Monday, June 11, 2007

Faith and Politics

Let me state at the outset of this post, to avoid any confusion, I am not an atheist, nor am I anti-religion, nor anti-Christian. What I am however, is an American who firmly believes that our forefathers set up our system of government with a separation of church and state for good reason. Needless to say, when I tuned into CNN last night and discovered they were broadcasting a program entitled, “Faith and Politics”, which consisted of a news anchor sitting down with all the major democratic candidates for president and asking them questions about their faith, I was appalled and disgusted. Seriously people, are we looking for a new president or for a new religious leader, because unless we’re willing to throw out our Constitution they cannot be one in the same.

I have heard many Christians who believe that there should be no separation of church and state point to the fact that the country’s founding fathers were themselves Christians and pious men. They use this fact to infer that America has always been a Christian nation and therefore assert that our forefathers intended for this country to allow a linkage between their faith and their government. This is completely and utterly untrue! We’re the founding fathers mostly good, pious Christians, yes, did they wish to protect Americans right to worship a religion of their choice from government interference, yes, but they were equally concerned and realized the dangers inherent in allowing any religiously based group to exert its belief system into and onto our systems of government. In other words, the founding fathers deliberately and with much forethought set up our system of government to protect both the rights of its citizens to worship freely AND to protect our nation from a religious movement to usurp our form of government and replace it with a theocracy. They worried about the latter, because they knew that in a democracy the majority would have great power and being students of history and human nature they smartly realized that there would be a great temptation for a religious majority to want to thrust its beliefs and faith into our laws, onto our government and hence onto all Americans, including those in the minority.

If we allow the majority religion of our nation, in this case Christianity, to become fully ensconced, at one, with our government (and I fear that we are leaning towards doing just that) then we will be no different then the countries ruled by the Taliban or any religious faction. We will have allowed, one powerful religious sect of our nation to make the rules and tell every American citizen how they are legally allowed to act, based on the majority’s religious beliefs of correct “moral” behavior. There are many Christians out there who believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with this premise, in fact they believe it’s a great idea, which is hardly surprising because it is their religious view as the majority which would be asserted. I have no doubt that they would change their minds in a hurry about the wisdom of mixing government and religion, if they we’re to find their religious faith suddenly in the minority. If you happen to be a Christian who isn’t worried because after all your faith is the majority opinion and that’s unlikely to change, give this some thought, even among Christians there are many differences of what is believed to be moral or immoral, for example many Christian sects believe dancing or women wearing pants, or listening to pop music etc. is immoral, if these particular brand of Christians were to be in control of our “Christian” government how long would it be before we had laws banning these acts? If the “Christian” prayer in school you are so keen to embrace became fifteen minutes of time allotted to speaking in tongues or reciting the rosary, or reading aloud from the book of Mormon, would you still feel this was a completely acceptable and in fact “great” idea? If you can not answer with a honest, heartfelt Yes to that scenario then maybe you better rethink the wisdom of inserting any religious majority’s faith into government and the public sphere. After all changes to our rule of government, which may seem to benefit you and your kind today, may very well be used against you tomorrow.


Anonymous Brad said...

Also, many of the Founders were considered Deists, believing in an creator with no control over day-to-day life, because that was in many ways the atheist position of the day. To be an atheist in government was even more condemned than it is today, and you can see many atheist or humanist thought in the writings of people like Jefferson and Paine.

6/11/2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Valid point Brad. Thanks for dropping by and for the added info.

6/12/2007 2:00 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Good Post!

I wonder sometimes why the dems participate in such things. I thought we were supposed to speak out against such things that mix church and state. Instead of speaking out against republicans foes that do this, our three front runners have conformed, in order to appeal to some other sect of the country. All I could thing was what about me and others like me that are a proud to be a democrat and are going to be ashamed of this type of even, they could total piss off their base. It was so apparent to me that this was all about politics (and maybe not the smartest strategy to follow), trying to prove that they are just as god fearing as the right, I don’t want my party to be as god fearing as the right that’s why I am a BIG ‘OL LIBERAL! I think that they are missing the point in being a democrat; we are supposed to be the opposite of the right wing, not one up the republicans.

....I feeling like I am rambling now so I will shut up! Hopefully somebody catches my point here!

6/12/2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger Leo said...

Jenn, I catch your point and agree that as usual the democrats think the way to garner support is to out republican the republicans. This strategy has never worked, so it's beyond me why they keep attempting it. Thanks for the comment and good point.

6/12/2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Well, I clicked on Leave a Comment to say basically what Brad said! And then, after reading what Jenn said, I have to add - oh yeah, that too!
Great post, Leo. :)

6/12/2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger Leo said...

Candace,thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, even if the others did psychically (sp?) steal your thoughts-lol. I'm happy you enjoyed the post.

6/12/2007 5:52 PM  

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