Where do I begin? Religion is always a good place to start. So here goes:
1. Comingle issues of Church and State so that freedom of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution becomes as fuzzy as a lint catcher in a Beaumont, Texas coin- operated washateria.
Sometimes politicians seek to mix religion and politics together in order to sway voters and exercise power. Jerry Falwell of Liberty Baptist Church in Virginia directed his Moral Majority, a Christian organization devised by him to publish a “hit list” on Democrats running for office during the Reagan years. Why Democrats? Why Falwell deemed them to be unfit to serve in public office because of lack of morals to do the work of God. That’s what Falwell said from the pulpit and on camera during that 8-year period. Reagan needed Falwell and vice versa so Ronald Reagan, during his two terms as president never made a wave about Falwell’s politicking from the pulpit. Several organizations called for the government to jerk Falwell’s church’s tax-exempt status as a church, but nothing ever came of it. Too many right-wingers backed Falwell because the latter helped them gain politically. He helped not just Reagan to be reelected president; he helped all the locals who ran for office by putting their Democratic opponents on the NO-VOTE Moral Majority hit list to “unseat” them in favor of their Republican opponents. In every state, in almost all elections from dog-catcher to president. They should be ashamed to be affiliated with such chicanery and monkey business to fool and control the American voters.
2. Insist on prayer in the schools. I have always been curiously amused at those who would seek to blend the business of church and state. What could their motives be? Why muddy the water? Why advocate prayer in school? What’s wrong with praying in church? Or one’s own home in privacy? Or with prayer groups of one’s own beliefs? Why advocate prayer in school when nobody cares to pray in school anyhow? Is it about the students and their rights to pray anywhere and everywhere or is it about the religious fanatics who seek prominence and to be noticed? Who is it really important to and why? Should a Hindu student be forced to pause and pray a Christian prayer in school just because the Christian religion happens to be in the majority in almost all American cities? Would the Christians consent to give Hindus equal time to pray in school, too? I doubt it. I think what some sects in Christianity are seeking to do is to tighten up on the freedom of religion granted by our founding fathers in the Constitution and to make worship more controlled and less free. And isn’t what it has morphed into, like the very reason our ancestors left the oppressive countries of the Old World to come to America where they would not be persecuted, judged, and restricted as to their prayers? And to their God they prayed to? You know, First Amendment stuff, freedom of religion?
Do Jews have the right to pray their own way, and should Christians abide the differences and participate and learn how to pray their way? Like a rabbi would? Of course. But I don’t think it would happen. First, the majority (Christians) would not comply or agree, and second, with all that praying and giving all religions equal time, when would the kids have time to learn Algebra? Or play softball during gym?
And how about atheists? Should they be forced to hear or participate in organized Christian prayer in the public school system? Or any other denominational prayer? Here’s where things get a bit tricky. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion for all Americans. Does that include freedom from religion as well? Is Madeline O’Hare a symbol of the freedom of and from religion that Old World peoples fled away from so that they could either choose to practice or not practice a religion? And did they have the freedom to exist in a public school system without being forced to participate in any organized religious prayer just because the majority could dictate to the minority which it often attempts to do? I think not. As much as Ms. O’Hare was demonized in her lifetime, I have to think that she had the protection of the Constitution to refrain from worshiping and being in the presence of worshipers of any religion if she did not want to be. And that is freedom of religion and from religion (those who would inflict their denominational beliefs upon others). Because of the purity of that premise, many do not get it. Sad.
Madison and Jefferson were Separatists. Those are the best kind of public leaders, in my view. They choose not to subject themselves to the dogma of any kind of religion in the service of the people who they are supposed to respect for their freedom to be religious or not. Or to be as neutral as the Swiss are on war and alliances when it comes to the creed of a particular religion. Madison and Jefferson were pure presidents when it came to the observance of that foremost freedom given to us all. Too bad other presidents, Reagan, e.g., sold out to the Christian groups in order to win more votes and support from strong religious leaders like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. What were these TV evangelists doing in politics anyway? Jesus never attended any political rallies, did he? Did he ever endorse any candidate other than God? And when you think about it, God did not need to run for office, did he?
I think it weakens our government to mix religion with political rhetoric. A Baptist Church in Waynesville, NC several years ago decreed that if you did not intend to vote for George W. Bush for president then you needed to leave the church. http://chuckcurrie.blogs.com/chuck_currie/2005/05/east_wanynesvil.html
The above confuses people. Many of them seek redemption and certification as God-fearing Christians. So to oppose a church when it gets into the business of characterizing Obama as a Muslim or an anti-Christ, well that drill seems foreign to all the reasons many different races of people sought to come to America and to enjoy freedom of religion and freedom to pursue happiness with no impediments coming from or issuing from the government. Like mandatory prayer in school. And when some entity in the school system (the government, make no mistake about it) dictates that a 30-second silent prayer will be observed by the sons and daughters of taxpayers then the school is out of line. If a student chooses to leave class and go get a coke at the vending machines instead of listening to whatever the prayer is about, that is his freedom of choice to do so. At least here in America. Before religious leaders began to pull and tug on the collective conscience of Americans. It’s about control and ego, and not about religion or freedom. Period.
So much for freedom of religion. Politics and church should not be mixed for any reason. It only defines the mixers as mentally-challenged folk who should not be leading congregations or countries. This is America, not the Inquisitor/Torturer Spain of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Tax-exempt status should be jerked from any such organization masquerading as a legitimate church.
3. When seeking to start a world war with no proof, invoke terms like “Evil Empire” and “Axis of Evil” so American voters will feel that we are being protected from an eternal foe as were the Philistines of the Old Testament. Biblically, it stirs emotion in innocent believers. Like it comes from the pulpit of a church, so how could it be wrong? Point is, the language and rhetoric is intended to incite and instill emotions of fear in us as per the familiar references in the Bible. If we are about snuffing out Evil as Sarah Palin so emotionally entreated the American people to do by backing Bush’s Iraq policy, then we must support him because she said “Bush was doing the work of God.” This, she said from the pulpit of her own church in Alaska. Such rhetoric has no place in the annals of intelligent thought. And it is because some people recklessly mix church and state together like a fruit salad in order to get more support and more votes. And it is not only against separation of church and state as defined in the Constitution, it is a scam against the American people who have a voting card but, like Bush, not much of an IQ. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles_of_faith/2008/09/sarah_palin_on_1.html