“The argument — that people who believe in the separation of church and state form a religion, complete with a religious doctrine — is so ridiculous that it defies adoption by any rational human being.”

David Lane
via Vimeo/American Renewal Project

David Lane (American Renewal Project) is a creepy Christian nationalist/Christian supremacist and Republican operative. Monday, Lane writes: This False Religion Threatens Our Sustainable Freedom. It is an example of the proverbial “wrapped in the American flag while thumping a Bible.” Lane is also a rabid anti-LGBT bigot.

For all his holier-than-thou self-righteousness, David Lane has only a passing relationship with truth:

Long-term sustainable freedom is at risk from the false religion of secularism, a religion in every respect. Secularists worship a deity and have their own tenets of faith, doctrine and ethical code, as do Christians: “One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain/ One day they nailed Him to die on a tree/ Suffering anguish, despised and rejected/ Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He/ Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree/ And took the nails for me.”

The above is an attempt at provoking cognitive dissonance (causing people to have conflicting beliefs). The truth is that secularism holds that the state should be separate from religious institutions. In other words, it is the belief that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment to the Constitution actually means what it says. There are conservative Christian clergy who are secularists. There are rabbis and imams who are secularists. Secularism and religious faith are not mutually exclusive.

Secularism is David Lane’s antagonist.

Lane’s objective is to turn the United States into a Christian theocracy. He is further along than you might think because the Republican Party is a captive of the religious right. The idea that secularists worship a unique deity is absurd. Secularists worship a deity consistent with their religion. Some secularists are atheists and they worship no deity at all.

What’s happening in America comes down to a clash between two mutually exclusive religions: Christianity and secularism. Each is inherently broad, comprehensive and evangelistic, operating in proximity to each other. Yet, one is true and the other is false. Since secularism is false, its only chance of survival is to maintain a death-grip on the levers of power in regard to America’s cultural mountains of influence. The path to that power often leads through America’s youth. Still, a word from Jehovah, and its death-grip becomes a death rattle.

I often wonder if David Lane believes his own bullshit. The above is not an attempt at sarcasm. Lane knows that his audience doesn’t get nuance. Secularism is not a religion. There is no “clash.” Religion and secularism are unrelated and separate constructs. Lane takes his idiocy even further with the preposterous assertion that secularism is a false religion. Secularism is a principle that David Lane doesn’t like.

David Lane’s reference to “cultural mountains of influence” is an attempt to liken secularists to Christian dominionists who subscribe to “The Seven Mountains of Societal Influence.” Lane’s audience understands the comparison. The argument — that people who believe in the separation of church and state form a religion, complete with a religious doctrine — is so ridiculous that it defies adoption by any rational human being.

Lane has done what religionists often do. He is trying to establish what is good and what is evil. Part of this enterprise is the continuing effort to mischaracterize an adversary. It is the logical fallacy of the straw man. It is not terribly imaginative:

Secularism’s disciples maintain that their ideology connotes absence of religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Such a self-deception will solely beguile the credulous and the ill-informed. It will also conceal secularism’s true nature and objectives. Secularism’s sectarians currently hold sway over the spiritual, intellectual, educational, economic, vocational and moral warp and weave of society.

The above presents a false choice with false choices. Secularists believe in the separation of church and state. The separation is not a belief in the absence of religion. A belief in that principle does not define a religion. It is a doctrine that is not faith-based. It is no more a religion than belief in the unitary executive theory.

Going to Hell in a handbasket:

The aggrandizement of secularism has come at an astronomical cost: the ruination of a virtuous nation. Although never perfect, America’s founders were deeply intent on creating a righteous society. Today that dedicated endeavor has been adulterated with the pagan-infused fermentation of secularism, with its hard-to-miss devastating derivatives: academic failure, rampant drug use, violence, criminality, sexual deviance and fatherlessness, to name a few. The teaching of transgenderism to children attending kindergarten is part and parcel of the libertine hedonism advanced by secularists, with state-sponsored education presently holding the principal seat of idolatry in America’s every town and hamlet.

With each successive paragraph David Lane become further distanced from the truth. In the above, Lane actually asserts that people who believe in the separation of church and state are pagans. According to Lane we are in steep decline. Yet, according to Pew Research Center:

Violent crime in the U.S. has fallen sharply over the past quarter century. The two most commonly cited sources of crime statistics in the U.S. both show a substantial decline in the violent crime rate …

Furthermore, look where the violent crime rates are the highest and lowest:

There are large geographic variations in crime rates. The BJS data don’t allow for specific geographic comparisons, but the FBI data show big differences from state to state and city to city. In 2017, there were more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, New Mexico and Tennessee. By contrast, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont had rates below 200 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. And while Chicago has drawn widespread attention for its soaring murder total in recent years, its murder rate in 2017 – 24.1 murders and non-negligent manslaughters per 100,000 residents – was less than half of the rates in St. Louis (66.1 per 100,000) and Baltimore (55.8 per 100,000). The FBI notes that various factors might influence a particular area’s crime rate, including its population density and economic conditions.

Were David Lane correct, then Tennessee would have one of the lowest crime rates in the country; New England the highest. St. Louis would have a lower violent crime rate than Chicago. The simple fact is that Mr. Lane is incorrect and deceptive throughout this tirade. Lane is a confused (and intentionally confusing) liar.

Mr. Lane’s favorite hobby. Gay bashing:

A pronounced recent example of similar idol worship that made headlines for days concerns the scurrilous “megan-o-mania” of some lesbian members of the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team. “Go gays!” blared U.K. newspaper The Guardian following USA’s World Cup women’s quarter-final defeat of France. “With homophobic attitudes on the rise in the U.S., the exploits of gay American heroes on the pitch in France are a welcome sight.”

Were it not for bigots like David Lane it would be unnecessary to promote the accomplishments of gay people. Were this an undergraduate paper, it deserves an “F.” Unfortunately, there are Republican politicians who promote every idiotic word from David Lane. The idea that people believe this nonsense is downright scary.

Related content:

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.