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The Unwarranted Intrusion of Faith Into Politics


Society & Culture  (tags: politics, religion, Christianity, separation of church and state, fundamentalism, Jesus, political cammpaigns, Obama, McCain )

RC
- 2320 days ago - washingtonpost.com
Both presidential candidates recently allowed themselves to be interrogated about their faith and beliefs by an evangelical minister. WHY?



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Comments

RC deWinter (418)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 3:37 am
This is NOT a denunciation of anyone's personal, private beliefs. But that's the point - PRIVATE beliefs. How would Rick Warren haved fared in questioning, for example, a Jewish candidate about his/her relationship with Jesus? The separation of church and state is a fundamental founding tenet of America. The fact that these presidential candidates are shamelessly pandering to the Christian right during their campaigns is abhorrent - to me, anyay. This kind of carnival has no place in our political system.
 

Joycey B. (750)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 3:50 am
I totally agree with you Cate. Religion and politics should be seperate. Thanks Cate.
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 4:10 am
Religion has nothing to do with politics. It should be seperated. I still have to meet a "religious" politian, who follows and practises his/her religion.
 

FreeSpirit Running (324)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 4:35 am
I am sorry, it is my belief that one has nothing to with the other, and doesn't have a place in office. They should be separate, I agree Joycey. Everyone has a right to their beliefs. They should not interfere with politics.

Thank you Cate, I thought this was an excellent article, as always..lol...
totally noted!

Blessings to all,
FreeSpiritRunning...
 

RC deWinter (418)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 4:44 am
We are 67 names from reaching the goal on Julie's petition. Justice for Julie SIGN TODAY if you haven't, and if you have, keep getting thew word out. We are SO CLOSE - thank you.
 

Todd R. (45)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 5:37 am
You would think they shuld be seperate. But all your churches was started and funded by secret societys. Why do you think Government gives churches tax breaks, can you say hiding money, money laundering, money shelter. The you control the churches you control ones faiths and beliefs. Now you have the churches telling you who to vote for.I have no problem believing this.
 

Dee C. (23)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 6:09 am
Thanks Cate..
Noted..
 

kat yazzie (400)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 6:30 am
The separation of church and state, although not directly stated in the United States Constitution stems from the wording in the first amendment. Many believe the statement, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" establishes a defined separation of church and state. This issue has been one of major contention between the Religious Right and Civil Rights organizations.
 

Stephen Hannon (203)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 7:02 am
Noted, thanks Cate
 

Marion Y. (322)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 7:19 am
I have to agree. Faith into politics has helped bring down other "empires" in the past. The US is not immune...
 

Isis MorningStar (39)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 9:55 am
I agree, Thanks Cate
 

Phyllis P. (389)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 10:16 am
Yes..and no matter what they say, they are always trying to win the conservative Christian vote, (even when they say they are pro-choice.)
 

Fran C. (7)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:02 am
Internationally an embarrassment, surely. Who encourages this stuff?
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:04 am
Somebody out there in politician land is hopeing there is millions who do not know anything about the separation of church & state!!!!!!! Whoever they are their about right, and tied in with all this ignorance is God will anoint the holy one to be president.

Ahhhhhh......Now who could that be!!!!!!!!

What this country needs is a Native American for president........At last at last!!!!!!!!

PLANT TREES FOR LIFE.............
 

MEL ISSA (3)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:07 am
A funny thing about people...they usually carry their beliefs where ever they go. A politician may try to use religion to persuade people that he's their candidate. I think that Obama's only reason was to make it known to the small percentage out there that thinks he's Muslim, that they're wrong.

It's kinda like a 'No Politician Left Behind' program. *snicker*

But the 'real' Christ was NOT political NOR religious!
Read Garry Wills book...'What Jesus Meant' and you will know the REAL Jesus.
 

Terrie Williams (772)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:32 am
I for one found Rick Warren's 'who is most Christian' dialogue the other night, distasteful, embarrassing and distressing. Beliefs should remain personal and not be made a 'platform' for political gain.

I watched the whole thing--not without talking back to the TV--I found it to be just another 'venue' for votes. Funny how McCrazy had a captive audience. (And NO I do not believe he was sequestered from hearing the questions or Nobama's answers). It was very hard for me to sit through that debacle.

McCrazy didn't answer the questions except to use the venue for story-time. Nobama actually did try to answer the questions as head-on as he could. I have to give him that. To me, the whole thing was debasing.

Religion should be completely separate from politics. I do not care if one is a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, Wiccan, Agnostic or Atheist--it is all a private matter not to be mixed with politics. That doesn't mean that one should leave their ethics and personal values behind either. A president, congressperson and senators are all supposed to serve the good of ALL Americans REGARDLESS of their personal beliefs or the beliefs of their 'backers'.

America was never meant to be a THEOCRACY, yet that is exactly what the Christian right wants and sadly it looks like they may get what they want to the detriment of every other American who is NOT a Christian evangelical or fundamentalist. That scares me.
 

Michael Dewey (1034)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:38 am
There really isn't a separation of church and state in the Constitution. It was only that Congress shall make no law regarding them. Even though in both Jefferson and Madison's writing they they thought there should have been. Some other writings also say that there should be no religious test to hold office.

After the damage I have seen from the stone throwing of the MEDIA-RIGHT-STORM about abortions, the drug war and peoples personnel sex lives, there surely should be one. Along with even some control over the TV which our Founders did not see coming. Like a Trial should be up to a jury, not the whole public over the airwaves.

After the foux news latest show on Obama where it tried to imply about everything Obama did had something negative too it. I could only stand about 10 minutes of it before I got my dose of anger for the night.
 

Ariel H. (46)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:52 am
Absoletly agree with you Cate. This isn't the first time that Nobama has sacrificed the constitutional separation of church and state either. Prior he had said he agreed with federal funds going to faith based ministries!!!

Didn't we have enough of our consititution being shredded by W? I was also apalled by the shameless pandering to the Religious Right. At this link: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/95631/ you will find information about how a nationwide poll for the majority of Middle Class supports progressive policy. Then what is Nobama thinking? He is already supposed to be the nominee for the more progressive party, not the conservative religious right party!
 

Mary H. (47)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 12:39 pm
I could get my soapbox but everything I would say has been said!
TY Cate
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 1:13 pm
I've been amazed at how much of a role religion has played with this election.

Things are going to come to a head very soon and the outcome might surprise you.
 

Dr Kathi A. (215)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 1:17 pm
Agree with all of you that religion has no place in politics. MEL LISSA, you are absolutely right.... Jesus Christ was NOT religious or political, He is out ultimate example. Jesus was SPIRITUAL and he said [own words], what due Caesar [government] is due to it, and what is due God is due to God. Meaning, there is a SEPARATION between the two, period.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 1:20 pm
Religion has been playing a role since 1980. Remember the moral majority?
 

Karen Walker (71)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 1:21 pm
*noted*I definitely agree with you, Cate.
 

Lyn Z. (290)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 1:25 pm
Good think I'm not a politician. I did belong to the Theosophical Society = the study of ALL Religions & Philosophies of our world. Oh my, land sakes what am I to do??!!
 

Frank H. (478)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 1:54 pm
Separation of church and state means simply that there is to be no state sponsored religion.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. have equal rights as Americans to participate in the political process and to express their views based on their beliefs. Leftist liberals want to take that right away from them.

 

Ronald Moore (0)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 2:25 pm
I would like to see both candidates answer questions at an agnostic/atheist forum.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 2:30 pm
Many "Leftist liberals" are Christians., or Jews, or other religions. If there is not state religion, why have a Christian Presidential Debate? So the religious right can bash everyone who disagrees by saying we aren't christian.
 

Lynn Christy (128)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 3:12 pm
noted, i agree with you cate...:)everything i would say has been said..:(
 

Frank H. (478)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 3:25 pm
Did you actually watch it Nancy. It was not a debate at all. But many groups have the residential candidates speak to them. NAACP, AFL/CIO, Police Officers, American Legion, etc. Neither candidate was somehow forced to appear at that forum. They both accepted the invitations, as they have for other groups. No one person, or group, should have any more or fewer rights.
 

Nancy M. (202)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 3:31 pm
Exactly, noone should have more or fewer rights. I actually did not have the opportunity to watch it because of some travel but have read parts of the transcript.
 

Frank H. (478)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 4:42 pm
So why are you so anti-Christian Nancy?
 

John L. (0)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 4:59 pm
WELL SAID NANCY........AL GORE IS CHRISTIAN,AS ARE BILL& HILARY CLINTON YET THOSE ON THE REICH FOCUS ON WHETHER OR NOT ONE IS SO CALLED PRO-LIFE AND OR A MEMBER/SUPPORTER OF THE N.R.A.......HOW'S THAT FOR BEING SPIRITUAL? AND HOW MANY DIED WHILE BILL HAD A BIT OF PLEASURE UNDER THE TABLE,SO TO SPEAK, AS COMPARED TO WHAT DUMB GEORGE AND EVIL CHENEY HAVE CAUSED IN THE UNWARRANTED DEATH OF OVER 4,100 YOUNG AMERICANS IN A NEEDLESS WAR....CHRISTIANS ALSO OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT THE "DEATH PENALTY"..THEY DON'T MIND PLAYING "GOD" WHEN THEY FEEL WRONGED..IN OTHERWORDS ,THEY ARE HYPOCRITES ...I BELIEVE IN SOME TYPE OF "HIGHER POWER " BUT WHATEVER IT IS DOESN'T GIVE A HOOT AS TO WHETHER WE ACKNOWLEDGE IT OR NOT.....AND THE USE/ABUSE OF JESUS IS ABSURD WHILE MINIMIZING THE VALUE OF EACH CHILD BORN ....FOR EACH ONE IS A "BABY JESUS",ONLY, WITH THEIR OWN NAME..........
 

Frank H. (478)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 5:24 pm
Anyone can call herself Christian. Being one is different. There is no response to the rest as it's incoherent.
 

Brenda H. (29)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 5:48 pm
ABSOLUTELY CATE! THE ALSO GOT MANY $$$$$$$$$ WORTH OF FREE AIR TIME! THANKS!
 

K. A. Hilliker (293)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 6:39 pm
*SIGH* I totally agree that religion and politics should be KEPT completely separate, but unfortunately, for way too many people it is one and the same. I know that on both sides of my family, this election has EVERYTHING to do with religious views, rights, beliefs, non-beliefs. The media has also exploited these difference to the hilt!

I agree with Frank in that anyone can call themselves "religious" "Christian" or any other number of titles, but LIVING a lifestyle of respect and honor for your fellow human being is REALLY what our lives should be about - in or out of politics.
 

JOSSIE ROSS (62)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 6:55 pm
ITS NONE OF ANYONES BUSINESS WHAT FAITH A PERSON HAS, IT ALWAYS SEEMS TO GET CRAZIER & POLITICS & RELIGION ARE NOT A MATCH OR SYNONYME !!
 

JOSSIE ROSS (62)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 6:57 pm
SORRY.....SYNONYM.....
 

Mary Jane K. (13)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 7:04 pm
Thanks Cate, great news story, great comments. Separation of Church and State should be important to all of us.
 

Bec Mason (6)
Wednesday August 20, 2008, 7:38 pm
Noted Cate, thanks for the article. I agree with you, politics and religion should be separate. On a side note, I can't believe how long this election campaign has been running!!! I'm from Australia, and last year we held the election. There was about a month of campaigning, then we voted. It must be hard to put up with it for so long. You guys must glad when its over, then the business of running the country begins again.
 

Dolores H. (2)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 3:32 am
Religion has been slowly creeping more and more into politics, and I'm finding that rather disturbing.
 

Gail L. (30)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 3:37 am
Noted
 

Linda H. (13)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 9:09 am
Millions of people have been killed in the name of religion or God, that is why the designers of our government didn't want a state sponsored religion. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. The Christian right wants to force its views on the majority, because of course they think they are right. When the majority wants one thing and religion wants another they have a tendency to be a little bloody with their attempts. Remember how Falwell ecouraged the young people in so many words to go out and beat up the Gays like Matthew Shepherd? And remeber how they like to blow up abortion clinics, killing many people who are innocent? And remember the Inquisition? All those people thought they were doing the right thing when they tortured millions in God's name. And the Crusades, remember those, 100s of thousands died in those, all in God's name. If God wants something to change, I think he can handle it without help from the Christian Right. Or the Crusaders or the Christian Right.
 

RC deWinter (418)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 9:16 am
Hey, only 47 names away from the goal - PLEASE SIGN IF YOU HAVEN'T - if you have....LOVE TO YOU & THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT - JUSTICE FOR JULIE I can't WAIT to send this to the recipients.
 

Shirley H. (49)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 3:19 pm
Thanks, Cate for a great post. I agree with everything. Religion should never play a role in politics.
Signed JUSTICE FOR JULIE.
Shirley H.
 

Patricia N. (8)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 9:12 pm
An excellent book on this subject is "Freethinkers - A History Of American
Secularism" by Susan Jacoby (2004) Review as follows:
"Freethinkers is not only a good book, it is a necessary one.
This dramatic study offers a welcome reminder that the Founding
Fathers were intent on keeping church and state firmly separated.
Lively, impassioned and impartial, Susan Jacoby's argument deserves
more than respect; it deserves support."
-Peter Gay
Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University

I don't know if this book is still in print...but I'm sure one can get it
at the library or order from another library if you live in a small town.
It is a great read....I wish I could print the whole thing right here for you. Thanks for this story Cate.
 

Patricia N. (8)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 9:15 pm
P. S. The publisher is Henry Holt and Company, N.Y., N.Y.
 

Marian E. (152)
Thursday August 21, 2008, 11:11 pm

Religion and race seem to be the biggest factors in this election. Neither of which should
have any bearing at all.

Thanks Cate.
 

RC deWinter (418)
Friday August 22, 2008, 8:07 am
Don't forget to sign JUSTICE FOR JULIE if you haven't yet.

We are only 36 signatures from our goal. THANK YOU is you have already done so.
 

. (0)
Saturday August 23, 2008, 9:56 am
Frank H - no one wants to take away a candidate's right to discuss his or her religious beliefs. What many of us object to is the fact that they are forced to do so in order to get elected. Any candidate who refused to state his religious affiliation openly or any candidate who professed atheism or agnosticism simply wouldn't stand much of a chance of election. Despite religious tests being constitutionally forbidden for political office they are very much in existence. And, what in blue blazes does a person's religious belief have to do with his ability to uphold the Constitution and govern our country wisely? We are a secular state not theocracy.
 

Diana D. (177)
Sunday August 24, 2008, 3:23 am
Excellent submission Cate and great comments. I agree with you and most of what has been said here and I like what Lindsey O said.
 

Claire F. (67)
Sunday August 24, 2008, 7:34 pm
I among the rest of you am tired of being or not being thought of as a christian by what politician I may follow, what church I may or may not attend, and whether or not I speak "religion" my every waking hour! Thank you, Cate, for the great article.
 

Brittany C. (15)
Monday August 25, 2008, 1:31 pm
I don't really care what religion politicians claim. As long as they don't try to make situations that promote and denounce their dogma in government. I would like to see politicians not claim their religion during election or debates... because a religion doesn't grant you acceptance or none... at least for me.
It would eliminate so many judgements.
For once can we just elect someone because they are doing what's right for the country and not for their religious or non-religious belief.
I don't think America will ever be comfortable without religion in politics since it's a foundation, but I wish we would.

What a great post!!
 
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