Sacred Constitutional Rites

My sister Aimee asked facebook friends if they could reasonably explain why voters shouldn't be required to present a photo ID when they vote. I took about half an hour to compose a reply and the flood of posts in response made it clear that no one actually read it.

It also confirmed my suspicion that few people actually want informed discussion. They want someone to tell them why they were right to start with.

One of the replies really caught my eye. One commenter posted that “the sanctity of the electoral process is worth the inconvenience to prove your identity and eligibility to vote.” (To be fair, this isn't an exact quote. The poster used an ampersand (&).)

The phrase “sanctity of the electoral process” serves to underscore the wide gap between naivety and understanding of the electoral politics so common in the magical thinking of the Christian right. Nor do I say this lightly.

To listen to the Christian right, there is no divide between faith and electoral politics. In fact. there is no divide between faith and the constitution. Unfortunately for that thinking, there is nothing sanctified about the constitutional or electoral process.

The Bible is absolutely silent on democracy, republicanism or voting. The Apostles were appointed by Jesus, or chosen by casting lots. Sacraments include marriage, baptism and the Eucharist. Not the electoral process. And Christians were not required to produce photo ID to become involved in church decisions, nor were they required to register to participate.

Part of this may have been because photo IDs didn't exist back then, but a much larger part of it was that Christians weren't expected to prove their fellowship in the faith. Nor do they now. Even though they are expected to prove their citizenship. In fact, they don't even have to prove to the IRS that they're Christian to claim deductions for tithing.

Let's look at the government, however. God is only acknowledged in the constitution by the date of signing (“the year of our Lord”). The Declaration of Independence does refer to a “creator” but makes it clear that the only rights the creator grants are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.1

Any rights spelled out in the constitution are secular and not sacred. The declaration also makes it very clear that governments derive their power from the people, not God.

So if we are to merge the political with the sanctified in America it only follows that:

  • Christians should be required to register and provide a photo ID to worship.
  • The government/church should provide counselors and priests at the polls to help voters to help voters divine the will of the Divine Elector.
  • We should be required by the voter laws to bow our heads and pray before we cast our ballot.
  • Voters should be baptized before they can vote.
  • A priest should be made available at the polls to bless the votes of Catholics and Episcopalians.

  • We should propose a Defense of Elections amendment banning same sex couples from voting.

Or maybe we should acknowledge, as the courts did, that Voter ID laws are not an expression of the sacred so much as a modern reboot of poll taxes. Those of us who can afford it will be inconvenienced when proving our eligibility, but the poor will not just be inconvenienced, they will face extraordinary barriers.

Send me your money

Or at least Amazon. That's right, my novel Raising Hell is on sale at Amazon.

Pity poor Lucifer. He rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his foot steps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. Lucifer’s future looks perfect, pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an innocent soul—an overweight optimist who calls himself Pilgrim and who believes he must be in hell to do good.

Lucifer never considers sending him back. Why waste a second chance to corrupt an innocent soul? He orders his subordinates to torture, degrade and humiliate Pilgrim until he promises to become evil if only it will ease the pain. Unfortunately, Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. Always polite and well-mannered, he makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment they can.

Lucifer can’t let Pilgrim continue to wreak happiness, but he can’t send him back untainted, either. When God arrives with a deadline for Pilgrim’s return, he enlists fellow fallen angels Screwtape, Azazel and the gender morphing Mephistopheles in a plot to corrupt Pilgrim’s soul before the deadline expires.

It's only $1, which should make it affordable for almost everyone, and also a great digital stocking stuffer. It will be available for iBook and nook after Thanksgiving.


1Replacing the word “property” in the phrase originally used by John Locke. Now if that doesn't give Republicans cause for concern, I don't know what could. The signers of the declaration considered the general happiness to be more important than the right of property.back

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