You hear a lot of religious leaders in the United States today questioning the candidates for President on a wide range of subjects, such as whether they ‘believe’ in evolution (a nonsensical question on its face – science doesn’t require belief) or not, or their stand on abortion, or whether they believe in God or not.
Not a single candidate has called them on their bullshit questions yet, citing the US Constitution.
You recall the Constitution, of course.
The supreme law of the land.
Which states that the People are sovereign, not the “unitary executive,” not the President, and not some nameless Deity, Designer or what have you.
The Constitution quite categorically states that no candidate for office will be required to undergo a religious test as part of his or her quest for that office.
Now, you might wonder why the writers of the Constitution did that. They still recalled the English Civil War between the Catholics and Protestants, and the French Religious Wars, and the Thirty Years’ War that set back the German states for about two hundred years. The framers realized that setting religious tests would be tantamount to establishing a state religion in the United States, something they absolutely didn’t want to do.
Why? Because it sets up bigotry.
I also want to send out a major STFU to the Baptist leaders in this country. You see, the Baptists were scared that the US was going to establish an official religion, and the Baptists had been persecuted (as a Dissenting sect) for many years in England and in Europe. They were so pants-wettingly afraid of the idea that they wrote to Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson soothed their fears in a famous letter where he described a “wall of separation” between religion and the state (ironically, Baptist and other sects of Protestantism have been chipping away at that wall).
You may have heard the latest screed from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, where he implied that the Mexican legislators who had voted for the legalization of abortion in Mexico had essentially excommunicated themselves. We saw much the same bullshit during the 2004 election, when Catholic bishops and priests implied to their congregations that they shouldn’t vote for any candidate that supports a woman’s rights of reproductive choice.
What His Holiness, Vicar of Christ on Earth and Successor to the Apostle Peter apparently failed to recall is that anti-Catholic sentiment in this country traces directly to the papacy and the pronouncements from the Vatican. Americans were suspicious of Catholics (some still are) because they felt that they were getting secret orders from a foreign potentate. Some old political parties, like the Know-Nothings, made anti-Catholicism part of their platform. In the 1920s, the KKK hated Catholics almost (but not quite) as much as they hated African-Americans and Jews.
In the 1960 presidential election, then-Senator John F. Kennedy had to go on TV and reassure Americans that, if elected, he would be his own man and act only in the best interests of the United States.
But the religious leaders, priests, preachers and other God-bothering blue-nosed wowsers in this country keep insisting on poking their noses and beliefs into the political process. That’s fine, but if you want to play the game, you’d better pay the entrance fee – and that means taxing the churches.
You think people (I use the term advisedly) like Falwell and Robertson would agree to that little tradeoff?
This post is cross-linked to my own blog, My Two Cents. Drop in sometime!