Government rooted in religion is a blueprint for disasterby jason on Nov. 14, 2011, under Arizona Families, AZ Politics, Biblical Inerrancy, Campaign 2012, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Clarity, Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Critical Thinking, Economics, Education, Environment, Faith, Fundamentalism, Gay Marriage, God & Bible, Government, History, Islam, Logic, Lying G.O.P., Mormonism, Power of Prayer, Reason, Religion, Responsible Government, Separation of Church & State, Supreme Court
This post comes to us from Gil Shapiro:
Since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the U.S. has seen an alarming increase in the number of elected officials who cite Christian dogma as their justification for public policy decisions.
They insist that matters related to abortion, end of life, stem-cell research, gay rights, science, education and the environment must first pass a test of “Is it biblical?” rather than a secular test of “Is it logical, reasoned and rational?”
As the potential election of more fundamentalist candidates approaches, I fear that secular principles, which are embodied in our state and federal constitutions, will continue to come under attack.
Indeed, evangelical leaders have exhorted their congregants to seek public office to promote Christianity in America.
While I do not begrudge these candidates their faith, I do criticize their intentions to impose it on our society.
They never announce these goals in their campaigns in order to have a better chance to capture the votes of the unsuspecting mainstream.
But to their constituency, they have developed a not-so-difficult-to-decipher code.
Catch phrases such as, “I am principled” or “I believe in core values” signals: “Like you, I want Christian Scripture to be the underpinning of all legislation.”
This deceptive approach reflects poorly on their ethics and on the ethics of the political party that has endorsed them.
The public must therefore ask of every candidate, “If elected, to what extent will your religious beliefs influence your politics?”
Candidates with evangelical agendas need two reality checks to convince them their religion should remain personal, not public:
● Every religion claims it is the “true way.” But one citizen’s religion is another’s mythology.
When Christians understand why they reject all other religions, they will gain much needed insight into why many people reject theirs.
Clearly, belief and reliance on the supernatural should never guide public policy. Candidates for public office who advance such concepts are guilty of “political malpractice.”
Some argue that because our state and nation are predominantly Christian, that Scripture is entitled to be the basis of our laws (i.e., the majority rules).
Using this same twisted logic, the United States is then entitled to be governed only by white people!
Such concepts are divisive and unconstitutional.
● Conclusions from the 2005 United Nation’s Human Development Report show religion is repressive to a country’s societal health.
This report confirms that open, democratic and secular countries (i.e. Scandinavia, Australia, Western Europe) usually are among the most advanced (life expectancy, literacy, educational attainment, gender/social equality, peaceful, stable, wealthy and free) while the 50 most religious ones (Africa, Central and South America and the Middle East) are the most backward (violent, unstable, poor and oppressive).
And of interest for the U.S., a suggestive cultural parallel is in these opposite dimensions of societal health between the “red” (Christian) and “blue” (secular) states.
Ironically, many of our visionary Founding Fathers who were Christian somehow understood the important principle that today’s evangelicals fail to grasp.
Government rooted in religious dogma is a blueprint for disaster. That is why there was intentionally no mention of God in our constitution.
The secular guidelines of logic, reason and rational thought must be the bedrock of any government. This is the model that will work best for all Americans.
Dr. Gilbert D. Shapiro is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Tucson.