Friday, December 07, 2007

Why . . .

Why does Mitt Romney, or any other candidate, need to give a major speech to say that they will govern as an American and not let their religion be an issue? We can answer that with another question: Why do so many Americans think it necessary for any and all candidates to believe in God, and more specifically, Jesus Christ?

The most problematic portion of the speech, for me, was this: "Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom" and "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government." I see liberty as being a gift from the founding fathers, and everyone else who put their necks on the line--literally--to gain independence from England. It's also a gift from every single one of the military people who leave their families, for months, and even more than a year at a time, to protect all Americans and our way of life. I'm pretty sure they don't sort us out by religion as to who is more deserving of that protection. Nor are all military personnel Christian.

But what about those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior? I would never vote for or against a candidate based solely on religion. I want to know what s/he is going to do about the economy; how to handle the Iraqi problem in a decent and moral way; how to get math and science scores back up so Americans can be more competitive in the global marketplace; how to bring more jobs back in the US; how to handle the environmental crisis; as well as a few other issues I can't think of at the moment.

Basically, I don't care if a candidate is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon or any other religion--nor do I care if a candidate is agnostic or atheist. What matters is not who they worship, or if they worship, what matters is how they will govern and whether religious beliefs will influence how they govern. It is a very sad state when candidates for elected office feel that is has become such an important issue that they ask reporters follow them to Sunday (or Saturday) services.

We've spent seven years with a president who wears his religion on his sleeve, to the point of having evolutionary science demoted to a "theory," abstinence only programs promoted both here and abroad, the Supreme Court packed with ideologues, though what we were ostensibly looking for was judges who would not legislate from the bench. Because that's a bad thing--but only if you're a Democrat.


KrisRobinson said...


(tee hee)

Pranayama mama said...

Yikes Mel!

Okay, I agree wholeheartedly that wearing Christianity on your sleeve does not ensure that you are capable of governing effectively. George Bush: case in point. We owe it to ourselves and our country to ensure we elect someone intelligent and competent who will also align him or herself with others to ensure the correct choices are made for our country. And, yes, that should be independent of religious viewpoint.

However, this country was founded by those who were seeking freedom from religious persecution. "In God We Trust." Many of our early leaders were Christians including George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, William Bradford, etc.

With that said, I think it's a shame that people can no longer proclaim their Christian faith with pride for fear of offending someone.

I don't care if my leaders, or the kids going to school with my children for that matter, pray to the monkey god Hanuman.

I do, however, care that it has become embarrassing and/or not PC to state freely that you're Christian.

It's up to us to discern if someone is playing the Christian card to get votes or as a real declaration of his/her passion for God.

I, for one, am all for the uncensored ability for each of us to celebrate our beliefs however we choose. And vote according to our intelligence . . .

Melanie K said...

pranayama mama--

I think, perhaps, that you misunderstood me. The link re: religion and government that you sent also included this phrase from Article VI the US Constitution adopted in September of 1787: "'no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification for any Office or public Trust" This of course, was followed up by the First Amendment Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

What I find troublesome is that we seem to have moved into an era where, to qualify for office, one needs to prove the extent of ones faith and also the validity of their religion, hence my "It is a very sad state when candidates for elected office feel that is has become such an important issue that they ask reporters follow them to Sunday (or Saturday) services."

Some Christian leaders are on record stating that Mormonism is a cult. One went on a nationally broadcast show speculating as to whether Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim, was a plant by our "enemies." Something about "How do we know he isn't a terrorist?" Not to mention the uproar when he took the oath of office using a Koran rather than a Bible. (A Koran, which belonged to Thomas Jefferson, btw.)

I don't think that anyone should have to hide their faith. I am, in fact, somewhat in awe of people who have that faith. But I also believe that, when a significant portion of the population hounds candidates into publicly, loudly and repeatedly proclaiming what should be only as public as that candidate wants it to be, that bit of the population is engaging in a form of religious persecution. And I know I'm going to get flamed for that by someone.

My larger point was (tho it may have been lost) that Mitt Romney should not have had to defend his faith; Rudy Giuliani, bless his pointed little head, never an overtly religious man, should not feel obligated to disclose the number of times he attends Mass. And no one should ask Mike Huckabee to deny that he is a pastor. I don't object to his faith; I strenuously object to his platform.

I assume that your comment "I do, however, care that it has become embarrassing and/or not PC to state freely that you're Christian" applied to a larger audience, but since there are only a couple of dozen here (and it's my blog), I'll just say this: I hope that I never gave you any indication that I thought less of you or valued you less as a friend after you told me that you were a Christian. I also hope my neighbor doesn't think that. Or the friend with whom I went to Latin Mass a few times. Or my many Jewish friends. Or my Muslim or Hindu friends.

And I would sincerely hope that no one thinks less of me, or that I am somehow a less moral person, because of I lack their faith.

Pranayama mama said...

You are correct: I did mean to apply my comment to a larger audience. You have been nothing but a fabulous friend to me!

Lastly, faith is clearly not an indicator of morality. Just look at me . . .

Melanie K said...

LOL. There are thousands of better examples. You are one of the kindest, most honest, decent people I've had the pleasure of knowing. As to whether that's all due to your faith . . . That's not for me to say. :)

Anonymous said...

@Pranayama mama

The phrase "In God We Trust" was not added by the founding fathers.

The Founding Fathers would have never approved of that motto. While the Fathers believed in a "Creator" and they believed in religious freedom, they felt it necessary for religion and government to remain ALWAYS separate. The knew that when the two are combined in any sense, the both become less, and they eventually lead to corruption and invalidity.

If you look at the current theological state of America versus 50 years ago, we're walking a very slippery slope. Most individuals now claim that the U.S was founded on Christian principles. That couldn't be more false. Most were deist, meaning they believed in a Creator, but held their opinions as to the identity of that Creator. Jefferson in many of letters said that he did not have enough information to claim who the Creator really was.

In order for this country to survive another 200 years, we need to seriously begin purging the religious ties in the government. Not for the sake of the government, but also the sake of religions. Make the U.S a Christian Nation and I'll show you a Shiite Iraq.

Pranayama mama said...


I don't believe I ever stated that the founding fathers believed that government and religion were to be joined -- simply that many a) were Christian and b) sought freedom from persecution. Both statements are true.

I didn't fact check against wiki but, if interested, you can check the Library of Congress for validation. In the link below, you can also click on "Part 2" to learn more about Thomas Jefferson's opinion of Jesus and Christianity.