[Gov/Rel]Crossing the Church-State Line

Indiansummer

Inactive
By Sidney Blumenthal
Salon.com

Thursday 11 November 2004

Thomas Jefferson warned of the dangers of becoming a "priest-ridden people," but a conservative clergy was essential to Bush's victory.
The election of 2004 marks the rise of a quasi-clerical party for the first time in the United States. Ecclesiastical organization has become transformed into the sinew and muscle of the Republican Party, essential in George W. Bush's reelection. His narrow margins in the key states of Florida, Iowa and Ohio, and elsewhere, were dependent upon the direct imposition of the churches. None of this occurred suddenly or by happenstance. Nor was this development simply a pleasant surprise for Bush. For years, he has schooled himself in the machinations of the religious right, and Karl Rove has used the command center of the White House as more than its Office of Propaganda.

Bush's clerisy represents an unprecedented alliance of historically anti-Roman Catholic, nativist evangelical Protestants with the most reactionary elements of the Catholic hierarchy. Preacher, priest and politician have combined on the grounds that John F. Kennedy disputed in his famous speech before the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on Sept. 12, 1960. Every principle articulated by Kennedy has been flouted and contradicted by Bush: "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 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 ... where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope or ... any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials."

From the White House, Rove operated a weekly conference call with selected religious leaders. Evangelical churches handed over their membership directories to the Bush campaign for voter registration drives. According to the Washington Post, "clergy members attended legal sessions explaining how they could talk about the election from the pulpit." A group associated with the Rev. Pat Robertson advised 45,000 churches on how to work for Bush. One popular preacher alone sent letters to 136,000 pastors advising them on "non-negotiable" issues - gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion - to mobilize the faithful. Perhaps the most influential figure of all was the Rev. James Dobson, whose radio programs are broadcast daily on more than 3,000 stations and 80 TV stations, and whose organization has affiliates in 36 states, and this year created a political action committee to advance "Christian citizenship."

On June 4, Bush traveled to see the pope. In another meeting that day, with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, according to a Vatican official, Bush "complained that the U.S. bishops were not being vocal enough in supporting [Bush] on social issues like gay marriage and abortion," and suggested to Sodano that the Vatican "push the bishops."

The Vatican was astonished at the brazen pressure and did not accede. Nonetheless, more than 40 conservative bishops worked in league with the Bush campaign against John Kerry - part of a crusade against their own declining moral authority. The American church is in crisis as Catholic opinion on abortion and stem cell research leans closer to that of the general public. And the exposure of rampant pedophilia among priests has undermined traditional belief in the church's sanctity. Electing a liberal Catholic as president would have been a severe blow. So conservative bishops denounced Kerry, spoke of denying him Communion and even talked of excommunication. Sunday after Sunday, from thousands of pulpits, epistles were read and sermons delivered telling parishioners it was sinful to vote for candidates who supported gay marriage and abortion.

The Catholic Kerry received 5 percent less of the Catholic vote than the Southern Baptist Al Gore did four years ago. In the crucial state of Ohio, where an anti-gay-marriage initiative was on the ballot, Bush won two-thirds of the "faithful" Catholic (those who attend mass every week) vote and 55 percent of the Catholic total. Combined with the support of 79 percent of white evangelicals, this gave him his critical margin nationally and in the swing states.

The religious right is not a majority and hardly a "silent majority," but it was indispensable to Bush's victory. Across the country, it has become the most energetic, reliable and productive part of the Republican organization. The ultimate value in its values-based politics is power, just as it was worldly power that sustained the medieval church, and the assertion of that power began within days after the election.

When moderate Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who is seeking the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, said that he would oppose any nominee to the Supreme Court who would seek to outlaw abortion (a nomination that might come soon, as Chief Justice William Rehnquist is dying), Dobson denounced Specter, "He is a problem and he must be derailed." Who will rid the president of this troublesome senator? Almost instantly, Specter clarified his position, announcing that he meant no such thing and that he had supported many judges who were against abortion.

"History, I believe," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."

But we're not all Jeffersonians now.

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Trasael Adnepos

Veteran Member
This is spin, IS. An activist clergy was essential to the American Revolution, and it is as essential now. The First Article In Amendment was supposed to have been our iron-clad guarantee that the voice of the the churches as the conscience and moral watchdog of the civil government would never be stilled. Patrick Henry's famous "Liberty or death" speech was penned after seeing a young minister who refused state licensure beaten for speaking his conscience publicly (the minister later died of his wounds).

This article is Leftist brainswoggle designed to invert the meaning of Jefferson's own words and beliefs, in Jefferson warning against the sort of official state religions which evil rulers used to enforce their tyranny from shorty after the inception of the Holy Roman Empire.

A political coalition accross denominational lines in support of some semblance of morality and decency, aligned against an amoral, godless, and Marxist Left is hardly what Jefferson or any other of the Founders consider a threat to Liberty.

The hypocrisy and falsehood of this smarmy tactic is doubled when you consider that Marxist Democrats pretending to be Christians have been openly campaigning in the pulpits of the "churches" of the liberal stupid for decades.

Tras
__________
"They who have put out the people's eyes reproach them of their blindness."
John Milton, 1642
 

mule skinner

Veteran Member
Brainswoggle is correct. The Constitution forbids the government to establish a religion. We are not to have a 'state religion' as do most Muslim countries. There is no stricture against people of faith applying their principles in the function of the government. Quite the contrary. It was expected that they would.
 

Ruckmanite

Veteran Member
More liberal whining

Notice it was written by Sidney Blumenthal, the Clinton mouthpiece.

Liberals fear and loathe Christians. It was a liberal, socialist, John Kerry that defied the teachings of his Catholic Church and was the most pro-abortion Senator out there, besides Feinstein. Religions of all faith objected. Liberals are whining.

The Mass. Supreme Court ordered the legislature to come up with a gay rights/gay marriage solution, several cities openly defied law and "married" sodomites. Christians objected. Liberals are whining.

Conservatives, whether they be black, white, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, et al. are sick of the pro-sodomite in your face accept us or else crap and they spoke with their vote. Liberals are whining.

Not all Christians have abandoned their Bibles and followed the apostate church into saying Sodomites were born that way, and that that choice must be accepted as "normal" instead of what the Bible calls an abomination.

God would not, and could not create life that defies His law. Only man, given the free will to seek good or evil, does that.

This country is spiritually in the crapper, but there are 60 million voting men and women in this country who aren't ready to sacrifice their beliefs on the altar of political correctness.
 

FREEBIRD

Has No Life - Lives on TB
"God would not, and could not create life that defies His law. Only man, given the free will to seek good or evil, does that.

This country is spiritually in the crapper, but there are 60 million voting men and women in this country who aren't ready to sacrifice their beliefs on the altar of political correctness."

Boy, did you get that right!

One crucial problem with the "separation of church and state" (which, when it comes down to it, is really the "separation of God and state") is that sooner or later, the State comes into conflict with the Church and the laws of God. Such a conflict must inevitably be resolved, in favor of one or another. Those who favor the "separation of church and state" most vociferously would always take the side of the State in such a conflict.

In other words, they would make the State, "God".

The Romans tried that, and failed. The Nazis tried, and failed. The Marxists are still trying, and they too will fail, ultimately.
 

Claudia

I Don't Give a Rat's Ass...I'm Outta Here!
Every time a "liberal" says anything, it is perceived by the religious right as whining (or something worse).

Every time a "conservative" says anything, the religious right jump on it as if it were the word of god.

When government begins to be dictated by the clergy, the danger is that "dictated" may all too quickly lead to "dictatorship". A dictatorship ruled from the pulpit is no better than a dictatorship ruled from the mosque.

Then, we are no better than those against whom we wage war.
For Jefferson's words to fall on deaf ears is a disservice to both our history and our future.
 

Zagdid

Veteran Member
mabey I read too fast

I didn't get any right or wrong out of this article. It was more like 'how'.

Alot of experts are analizing the Bush win. So the how is important.

The role of the clergy in elections hasn't changed in many, many years.
Nothing new under the sun here.

Journalist need money to send their kids to college too.
 

Trasael Adnepos

Veteran Member
How dare you compare Christianity with Islam, Claudia. That is one of the most patently dishonest delusional mantras the liberals have disgraced themselves with yet. Are you really so ignorant or full of hatred as to mistake the God Who gave you this present Liberty with the genocidal demon god of Islam, or to mistake the love, charitable works, light and progress of Christendom these centuries with the oppression, superstition, darkness, hatred, ignorance and murder of the Moslem world? Have you truly ignored all of history with your own heritage?

How can any thinking person do what you just did?

Jefferson's words were twisted beyond recognition by this low- brow cretin. Maybe you missed the proof of that, but that is NO excuse for equating your countrymen with the sworn enemies of your very way of life. I for one am not going to take this crap any longer without showing everyone who dares to spew such evil lies that their words are completely irrational and highly offensive to any decent American.

Tras
_____________

"They who have put out the people's eyes reproach them of their blindness."
John Milton, 1642
 

INVAR

Sword At-The-Ready
Well done and said Tras, Ruck and Free.

It is instructive to watch the fear and loathing by the Left who have become completely hysterical. They remind me of the frothing maniacs that bit and tore off Stephen's flesh before they stoned him to death for daring to live and speak what he believed.

Given the opportunity, based on reading the foamenting vitriol by the Godless Left - they would do the same.

For them, believing in God is fine as long as you don't teach, preach, act or speak on it.

Anything else is fanaticism that is just like Jihadist Islam.
 

Kimber

Membership Revoked
Please don't fall for this

Yes, the "left" posts tripe. However, the reaction is to defend our "conservative" leader, member of the skull and bones. Bohemian Grove, etc. Be careful that you don't run to the other side of the political battle too quickly, or you will be in the same place.

Regarding Islam, treating it like a cult is not establishing a religion anymore than de-Nazification was a violation of church and state. I've yet to find anyone with whom to debate the ideology of Islam. Wrapping it in a cloak of religion for protection is something both parties do right now. If we don't understand this, we will lose.

David
 

Ruckmanite

Veteran Member
Ignorance is bliss

Kimber wrote

I've yet to find anyone with whom to debate the ideology of Islam. :kk2:

There is nothing to debate. Jesus last words, prior to "it is finished" were "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do".

Compare that to Mohammed, who never prophesied anything. He never foretold anything whatsoever in the future, thus making him a false prophet. His last words were "God kill all the Jews and Christians."

In Islam, it is convert or die. How is an African village converted to Islam? Take a bunch of machete weilding murderers, hack the men and older boys to death, rape the women, then come back in a week and ask the survivors if they are ready to convert.

Religion of peace my a$$.

Compare the freedom here in the USA to any raghead country. Here, you can build any type of church just about anywhere you want. Just try and build a Christian church in Saudi Arabia and you will see the "peaceful" religion of Islam in full force as thy cut the pastor's head off.

With this cult, it is convert or die. With this cult, you can simply divorce your wife by saying "I divorce you." With this cult, women are treated no better than cattle. With this cult, children are tought from a very young age to be a suicide bomber. When they become the dominant population in any country, watch what happens to anyone who refuses to convert.

To liken this "religion of peace" to Christianity is to show complete ignorance regarding the doctrines and teachings of Islam.

Ignorance is bliss. The Europeans are in for a rude, rude awakening.
 

Kimber

Membership Revoked
I think you missed my point. You need to follow the Dutch terrorist threads. My comment was directed at a few on this forum who call people a bigot for mentioning the history of Islam, and the teachings of the Koran and hadiths. In no way was I implying Islam is a religion of peace.

I will try to be clearer next time.

David
 
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