Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Our Soapbox

We're asking for trouble, we know.

But if someone could take a minute to explain our constitution to us, that'd be swell.  Because, we thought we learned about this little thing in our constitution called the first amendment, which calls for separation of church and state.  Since we were in the third grade and since we were young and gullible we believed it. 

Here's where we get stuck.  Let's say you believe in this whole separation of church and state thing, which we'd like to.  OK, OK, so the first amendment doesn't actually mention separation of church and state.  But since no one is challenging the interpretation let's just go with that common implication for now.  What does it mean? No religion in schools.  No religion in politics.  So say you're some qualified person white male still running for the republican candidate for president.  Episcopalian, mormon, it really doesn't matter so long as you believe in Jesus and remember to thank him in your speeches.  Still, supposedly your religion is not supposed to influence your politics, right?

Now also explain to us how is it that you are opposed to something like same sex marriage?  What is it about it that bothers you?  Do you not believe in equal rights for all citizens?  Wait, you say you do? Then the answer can only be one of two things: a) your best friend is a cartoon character named Cartman or b) your church says so therefore it must be true.

Bam. Wethinks religion just dictated your political agenda. 

If this guy's running your campaign, you have bigger issues
Let's give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are above all that stuff, and that you can support a bi-partisan agenda regardless of your own personal or religious beliefs because you believe in democracy.  Then, you're going to have a little problem called "getting your party to actually vote for you".  Because no serious Republican candidate can ignore their party's cornerstone: christian evangelicals.  Take our friend Santorum, for instance.  Days after an evangelical endorsement his campaign contributions are up 50%. 50% peeps!!  He's so flush he can finally afford to go to-to-toe with this guy in South Carolina.  CNN quotes: "Newt Gingrich's campaign is working to limit the fallout of that decision."  Interesting.  Reading between the lines, this means Gingrich is likely to be doing more speaking out on behalf of "conservative values" and less for civil rights to win his evangelicals back.

Oh, and did we mention that "conservative values" is politically correct code for religiously-driven agenda?  But then again what do we know?  We're just another, dime-a-dozen, Ivy-league educated liberal Jew who can make up words like "wethinks" because we feel like it and ignore all proper grammatical rules for kicks.

It's a good thing our current president, a democrat, has the sense to check all religion at the door as it has no place in politics in a country where christians and jews and muslims and atheists live side by side.  It's a good thing he's not thanking his god in his speeches or doing any funny business like that.  It's a good think religious holidays like Christmas aren't national or school holidays.  Oh, wait...

Can we please just call a spade a spade?  Can we at least admit that religion plays into our politics whether we like it or not?  Then and only then, can we begin examining where we have fallen short of our democratic ideals.  As Betty Ford said, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.  Or...wait, maybe was that was something someone said to Betty Ford.  You think we know the answer to that? As if.  Go ask a white male, will you?  And when you're done with that, let's have an honest debate about what role religion does (and should) play in our supposedly agnostic political system.   

Off our soapbox now.


Amy Murray said...

Amen. (In a totally non-religious way.)

Anonymous said...

Got any room on that soapbox?

Separation of church and state is one of those things that everyone interprets in their own way to suits their own agenda. A Christmas tree in a government building? For shame! Saying "under G-d" in the Pledge of Allegiance? The nerve! George W. opposing stem cell research because it goes against his Christian values? Well that's okay.

It's a lovely collection of words but in reality, it's hard for many to believe in it without being a hypocrite. For millions of Americans, religion is the basis of their behavior. It's the basis of the moral code under which they live. Whether or not they choose to flaunt it is another story. Obama can make decisions without citing any influence from any deities. But that proves the point of the evangelicals when they say that America is in a moral decline because of a lack of religion. So you pander to the group that believes what you believe and go from there.

If people could truly separate church and state, they wouldn't be making a big deal about Romney being Mormon. It would;t have been a big deal that Kennedy was the first Catholic president. And no one would have cared that Lieberman is a Jew. Hell, comedians would have had a great time with that one!