"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
While watching the McCain/Obama “debate” last Saturday night, I had to ask myself how much of a role religion should play in our decision as to who is going to be President?
Pastor Rick Warren, who hosted the two interviews, told us that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. But while that may be a widely-held assumption, it is not true.
It might surprise you to know that nowhere in our Constitution, or even the Declaration of Independence do the words “God,” “Jesus Christ,” “Bible” or “Christianity” exist. Our Founding Fathers were all deists, in that they believed in a divine Creator, but they very clearly were not basing their actions and the construction of our new government on the Bible, or even these so-called “Judeo-Christian principles.”
Well, remember that during that time it was assumed that a King’s power was given to him by God. The Bible seems to back this up! If we want to pick and choose, let’s use two examples:
First, take this: "Because of the Lord, be obedient to every human institution, whether to the emperor as sovereign or to the governors he commissions for the punishment of criminals and the recognition of the upright. Such obedience is the will of God." (1 Peter 2:13-15)
Next, see what Paul wrote: "Let everyone obey the authorities that are over him, for there is no authority except from God, and all authority that exists is established by God." (Romans 13:1)
Um, holy crap! So that’s where President Bush gets his power!
Reading those two verses you might wonder how, if the Founding Fathers’ were “good Christians” there could have been an American Revolution at all! Indeed, what they were doing was radical…heresy!
So let’s dispel the notion that America is a Christian nation, formed by men who were Southern Baptists or Catholics, with a government based on the Bible or “Christian” principles. It is not.
Ironically, despite allowing any the practice of any religion (or no religion at all if you prefer), America has become one of the most strongly religious and religiously diverse countries in the world. Of our population only a tiny percentage classifies themselves as “atheist.”
Over time, “God” has crept into government. Nearly 100 years after the Revolution, Abraham Lincoln was invoking God’s name in blessing and supporting the Union. Our money bears the inscription, “In God We Trust.” And in the 1950’s, the words, “under God” were inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance. Thomas Jefferson is probably rolling over in his grave.
It seems that Americans want some God, but not too much! Remember how upset people became when the Reverend Mike Huckabee was running for President…to say nothing of Mormon Mitt Romney!
And so both John McCain and Barack Obama went out of their way Saturday night to pander to the religious extremists and proclaim their faith in God and Jesus Christ. I thought it was as silly as it was unnecessary.
There is a large number…hell, there may indeed be a majority of people in this country who espouse “Christian” beliefs. They may feel that because of their majority, it entitles them to a government which is sympathetic to their beliefs. That very idea frightens me. I’d rather that our lawmakers not be influenced by the Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, Mennonites, Men-In-Tights, “Christian fundamentlists” or any other group. Not even the Amish.
I do not want to live in a military dictatorship, nor do I want to live in a country in which there is a government-sponsored religion. No, I prefer America…that is, the America our Founding Fathers dreamed up…the one where the Church and State were separate entities, and kept that way for a reason. Thus, whether John McCain worships Jesus Christ or Charlie Manson, it has absolutely no influence on me not voting for him.