Just about four years ago, I wrote the following blog post about the fallacy that is the separation between church and state in the United States. Seems to me, nothing has changed:
I am absolutely boggled about this supposed foundation our country was built upon because, let’s face it, there has NEVER BEEN such a separation between the political and the religious here in America. To be sure, one of the most important aspects of presidential candidates is their stance on faith. Why? Why? Why? What does it matter?
Recently, this issue has moved to the forefront of the 2008 race for the presidency. The candidate at the center is Republican Mitt Romney, a self-proclaimed Mormon. According to The New York Times in an article Monday entitled “Romney Plans to Address Concerns About His Faith”, “Suspicions about Mr. Romney’s Mormon beliefs, which many conservative Christians consider to be heretical, have dogged his candidacy since it began, with many polls showing that large numbers of Americans would not vote for a Mormon candidate.” If the government is supposed to have nothing to do with the church – any church, for that matter – why are American citizens so hell-bent on the religious views of the candidates?
Mike Huckabee is currently the contender that is going head-to-head with Romney on this issue, promoting himself as a “Christian leader”. Christian, Mormon, Catholic, Jew…these are not matters that belong in voters’ minds when they go to the polls. Huckabee is quoted to have said, “”I’m just not going to go off into evaluating other people’s doctrines and faiths. I think that is absolutely not a role for a president”.” Of course, but then why are doctrines and faiths such an important political factor? It should not matter in the slightest what faith they proclaim to follow because, just as judges are not supposed to let personal prejudices effect their decisions, neither should the President run their office by the Bible, or the Torah, or any religious document. One is not supposed to have anything to do with the other.
It’s no surprise that the Republicans seem to be much more focused on their faith than the Democrats, considering that the former party is made-up almost solely of the so-called Religious Right. Why are we not questioning this reality more as a country? We should be outraged that our government leaders believe their religions play such a large role in their decision-making, when it should not have a role at all.
This is a contentious subject, of course, and one I have strong opinions on. Please feel free to begin a dialogue here about religion and government. I’d love to hear some more views.