The Fran Lebowitz bill of rights

An excerpt from Fran Lebowitz’s on-again, off-again Progress appears in the current (print) issue of Vanity Fair. In it, Lebowitz argues for the “reinstatement of the state in the church-state equation”:

For let us examine the state of the union since it has fallen into the hands of the sort of politician given to triumphantly, and with the air of someone coining an epigram, [making] such statements as “The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.” When as a matter of fact, and as a matter of law, the Constitution guarantees both, but in reverse order: freedom from religion being of first importance to those whose interest was the establishment of a republic rather than a constituency.

And let us take just a moment to note that the constituency in question is also given to public sermonizing and the frequent intonation of that untenable platitude “Love the sunner, hate the sin.” And to which the only and long-overdue response is certainly “Love the virtue, hate the virtuous.”

In an attempt to “render back to Caesar the things that are Ceasar’s,” Lebowitz proposes a new, 12-item bill of rights entitled “Reversion of Rights,” including:

(2) For every mandatory moment of silence before classes at a public school, during which students are free to pray or not, there will be a mandatory moment of noise before services at a religious institution, during which congregants are free to listen or not.

(3) All religious texts will be vetted and, if necessary, revised, by ad hoc committees composed of public librarians, English teachers, literary critics, and writers, in order to ensure that no representative of the secular community is in any way offended.


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