"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

Oct 3, 2007

US Separation of religion and the state

It seems U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, has caused a stir particularly with some Jewish groups following comments he made regarding religion and the 2008 presidential race.

McCain, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, was interviewed by Beliefnet.com and in the interview said the U.S. was established as a Christian nation and on Christian principles.
McCain is a Protestant who attends the North Phoenix Baptist Church and said that he would prefer that a person of his own faith be elected president. He also said a Muslim or other candidate could do a good job as president.

On Monday the McCain campaign clarified the senator's remarks claiming that he wasn't saying that persons of other religions have less of a claim to America.

"In the interview he also observed that the values protected by the Constitution, by which he meant values such as respect for human life and dignity, are rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition," said Jill Hazelbaker, communications director for McCain's presidential effort. "That is all he intended to say to the question, America is a Christian nation, and it is hardly a controversial claim."

It just shows again how really messy things get when religion and politics get mixed up together. Any politician who shows any appearance of preferential support for one religious stance over another will of course run the risk of alienating all the others.

His campaign comms director is certainly right - the ethics and values of the USA are fundamentally founded in the Judaeo-christian tradition. Where McCain is wrong of course is to assume that the best or only upholders of these values are members of organised religious groups - or that they even need to be theists at all.

The one thing we certainly have maintained better over this side of the pond is trying to keep religion out of our parliamentary politics. We haven't always been good at this either of course. In fact arguably we have been slipping towards this more US approach with both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown actively making reference to their religious roots and beliefs and their political support for the growth of divisive faith schools.

Nevertheless at least we don't suffer from out and out faith based campaigns - yet?

Ayrshire Blog


Looney said...

As always, nothing is quite what it seems. The Democrats have been making egregious moves regarding religion for years, especially by showing up in the pulpit of black churches during campaign season. In the worst cases, a sermon is preached on voting Democrat, and then the congregation is packed onto buses and taken to an early voting location.

The Republican party has been a coalition of atheists, agnostics and conservative religious types. If that coalition can be split, then America is reduced to single party rule by Democrats. McCain is now in a damned if you do, damned if you don't position regarding Christianity because the main parts of the US media are still firmly under the control of the left. Whatever he does will be highlighted and presented to those who dislike it.

Sadly, I think the strategy of the left is going to work. We will become a big government country where the most unashamedly depraved people in society are the moral educators.

MR Maluleke said...

I think most people (especial in the politics or leadership) should understand the important of religion and how to implement it principles. Religion is very important according to me, however, it doe not mean that all people should be forced to follow a certain religion. A country is a big thing which simple means that there is different kinds of religion, hence politicians might be following a certain religion it does not necessarily mean that they must use their religion status to challenge voting’s. I think religion is very individual and democracy should be used instead to ensure that all people of different religions are respected...I will come back to discuss more after I have done an effective research based on this topic. Congratulation to the owner of this blog, keep it up...it is a nice work.

Kindly Regards

Bunc said...

Mr Malukele,
Thank you for your comments.
I agree with you that no one religion ( or any religion at all ) should be forced on people. People should be free to choose their own beliefs in a democracy and it is important that political leaders understand this and do not show favouratism to religion as a whole or to any particular religion.

You are welcome back to leave comments here anytime.

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