By Simon Brown
Jim Inhofe, a Republican U.S. senator from Oklahoma, believes the making of public policy should be left to a higher power.
“[G]od’s still up there,” Inhofe, a Religious Right ally, opined in 2012. “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.”
Whether or not you agree with Inhofe on climate change is a secondary matter: The fact is, he wants to craft legislation based purely on dogma favored by a handful of people instead of policies that would help the entire country. Inhofe, a former insurance executive, has ascended to the head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee – granting him a powerful platform from which to spread his ideas.
Inhofe received his promotion partly due to the Religious Right, which mobilized millions of voters who hate President Barack Obama ahead of the November elections. Thanks in part to the fact that 78 percent of white, evangelical Protestants who participated in an election last year voted for Republicans, both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are under conservative control for the first time since 2006. As a result, defenders of separation of church and state can expect a steady flow of congressional measures that could harm religious liberty.
The issues in play will include school voucher expansions, “religious freedom” exemptions to secular laws, the role of religion in the military and attempts to provide direct federal funding for houses of worship.
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