PhotOH! KS Gov. Brownback signs pro-forced birth, personhood law; scrawls "JESUS + Mary" on bill notes


reagan separation of church and state

KS Gov Sam Brownback signed abortion bill Jesus, Mary

Photo via Gawker

Photo via Gawker

You know how Republicans love to tout the U.S. Constitution? Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to write, you know how Republicans love to tout certain parts of the U.S. Constitution when it suits them. My bad.

One of those parts that they wave around a lot is the First Amendment (and of course, the Second Amendment, but right now, let's concentrate on the First). "Freedom of speech!" they tweet me if I dare to use the Twitter "block" option, not realizing that the Constitution refers to government infringement, not my personal blocking rights. Same goes for Comments here at TPC. But I digress...

Many in the GOP seem to ignore basic concepts like, oh I dunno, separation of church and state. Wiki reminds us:

The phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & 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 & State.[15]

Kansas governor Sam Brownback must have let that slip his mind. Or didn't care. Or something. Think Progress is reporting on how he signed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion, pro-personhood, pro-forced birth laws ever, even requiring doctors to lie to their patients about the disputed theory that abortions lead to cancer.

And then he added his own special LookaMeI'mAChristian touch:

Before Brownback signed HB 2253 into law at a ceremony at the statehouse on Friday, an AP photo reveals that he made a few additions of his own in his notes on the bill. He typed out some phrases — “building a culture of life,” and “all human life is sacred” — that he ended up using in his speech to abortion opponents before approving the legislation, and he also scribbled “JESUS + Mary” at the top of the paper.

Guess what, Governor Sam? Your religion is not necessarily anyone else's religion. Your Jesus/Mary embellishment is completely inappropriate and should never have been scrawled on a government document. And Jesus and Mary have nothing to do with legislating, let alone a law that eliminates legal reproductive rights of women.

Religious beliefs should not be a foundation for U.S. law. Feel free to practice any faith you choose, but don't force it unto others. To quote Barry Lynn, ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a lawyer, and Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

This struggle is really nothing more than an attempt by some religious groups to use the power of the government to impose their dogma about reproduction, sexuality and the beginnings of life.

Invoking those names, or any religious references, are irrelevant and, hey guess what, there are actual living, breathing Christians who are pro-choice:

People of faith support women’s access to contraception, and most religious groups don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade. In fact, over 75 percent of white Protestants — along with 65 percent of black Protestants and 63 percent of white Catholics — support women’s constitutional right to legal abortion services.


By the way, GOP, how’s that reachy-outy, makeovery, reinventiony thing workin’ for ya?

what's the matter with kansas

  • Both. Tout: to make much of : promote, talk up

    And it was not necessary to ban Sharia law. The threat is non-existent. That's a scare tactic that failed in the past, as noted by Think Progress:

    The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss notes that Sharia hysteria “has moved from the right-wing fringe into the mainstream conservative discourse, courtesy of people like Newt Gingrich” and was “kicked into high-gear” last month with the neocon Center for Security Policy’s release of a new “Team B II” report, “Sharia: The Threat To America.” Aside from the fact that the First Amendment protects against religious intrusion, Duss notes the obvious “nonsense” surrounding the right’s fear mongering:

    Are there Muslim missionaries in the U.S. right now who
    want to get Americans to adopt Islam? Yes, just as there are Christian
    missionaries in Indonesia who want to get Indonesians to worship Jesus.
    Christianity and Islam are both evangelizing religions. Spreading the
    faith is part of the program.

    Are there also radical Muslims in America right now trying to find
    ways to turn the U.S. into a religious state? Most likely, yes, and we
    should be on guard against it. It’s worth noting, however, that the
    Christian Right has failed at this for decades, in a country where over
    75% of people identify as Christian. So good luck with that, radical

  • "You know how Republicans love to tout the U.S. Constitution?"

    You mean "flout", not "tout"!

    Kansas didn't ban Sharia law because they were against religious fundamentalism.

  • BillCNC

    I'd say, ... that is evidence that he has crossed the Church and State laws.

  • Is it my imagination, or are we losing the Culture War? Christian fundamentalist fanatics have taken over SCOTUS, the Republican Party, own large swaths of the media (and are gobbling up more), and are untouchable by protest, reason, or the law. They've taken command of statehouse after statehouse, and with every victory, feel more emboldened and entitled to rule our lives, our bodies, and our minds.

  • smipypr

    A religious graffito on a government document is OK, I guess, if it's referring to Christianity. What about Allahu Akhbar? Confucius Is Cool? Hail Satan? Long Live The New Flesh? Governor Brownback was dangerous enough as an Evangelical Protestant; now, as a convert to Catholicism, with his evangelical vigor intact and amplified, he's even more dangerous. Radical religious conservatives will get a good chuckle out of this; the rest of us will be regarded as heretics...

  • Jack Skwat

    There is nothing wrong with Gov. Brownback that a little hanging upside down by his ankles (a la Mussolini) wouldn't solve. Waddya say, Kansas?