In politics we trust
Anyone who has know me for any length of time knows that my two of my favorite topics to rant over are Politics and Religion, it will come as no surprise that US separation of powers is a topic that always brings a huge smile to my face. From the partially informed outside looking in it provides all the contradictions and custom ‘V’ law issues you could ever want for a truly enjoyable argument, all that’s needed is a willing foil and a good bottle of red.
On the simple level I would like to know why Christmas is a public holiday when no other religious day is? Why the President is sworn in on the bible? Which God is being asked to bless America at the end of speeches? And is it always the same one? By the same token if you are a ‘God fearing American’ do you all fear the same God? On a day to day basis I take to assume that the God in question is Judeao Christian but even if this is true I still don’t know if he had a son of not. These comparatively trivial questions pail in comparison to the way that I see religion, or more specifically the Christian Right is being allowed to influence national policy in a way that seems to contradict the very constitution they hold so dear.
These questions are new to me. In England it is simple, the Queen is both the head of State and the head of the Church (With the Archbishop of Canterbury), in her coronation she declared to protect both institutions and decisions should be taken in the context of both. Counter intuitively though religion plays a far larger part in American politics than it ever does in the Britain.
As far as I can tell the power on the church in American politics boil down to the following truisms:
1) There are only 2 parties in US politics and one of them gets paid massive amounts of money from religious donors making them effectively a massive special interest group.
2) Like all special interest groups the church has passionate, motivated and single minded individuals that will always try to frame everything argument through their tinted eyes.
3) The nominees and elected officials nearly always have the same contextual thinking as the church and will therefore protect their agenda, therefore one side of every will always be pushing the churches position and the other will always have to argue against it.
What we have at the crux of the matter is the most powerful, best funded, most supported special interest group in the game, and like all special interest they more often than not will get their way. They are so influential that it doesn’t even matter that they are a constitutionally banned influence. Under the present system the reality is that there is no separation between church and state, so why does everyone keep pretending?
If you are going to maintain that the separation is an important frame work for America, then we must make sure that religion is no longer an acceptable argument in political discussion. Religion has no place at State or National level on any issue that looks to exert the States power over its citizens. The Church’s role is to speak to the individual with regards to their personal beliefs and religion and not to the citizen body at large. Issue such as Abortion, Euthanasia, and Sex Education should all be debated at State and National levels but with no reference to God or the bible. Further, School Prayer and such like should be taken off the table all together as all government funded institutions should be free from religion – fee paying faith based schools would naturally be allowed to enforce the will of the parents/students so would be able to choose.
Most importantly, no relation between religion and war must ever be drawn. An individual Senator may use it as an influence to their personal reason as it would be impossible not to. However, as a body they must find a cyclical casus belli to take to the people. No war can ever be declared on religious grounds. On the same grounds religious geo politic framing for international affairs, such as ‘Axis of Evil’ must also be banned. If there is no religion context to Government then they have no position discussing Good and Evil.
Right now American is sitting on the fence over an issue that affects every decision it makes. It is neither embracing religion as a contributing factor in its decision making nor is it rejecting religion as a government influence as was originally proscribed. There is a pink elephant in the room that is polarizing an already divided nation, the damage is starting to show.
It is often forgotten that America is a young nation and therefore is subject to the choices of youth. Most, if not all countries face the question of religion at some point. Some nations must questions which religion or denomination will exert its power over the other, other times it is whether to accept its influence at all. At the start of the Republic the Founding Fathers tried to avoid these questions by making American without religious persuasion, but the humanness of its citizens is making avoidance of the issue untenable.
It is time to decide. Too many decisions are being made in name of a God that the United States does not constitutionally allow. Either recognize your God, or stop using his name as a justification for your politically motivated, self serving actions that are destroying the dream of freedom. Judgement shall come upon you and I have no doubt that you will be found wanting.