that involves some people being afraid of being able to discuss our foundation, being able to discuss God in the public square, that’s the only thing I can attribute it to is some fear of some people.”

— Former vice presidential nominee and religious-right idol Sarah Palin, discussing her version of American history and law on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News show, TFN Insider, May 10, 2010

“We have dropout rates. If they get God in school and everything, young people will know they can accomplish anything they want to.”

— Roy Brown, a supporter of a bill that would require the Arkansas Department of Education to create a Bible class curriculum for use in the state’s schools, WREG-TV (Memphis), December 9, 2010

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