McCain on Religion

March 5, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:29


Real Time: Religion in Politics

January 20, 2008

Huckabee Wants to Change Constitution to Include “A Living God”

January 15, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:27

Mike Huckabee, according to the Drudge Report, recently said that The Constitution must change:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’shuckabee wants to change constitution what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

This couldn’t be further from what the founding fathers of this nation intended. Please help put a stop to this man’s political endeavors by letting people know what the founding fathers intended when they purposely did not include a mention of “God” in our Constitution.


American Atheists on Faith and Politics

January 14, 2008

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PFW:26

American Atheists President Ellen Johnson has posted a fantastic monologue about Faith in Politics and John F. Kennedy. I’ve transcribed the speech below. I feel that it would be important to spread the transcript and/or video as much as possible, especially in the coming year. She poses the question “Would JFK be electable today with his stance in the issue of the separation of church and state?”

Here is the full transcript:

Welcome, and thanks for visting the American Atheists Web site. I’m Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists. By the time you see this video, the Iowa caucuses will be history. We still have 11 months to go until the 2008 Presidential Election, and odds are, that even right after the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, we still won’t have a clear fix on who will be the nominees for Republican and Democratic Parties. One thing is for sure, however; religion and religious faith are playing a disproportionately large element in the race for the White House. And nearly all of the candidates feel the pressure to declare religious belief as a credential for public office.

Surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of voters are mostly concerned about issues like: the budget deficit, war in Iraq and healthcare. A small but well organized coterie of evangelicals though, exercise a disproportionate amount of influence — especially inside the Republican Party. They vote, and they vote as a block. They’re well organized and when they vote, it’s not the Constitution or secular policies that guide their decisions. They’re convinced that America was, or is, or should be, a so-called “Christian nation” where the Bible is a template for how government and society should operate. We can all learn a lesson from their organizational skills and commitment to their cause.

Could John F. Kennedy be elected President of the United States today? It’s doubtful, given the current theo-political climate. Back in 1960, when JFK won the Democratic nomination for President, religion was a major campaign issue. Kennedy was a Roman Catholic and no Catholic up to that point had been elected to the White House. And in 1960, people were wondering if Kennedy’s Roman Catholicism somehow compromised his ability to serve the United States over the Vatican.

John F. Kennedy was one of the few Presidential Candidates who openly and proudly enunciated his support for the separation of church and state. Today that is almost a taboo phrase, “separation of church and state.” Mitt Romney uses it occasionally — so does Reverend Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul doesn’t even think that it should exist! He says, “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of the founding fathers.”

Most candidates today repeat the myth that the separation of church and state is not in our Constitution or that its a legal fiction or that it simply means that the government cannot tamper in the affairs of religion. But all of those claims are simply wrong. It’s true that the words “separation of church and state” are not found in the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not part of our legal code. The words are an interpretation of what the Establishment Clause means. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, which is the free exercise clause. And it guarantees our freedom from imposed or government compelled religion. That’s the Establishment Clause. Our courts have been consistent over the past 50 to 60 years that the First Amendment was intended to erect a wall of separation between state and church.

Unlike Huckabee and Romney and other candidates who want to showcase their religious beliefs as a credential for public office, John F. Kennedy embraced both elements of the First Amendment. He supported the right of people to believe in and practice their faith, so in long as those beliefs were not forced on other people. He also enunciated the principle that the state should not serve the church — any church — including his own. He opposed the official diplomatic recognition of the Vatican, complete with ambassadorial exchanges, fearing that it was unconstitutional and gave his own church too much power. Kennedy declared that if elected to the Presidency, he would put the Constitution first — not private religious beliefs. He also sent a clear message to the Catholic hierarchy that they should not interfere in the political affairs of the United States. Wherever Kennedy went, he was hounded by ads, picket signs and charges that he was a stalking horse for Roman Catholicism. Most of these accusations came from Protestant groups. So Kennedy, true to his style and principles, confronted his accusers during an historic appearance before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association at the Rice Hotel in Houston, TX on September the 12th, 1960. Let me read you some of the quotes from his speech and then ask yourself if any candidate today would have the guts to stand up for these principles.

He began his talk to over 600 Protestant ministers by say that there were “far more critical issues than religion.” He said, “The hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; and America with too many slums, too few schools and too late to the moon and outer space.” And he said, “They are the real issues which should decide this campaign and they are not religious issues for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.”

Kennedy blamed religious sectarianism, especially the obsessive focus on his private Catholicism, as being responsible for obscuring what he called “the real issues” of his campaign. And just minutes into his talk, he put it all on the line. He said, “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — where no Catholic prelate would tell the President, should he be a Catholic, how to act; and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”

Kennedy’s enlightened vision of a secular America — a polity free from religious dogma — is like night and day compared to our current political climate. I particularly like these following quotes from JFK.

“Whatever issue may come before me as President on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views — In accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power, nor threat of punishment, could cause me to decide otherwise. But if the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office.”

We’ve come a long way since the 1960 campaign and yes, there has been progress in defending separation of church and state thanks to groups like American Atheists. But we need to work very hard to make the politicians aware that a quarter of the United States population are not religious. We are a huge voting block. If we non-religious Americans make our issues our primary concern on election day, then we can make our voting power work for us.

Vote your atheism first, and together we can enlighten the vote. Thank you for visiting our Web site, I’m Ellen Johnson.


Update on Presidential Candidates

January 11, 2008

faithwatch
PFW:25

Well it’s 2008 and we’re seeing Presidential candidates dropping like flies. We’re through the first couple primaries and by now we’ve said goodbye to:

Sam Brownback – an extremely religious candidate this blog is sad to see go, simply because he gave us such fun stuff to talk about.

Chris Dodd – Dodd, a Roman Catholic, didn’t have enough support to really be in this race to begin with.

Joe Biden – Biden once said, “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”

Tom Tancredo – Tancredo, along with Brownback and Huckabee, denied a belief in evolution.

Bill Richardson – Bill Richardson is the latest candidate to go. It’s now becoming a time when actual qualified candidates are dropping out of the race. Richardson said to win the war against Jihadism, “the United States must first live up to its own ideals.”

My prediction for the next Candidate to go: Ron Paul. I think true or not, this story is going to bury him!


If You Don’t Vote for Huck, You’re Going to Hell

December 20, 2007

Huckabee supporters crack me up.

Huckabee is God’s candidate, and his miraculous rise in the polls over the past month show that there is divine huck chuckintervention at work. So that goes to show that going against God’s divine will is a sin, as exampled by the disobedience of Eve, is blasphemy against Our Lord and Savious Jesus Christ and His Father above, then they will commit a sin greater than any other.

Do you think they will burn in the fiery pits of hell For Ever and Ever for not casting their vote for Mr. Huckabee? If not, why?


Huckabee’s Religious Christmas Ad

December 19, 2007

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PFW:23

A little bit of fuss has been made about a new Ad from Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee:

A lot of the hub-bub was about the fact that the bookshelves in the background make a cross. Am I way out of line by saying “who gives a shit?”

I mean, cmon. It’s an ad about Christmas – with a Christmas tree and a Christian message. What difference does it make that there’s a cross or not a cross? I don’t get it.

Even Ron Paul got on the bandwagon:

It reminds me of what Sinclair Lewis once said. He says, ‘when fascism comes to this country, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.’ Now I don’t know whether that’s a fair assessment or not, but you wonder about using a cross, like he is the only Christian or implying that subtly. So, I don’t think I would ever use anything like that.

Funny coming from a guy who believes that this country was founded as a Christian nation and that there’s a war against Christmas.

And Huckabee, why is it necessary to be a Christian to be nice to people? Can non-Christians hypothetically run a campaign without attack ads? You’re implying that attack ads aren’t Christian-like, but is using your religion to gain political power Christ-like?


Tony Snow Warns of “War on God”

December 17, 2007

Think Progress has the story:

Former White House press secretary Tony Snow is apparently attempting to remake himself into the image of Billtony snow O’Reilly. In a series of recent public events, Snow has adopted the mantle of the right-wing’s perceived “secular-progressive” war on conservatives.

Last Friday in an address to the Academy of Leadership & Liberty at Oklahoma Christian University, former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow launched a rhetorical broadside against college faculties in America and mourned this nation’s “war on God.” Oklahoma City Friday reports:

The winsome and articulate Snow charmed his audience with wit:

“The average Iranian is more Pro-American than virtually any college faculty in this country.” And with serious talk about the war on terror and “the second war in this country, the war on God.” […]

Snow also said he loved being on a stage where he could say the word “God.”

So calamitous is this “war on God” that Tony Snow never once mentioned it from the White House podium when he served as Bush’s press secretary. The “war on God” is no more real than the right-wing’s perceived “war on Easter” and the “war on Christmas.”

Appearing on the O’Reilly Factor last Thursday, Tony Snow endorsed Bill O’Reilly’s purported war on Christmas:

“I don’t think they’re going to beat Jesus. … You’ve mentioned the fact that you’re not allowed to have Christ at Christmas. I mean, I went to a Christmas store this week. It didn’t have anything about Jesus. It had all sorts of funny little ornaments in it, but nothing about the holiday. People are tired of that.”

Being a phony champion for purported social conservative causes appears to be Tony Snow’s remedy for resuscitating his image following the Bush years.


Romney to Discuss Religion

December 3, 2007

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PFW:22

Republican Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, plans to talk about his religion in a speech entitled “Faith in America” on Thursday, CNN reports.

Romney campaign spokesman Kevin Madden, in a statement, says, “This speech is an opportunity for Governor Romney to share his views on religious liberty, the grand tradition religious tolerance has played in the progress of our nation and how the governor’s own faith would inform his presidency if he were elected. Governor Romney understands that faith is an important issue to many Americans, and he personally feels this moment is the right moment for him to share his views with the nation.”

I believe this will be a hit with middle-of-the road moderate voters and perhaps could leave far-right Christian voters cold as it further exposes his Mormonism, something they’ve been uneasy with from the start.

I’ve expressed in the past that I’ve like some of the things that Romney has said about religion – mainly that he doesn’t think it should be a factor in his run for Presidency. But with the same token, he has also stated that America should have someone of faith leading the country – obviously a statement that I disagree with.

Romney’s website links to a CBS story about the planned speech.


Romney Wouldn’t Include Muslim as Cabinet Member

November 27, 2007

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PFW:22

In Boston.com’s Political Intelligence column, Foon Rhee reports that Republican hopeful, Mitt Romney would not invite a Muslim to be a part of his presidential cabinet.

Mansoor Ijaz, who describes himself as an American-born Muslim whose family came from Pakistan, writes in an opinion piece in today’s Christian Science Monitor that he attended a private fund-raiser this month for Romney in Las Vegas. Ijaz says he asked Romney whether he would consider a Muslim for a national security post in his Cabinet, since he says radical jihad is the biggest threat facing America.

According to Ijaz, Romney said that based on the proportion of Muslims in the US population, a Cabinet post would not be “justified,” though he could “imagine” Muslims serving in lower-level jobs in his administration.

Of course its a ridiculous idea that a presidential candidate would ever consider having equal amounts of all religions represented in his cabinet. And Romney states something to that effect:

“Suggesting that we have to fill spots based on checking off boxes of various ethnic groups is really a very inappropriate way to think about we staff positions,” he said.

But the truth is, this isn’t about INCLUDING people, it’s about EXCLUDING people. The idea that he would discount a person based on their Muslim faith is pretty much a dead give away to how he feels about other Muslim Americans. And if he feels that way about Muslim Americans, how does he feel about other minorities?