Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Separation of Church and State?

I'm a bit confused. Aren't we supposed to have a distinct separation between church and state? So why are evangelical Christians allowed to cross that line at will?

Mind you, I am a Christian, and I espouse all that the religion stands for. I just don't espouse politicians using religion to launch their political campaign. Yes, I do mean you, Rick Perry. And I don't espouse those politicians who flaunt their religion as if that somehow makes them a better president, or senator, or congressman, or political candidate.

If one is truly living a religion, whether it be Christian or one of the other fine religions, there is no need to manufacture sound bites to tell the public how connected he or she is to a God. And a public measuring stick of a candidate's worthiness should not include questions about religion. Those are not allowed in any job interview, so why are they allowed in determining a candidate's qualifications for office?

In a recent column, Ruth Marcus proposes a take-home exam that candidates should respond to before the 2012 elections. It has a single question that deals with the new congressional super-committee overseeing the national budget, asking where candidates would find the savings that are proposed in the recent debt-ceiling deal. The column is worth reading because Marcus tells candidates they cannot put a spin on their answers. They have to come up with specific and concrete plans, not just hyperbole.

It is also most interesting, because no where does it suggest that God is in any way involved in this mess, despite the fact that Rep. Tim Scott, R-SC, said "divine inspiration" was the force behind his opposition to Speaker John Boehner's initial proposal for a debt-ceiling deal.

Too often those in office, and those seeking office, throw out these references to God because it does seem to appeal to some segment of our society, but to me it makes them come across as phonies. Are they just pretending to be holy to gain support? Then I can't help but wonder what else they might be pretending about.

If you have thoughts on this topic, I welcome responses in the comments.

6 comments:

Laura Eno said...

Exactly! This country was founded on freedom to worship in different ways as well, but with one segment blurring the line it seems that other faiths are looked down upon. Most wars have a basis in religious differences and intolerance. I certainly hope we aren't brewing our own brand of the Taliban.

Maryann Miller said...

So true, Laura. Discontent breeds contempt and from that it is not a huge jump to violence. Yet some of these Christians don't seem to get that. I think of that church in Florida that was burning the Koran. That is so contrary to the tenets of tolerance that God gave us.

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm bad on quotes, but someone long ago said something like if we don't hang together, we'll surely hang separately. The key has always been compromise. That means no extremes from anyone or any group - political, religious, or otherwise.

Helen Ginger said...

Perry has been especially waving his cloak of religion, it seems. I will not be voting for him, not just for that reason, but his holier-than-anyone attitude does grate on me.

LuAnn said...

Are we not supposed to demonstrate our faith by our actions, not our words?

Maryann Miller said...

Good point, Carol. What happens too often is people get passionate about an issue or a cause and then emotion trumps reason.