Letters to the Editor

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GOP: Religion and the election

Letter by Bambi Lin Litchman, Tacoma on March 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm with 49 Comments »
March 7, 2012 1:28 pm

Rick Santorum must have slept through his constitutional law class. Separation between church and state is one of the hallmarks of the U.S. that made this country great. Just observe the many punitive theocracies that exist in the world.

Santorum clearly doesn’t respect the separation between church and state, and his ultra-conservative views on contraception, abortion and gay people and his disdain for higher education make it surprising that Romney didn’t eke out bigger leads against him in the Super Tuesday results.

The race continues. Observers on either side simply can’t look away. Barbara Bush (senior) remarked that the race is the worst she has ever seen.

George Will noted the irony that the Republican candidates rattle their sabers against Iran with bravado, yet couldn’t muster the task of taking on Rush Limbaugh regarding his three-day derogation of young Sandra Fluke. Only Ron Paul had the courage to provide a comment remotely appropriate.

Thanks to Georgia voters (and especially the extraordinarily wealthy Sheldon Adelson), Newt Gingrich survived to fight another day. Ron Paul continues on, perhaps a force to be reckoned with at the convention, but is Sarah Palin waiting in the wings, or Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush?

The elephant in the room may be whether evangelical voters will accept Romney’s Mormon faith.

Santorum’s dogged survival indicates a social conservative popularity that may demand that Romney twist himself into positions that would cause even Gumby to reach for the Excedrin – or something stronger.

Leave a comment Comments → 49
  1. Pacman33 says:

    The fact is, it was the founder’s belief in the importance of preserving Christian principles, for the sake of the United States, that was at the root for the separation of church and state. It was their faith itself, that led founders to conclude that religious liberty should be extensively protected from any government authority and their uncanny wisdom that somehow knew government would destroy everything else it touched. It is the tolerance instilled by Christianity and it’s stress of the importance of the individual that was the source for the founder’s commitment to the proposition that all men and women should be free to worship God (or not) as their consciences dictate.

  2. The puritans fled England because they were being persecuted by the Anglican Church which ran the government. Our founders would have none of that, so they made sure that there would be no state sanctioned religion. Separation of church and state is meant to keep your religion out of our government.

  3. old_benjamin says:

    Bambi, check out the results of Super Tuesday. Evangelical voters did in fact accept Romney’s Mormon faith, even when given the chance to vote for Santorum or Gingrich.

  4. Pac33 – wrong again.
    First, the Founder Fathers did not put Freedom of Religion into the Constitution.

    It was The People. And The People wanted two things:

    That the new Federal Government (Congress) would not pass laws outlaw or sponsoring any religion, and

    That all individuals would be free to practice their religion without interference from the governments, other religions, or other individuals.

    Historically Christianity has been one be a very intolerant o other religions.

  5. Pacman33 says:

    Do you read what you type before you submit it?

  6. LornaDoone says:

    “tolerance instilled by Christianity”?

    Someone is using sarcasm, right?

  7. Pac – yes – a pitty you can’t.

    Old_ben – early indications are in was the women’s vote that put Romney
    ahead of little Rickie

  8. Sonofwashington says:

    I always enjoy the great irony that “conservatives” love to cite the name of the greatest liberal ever to walk the face of the earth as their savior, and then, in His name, take on the most intolerant and hateful stances against those who do not happen to share their particular religious views or lifestyle.

    My favorite quote by Thomas Jefferson from a letter regarding some unreasonable Christians who opposed him –
    “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    Let’s be honest. Santorum is a dominionist who what happily subordinate our Constitution to the Bible, effectively making us a theocracy. Romney is trying to hide from his religion because he knows it makes him unpopular among “traditional” Christians. Wonder if he’ll ever make a statement like JFK, saying the separation of church and state is absolute, even if it makes Santorum puke?

  9. old_benjamin says:

    xring, early indications are that some women are evangelicals.

  10. Pac? Franklin, Adams, Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton and Washington were NOT Christian.

  11. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Why would Bambi even write this letter? She is far left given her previous letters. Her vote is already cast.

    This is a clear attempt to smear the republican candidates. All the DNC deflection points of the week are present-

    Church
    Attack on the rich
    Mormon
    Rush

    “The elephant in the room” is BHO, the failing economic reforms he rammed through, the divided nation led by BHO, targeting US citizens without a trial, Fast and Furious, gas and energy policy, etc.

    The effort to paint conservatives as radicals is a weak attempt to take the nation’s eyes off of the true radicals.

    To the right leaning posters- please assist our nation and keep the conversation on point.

  12. To our right leaning posters, please try to not be as confused as concerned seems to be every time he/she submits something.

  13. Romney’s Mormon faith has nothing to do with his leadership capabilities.
    Christians, even the, how do you say “evangelical” ones, know that people are free to worship however and whoever they want. Even if they disagree with it.

  14. lylelaws says:

    Bambi,

    In case you missed it, Barbars Bush and former President George H.W. Bush have endorsed Mitt Romney.

    Rush Limbaugh and Bill Mahar are both buffoons who will say anything for attention.

  15. Fibonacci says:

    I have little interest in this while argument except as it relates to history. An earlier poster got at least part of it right. In England at the time The Church of England was the official church of the country. People were forced to join that church. England had gone back and forth between Catholicism and the Anglican church, each forcing its particular brand of Christianity on the country. What the constitution stated was that there was to be no official religion in the US, that people were free to worship any religion they chose. It stated freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

  16. I think it would be good to have candidates for elective office who have strong religious beliefs that they actually practice. For instance, your traditionalist Christian who believes in the whole Bible, also claims to adhere to The Ten Commandments.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we had some candidates who at least followed the “Thou shalt not bear false witness!” commandment?

  17. sandblower says:

    It would be best if they left religious beliefs completely out of the political discussion.

  18. YES! look at tuesday’s results! romney won every single state! as far as income earners over 100k are concerned…

    the new results from the republican primary/caucus show that the rich came out in record numbers. and in every single state on super tuesday; romney dominated the upper-income levels. even in georgia. even in oklahoma. even in tennessee and virginia. the “massachusetts moderate” sweeps the south as far as rich folk are concerned.

    wonder why that is?

  19. oh, and bandito is exactly correct on the subject of our forefathers and the church/state relationship.

    the forefathers came here because england had a state-sponsored religion and thus they insisted that there mustn’t be any overlap.

    they witnessed the intense corruption and broad persecution that will inevitably commence under theocratical rule (santorum-law); and they demanded freedom from the tyranical church-state.

  20. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Because rich, who tend to be higher educated, want the candidate who will be slightly moderate, fiscally conservative, and has the ability to beat BHO.

    So the rich like the rich? Kerry was loaded, no one cared. JFK, and a whole list of presidents. Who cares?

    Are you concerned about people that vote for BHO only for his skin color?

  21. ““The elephant in the room” is BHO, the failing economic reforms he rammed through…”

    That’s some failure. The GDP has grown for the last nine quarters in a row, unemployment is down, and the stock market is (way) up.

  22. Ben – first you have to offer proof that evangelicals went for Romney.

    Lyle – in case you missed it being endorsed by the Bush Family is not necessarily a good thing.

    Fibonacci – one also had to be COE to be elected to Parliament.

    Jellee – the Founders also knew that in order to one group to have religious freedom all groups had to have the same religious freedom.

    Also, note that ‘No Religious Test’ is in the body of the Constitution, but he ‘Religious Freedom’ is in the 1st Amendment.

  23. alindasue says:

    Sonofwashington said (regarding Mitt Romney), “Wonder if he’ll ever make a statement like JFK, saying the separation of church and state is absolute, even if it makes Santorum puke?”

    If I remember right, he did make a speech to that effect back during his 2008 bid for the nomination…

    xring said, “Lyle – in case you missed it being endorsed by the Bush Family is not necessarily a good thing.”

    While it won’t do much to help make up my mind one way or another about Mitt Romney, being endorsed by the elder President Bush and his wife is not necessarily a bad thing either. There is much to respect about both of them. It’s their wayward sons (former President George W. Bush and former Senator Jeb Bush) that many of us have issues with.

  24. My favorite quote by Thomas Jefferson from a letter regarding some unreasonable Christians who opposed him –
    “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

    Another quote:
    “I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

  25. Frankenchrist says:

    Santorum is frothy.

  26. aislander says:

    Sorry, Bambi but the Founders wrote and spoke in favor of the influence of religion (writ large, but not of any specific sect) on government. They did this many times in many venues.

    Their objection was to the establishment of a particular national religion. Your “separation of church and state” trope is a relatively novel reinterpretation of the Constitution…

    They were far more concerned with the undue influence of government on religion, something of which we have seen recent examples…

  27. aislander says:

    alindasue: Jeb Bush was never a senator, but I would be most interested in your illuminating for me in what ways his public service or private life has been “wayward…”

  28. “We have Fundamentalists, Inerrantists, today, insisting that this nation was founded on Christianity. It was not, although the moral and ethical values common to many of the world’s religions were espoused in the founding documents. Almost to a man, the Founding Fathers were Deists, as opposed to Theists, realists and well educated, opposed to tyranny in any form, whether the tyranny of secular governments or the tyranny of ecclesiastic theocracies, cults, orders and sects. The Fundamentalists of all nations would establish tyrannies over their fellowman, insisting that “their way to God, their way of governance, is the ONLY way”.”

    http://www.barefootsworld.net/founding.html

  29. Spiderweb says:

    “Sorry, Bambi but the Founders wrote and spoke in favor of the influence of religion”

    Perhaps, but like the rest of us the founders were only human, and made mistakes, just like the rest of us do. On this they were mistaken. Religion is the bane of mankind.

  30. LornaDoone says:

    “Rush Limbaugh and Bill Mahar are both buffoons who will say anything for attention.”

    Maher doesn’t need attention. His show is on a subscription channel, thus his audience pays for the privilege to watch him say anything he says. I wonder if the person that said this even subcribes.

  31. aislander says:

    Spiderweb: That is a valid opinion and you are welcome to express it, but it isn’t really the topic of this thread: the founding principles of the country are, as interpreted (or misinterpreted) by the Supreme Court.

    I would assume you are opposed to laws against blasphemy. What would call laws that prohibit the defamation of, or insults to, Islam? Speaking of the establishment of religion…

  32. aislander says:

    The Puritans left England to go to Holland because they thought the Anglican Church to be degenerate. After a few years, they found Holland to be even more so.

    The group came to the New World not to escape religious persecution, but to establish a community that practiced a MORE stringent brand of religion than that of their former homes…

  33. alindasue says:

    aislander said, “alindasue: Jeb Bush was never a senator, but I would be most interested in your illuminating for me in what ways his public service or private life has been “wayward…” ”

    Did I type “Senator”? I meant to type “Governor”. It is by “Florida governor” that I had looked him up in Google.

    The main wayward child is Jeb’s big brother, George… however, I find it more than a little interesting the he was the one presiding over Florida – the one state that had major vote counting issues – at the time his brother was running for president.

  34. aislander says:

    By that definition, alindasue, Gary Locke, current ambassador to China and former commerce secretary, is even more “wayward” than Jeb Bush, since this state had rather more questionable voting issues while Locke was governor in 2004 than did Florida in 2000.

    I think King County stands the equal of Illinois’ Cook County and the Tammany Hall of Boss Tweed as exemplars of corrupt politics…

  35. aislander says:

    …and Locke was King County executive before becoming governor…

  36. Spiderweb says:

    “opposed to laws against blasphemy”

    Being as I don’t believe in a god or gods, there can be no sin or blasphemy in my view…why create laws against something that is not been proven to exist?

    I’ll never understand why people can bring themselves to kill others over something they can’t prove exists.

    Do (and believe) what you will, provided you harm no others…

  37. Aislander;
    The Pilgrims went to Holland. When the group decided to come to America they need more people to fill the Mayflower (thus lower the cost pre-individual) the Pilgrim leaders invited a group of Puritans to join them.

    Pilgrims were middle class and wanted a complete break with the Church of England and came to America to practice their own religion.

    Puritans were upper class and wanted to reform the church (simpler and less osthentations buildings, servies, dress etc) and to establish local control over individual COE churches.

    Neither groups believed in allowing other religions to practice within the colony.

  38. LornaDoone says:

    “since this state had rather more questionable voting issues while Locke was governor in 2004 than did Florida in 2000″

    Since the Secretary of State that shepparded the recounts of 2004 was a Republican and Locke a Democrat, it would appear that any “waywardness” might be that the SOS wasn’t a blind partisan conservative and followed the law on elections.

    In addition, the court case for Dino Rossi was filed in Chelan County, not the county constantly in question (King) so that they could get a conservative judge. The judge ruled against Rossi’s complaint. Even with a stacked deck, Rossi couldn’t win.

    In Florida 2000, it was thoroughly documented how the Secretary of State and the Governor were not only the same party, but campaign buddies over the years.

    Since election results demonstrated that Gore actually won Florida and Rossi lost Washington in 2004, I’m not finding anything close to a reasonable comparison.

  39. LornaDoone says:

    Is it blasphemy when a Christian degrades Islamic dogma?

    It seems as though the only time blasphemy comes up is when someone challenges the Christian faith.

  40. Sonofwashington says:

    aislander – your refer to “separation of church and state” as a “trope” and “a relatively novel reinterpretation of the Constitution”.

    As a true conservative who appreciates the intent of the founding fathers, you may be interested to know that those “tropy” words came from Jefferson’s famous 1801 letter to the Danbury Baptist Assocation wherein he explained to them that the 1st Amendment served to build “a wall of separation between church and state.”

    http://www.usconstitution.net/jeffwall.html

    Hardly a trope nor a novel reinterpretation of the Constitution. However, I do believe your reinterpretations are novel.

  41. aislander says:

    I didn’t want to confuse the issue, xring, with the differences between Puritans and Pilgrims, of which I am aware. The point is that they came to the New World not to escape persecution but to establish exclusive religious enclaves, as you point out.

    That migration is used to make a fallacious point, however, since the groups came here not for religious liberty, but to ensure their own exclusory settlements.

  42. aislander says:

    The letter to the Danbury Baptists had nothing to do with the Constitution until the Supreme Court established the principle into law in, I believe, the 1940s.

    Jefferson was addressing the congregation’s concerns about interference by government with religion, rather than the other way around. His words were seized upon to create a novel reinterpretation of the Constitution.

    You may want to read the wording of the Northwest Ordinance to understand how the framers viewed the relationship between government and religion, and when you do, note the date it was promulgated. They wished to promote the Christian religion, but not “a” religion…

  43. sumyungboi says:

    Here’s something that will relieve all of your stress, Bambi: don’t vote for Rick Santorum if he makes the ballot. Oh, and the reason that you’re unsure of Santorum’s conscious state during constitutional law class is because you apparently weren’t there at all. You’ve listed zero actual examples, then forked off into red herring territory regarding his personal beliefs, which doesn’t exactly cut the mustard.

    Also, if you’re worried about Santorum’s stance on First Amendment religious issues, Obama must just scare the dickens out of you. :)

  44. “The letter to the Danbury Baptists had nothing to do with the Constitution”

    Neither did the actions of the Puritans in Massachusetts 140 years before the Constitution was written.

  45. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Sum- this whole letter is a smear on Bambi’s part. Look at her other letters.

    She is a limo lib lawyer. Auto-pulls the ‘D’ lever.

  46. aislander says:

    sum shows up right after syb’s post. Perfect!

  47. aislander, Who is “syb”?

  48. “sum shows up right after syb’s post.”

    Actually, your post preceded it.

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