Democrats & Liberals Archives

Secular Government, Religious Harmony

Religious fundamentalists keep telling us that this is a Christian nation. Of course it is, since a big majority of this nation’s citizens are Christians. But this does not mean that the government should be religious. Our founding fathers got the BIG IDEA that if there was, as Thomas Jefferson put it, a “wall of separation between church and state,” it would allow religion to flourish in America. And they were right. We now have a secular government and are one of the most religious nations on earth.

According to a 2002 study, 81% of Americans identify themselves as religious and 76.5% claim to be Christians. That makes the broad group of Christians a majority. So, if one believes in democracy, in majority rule, the Christians should rule the country. Thus do far right fundamentalists argue.

However, the greatest idea of the founders, the principle that sets this country above others, the reason people all over the world are willing to risk life and limb to immigrate here is that America protects its minorities. Protection of minorities is the reason for all the checks and balances. Protection of minorities is the purpose of the Bill of Rights. Protection of minorities is the reason we have harmony among so many people of so many different faiths.

Though the Christian population is in the majority, not everyone who calls himself Christian, practices his or her religion in the same way. As a matter of fact, 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world. I don't know how many of these are in the U.S. But we have plenty of different denominations in the U.S. The top ones are:

  • Roman Catholic - 24.5%
  • Baptist - 16.3%
  • Methodist - 6.8%
  • Lutheran - 4.6%
  • Presbyterian - 2.7%
You can see for yourself that the largest group, the Roman Catholics, at 24.5%, is a minority. Each of the other Christian groups is a smaller minority, just as are all the other religious groups, including the 14.1% who say they are not religious.

A secular government protects every single minority religious group - ALL religious groups. This is another way of saying that a secular government protects everyone's freedom of religion. A secular government is the ONLY way to protect ALL people of faith in this country.

And the founders' vision of a secular government, in addition to allowing a free conscience to everyone, is also keeping Americans moral. Those in the so-called Red states, who want to remove the "wall of separation," are less moral than those in the Blue states, who believe in a solid "wall." The writers at the American Prospect compiled a dossier to prove this point. Among their findings:

  • Red states have a higher divorce rate than Blue states
  • Red states have a higher teenage-mother rate than Blue states
  • Red states have a higher violent-crime rate than Blue states
  • Red states have a higher alcohol-abuse rate than Blue states
  • Red states have a higher drug-abuse rate than Blue states
  • Red states have a higher sexual-disease rate than Blue states
And here's the kicker: Young people of Red states are LEAST likely to be sexually abstinent before marriage. And where do you think the youth are more likely to be sexually abstinent? New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania - states supporting a secular government.

Every single one of us is a member of a minority religious group. We must have a secular government in order to protect all citizens in their exercise of religion as they see fit to do or not to do. A secular government leads to a nation where people of all religions and non-religions live in harmony and peace.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 3, 2006 6:00 PM
Comments
Comment #137692

Paul-

You get no argument from me on this post. I totally agree that there should be a separation of church and state. with this caveat: We should not expect any elected official to check their faith at the door. If our faith is important to us, we should make every effort to remain true to it, no matter what it may be. To ask otherwise would be forcing a person of faith to deny part of his/her core makeup. That’s not what the founders had in mind. For true people of faith, that faith is the basis of their outlook on life and vision of the future.

Also, for those who may not have read history, the founders, including Jefferson, wanted the wall to protect religion from the state, not the state from religion. All of the founders were men of faith, though not necessarily Christianity.

Posted by: John Back at April 3, 2006 7:25 PM
Comment #137694

Don’t start this red/blue thing again. More Californians voted for George Bush than there are people in Utah. I expect we could find a similar situation in Texas in reverse.

If you want red/blue, BTW, you missed the one that red states give a lot more to charity and even contribute more blood per capita.

So the technical point is that you are extrapolating from an extrapolation when you (or anyone else) uses data from states based on their voting to attribute anything to religious behavior.

The substantive point is that the religious people are often set off by some stupid rule, like the Easter Bunny incident. The founding fathers intented to protect us from an established religion. They obviously did not intend for the state to root religion out of the public sphere.

I agree that there should be a separation of church and state. But that does not mean that the state should be hostile to religion.

Posted by: Jack at April 3, 2006 7:39 PM
Comment #137695

Paul,
Your facts posted at the American Prospect are quite interesting. But as with all facts you have to look at the foundation. such as:

In red states in 2001, there were 572,000 divorces … Blue states recorded 340,000 …

So the question remains… How many red to blue?

Some interesting facts concerning the 2000 Presidential election:
1. Population of counties won by: Gore: 127 million; Bush: 143million;
2. Square miles of land won by: Gore: 580,000; Bush: 2,427,000;
3. States won by: Gore: 20 Bush: 30
4. Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore: 6.5, Bush: 4.1

found at:
http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/tyler.asp
(in response to a faulty e-mail floating around)

The fact is (and people can do their own research, not just go to a far left site!) that people who have religion in their lives have far less problems than those listed in the American Pundant site.

Posted by: Scott at April 3, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #137697

Having escaped the ignorance of my Southern Baptist and Texas raising and recovered from both, including the fundamentalist in any conversation regarding Christianity is lending legitimacy to nothing more than a well organized cult operating from the sewers of the American religious community where it’s existence is totally dependent on the exploitation of the ignorant and emotionally crippled amongst us.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at April 3, 2006 7:54 PM
Comment #137702

Religion is doing now what they always do:
Get people to act on fear or ignorance. I attended a Southern Baptist college in Texas, and I have never met a more ignorant and gullible group of people. Very nice polite and sweet people who would give you the shirt off your back if they thought you were one of them, but in the next second would hope out loud that medical research never invents a cure for sickle cell anemia, since that’s a black disease.

Three times during my four years there someone got hundreds of signatures to send to the FCC to stop Madelyn Murray Ohare from getting rid of religeous radio stations, even though she had never done such a thing. I remember even showing one of these earnest souls an article from Reader’s Digest proving them wrong, and they wouldn’t believe it.

As a joke, someone put a box next to a soda machine to collect aluminum pull tops from cans for dialysis time. The college newspaper ran an article showing it as a joke, but people still put the tops in the box.

Anyway my point is that the right is playing up this non-existent attack on Christianity to rally the ignorant well meaning souls to vote against the middle class needs.

Posted by: Loren at April 3, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #137706

It’s all politics folks. The religious right is too stupid to see that they are being used in the same way that homosexuals are being used to win elections. Republicans have latched onto a group that has the ability to put them back in office, so they play up the holier-than-thou Christian rhetoric. Too bad they can’t see that their saviours are just greedy and corrupt hypocrites hiding behind God. I think it’s called a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The funny thing I have noticed is that most aethist and agnostics have a better understanding of Christianity than these right wing nutjobs do.

The nation may be majority Christians, but that really doesn’t tell the whole story. Beleifs within Christianity can vary widely.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at April 3, 2006 9:00 PM
Comment #137708

Expat,

I assume from your post, that you have escaped God as well?

Posted by: Cliff at April 3, 2006 9:07 PM
Comment #137709
We should not expect any elected official to check their faith at the door. If our faith is important to us, we should make every effort to remain true to it, no matter what it may be. To ask otherwise would be forcing a person of faith to deny part of his/her core makeup. That’s not what the founders had in mind. For true people of faith, that faith is the basis of their outlook on life and vision of the future.

John,

What the founders had in mind was that elected officials would uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States, even if it went against their own personal beliefs. The founders did not envision a land where someone’s personal faith dictates what others should believe by law.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at April 3, 2006 9:11 PM
Comment #137710

JJ,

Unfortunately, you are correct in your analysis. Christians do give Christians a bad name. It makes me very sad.

Posted by: Cliff at April 3, 2006 9:13 PM
Comment #137715

For many, faith means seeing the facts before your eyes but holding on to the belief of what the preacher told you so he can keep you coming to church or watching him on TV.

Posted by: Loren at April 3, 2006 9:34 PM
Comment #137721

Good topic, Paul.

John Back:
“We should not expect any elected official to check their faith at the door.”

I completely agree, but we do have every right to expect that an official’s faith will not entail their fellow officials, or their constituents, to have to witness constant expressions of that faith simply so they can proudly wear it on their sleeves. Nor should they attempt to proselytize or continually try to influence others in government by constantly referring to, or expounding upon religious faith in public. As public servants our officials should be able to remain neutral on the subject (though of course never be expected to deny their religion) when they do their work. If they are incapable of doing so, they clearly don’t belong in government or politics because this government belongs to all of us.

“All of the founders were men of faith, though not necessarily Christianity.”

This is patently untrue. Some of them were religious, some made a token gesture toward religion for the sake of appearances or political reasons, and some of them were not religious at all.

Loren:
“Anyway my point is that the right is playing up this non-existent attack on Christianity to rally the ignorant well meaning souls to vote against the middle class needs.”

Well, I don’t wish to call all religious people ignorant, but I agree that the “Attack on Christianity” is totally bogus spin, and that the non-existent threat of this is definitely being used to make the middle class vote against their own best interests.

Jay Jay, good posts. I agree with you.

Posted by: Adrienne at April 3, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #137742

Being an Atheist, I don’t normally say Praise God’s justice, but Tom Delay just announced he will not seek his house seat inspite of winning the primary. Tom is one of those hypocritical Christians who hasn’t got a moral bone in his body. Now I’m just waiting for lightning to turn him into charcoal.

Perhaps, I should should just say thanks Ronnie Earle, and hope for a prison term where Tom is the b**** of some large Brother.

Posted by: gergle at April 3, 2006 10:47 PM
Comment #137743

A critical aspect of freedom of religion is
freedom from religion. A person should be free to be non-religious, without having his/her nose rubbed in religion everywhere he/she turns.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 3, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #137753

“…the founders, including Jefferson, wanted the wall to protect religion from the state, not the state from religion.”
Unfortunately, if you don’t protect the state from religion, then one religion will become the “right” religion, and the others won’t be worthy of protection. Then you will have to explain why protecting religion from the state is THE SAME as protecting the state from religion, only no one will want to listen, because they’d rather burn you at the stake.
“I agree that there should be a separation of church and state. But that does not mean that the state should be hostile to religion.”
Not hostile to religion, but indifferent to it. Subtle, but not the same. Indifferent means, in a very practical sense, that none of my tax dollars get spent on your crazy mythology. Simply put, if I came up with a religion that you didn’t approve of, and insisted on appropriating your money to fund my nonsense, you would surely be upset and rightly so. So let’s all agree that tax dollars don’t get spent on myths and thousand-year-old stories. If you really want to, spend your own money on churches, mosques, or captain crunch, I just don’t want my money forcibly taken away from me to subsidize your insanity.
The real issue is that the American christian fundamentalists make themselves a target for “appropriation” by whichever party is running the game, because fundamentalists have already demonstrated a desire to have their world view handed to them instead of figuring it out for themselves. Those who prefer to question the world around them tend either to become dissatisfied with the answers provided by religion, or alternatively to find a way to allow “faith” to answer certain questions, but not all questions.

Posted by: T. Jefferson at April 3, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #137754

On religious issues there can be no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ or God, or Allah or whatever one calls this supreme being.But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout the land are not using thier religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 per cent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes, or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe A,B,C and D. Just who do they think they are? And where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the senate. I am warning them today; I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of Conservatism. - Barry Goldwater

Posted by: j2t2 at April 3, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #137761

I am an athiest. In God We Trust is on our money…I don’t care. When our monitary system was formed it was the ‘in’ thing to do.

I am an athiest. Several of our national buildings have references to or depictions of things religious (including the Supreme Court)…I don’t care. When those buildings were designed it was the ‘in’ thing to do.

When I spend my money, I don’t even notice the Godly referral, and when I walk by one of those buildings. I think…what a beautiful building, and never notice the Biblical referrals.

But, when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I skip the ‘under God’, mostly because I learned it before the phrase was added, but also because I cannot say it aloud without noticing the Godly referral.

The laws of Moses should not be placed in schools, because that is an establishment of religion by our government. My children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren should not be bombarded by religious offerings because they have to attend school. They have no choice.

There should be no organized prayer in government buildings or led by government officials, because that is in direct violation of the separation clause, and the act of vocalized prayer is fundimental to establishment.

I gave twenty years to military service, two and a half tours in combat, and a knee and a hip to protect our Constitution, and to see it vilified by right wing propagandists, who spout the tripe about there being a ‘war on Christianity’ has jumped on my last nerve. To them I say…if you want a ‘war on religion’, volunteer to go to Iraq…because that’s just what Cheney/Bush started over there.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 3, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #137762

Great post Paul.

Most here know that I truly believe the religious right has for some time been moving us towards a Domionist Theocracy. I’m currently awaiting a copy of Kevin Phillips’ new book: American Theocracy: The Perils and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.

For those from the right who might poo-poo Phillips’ as just another Bush basher it might serve you well to know that he also wrote the book: The Emerging Republican Majority which, when published in 1969, was referred to by Newsweek as the “political bible of the Nixon Era.”

The Washington Post ran an op-ed by Phillips’ just yesterday:
http://www.theocracywatch.org/new_kevin_philips_post_apr2_06.htm

One notable quote: “Unfortunately, more danger lurks in the responsiveness of the new GOP coalition to Christian evangelicals, fundamentalists and Pentecostals, who muster some 40 percent of the party electorate. Many millions believe that the Armageddon described in the Bible is coming soon. Chaos in the explosive Middle East, far from being a threat, actually heralds the second coming of Jesus Christ. Oil price spikes, murderous hurricanes, deadly tsunamis and melting polar ice caps lend further credence.”

I just hope we can still turn away from this insanity before it’s too late.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 3, 2006 11:53 PM
Comment #137768

One of the great failures of Americans and Europeans is the complete and total inability to see the world outside their little shell.

The Dark Ages are the perfect example. While it is true that period was hard for the White Man, the Arab and Asian Cultures flourished and prospered.

It is the same here. The Religious Nuts see the decline of White Power as the start of Armageddon. I see it as the rise of the Asian Countries like China and India.

Its the Fall of Rome guys. Bush is just an even more stupid Nero.

Posted by: Aldous at April 4, 2006 12:12 AM
Comment #137771

>>Its the Fall of Rome guys. Bush is just an even more stupid Nero.

Posted by: Aldous at April 4, 2006 12:12 AM

Aldous,

Damn, you did it again…what a phrase!

Posted by: Marysdude at April 4, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #137775

Kansas Dem,

I suppose you would’ve had the same sophmoric “the sky is falling” fears when Kennedy, a Catholic (Eeeek! The horror!!!), was elected. The fact is the “evangelical right” has the same power over the right as the nuts at MoveOn have over the left. They both raise money and push their special interest lobbies, but they don’t control the Party. It’s why Dean never made it to the big show and why Ralph Reed will never win the GOP Primary.

The problem with liberals is that they think “separation of church and state” means governmental leaders need to be agnostic or atheists. I suppose it’s one thing if someone runs for election as an Atheist then gets elected and claims they were “born again” all along. That’s fraudulent representation. But, as mentioned above, if a priest wants to run for President he’s allowed to do so. He just can’t let Bishops and Cardinals make direct decisions for the country. But if a person divulges an obvious religious faith, then if that’s what people elect then that’s what they get, a person who references the ideals of their faith. Obviously Bush isn’t the “God Freak” libs make him out to be. He would’ve loved and fed Saddam and the terrorists instead of fighting them like he has.

It’s so funny when libs get upset at Bush for referencing God and asking God for strength in making tough decisions … as if Michael Moore, Al Franken, George Clooney, Howard Dean, and Jesse Jackson are better alternatives.

Posted by: BTO at April 4, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #137778

>>It’s so funny when libs get upset at Bush for referencing God and asking God for strength in making tough decisions … as if Michael Moore, Al Franken, George Clooney, Howard Dean, and Jesse Jackson are better alternatives.

Posted by: BTO at April 4, 2006 12:37 AM

BTO,

Yep, and Bugs and Elmer and Daffy too. Virtually anyone or anything would have been better and more effective than Cheney/Bush.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 4, 2006 12:43 AM
Comment #137782

BTO:

I don’t know if you noticed but the Terrorists ARE GETTING STRONGER because of Bush. You would know this if you ever traveled outside of the Bible Belt.

Posted by: Aldous at April 4, 2006 1:03 AM
Comment #137783

I thought I would peek in this thread to see the new words of wisdom on burying the hatchet on that tired dispute between the godless and the gimme all the god you got crowds, but the biles rising too fast.

All I ask is Please, Please don’t hurt the Easter Bunny. The peeps and the Cadbury eggs and the hollow bunnies (they were in the war) just want to live in peace in their little plastic grass nests.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 4, 2006 1:04 AM
Comment #137791

This is usually an issue that causes me to get emotional and maybe a little irrational. Let me just say that I am a Christian and very proud of it. I DON’T LIKE GUYS LIKE ROBERTSON AND FALWELL. They remind me too much of the Pharisees that Jesus continually rebuked as hypocrites. I believe there are Christians who will go to New Jerusalem who voted for John Kerry. I am a former atheist who began searching for answers when I was taught that the universe exploded into existence out of absolutely nothing, for absolutely no reason. To believe that takes REAL faith, my friends. I’m not going to condemn or judge anyone on this subject anymore, it’s not my place to do so. My job is to pray for all people everywhere.(even liberals, DOH!)

MAY THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU, MAY HE MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU, MAY HE LIFT UP HIS COUNTENANCE UPON YOU AND GIVE YOU PEACE.

Posted by: Duano at April 4, 2006 1:31 AM
Comment #137812

“My job is to pray for all people everywhere.(even liberals, DOH!)”

Well, let’s hope your job doesn’t get out-sourced by that other god, corporate greed.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 4, 2006 2:33 AM
Comment #137816

Secular
///
The difference between red states and blue states is mostly the b word book belt. Our fundamentalists are no different to me than Islamic fundamentalists. Both are being used by a political faction seeking power. It is also no different than the church in Europe trying to get a declaration of historic christianity from the European Parliament.

In our country there is also a racial divide among fundamentalists. Blacks and whites who have these same religious views, have opposite political views.

Where I live, the churches are Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Congregationalist UCC. The polling place is at a Greek Orthodox Church, there is a Jewish congregation, a mosque, and an Armenian church being built on the way to work. There is no Baptist Church, or any of the other fundamentalists, but we do not have a Buddhist temple either.

This is very different from what you would find in the b belt.
///

Posted by: ohrealy at April 4, 2006 2:45 AM
Comment #137820

BTO,
An interesting point. President Bush is a man of deep faith, or so I hear. Now, your quote, “Obviously Bush isn’t the “God Freak” libs make him out to be. He would’ve loved and fed Saddam and the terrorists instead of fighting them like he has.” I thought that was Christ’s message. Loving thy enemy and all that.

Heck, it might even be argued that if man would have obeyed God’s laws there wouldn’t even be terrorists or a Saddam in the first place!

I know that people want to place the fault with terrorism on Islam. However, I believe that it is the distortion of Islam that is used to radicalize the disenfranchised of the Arab world. This was done in 1098 for the Crusades that gave second sons a chance to find a place for themselves in society and to gain land that the 1st son inherieted. It also would absolve them of their sins which were so plentiful that the Church even tried to impose a set of laws concering all the wars they were having!

They have no political voice, they have no real economic opportunity, they have religious schools and laws instead of secular laws that all people can obey to enjoy their religion.

In actuality… loving Saddam and feeding him would have been much cheaper in blood and money… so maybe Bush should have listened a bit more to Christ’s message? As far as terrorists, there still was no big connection to terrorists, so what did it serve us? Saudi Arabia had more of a connection to the terrorists than Iraq did.

Why is “Loving thy neighbor” or being concerned that military force is used appropriately a “liberal” thing? Just for fairness, I believe that it should be noted that we supported the war with Afghanistan.

Christ did not say, “If a man strikes your cheek hit him a preemptive blow.” It seems just as liberal are accused of distorting Christ’s teachings… so do the conservatives. Senator Clinton invoked Christ’s name during the immigration debate and she was attacked… people would deny Christ’s message just to “ding” “Hillary”.

Where I have problems is when I hear obvious attempts to distort the truth… I have read people claim that Christians are being “persecuted” and “censored” in America. When I have asked for specifics I get no reply. I see bumper stickers saying MAKE PRAYER IN SCHOOL LEGAL. It is legal. Any student is free to pray… it never has been illegal for a student to pray. However, why insist that a prayer to God be communal? Shouldn’t we be concerned about our own personal relationship to God?

For a secularist, I believe it is very important to know if there is persecution or censorship in America so I can do what I can to prevent it.

Jerry Falwell still has access to a microphone anytime he wants to say something… Pat Robertson can still call for the assassination of a foreign leader on national television. There are Christian cable networks and people outside of my son’s middle school passing out Bibles.

My problem is when we set ourselves up for hypocrisy… like the Alabama judge who feels he cannot rule impartiality and in accordance with his oath (most likely made to God) unless there is a 10 Commandments plaque in his courtroom.

He claims that the 10 Commandments are the foundation of Western law… yet, and here is the kicker… the constitution of Afghanistan specifies that religious law supercedes all other laws… so when they attempt to try a person on a capital crime that violates that law then everyone gets upset. It wasn’t even because he converted from Christianity as it was so often misinterpreted, but because he left the Muslim faith. Apostasy.

Judges are not drafted. They are either appointed or elected which means that they have the option of not accepting the job along with its restrictions on their personal freedoms… one of them being total (as near as possible) impartiality. It is not the judges courtroom, it is the People’s courtroom. Any person walking into that courtroom has the right to expect a completely impartial judge. I believe that it would probably be possible for smart lawyers to force him to recuse himself at least 50% of the time or to get his rulings overturned… which means he is not really doing his duty to the People.

If there is concern for fellow Christians in foreign lands… ones that we want to help bring the right to freedom to practice their religion, we need to be 100% behind the separation of Church and State. Otherwise, as some want to say that this is a Christian nation… they can say that their’s is a Muslim nation.

We need to demonstrate that the rule of secular law allows each person the freedom to obey their religious law, not the other way around.

I don’t expect a politician to hide his belief or his faith. I am a Christian, but some might not consider me one because I do not conform to what they believe in. Lucky for me, that wasn’t what Christ said it was to follow Him.

I know that my belief is based on FAITH… which means I cannot prove His existence. Therefore, I do not feel I can force others to live as I think they should based on my religous belief.

Some say that even if God doesn’t exist… living as if He does still gives a person a good life. I agree, except unless that person is homosexual who is not allowed to marry or gets strident screaming thrown at him and is terrorized throughout his life. Or divorced (depending on which religion) and told that there will never be salvation (though a mass murdered will be welcomed if he repents).

Now, you most likely do not believe that a person should get terrorized because of his sexual preference or that a divorce does not preclude a person from entering heaven… but there are some that do. So, which religion… which interpretation of God’s Will or Christ’s message would be the “approved un-offical” government stance?

Posted by: Darren7160 at April 4, 2006 4:26 AM
Comment #137845

BTO,

Since you mention JFK I thought you might enjoy reading a few quotes from his September 12, 1960, address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association:

“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute………”

“I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source—where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”

“Finally, 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…….”

“I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the first amendment’s guarantees of religious liberty. Nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so…..”

Full text here:
http://www.beliefnet.com/story/40/story_4080.html?rnd=33

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 4, 2006 8:58 AM
Comment #137857

Is anyone aware of the fact that there is a “Fundamentalists Anonymous” ? I’ve seen programs where members have been guests, and to hear the absolute horror stories they tell……. It appears to be a large number of young people having been born into the beliefs, trying to escape them. They are wickedly chastised and once they’re ultimately successful in escaping, have even been rejected by their own families. Brainwashing is the most commonly used tactic for training and conversion, then certain members are sought out who they feel the best qualified to go into communities to recruit. They know exactly what signs and characteristics to look for to begin the regimen. Well-to-do people showing signs of faltering abilities to make decisions…drained from hangers-on and dependent family and friends. I watched for nearly two years, a very good friend of mine being subjected to this. In that time, he went from (honestly) a millionaire, to literally digging ditches to support he and his family.
My apologies for getting sidetracked here, but these are subjects I have a tough time with. Religion and politics…topics we’ve been told from childhood are lethal when used together and should be avoided……..I just feel in some ways that religion is a bit like sex…..what, and how we choose to practice it should not be shoved in someone elses face…! I get very tired of hearing Bush talk about the mission he is on…and it’s nearly impossible to avoid it, captive audience that we are.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 4, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #137921

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish (Islam), appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

Thomas Paine, “The Age of Reason.”

Posted by: slowthinker at April 4, 2006 12:40 PM
Comment #137995

“The problem with liberals is that they think “separation of church and state” means governmental leaders need to be agnostic or atheists.”

BTO - I disagree 100%. I was raised Catholic and consider myself a liberal.

Because I am Catholic, during the season we now know as Lent, I don’t eat meat on Friday. As we know, this is a sacrificial gesture done during the Easter season. 24% of the Christians in this country do this practice, but the rest do not adhere to this practice. So if the next President is Catholic and say, for example, because he does not eat meat, he feels that all public schools in this country should not serve meat on Friday to observe this tradition and signs this into legislation, do you feel that this is right? He put his beliefs and practices into his own judgement and felt that this was the right direction for the country to go because HE BELIEVES IT.

How do you feel now? We’re not saying that belief should not be part of one’s life, just not their political life. The best politician asks himself/herself, “Okay, I believe this is the best route to go on subject ABC, but to my constituents belive the same?”

A sound judgement is made not on one’s belief, but on the views of the whole.

Posted by: Lisa C. at April 4, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #138012
Its the Fall of Rome guys. Bush is just an even more stupid Nero.

He reminds me more of Little Boots. `Hasn’t appointed a Horse to the Supreme Court yet, but a Horse’s Ass is close enough…

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 4, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #138013
I am a former atheist who began searching for answers when I was taught that the universe exploded into existence out of absolutely nothing, for absolutely no reason. To believe that takes REAL faith, my friends.

Not if you do some research in order to understand it. Why does everything have to have a meaning? Can’t you just accept what is?

Everything I was taught as a child I have spent time rethinking. Some I still accept, others I have discarded as myth or chalked up as well-intentioned lie. I feel better because I went through that process, and continue to do so every day.

Why are so many people so afraid of learning something new that challenges what they were told?

Posted by: Loren at April 4, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #138015

Expat,

I assume from your post, that you have escaped God as well?


Posted by: Cliff at April 3, 2006 09:07 PM

Actually, since parting with the Baptist, I found God!

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at April 4, 2006 6:01 PM
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