Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Religion and politics don't mix and never will

In recent years, I've seen a rapid increase in the promotion of moral values by Christian religious institutions in political discourse. It has become popular in some circles, to promote the idea of a religious government - just so long as it is a Christian government. As we saw in a recent Supreme Court ruling, it's now OK to hold prayer before the start of civic proceedings in local government. This despite the fact that the Constitution allows no establishment of religion by the government.

So if the town is mostly Christian, you're out of luck most of the time. If you're Muslim, good luck getting a chance to give prayer in your town. Christians will happily protest a Muslim prayer. It is worth noting that all 5 majority justices are Catholic, so they would have no qualm if a Christian prayer is allowed.

Christians seem to think they are uniquely qualified to determine what is right and what is wrong with religion in politics today. But they get awfully upset if you question their motives for introducing religion in civic gatherings.

I find this quote by Justice Kennedy revealing:
"By inviting ministers to serve as chaplain for the month, and welcoming them to the front of the room alongside civic leaders, the town is acknowledging the central place that religion, and religious institutions, hold in the lives of those present," he said. "Indeed, some congregations are not simply spiritual homes for town residents but also the provider of social services for citizens regardless of their beliefs."
Kennedy believes that just because religion holds a central place in the lives of citizens, prayer before civic proceedings is justified. Who's religion? Who gets to decide?

The civic leaders get to decide. That is what amounts to an establishment of religion that is prohibited by the Constitution. But that matters not to the majority justices. Many Christians engaged in political discourse seem to be in an awful hurry to declare the United States a Christian nation. Never mind that the Founding Fathers left Britain due to a distaste for a religion established by government.

I have no problem with churches, synagogues, mosques and other establishments that provide a place of worship. I welcome the pluralism that we enjoy in America. I do have a problem when religious organizations stray from their original purpose and get involved in politics.

Be careful what you wish for, my fellow Christian Americans. A government dominated by Christian interests may be quite happy to turn this place into a Christian mirror of Iran or Afghanistan. Even if that wasn't your intention.
Post a Comment