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Overt Religiosity: A Threat to America and Democracy

If there's one thing the Sudan teacher/bear incident has demonstrated clearly, it's that religion has no place in government. Wars have been fought over this topic (see English and French history), and it was with a clear mind that the Founding Fathers built the US Constitution on a foundation that included separation of church and state, as well as religious tolerance.

So, it is today that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will give a speech about why his religious beliefs are important, yet not a threat to his ability to govern. Many have tried to compare this to the JFK speech in the 60s, but we will find that they are, in fact, significantly different. Whereas Kennedy clearly separated his religious beliefs from his civil service duties, Romney apparently wants us all to believe that he can combine the two without threatening the value systems of others.

Of course, nothing can be further from the truth. One need only look at the religious-political dogma spewed by the present administration to see how much this is a failed concept. Moreover, I contend that having elected officials - particularly in such prominent positions as president - strongly advocating for use of their religious beliefs in guiding their decisions represents a significant threat to national security, not to mention that it violates the very spirit of the document upon which this country is founded.

Put another way, we should be very fearful when politicians decide to put their religious beliefs ahead of the will of the People. They were put into office to represent the People, and not their own personal beliefs or God. To think and act otherwise is a betrayal of the public trust, if not a borderline act of treason, putting themselves and their personal beliefs ahead of the country. Their is to preserve, protect, defend, and uphold the Constitution, not the Bible or Torah or Quran or the Book of Mormon or any other religious system. It would be wise for all US citizens to bear this in mind, and to look upon all these politicians with great skepticism when they present their religious beliefs as testimony that they'll be good leaders. The two are not related, and must be ardently separated.

As always, I refer you to Thomas Jefferson, one of the more adamant advocates of separation of church and state. First, a quote on separation from his letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

Second, a quote from a letter to Peter Carr (August 19, 1785) that I find particularly relevant given the continual stream of lies eschewing from the White House (such as the recent denial and about-face on Iran and the NIE):

"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions."

I highly encourage that everyone read JFK's speech on his religion, as posted at NPR. Some key quotes from the speech:

"While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face..."

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute..."

"I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice; where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind; and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood."

"I want a chief executive whose public acts are responsible to all groups and obligated to none; who can attend any ceremony, service or dinner his office may appropriately require of him; and whose fulfillment of his presidential oath is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation."

A couple potential posts of interest on the Romney speech are available from these left-leaning sites:


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