Religion In Politics

With the contraception debate going on in this country, it is a reminder of how much control religion has over our laws and our government. It also reminds us of how much more influence certain religious groups would like to have over our government and laws.

I am talking about the Religious Right in general and the Catholic Church in particular. (Some people differentiate between Christian Right and Religious Right. I don’t. I see them as just different degrees of the same thing).

Contraception is legal and has been for decades. This was all fought out in the 70s. It is settled federal law and no amount of state laws attempting to restrict that right are going to overturn Roe v Wade.

The fact that “…99% of all sexually experienced women and 98% who identify themselves as Catholic have used a method other than natural family planning at some point…” puts the Catholic Bishops decades behind even their own parishioners and also pretty much makes them powerless on this issue. If they can’t keep their own in line, why should they be able to tell others what to do?

Being against contraception is a religious view only. Anti-contraception laws, or attempting to restrict access to contraception is illegal right now under federal law. All these states that are passing personhood bills, and invasive and medically unnecessary ultrasound procedures, are going against federal law and the laws won’t stand, or shouldn’t, unless the very conservative – some would say extreme – Supreme Court ignores decades of precedent and chooses again to hand an issue that corrupts the very idea of our democracy over to the far right wing: i.e. Citizens United.

When the Catholic Church tries to change the law, they are attempting to impose their religious views on everyone else.

Not allowing gays to have the same rights as everyone else is a religious doctrine and also has no place in our laws.

When people attempt to push back on the religious takeover of our government, those defending religion say it is a matter of religious liberty. No, it is in direct conflict with our First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” What that means, in laymen’s terms, is that in the eyes of the government all religions are equal and have to be treated as such. This country was built on fairness, and the Bill of Rights is about treating people fairly and establishing fairness as an unalienable right. So if we are going to have Christian laws on the books, and in our government, the government has to, constitutionally, allow other religions to influence our laws. How about Sharia Law? How about Wiccan laws? Or any other religion – based laws? One of the reasons we fought the Revolutionary War was to get out from under the Church of England. It is why we have the First Amendment; so we would never be subjected to a state religion again.

In 2008, candidate Obama had to “prove” he was a Christian and not a Muslim. This is a religious test for political office and is also unconstitutional: “…but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Article V, paragraph 3. The Religious Right has decided that if you are running for office – especially president – and you do not proclaim your Christian faith, and proclaim it often, they will send their minions after you in an attempt to stop you from being elected. There were quite a few religious leaders that attempted to stop Obama from being elected based on their own irrational fear he might not be a Christian, or worse yet he might be a Muslim.

The Religious Right over the years has insinuated itself in all parts of our government including our Pledge of Allegiance, (added in 1954), our money, (added in 1956), and even America’s official motto, which is…wait for it….”In God We Trust” (added at the same time it was added to our paper money), How could it have ever been anything else? So if God is going to be mentioned all these places, then according to the Constitution, every other religion’s God must be mentioned as well. Now that would be a very long Pledge of Allegiance.

They have tried, are trying, and in some instances succeeding in getting Christian prayer introduced into our public schools. Operative word here being public; as in part of the government. If you want your kids to learn prayer in school, send them to a private parochial school. Don’t try to force your religious beliefs on my children or me. It is anti-American, unconstitutional, and goes against the principles of fairness this country was founded upon.

If your religious beliefs are so ingrained in you that you make your everyday decisions based on that, and wouldn’t be able to separate your religion from your politics; do not become a politician. When you put your left hand on that bible and raise your right hand and promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, you are promising to not use your religion to base your decisions upon.

John F. Kennedy gave a historical speech about the separation of church and state. (Ironically he was assuring the nation that being a Catholic, he wouldn’t be taking his orders from the Vatican). When Rick Santorum, presidential primary candidate, was asked about the speech he said it made him want to throw up and he didn’t think that the separation of church and state is absolute. Yes, it is.

Rick Santorum was speaking for the Religious Right. He was espousing their beliefs: That America was founded as a Christian nation, and should be governed like one.

Rick Santorum: JFK’s 1960 Speech Made Me Want to Throw Up

Transcript: JFK’s Speech on His Religion

Bishops Reject White House’s New Plan on Contraception

Legislature Ok’s School Prayer Bill

Prayer in the Public Schools

Anti-Sharia law bill heads to Senate floor

Republicans urge HHS to warn Washington state over abortion coverage mandate bill

Bob McDonnell, Virginia Governor, Signs Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Into Law

Senator Murkowski Already Regretting Her Yes Vote On the Blunt-Rubio Amendment

Fundamentalist Christians against Obama

Far-Right Evangelicals And The Campaign Against Obama

The Rev. Franklin Graham Says President Obama was ‘Born a Muslim’

Robertson Says Obama Has A Muslim “Inclination”

The Religious Right’s Plot To Take Control Of Our Public Schools

All homosexuals should be castrated – Rev. Billy Graham

Ariz. bill could require reason for birth control

4 comments for “Religion In Politics

  1. kayssurf
    March 17, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Very well stated. Not enough people get this. No religion (or lack of) is to be used as a marker for laws or for elections. Inserting religion into politics is done with insidious methods. First, we acknowledge God,(“In God We trust”), then a little more (“Under God”). How can this be wrong? Just a little thing, really. And after all, don’t we all believe in some god? Does it really impact me? Of course not.
    But! it is a creep that slowly breaks down the wall of separation of Church and State.
    This is how the Nazis got rid of Jews. Think of that for a moment, the denial of the average citizen allowed the Nazis to accomplish horrific actions that the average citizen could not believe would ever happen.
    Inserting religion into the fabric of America is not the same of course, but to paraphrase, “The demise of liberty needs only the citizenry do nothing”.

    • March 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      I have been thinking about writing this article for a few months. I hesitated because this mixes two things that people tend to be most passionate about. This is a very unpopular opinion in certain circles and I thought the article might come across as a little harsh.

      When I saw what has been happening for the past couple of years with all of the laws that restrict women’s rights, and I realized that these views are only religious; I knew I had to write it.

      Some articles when I write them piss me off. This is one of those articles. The more you research something like this, the more bizarre and insidious it becomes.

      Some articles haven’t been written yet because I don’t want to do the research. :-)

      I wrote an article back in September of 2010 called “Taliban or Religious Right?” I recently pulled it to update it. It will be done soon and then I will repost it. Basically, if you look at it, the Religious Right in this country is no different than the Taliban. It is only varying degrees of the same message and behavior. And believe me, the Religious Right would like nothing better than to have Taliban-level control over the people in this country.

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