Saturday, November 15, 2008

but its a religious argument!!

I was at a teacher training the other day, and I overheard some teachers talking about the Mormon church supporting Prop 8. They were howling about the Mormon's support and saying that they should have their tax exempt status revoked.
"It's separation of church and state," they said.

I didn't enter into the conversation. I stayed waaaay clear. Frankly, I was kinda tired about talking about it and hearing about it. Or maybe it was just cowardice on my part.

At any rate, afterwards I was thinking about a few questions.

What's the big deal with religious people or a religious group supporting a certain policy? Why think that's a violation of the "separation of church and state?" I want to ask these folks: "what, do you think the Mormons (or any other religious group) shouldn't have a vote, or should they not have a voice?"

And, really, what's "separation of church and state" supposed to mean anyway? Where is that in the constitution (hint: nowhere.)?

What's the First Amendment say? "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

I stress the "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" part.

Anyway, why think that "separation of church and state" is what the Founders had in mind when they penned the First Amendment?

What religion does Proposition 8 establish? Jews, Christians, Mormons, Muslims, and the members of many other religions agree with the Proposition. While many of the motivations to support it might be religious, the arguments themselves are such that people of many faiths (or no faiths) can agree with them. If the arguments don't establish a specific religion, then they don't violate the establishment clause.

Also, consider that many people *oppose* Proposition 8 due to religious motivations.

This is the case with almost *any* policy position in which people try to marginalize a certain viewpoint for being religious: the death penalty (Mother Theresa opposed it because "Jesus would forgive."), an Obama presidency (many evangelicals, like Donald Miller supported him), and many of Obama's economic policies. If my conservative viewpoint is out of bounds for being "religious," then so are the opposing points of view.

Bottom line: This screaming about "religion in politics" is a bunch of bunk. Its all just to marginalize a viewpoint they don't hold. Don't fall for it.

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