Religion and the Presidency
by btchakir, Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 04:53:28 AM EST
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.