Hi all,

This is going to be a challenging and something that we do not normally think about.  Heck,  the truth that lies in this blog is definitely contrary to what we think of the first amendment in the sense of religion.  Now I am not arguing that there should be only one religion practice or that there should be an official religion in America.  To quote the first amendment from wikipedia says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”.  Also, not stated specifically, the framers of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights desired that there should be a separation of church (meaning any religion) and state (government) which should be observed and practiced at all times.  But here is something to think about as I get into this blog entry:  Does our currency (bills and coins) say “IN GOD WE TRUST”?  Is that same phrase in our courtrooms above the judge or else where in the courtrooms?  Did we at some point swear on the bible in court?  More likely than not, does a president at the end of their state of union address say “God bless America”?

I bet your wondering why Steve thinks that there is a relationship between government/politicians and religion.  Although in this mid term elections, the economy, the job market, health care, etc. will have a HUGE impact on the election.  But religion may be the big issue.  According to this fox news online article, it throws out 3 different subjects that have high religion based roots tied into the issues that was brought into the realm of government (though the bulk of the article focus’s on the first listed issue).  They are:

1. The ground zero Mosque

2. Gay Marriage

3. The President’s religion

The 1st issue stems from the president’s remarks as he was speaking to a Muslim audience around the time of the high holy month of Ramadan in the Muslim religion.  Though he did not specifically say “I support the mosque being built there” he pretty much gave the OK in not so may words in a vague way by saying as long as it complied with the law.  He later flip-flopped saying that he’s “not questioning the wisdom of the law”.  After this, politicians came out with their views for or against (mainly against).  Going back to the first amendment, where as we defined that congress should not endorse and get involved with religion (or against religion either), this seems to be popularizing the concept of condemning the religion of Islam.  Think about it, there has been a widespread suspicion of Muslims in America because of 9/11 (WHICH DONE BY ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS WHO HATE AMERICA FROM THE MIDDLE EAST) and does not describe the moderate American Muslims in the United States. This brings about the sediment that the government is anti-Muslim and in President Obama’s position in the government in the Executive branch of government as Pro-Muslim (endorsement).  I feel with this stance regardless of the position of the politician, this should not be in the government spotlight or the focus of it’s attention.

The next issue is on Gay Marriage.  How does gay marriage involve religion you may ask?  Let me first say that there are many religious or non religious people (in any religion) as well as non theists and agnostics may support or not support gay rights/marriage as their conscious takes them.  But we will focus on Prop. 8 in California for the argument of this section.  The thing of it is that the MORMON CHURCH were the primary group who funded the proposition.  Now unlike the government involving itself in religion.  This time it is religion is forcing at least one of it’s beliefs onto the government.  One of the view points that the Mormon Church (not that, I feel, all Mormons believe this) that it [gay marriage] is immoral and that the government should uphold it’s right to its belief (as if looking for legal validation which is ridicules).  Many people, though not all, who identify as conservatives or religious people agree with this proposition which was passed by voters, overturned, and currently being appealed.  Much of the money in support of prop. 8 came from the Mormon church.  Now it is not illegal for the church to spend the money where it wants, but to use it to support it’s involvement into government to pass certain laws and proposition is unconstitutional by the first amendment as well as being immoral to repress a group of people that may even be Mormon’s themselves.

Now for the 3rd point about the President’s religion.  Regardless of what you think, he is in fact Christian.  As much as politicians lie, and they do, I do feel that they would not lie about something as personal as their religion.  In fact, if I’m not mistaken, that all our presidents that were elected were some denomination of Christianity.  Now I am not saying that it is unconstitutional to do that and vote for someone based on their religion, but citizens of any state are usually prone to elect someone based on their platforms and some may take religion into account.  For example, Nevada there are many Mormon’s that live in the state and that’s a main reason why he’s elected because he is Mormon himself.  This kind of leads me to my theory of religion and government.

My theory is that Politicians, especially before the more secular thinking that our day and age is that Politicians use religion and god as a way to legitimate themselves and/or administration.  Some leaders especially in the far past would be like, “Oh such and such god chose me, here is proof, and are you going to go against the god(s).”  Nowadays in America, god and religion is invoked to win the religious card and many platforms are more likely to fit with more conservative ideology (since many religious people are conservatives), to win votes.  Many conservative religious people are against gay rights or against abortion or take whatever platform.

I leave you with a few questions:  How can you see religion in our government?  Are they really seperated?  How is it being used for certain politicians or parties for their advantage?  In what ways can government and religion can be further seperated?

Steve

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/21/days-decide-god-decide-november/

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