Religion and the Presidency

Mitt Romney is going to make his "Kennedy Speech" today to offset the question his Mormon Religion has brought up. Unlike Kennedy, however, who made a clear distinction between church and state, Romney apparently is of the new political thinking that religion is important as part of the candidacy.

This is upsetting for more than a small number of reasons.

I listened to an analyst on C-Span this morning discussing the situation... how, in the 50s and 60s Protestants hated Catholics, and it was Kennedy's need to disable this position. By stressing that church was indeed completely separated from state, Kennedy accomplished his purposes. Now, 47 years later, Protestants and Catholics have come to a detente... but they seem to hate Mormons... and even worse, they hate Secularists and Non-Believers.

This says to me, as I have thought for some time, that "hate" and "religion" go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other.

Church and state have lost a lot of their separation. Candidacies are pushed in the pulpit like never before (and yet religions still maintain their tax-free status... think about it). Candidates go out of their way to push their religions. Obama has been accused, falsely, of being a Muslim, and so he goes out on a campaign crusade with an anti-gay preacher. I'll have to hand it to Kucinich who doesn't even list a religious affiliation, but he's the only one.

I would give almost anything to get back to an America where church and state were as far apart as the Founding Fathers wanted. It doesn't seem likely.

Under The LobsterScope

Tags: Church, Presidency, religion, state (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

Republicans did this

Republicans used religion to help their rise to power.   Guys like Farwell and Robertson did a lot of heavy lifting in the 80s.   Today we see people like Dobson and Perkins and Bauer taking the lead.

They have used issues like school prayer and display of the 10 Commandments to rally their troops and drive a wedge between Americans.   They have attacked Democrats as "Godless".  They have campaigned in Churches and held events like 'Justice Sunday.'

So they are reeping what they have sowed.

by dpANDREWS 2007-12-06 05:31AM | 0 recs
I have to take issue with this statement

Protestants and Catholics have come to a detente... but they seem to hate Mormons... and even worse, they hate Secularists and Non-Believers.

Only the extremists feel that way.  Mainline protestants are not bigots and neither are most catholics.

I agree that there is too much talk about religion in politics, but the founders never meant to separate religion and politics, only Church and State.  A church can have anyone they want to speak there as long as they are not collecting money for or endorsing a specific candidate.  I do think they cross the line at times and should be smacked down when they do. Look at what happened to Fallwell's organization.  That should happen more often.  
However the secularists on the left are often as wrong as the religious right about what the founders intended.
The place to beat these folks is in the voting booth.  Let's not be hypocrites though, Obama's religious pandering is just as obnoxious as any one else's.  I don't want to hear about his Awesome God in blue states or Kerry's personal discomfort with abortion because he is RCC or Edward's discomfort with gay marriage or gay people because of his southern baptist roots.

Nixon's southern strategy is coming home to roost.  Now the republicans are eating each other up with who is more Christian.  Good for them.  Let us shut up about religion now and not take over where they are leaving off.

by MollieBradford 2007-12-06 07:08AM | 0 recs

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