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Why is having a judge who uphelds keeping church and government separate, bad?

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James Peterson is a man who might be a federal judge. I hope he will be confirmed, but Republicans are known for blocking judges.

Anyway, he did litigation work for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. An organization devoted to ensuring that the government is neutral when it comes to religion, thereby letting the free marketplace of ideas, debate and decide the question of religion.

One of the cases he handled dealt with a 10 Commandments display on a public lawn. When the government only allows Christian displays and not displays from any other group, be they Muslims, Buddhists or even atheists, it promotes a particular view and position on religion.

Some on the religious right-wing think this is fine, because they believe that the government can take certain views/speech on other issues, such as opposing racism by enacting a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

The difference though is that the government isn't taking a position on religion in that case. Dr. King's religious views aren't the reason that this day is a federal and state holiday, it is for his and others tireless work on civil rights half a century ago.

The government is banned by the Constitution's Establishment Clause from advocating for a religious position, or against one. As it should be. So, that is what judicial hopeful James Peterson was doing when he litigated these cases, ensuring neutrality under the law.

Now, Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley asked Peterson in a Senate Judicial Committee hearing, that if those of religious faith "might be concerned about your advocacy on behalf of nontheism."

Sigh, Peterson never advocated on behalf of nontheism, though he did on behalf of secularism, which is what the Establishment Clause applies to in fact.

Advocacy on behalf of nontheism would be advocating that on our money it stated, "one nation, under no mythical god." Or, in a national motto that states, "In no mythical deity do we trust."

By the way Sen. Grassley and almost every member of Congress advocates for these things, though on behalf of theism, such as our national motto, "In God, we Trust."

We need more judges like James Peterson, if he becomes confirmed. In the meantime you can support groups like the FFRF or Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to ensure that the Founders vision is upheld.



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