The rather striking building pictured on the left is Air Force Academy Chapel at Colorado Springs, built at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars for Christian cadets. The prominence and cost of this building is important in the light of the fact that Missouri’s Vicky Hartzler believes that because the Academy also spent a paltry $80,000 dollars to build a chapel for students who have designated themselves pagans, Christians are being marginalized. In an interview with Tony Perkins, Hartzler explains that:
Christianity is the main religion in our country and as a policy for the Department of Defense we need to defend the practice of religion but we do not have to obligate taxpayer funds to facilitate or accommodate it or pay for it. … Their role is to facilitate basic policy for our country and to not to try to lift up one religion over the other, they should be defending the basic rights that we have, that freedom of religion here, and certainly not facilitating or accommodating fringe religions, it’s crazy.
Funny how folks who talk lots about the Constitution have problems parsing its logic. Appalling as it is that Hartzler views accommodating any other religion a marginalization of a dominant Christian presence, there are lots of other problems with her statements. As Steve Benen notes, who decides which religions are fringe religions? What are the criteria and how is it derived? And why are fringe religions less deserving of respect? If we grant special privileges to Christians that are not enjoyed by other religions, fringe or otherwise, aren’t we in effect establishing a state religion? Wouldn’t that contravene the basic policy that Hartzler refers to, which is that set forth in the Constitution?
Here for your edification, thanks to a comment posted on the Washington Monthly’s Political Animal, is the same argument applied to a different topic:
I think Rep. Hartzler may be onto something here. For instance, congress is mainly male and as a policy for congress we need to defend the practice of not being male but we do not have to obligate taxpayer funds to facilitate or accommodate it or pay for it. Building and maintaining women’s restrooms is expensive. It’s not the government’s role to try to put all sexes on the same plane. Their role is to facilitate basic policy for our country and to not to try to lift up one sex over the other, they should be defending the basic rights that we have, that freedom of gender here, and certainly not facilitating or accommodating fringe sexes, it’s crazy.
Kinda funny consequences when you argue like Hartzler – as the poster noted, she could end up sharing with the boys.