In "Apocalyptic president?" Alan Jacobs explains why President Bush's personal faith has little to do with his administration's policies. What role, if any, should religion have in the White House?
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The founding fathers of America never intended for the "separation of Church and State" to mean that they are mutually exclusive, but rather that one does not have authority to control the other. What someone believes will inevitably drive what that person does (though that they claim to believe is not always what they truly believe). Faith cannot, and must not, be considered 'outdated,' because even science needs a degree of faith. The White House does not have the right to impose religion on people, but that absolutely does not mean that religion should be kept out of its halls and the decisions that are made within them.
Religon has no place in government. Among other things, religon is a collection of principles used to guide a way of living. Government is also among other things, a collection of principles used to guide a way of living. Certainly these two sets of principles come into conflict from time to time. It makes no sense therefore for government to be in conflict with it's own principles. Let government be government. Let religion be religon. They are separate.
Mark , Templeton
NO! NO! NO! Religion is a personal decision. Not one put upon us by government. The separation of church and state is essential. And I fear it's getting more and more blurred every day. The religious right is already getting too strong a foothold in our government. Religion should have no role in the White House or government whatsoever. If the President wants to pray before going to bed, that's as far as it should ever get. And he should keep it to himself.
Jay , boston
I don't like the idea of our leaders having their action being influenced by a fairy tale. People are entitled to belive whatever they like but it should remain outside the realm of government.
Johnny , Tyngsboro
Thomas Jefferson: The clergy...believe that any portion of power confided to me [as President] will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly: for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion (Letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800)
Andrew , Brighton, MA
Bush's evangelical christianity is most certainly at the foundation of his presidency. Under his administration public policy has been driven more by fear with a false front of equal rights and acceptance - just like the extreme christian right. His administration has spent thousands of dollars covering the breast of a statue, a work of art, that had been in the capitol without controversy for years. He and his administration consistently flaunt their religious belief while whittling away what protection for God's Earth had been built into law over the last 30 years (See April 4 New York Times Magazine Cover Story). If these weren't enough... while touting his religion and faith in God, he lied to each and every one of us as he preyed on our sense of insecurity after 9/11 and steered us towards an invasion of Iraq. Even Reagan and his Dad (Former President Bush) refused to surround themselves with the extreme right wing "evangelists" that George W. depends upon to make his decisions for him. It seems to me that Bush is a reformed drug user and alcoholic (public knowledge) that has found religion and is now making us all pay for his misgivings early in his life. Bush's connection to evangelical christianity and his continued "holier than thou"/above the law actions that are fundamentally anything but christian should be alienating the Christian population.... if only they would change the channel from Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.
When Bush finished his State of the Union speech, I was not only offended by his self-righteous attack on gays and lesbians, but I found myself wondering if I was watching a president or a televangelist.
The problem with most religions is that they are, with some exceptions, based on people with similar beliefs coming together, with an understanding that their way is the "right" way, and people who do not believe their way are somehow heading down the wrong path. And I'm not saying that religion is wrong to believe this, but that it's fundamentally incompatible with policy making in a tolerant, accepting government. The role of government is not to preach morality, but to uphold fairness. The people who oppose gay marriage have no legs to stand on once you remove their religious objections - if the decisions were being made without religion's influence, it would be clear that the only fair thing to do is to allow all people to marry, regardless of race, religion, or gender - after all, we can't discriminate based on gender in any other situation - why this one?
Scott, Durham, NC
Faith in a higher power, while taking nothing away from its ability to offer solace to so many, is still just faith. I can't possibly get into everything about this matter that is relevant on this message board, but chew on this: If your neighbor told you that his savior (who is different than yours) is telling him that the only hope for salvation is to step in front of a moving train, would you do it? Then why should the office of the White House be able to lead us in front of a moving train?
One Nation Under GOD Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. In God We Trust Of course religion has a place in Government. Notice how I say a place. The right religion that is. Once we figure out that the Judeo-Christian way is the right way - the world will be a better place. If you believe in one thing - you don't believe the other. So stop having tea and crumpets with your muslim friends and telling them how wonderful it is to be able to sit together and agree to respect each other. Show them the alternative. It has been proven time and time again to be the religion of peace, hope and understanding. Yes it has its blemishes, but for the most part - Judeo - Christianity has made this world a wonderfull place to live. We need to bring this message to all corners of the earth. We need to rid the world of fanatical tyrants who do not know the compassion of Christ. It is what makes us great. It is what gives us compassion in the world. It is what gives us strength to free 2 nations in 2 years and bring peace to a region of the world that knows only violence. The separation is what works best. This does not mean it doesn't belong. Notice the regions of the world that have state sponsered religions or no religions - they have failed miserably, started wars and are corrupt. Stop the liberal kow-towing and act like the last generation Democrats that knew religion to be a good thing for the country. God Bless America and the Free World