I say all this as a religious person. I say all this because I am a religious person. I believe that religion can raise the moral sights of politics (see the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.) and root our belief in human dignity. But it is the very power of religious conviction that can make people co-opt it with their own passions and beliefs. Instead of being judged and challenged by the best of their faith, they use their faith to judge others. And they move closer and closer toward blasphemy.
Notice how he author commits the same infraction he lays at Thomas' feet. If you leave the door ajar for religion to "raise the moral sights of politics" there will be enough space for every televangelist and scientologist to squeeze through. It isnt enough for him that Thomas' texts were wrong or unethical or treasonous, it's "blasphemy". It breaks god's law. Whose god? His. Which law? Insert some metaphysical white noise here.
A minority of The Founders won a tiny concession after 2000 years of absolute religious tyranny: "..no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". That second part virtually nullifies the first. There is no "wall", there never has been.
Even the King reference seems to show his blind-spot. Letter From a Birmingham Jail hurled MLK into the zeitgeist. Go read it. Its 6 pages of brilliant, secular (socialist) argument, but after the initial throat clearing, begins:
Beyond this, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Greco-Roman world, I too am compelled carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid.
He is clearly weaponizing religion. Its the only weapon available to him that his enemies fear. And it's a sword of Damocles.
Most of King's speeches carried this tone. "I Have a Dream", Moses leading to the promised land. Anyone remember from Sunday school how it ends? Spoiler Alert, it wasnt good for the Canaanites or Moses.
Im not knocking King (before the -------- brigade get their pitchforks out) he's gonna dance with the girl who brung him. I'm just saying you can't turn this stuff off when you want. The same sword was used to defend slavery and segregation. This power is available to anyone willing to stoop low enough to pick it up.
What we need is freedom from religion in all its possible manifestations. Until we as a society openly mock and laugh at anyone who wants to wield religion in the public square (Im looking at you 'good'-christians) we will have to accept god in politics.