Some things just shouldn’t be mixed together. Bleach and vinegar, toasters and tubs, anger and texting, diamond rings and half priced well drinks from five to eight. Religion and politics.
Along with debt avoidance and a search for new resources to exploit, the fleeing of religious persecution was a major motivator for many of those that first traveled across the Atlantic to land here in the New World. Upon arrival some of these settlers then proceeded to persecute anybody that didn’t conform with their puritanical views and the Salem Witch Trails were a pretty dark moment in American history, but the concept of The United States as a place of freedom of worship dates back to the very beginning.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that “legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” When the Bill of Rights was adapted in 1791 this concept became a central tenet of the First Amendment. Worship whatever deity you choose, but keep it out of government.
It’s important to note that I have no prejudices against organized religion. I understand that it is a very important part of many people’s lives, providing them with security, peace and comfort in a time when those things can be hard to come by. I was involved in my church youth group as a child, Amy Grant was the first concert I ever attended, and when the teenager was interested in exploring her faith we spent many Sunday mornings attending together. Her little sister loves to sing and when she is a bit older and I’m confident she can read the hymn lyrics instead of making up her own at full volume we may again try to find a congregation that we are comfortable with.
When we do, it will be a church that looks like this.
The problem with religion is that it is often tribal, the congregation of people who all share the same beliefs, both about what is right, but also about what is wrong. For those that live a life outside of these communal morals, there is often little mercy.
It has no place in the government of a nation that is supposed to pride itself in it’s diversity, it’s embracement of all.
I don’t want to hear Ted Cruz say that “any President who doesn’t begin every day on his knees isn’t fit to be commander in chief of this nation”, even if I’m just assuming he’s referring to prayer.
I don’t want to see our actual President tweeting out things like this:
In my America we worship freedom. The freedom to be who you are, to not have to conform to somebody else’s ideas and beliefs.
I expect those making decisions on my behalf to follow the rational, the analytical, not the ideological of theoretical. Federal, state and municipal governments have different responsibilities to myself and my family that I expect them to meet.
The eventual fate of our souls isn’t one of them.