07 June 2007

I just don't get it.

And I probably never will.

The constitution of the United States sets up the doctrine of separation of CHURCH and STATE. To quote the founding fathers:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (United States Constitution, Article VI)

Therefore it is with great dismay that I listened to a report on NPR's Morning Edition on Tuesday morning, about the Democratic presidential hopefuls coming together in a "debate" of sorts which was moderated by CNN's Soledad O'Brien. The focus of the debate? The faith of each candidate.

Personally, I don't give a crap what religion my political leaders are. I care about their stance on abortion and on women's rights, and I will vote for a pro-choice candidate every single time, all other things being equal about two candidates.

But after nearly eight years with President Idiot (who takes every opportunity to mention his own faith) at the helm, it seems to me that the line is blurred more than ever before between church and state. Certainly you hear lots more religion talk, what with those "faith-based" initiatives; and usually when we're talking religion in the media, we're talking Christianity and ignoring every other faith that exists. Don't get me started on that.

What I truly do not understand is why a politician's faith is at issue at all. Who cares? Tell me what you're going to do about poverty, about the fiasco in Iraq, about equal rights for women, about how you're going to protect a woman's right to choose, what you plan to do about America's dependence on oil, what you're going to do about the environment, if you're elected. Don't tell me about your faith, because not only do I not care if you're Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, whatever, I am not interested in hearing about it.

I know that the freedom of religion is not at all the same thing as freedom from religion. I'd like to live in a fully secular society, but even our money says, "In God We Trust" so I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen anytime soon. But can we PLEASE stick to the issues for the coming presidential election and leave the personal stuff about each candidate out? Please?


John said...

Hi Lucy!

Late on the weekly blog review and couldn't help but wonder if this post was a reaction/response to a post I put up with the opposite view (go figure that?! ;-)) I appreciate your view but, for the life of me, I don't understand why this faith issue doesn't matter to you. I'm honestly trying to get my head out of my own hind-end here and get some sense of what someone who doesn't think like me believes.

I've got a couple of recent posts that address this issue of the relationship between faith and freedoms we enjoy. One of the reasons we have the right to believe or not believe as our conscience dictates is due to the fact that some of those horrible, bible-believing, Christians understood that "All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Or as another famous founder stated, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Jesus of Nazareth.

Let the conversation continue.


Lucy Arin said...

Hi John-
Believe it or not, I saw your post AFTER I wrote mine, and it was in no way meant to be a response to you. When I read your post, I giggled because it is the same issue, but two very different viewpoints, and you know how much I treasure that freedom of speech.

I'll get back to you soon on e-mail.