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defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

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THE JEWISH RESPONSE to attacks on the
First Amendment by the Religious Right

because if Jews don't speak out they'll think we don't mind

The First Amendment to the Constitution begins:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

We Jews have relied on those few words as the enduring bulwark of our freedom, security and privacy here in the United States. But in recent years, we've witnessed numerous efforts by fundamentalist Christians to erode the First Amendment by imposing their religious values through legislation, executive power, and intimidation.

These efforts include:

Weakening the separation of church and state by…

  • Pushing legislation for sectarian prayer in the "public square."
  • Funding "faith-based" social services.
  • Permitting religious hiring preferences for Head Start and other federally funded programs.
  • Religious coercion of cadets at the US Air Force Academy.
  • Stealth blurring of the church-state line, as when FEMA posted a link to Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing charity after Hurricane Katrina.

click for more about the separation of church and state...

Working to curtail options for sexual and reproductive health by…

  • Outlawing abortion - after succeeding in severely limiting access to it.
  • Limiting access to contraceptives in US pharmacies by, among other means, encouraging pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions.
  • Limiting funding for overseas distribution of condoms for HIV prevention.
  • Challenging sex education all over the country and, when they prevail, replacing needed sex education with "abstinence only" curricula.

click for more about curtailing options for sexual and reproductive health...

Fighting to diminish the civil rights of gays and lesbians by…

  • Writing discrimination directly into the U.S. Constitution with a heterosexual marriage amendment.
  • Fighting to block or overturn civil rights protections for homosexuals.
  • Working on the state and local level to deny or revoke partner benefits.
  • Using homophobia as an electoral wedge issue.

click for more about the assault on gay and lesbian rights...

Destroying public education by...

  • Promoting vouchers for religious school tuition.
  • Censoring books in public school curricula and libraries.
  • Promoting the teaching of creationism ("intelligent design").

click for more about efforts to destroy public education...

Working for the return of patriarchy by...

  • Passing "parental consent" laws
  • Advocating the husband's rule of the household.

click for more about efforts to restore patriarchy...

Additionally, right-wing Christians are...

  • Bullying and intimidating judges whose rulings don't please them.
  • Supporting an aggressively interventionist foreign policy and exploiting the opportunities it gives them to proselytize in Muslim societies.
  • Lauding nominees for high office as "good Christians."
  • Working toward Dominionism, a code word for replacing the US Constitution with a Christian theocracy. (According to a report in the May 2005 issue of Harpers Magazine, there are proponents of Dominionism in both the Congress and the Executive branch of our government. To read the report, click here.)
  • Impeding scientific research.

The purpose of JewsOnFirst.org is to mobilize Jews to oppose these and other Christian fundamentalist efforts to make their religious dogma into federal, state and local law -- thus replacing our democratic system with a theocracy.

We plan to network with Jews around the country who are resisting assaults on their First Amendment protections. Our idea is to collect and post information about their experiences so we can improve everyone's chance of success.

JewsOnFirst.org is building an extensive library of resources detailing Christian fundamentalists' assaults on the First Amendment.

Please check back here often, or, better yet, click here to email us so we can stay in touch. (The email address is catcher@JewsOnFirst.org.)

Haim Dov Beliak (rabbi) and Jane Hunter
Founders, JewsOnFirst.org
October 2005