Religion has no place in elections

Posted on May 4, 2011

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Karen Santorum, the wife of scandal-riddled potential 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum, says that the upcoming election is not about politics, or national security, or financial policy. The Santorums have apparently decided to pretend that the most dreaded words in the Republican lexicon today are “Rick Santorum stepped to the microphone and said …” and are instead trying to make the 2012 election about “god’s truth” and “what god wants.”

A rose by any other name … would still be unnecessary and inappropriate in a discussion about diesel engine technology.  The same applies for the Santorums’ right-wing religious extremist stance on current American politics.

Karen Santorum, in yet another of the hundreds of appearances she and her husband have made in the past 18 months on the Christian Broadcasting Network, preached that the 2012 presidential race is about “going on to the battlefield and defending God’s truth in the world.”

She goes on to explain – quite certain of her position at the front of the “I’m right and everyone else is wrong” line, explained what “God’s truth” means: “Defending the sacredness of marriage. Defending the sanctity of life. So I see it a little differently because I know it’s going to be literally on a battlefield, and it’s going to be really hard. So there is a lot of reservation. But it really boils down to God’s will. What is it that God wants?”

Apparently, the Santorums think that god – while he controls every aspect of every life form and eco-system on trillions of planets in billions of galaxies throughout billions of universes – wants to be personally involved in the partisan politics of one country on one planet that comprises 4.5 percent of that planet’s population.

The Santorums’ claims about divine intervention being the primary focus of American election is every bit as asinine as when Jim and Tammy Faye Baker built a water park “in god’s name” back in the 1980s. I challenge anyone to show me the verse in the bible in which god said, “Let there be for-profit water parks.”

What I find fascinating is that the same holier-than-thou professional irritants like the Santorums will openly attack, belittle and denounce foreign religious fanatics and extremists because of their statements and behavior – are the same people who have no objection to assassinating abortion doctors and forcing women to subject to government review in the conduct of their own uterus.  Maybe the Santorums should step back and look at exactly how and why those foreign countries have become so dangerous, destructive and oppressive: THEOCRATIC GOVERNMENT. But that would require the Santorums and those like them to actually see themselves as EQUAL to every other person on the planet, and that just slaps their entire “We’re better than they are because … well … just because” mentality.

Let’s not forget that Rick Santorum is actually pushing to have a federal law enacted that equates abortion with slavery. Quite ingenious, actually; incorporating two of the radical right/teabagger favorite buzz words into one convenient little dose of Fascist oppression. And, of course, there’s Santorum’s eye-opening declaration that all religions other than Christianity are “oppressive, domineering and just-plain evil.”

Two words for the Santorums:  Spanish Inquisition.

I could spin off into a diatribe about how the religious right also has adamant opinions about who the “true Christian” and “real Americans” are. But I think the idiocy and myopia of those views speak for themselves.

Basing political policy on the demands of one secular religious group is – as history proves inarguably – never a good idea. The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention blocked the establishment of Christianity as a national religion. But they could not keep religion out of American politics. From the election of 1800, when Federalist clergymen charged that deist Thomas Jefferson was “unfit to lead a Christian nation because of his ignorance of God” to today, where the religious right manages to snake some kind of religious objection into virtually every legislative action.

I’m sure Jefferson’s authoring the entire concept of “Separation of Church and State” had a great deal to do with the clergy’s vehement opposition to his election.

Newsflash: If there is an almighty, immortal, omnipotent supreme being, it is ludicrous to believe that he could care in the slightest about how one portion of one country conducts itself in accordance with the temporary (from an immortal’s perspective) legal structure that they, themselves, created.

Religion has always presented the exact same problems for politics, specifically because religion is a narrow-focused effort to get everyone to think the same way, while politics (theoretically, at least) is the attempt to give voice to all thoughts equally and striving to enact the common good for all – and not just those who agree with a particular secular doctrine. The two, by definition, are mutually exclusive.

Basing politics on a deity that might or might not exist is he same as basing a numbering system on a digit that may or may not exist between the numbers 6 and 7.  It’s grounding is purely speculative. And I’m sorry, I’m not willing to bet my country’s future on a small segment of the population’s “guess.”

United States politics are about what’s good for the people;  NOT about what a fraction of the population’s insistence of what a being that may or may not exist wants. WHy not base your candidacy on what Bigfoot wants? It’s the exact same premise because while most say Bigfoot is a myth), there are those who believe wholeheartedly that he’s real. The problem is, until we have Bigfoot in physical custody, nobody can ever say for sure, now can they?

Furthermore, as of December 2010, 15.27 percent of the United States population identify themselves as either non-religious, agnostic, atheist or humanist. So by what right does the Christian right have to force 47,533,803 people to follow their theocratic demands?

And, not to belabor the point, but how ignorant and closed-minded is it to believe that a process designed for participation by the entire nation should be governed – or even influenced – by the desires of a small segment of that nation?  And what happens when a fanatical religious minority takes control of a government?  Simply look a few thousand miles east to find your answer.  (HINT: It’s exactly what the Santorums have said is “evil and wrong”)

And if the Santorums insist on fusing religion with politics, then they must also agree that all religious organizations that participate in the political machine must be stripped of their tax-exempt status because in order to join the political festivities, they should have to pay at the door like the rest of us.

The Santorums, and those who agree with them, simply do not understand – or choose not to recognize – the difference between morality and law.  Morality can only be encouraged. Law can be enforced. They are NOT synonymous.

To try to morph morality and law into a single governing practice is foolish, dangerous and fraught with pain.

Do you think that’s “what god wants”?

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