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When is Too Much Religion in Politics Too Much?

Since presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan expressed their beliefs in a God who assisted them in their lives, each in his different way, of course, politicians have seen it acceptable to mention God as God.  In the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson mentioned Nature and Nature’s God. Other politicians of the time spoke of the Creator and Providence. Most Presidents of the United States had their own beliefs but rarely did they make them public. Attending churches in Washington, DC were the custom, but not every Sunday. And it rarely made the newspapers until President Barack Obama’s religion was questioned during the campaign and some time after he was elected! Was he Christian or Muslim? It shouldn’t matter! The United States of America was not founded as a Christian nation.

In this century’s political climate mentioning God is more than “in passing” when on the campaign trail. Even at the local level candidates express their views so that voters may know without question where the candidate stands. The Moral Majority, the Christian Coalition, and in this century the Religious Right, have seen to it that there are code words used by candidates to signal their views without coming right out and saying it, although some are very bold and do come right out and say it. These candidates know full well that references to God are eliminated in the U. S. Constitution–that this document is secular–and that religion should not be a part of the candidate’s resume or qualifications. Indeed, religion has NO part to play in who is better qualified to serve in elective office, according to the Constitution.

In this blog we talk about the threat to the First Amendment at all levels especially in print. USA TODAY on Monday, September 19, 2011, page 9A–“The Forum”– ran “The truth about evangelicals…that you won’t hear in left-wing quarters” by Mark I. Pinsky. His article surprised me in that it criticized some noted authors who espoused their right to challenge some other Americans’ religious/political dialog. One of his targets is Michelle Goldberg author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. He included “Rabbi James Rudin’s The Baptizing of America and several titles by Sara Diamond” in his critique. Pinsky began with discussing Jews and who they supported in presidential elections since 1976: “skeptical Jews in the Northeast and on the West Coast had to be convinced by their Southern cousins that Jimmy Carter, a “born again” Georgia Baptist, was not too strange to support as the Democratic nominee for president. For a time Jews made their peace with this growing American phenomenon called evangelical Christianity.”

“A good deal has changed since then, especially after conservative evangelicals amassed unprecedented access and influence under President George W. Bush and a Republican Congress, pushing a political and cultural agenda most Jews found uncomfortable.”  Pinsky claims that “beginning in 2006 and every two years since in the run-up to the presidential and off-year congressional elections, books and articles suddenly appear–often written by Jews–about the menace and weirdness of evangelical Christianity.”

Well, we could reprint the whole article, but you can check out USA TODAY for the facts. Pinsky wrote inflammatory words, as  far as we are concerned, when he called the tone of some of the writers “Upper West Side hysteric” referring “to the fabled New York neighborhood”, even though they “hail from Brooklyn or Washington, DC.”   Hummpf!

We are offended! The whole article is aimed at trying to convince us, the American electorate, that there is nothing to the plan by evangelical Christianity to take over the USA. Nothing? Mr. Pinsky is trying to pull the wool over our eyes! Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) documents every day how many inroads the Religious Right has made in undermining states’ laws and trying to go around the courts at local levels because they cannot bring certainty of a win to a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court level.

Case in point: Roe v. Wade.  Are you aware that several states have laws that when it comes to the subject of abortion it doesn’t matter how old a female is she has to view a video of a fetus in the womb and wait a certain number of days before a doctor will be allowed to perform the abortion? We are not an advocate for abortion but we are an advocate for it under certain circumstances– to save the female’s life and if the pregnancy occurred as a result of rape! And no one should not be forced to view anything prior to an operation–and that includes knee surgery!

And so, Mr. Pinsky glibly includes himself as a Jew while defending the evangelicals who really need no defense. Their actions speak louder than words. He quotes “Rev. Joel Hunter, an influential mega-church pastor in Orlando and an ideological centrist:  ‘”We do not want to use political means for our faith’s advancement; we just want to vote our values and leave it at that.”

“Vote our values”?  That is code, our dear reader, for taking the secular document and adding God wherever it can be added. Most likely in amending the First Amendment. Do your homework! READ what is being said about undermining Federal laws by creating states’ laws to deprive citizens of their Constitutional rights. It extends further than Roe V. Wade. It extends into your future. Amen.


9:54 am | Posted in First Amendment | Read More »

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