Pillow Talk: The Separation of Church & State

As we turn the corner, swinging into April and soon Holy Week, the COVID-19 Wuhan Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Virus (crisis) is taking a horrible toll on the World and United States.  Many people throughout the country are in either voluntary or mandatory lockdown.  The United States is operating with lockdown orders disseminating from the State’s Governors, and to date, the Federal Government has not intervened in presiding over executive control in any jurisdiction…However, the thought is looming that mandatory quarantines may come from the Federal Government in hot spots or those coming to the party late on mitigation efforts.

Social media is buzzing with its normal amount of non-sense and useless banter between a sharply divided nation.  Social media is also serving its purpose, that of keeping people connected, and we are getting heartwarming stories, funny anecdotes, and an endless supply of memes from the crisis.  Criticism is as flagrant as usual and the cognitive dissonance that has plagued our nation is rampant, regardless of political party, and “proof”, quantitative thinking, and reason are being thrown out the window.

The latest person or event to be in the crosshairs of people and the media, is commentary from Mike Lindell of the well-known My Pillow company.  Lindell was asked to speak during one of the President’s crisis briefings, representing one of the many American companies that are stopping what they are doing and helping with the cause.  In his prepared remarks, Lindell talks about surrendering up resources from his call center to better help with communications, as well as redirecting his manufacturing efforts to make much needed face masks.  If you have not watched his speech, it’s not bad and exemplifies American patriotic response to disaster, and a nice diversion from the onslaught of negativity we are being bombarded with during the crisis.  The speech is readily available online.

After Lindell’s speech, the media and social media became charged over what Lindell had to say.  Let us all forget that this man has changed the entire structure of his company during a wartime effort to help the country, but instead focus on his mention of bibles in his off the cuff scribbled notes.  During his remarks, Lindell said:

“I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the word, read our Bibles and spend time with our families…”

Cries about the separation of church and state have been made, screaming foul.  People have said “I’m a near atheist and this alienates me.”  And on and on and on the criticism went on.  A think we need to establish an understanding here.

If you are so sensitive that you think having a 3rd party speak at a government presser is showing the separation of church and state has crumbled, taking your talking points from a pillow salesman, you need to grow up.  If that, to you, indicates that we are slowly marching towards having a nationally mandated or unaccepted/accepted religions, such as those that were pushed on the people that fled their countries for America, prior to it being The United States, then you need to open a history book, do some digging, and I dare say soul searching – at a minimum do some critical thinking.

For those of you that are atheist, agnostic, or however you view the world, concept of soul, spirituality, what happens to you when you die, so on and so forth; let us not grapple too much with one man’s vernacular (or any vernacular of the same) of what is actually a very sophisticated and enlightened view.  Going back to Lindell’s remarks, he said “…read our bibles” (never mind the spend time with our families portion).  He said read OUR bibles.  This is an inclusive statement.  He did not say read THE bible, but even if he did, my argument remains…Read OUR bibles.  So, the avocation here is that any person of any religion to turn to their own volume of sacred law or holy text.  If you are atheist, or do not have one of the better known viewpoints, it is up to you to define what is your “bible” and beyond that a substitute for what “god” is when thinking of these concepts.  I do not know what one may take solace in or where they may turn, but the easiest example I can come up with would be read a science book.  If that is what is holy to you.  If you have no god, substitute the inference of god’s presence to be natural law.  Maybe physics?  Let us assume you are an independent thinker, so act like one, be creative, and don’t cry about being alienated.  That’s immature.

At the end of the day, we all have feelings.  Are we too sensitive to all too much today?  In my humble opinion, the answer to that is a big YES.  Do I think many people aught to just live and let live?  Another big YES.  When we have leadership in the White House that is not themselves from a Judeo-Christian background, then maybe things will be said or presented differently.  I do not know.  Regardless, these are elements that are both intertwined into our culture and foundation, and symbolize unity, rather than separation.  You get to make up your own mind on the meaning of these things.  No one is holding a gun to your head telling you thou shall believe – in the case of no separation.

A very curious thing that we can turn to as Americans is this small quote on a senate.gov webpage concerning The Office of the Senate Chaplain:

Throughout the years, the United States Senate has honored the historic separation of Church and State, but not the separation of God and State. The first Senate, meeting in New York City on April 25, 1789, elected the Right Reverend Samuel Provost, the Episcopal Bishop of New York, as its first chaplain. Since then, all sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer, strongly affirming the Senate’s faith in God as Sovereign Lord of our Nation. The role of the chaplain as spiritual advisor and counselor has expanded over the years from a part-time position to a full-time job as one of the officers of the Senate. The Office of the Chaplain is nonpartisan, nonpolitical, and nonsectarian.

Take a second and absorb those words.  If during a moment of silence or avocation of prayer, you are insulted, take that time then to reflect on how stupid and or wrong everyone else is, if that is what gets you off.  Let us not chastise those that find that both holy and solemn – the pillow guy was not.  I think America needs to relax a little.  The separation of church and state is very alive and well, as it has been since our founding.  Let us not get triggered over a pillow salesmen’s speech or feel alienated because the people that are being brought to talk to the masses may not include your full message.  Engage your brain and be critical in your thought, that is what you probably stand for, right?

When the crisis is over, the prayers have been done for the dead, the prayers of thanks for the living have been done, and when the coiled up pent up emotion spirals up and bursts us back into the world of, YES! Yes  – Mr. and Mrs. America, you may continue on with your lives, we aught to have some pillow talk with each other on what is really important.

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