And just the other day I received a letter from a very well-known fighter for human rights. He has exposed what Ronald Reagan and his company are doing: they are trying to distort the whole constitution. In America, religion and state should remain separate – that is the constitution of a secular state. And every religion should have the same opportunity; no single religion should be the dominant religion. It is not a religious state.
But Ronald Reagan is a fundamentalist Christian. That is the most fanatical group of Christians. And he has conspired with all the Christian bishops, Christian divine healers, and now he has in his hands the majority of the people.
The country is Christian and he is trying in every way to impose Christianity on American citizens. He has been trying for a long time, as he was when I was there. And the Supreme Court refused. He was trying to make the Christian prayer, approved by the church, compulsory in every school, in every college, in every university: every educational institution should start the workday only after they have said the Christian prayer.
But he failed, because the Supreme Court decided that this is against the constitution. He went roundabout: he said, “It is against the constitution if the government enforces it. Right. But if the parents enforce it, the constitution has no power over it.” So, he argued, in non-governmental institutions which get governmental support – they are semi-governmental, not under the government’s direct control, like colleges, even universities, schools in the thousands – the parents can decide, because they are the trustees of those institutions. They can decide: “In our institution, Christian prayer will be the beginning point.”
This was going in a roundabout way. And now, a few judges have become very old, so he has changed them. There are nine judges: all that he needs is five judges in his favor. Four judges have become old and have retired. The American constitution allows the president to appoint the Supreme Court judges, because the people who made the constitution could never have conceived a situation where suddenly four judges would retire. If one judge retires it does not make any difference. The president can place his own man, but the eight remaining judges will be there to oppose him – he will not have the majority.
It is the first time in the whole history of America that four judges have been appointed by the president. One judge who is very sick and very old insists on remaining – because he says he is the only defense for constitutional rights. If he retires then the fifth judge will also be Ronald Reagan’s. Then five judges are enough, and whatever he wants, he can do. He can overrule the constitution, he can even change the constitution.
And that old man is being harassed from every side to retire. He is sick in the hospital, but he is reluctant to retire. “Because,” he says, “once I retire, America loses all its constitutional rights. It becomes a Christian country. No other religions will have the independence to exist. They will be dominated by the Christians.”