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true outsider

good piece thought it was just a bit unfair to relgion in western europe which is st ill very much alive, may be reviving long term and in some ways has a bigger effect on the politics ( chrisian democrats?) and policy ( more state funded relgious schools) than in the U#S

i think governne is involed in the decline of religon in western europe but establishemnt is less complicated than the reality ie sweden has disestablished thier church with no sign of a revivial

Ben Stevenson

Does the requirement that there is "no religious test for public office" really mean that voters cannot take religion into account if they choose to?

Voters should be able to prioritise whatever issues they think are important, whether that is taxes, education, health, or someone's religious values - which is an important part of the whole person.

That is very different to their being an official criteria for which religion a person has to have in order to hold office, which is what the US Constitution forbids.

The idea that a person's religion would not affect their political views does not make sense to me. Religious belief includes things like how you think the world came into being, how you decide what is good and bad, what is the most important thing in life, etc. These sorts of beliefs will inevitably affect your views on political issues. In a democracy, people can decide whether or not they like the candidate's views or not, or think they are irrelevent.

Frogg, USA

Romney's speech was brilliant and inpirational for all Americans.

Mythopoesis

I agree completely with Joe. I listened to Gov. Romney's speech, and though I am not a supporter of his Presidential campaign, I thought it was excellent. His refusal to back away from his own faith, and his defense of that in the foundational documents of our country was well done. The sentence that Joe quoted was a winsome. After the speech, I heard an anchor on one of our more liberal channels say, "I am stunned. He just took down the wall that separates church and state." He did indeed make the case that the "establishment" clause was never intended to banish mention of God from the public square.

mamapajamas

Mythopoesis, indeed. In fact, the "free exercise" clause has been beaten nearly to death the past few decades. There are people trying to take all trace of religion out of the public eye in the US, and that is, IMHO, a violation of the Constitutional right to free exercise.

atheliing

"There are people trying to take all trace of religion out of the public eye in the US, and that is, IMHO, a violation of the Constitutional right to free exercise."

Absolutely, mamapajamas, these people want to force their religion, which is "anti religion", on Americans.

It is another form of tyranny.

rightwingprof

An agnostic emailed Jonah Goldberg:

Mitt Romney reminds me what I like about religion, Mike Huckabee reminds me what I don’t like about religion.

Mitt has my vote.

Maduka

Off topic.

What do you guys think about the rise of Huckabee?

Denise

"He did indeed make the case that the "establishment" clause was never intended to banish mention of God from the public square." Mythopoesis, thanks for bringing up that very excellent point. It should be broadcast across the globe.

Mamapajamas and atheliing, I couldn't agree more.

mamapajamas

I can recall an incident in Sanford, Florida, one of the towns on the outskirts of Orlando.

The county Sanford is located in purchased a large plot of land that used to be a church-owned ranch. On that land was a water tower with a cross on top, visible for miles around.

Virtually the minute the county acquired that land, the ACLU blew into Sanford and started carping and complaining that the county spent taxpayer money on land that had a (gasp!) cross on a water tower.

These ding-bats actually took the county to court to try to get the cross removed from county land. This was a preposterous case, since the county did not originally pay (the taxpayers money issue) to have the cross put there, and it would have cost thousands (of taxpayers money!) to have it removed. The cross just sort of came with the land deal.

The ACLU lost the case on a purely practical issue.

It seems that pilots have been using that water tower with the cross as a visual verification of their instrument readings for decades. It has been serving as a landmark for ages because it is unique and can be seen for miles, and pilots from several national and international airlines testified that it was an important visual guide for approach to the extremely busy Orlando airport. Routing errors aren't well tolerated in high air traffic areas, and it's best to have a practical visual verification of your position.

THAT was the ONLY thing that saved the cross on the water tower!

Things are getting REALLY weird when you can't spend taxpayer's money to purchase a cross for public areas (understandable... it's taxpayer's money), but CAN spend money (taxpayer's money!) to REMOVE one that already exists because a couple of people are somehow "offended". Why is it OK to spend taxpayer's money to support the religion of atheism-- which IS a religion since it is in fact an article of faith that there is no God?

Curiouser and curiouser...

Frogg, USA

"Off topic.

What do you guys think about the rise of Huckabee?

Posted by: Maduka"


I think the rise in Huckabee gives rise to concern. But, keep in mind, Huckabee hasn't been vetted yet. Now that his 'surge' is big news and he is tops in some polls.....the media is starting to report on his past record. My concern is "will he get vetted before the primary votes (hopefully); or after the primary votes (uh-oh). There is much about Huckabee many voters are not aware of yet (controvercial stands on issues, past ethical concerns, as well as bad knee-jerk judgement calls in the past).

Maduka

Frogg,

Huckabee is a very attractive candidate for the Evangelical base of the Republican party. He is genuinely an evangelical (you cannot say the same about Romney or Guiliani).

He is also a pretty good communicator. He doesn't come across as scary, judgemental or vindictive. He has a knack for wriggling out of slippery situations.

Huckabee can "work" a black congregation like Clinton.

He is a formidable candidate.

ad

“the postcard backdrop to societies just too busy or too ‘enlightened’ to venture inside and kneel in prayer.”

Would it be unfair to summarize Romneys argument as "at least I'm not an atheist"?

Steevo

I don't like some of Romney's attitudes but I take his speech the opposite in intent. The quote is a generalized statement directed toward those who would see themselves as elitist and above those of faith. Many such individuals would like religion removed from public but especially, government property and pervert the meaning of the 'separation' clause. Overall its fair to say he's making it clear he understands our Constitution and its proper intent of separation of church and state.

Douglas Cootey

Ben S. - You really need to read the original address, not the summary here. Romney addressed your concern about 3/4 through his speech:

"My faith is grounded on these truths. You can witness them in Ann and my marriage and in our family. We are a long way from perfect and we have surely stumbled along the way, but our aspirations, our values, are the self-same as those from the other faiths that stand upon this common foundation. And these convictions will indeed inform my presidency. "

http://www.mittromney.com/News/Speeches/Faith_In_America (full text)
http://www.ksl.com/?sid=&nid=520 (video)

I was very impressed with the speech. If the least it does is inspire a return to noble oration, then Mitt Romney did a great thing.

S Baker

Well, I was not a big fan of Mitt, because I think he had to compromise some of his principles as the Gov. of "Taxachussets." I do think he is one of the better candidates and no matter who wins the Republican primaries they get my vote. No Dumbocrat gets my vote.

Frogg, USA

Maduka, you are right about Huckabee. He is a person of faith and trully likeable person. However, other than the fact that he is against gay marriage and can recite Bible verses he is not much different from Hillary on policy (voter's just don't know his record yet). He may sound tough on immigration now; but, he was for amnesty, open borders, and soft on immgration issues just a few months ago (and in his entire time as Governor). His fiscal record is dismal. He has many bad judgement calls in the past as well on various issues and does seem ready to handle major foreign policy issues.

Not only is the Club for Growth getting ready to run negative ads on him; but, he was given an "F" rating on fiscal matters (while governor) from the CATO Institute.

Be careful! Huckabee will shrink the conservative movement; not grow it.... by shutting out libertarians and fiscal conservatives. There won't be much left.

***************************

Under Governor Huckabee’s watch, state spending increased a whopping 65.3% from 1996 to 2004, three times the rate of inflation (Americans for Tax Reform 01/07/07). The number of state government workers rose 20% during his tenure (Arkansas Leader 04/15/06), and the state’s general obligation debt shot up by almost $1 billion, according to Americans for Tax Reform. The massive increase in government spending is due in part to the number of new programs and expansion of already existing programs initiated by Governor Huckabee, including ARKids First, a multimillion-dollar government program to provide health coverage for thousands of Arkansas’ children (Arkansas News Bureau 04/13/06).

http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2007/11/30/if-the-huck-wins-the-right-loses/


Maduka

Frogg,

Does this Bible passage sound like small government conservatism?

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. Acts: 4:34-35

UNDERSTAND where Huckabee COULD be coming from!

Huckabee COULD be described as "Christian social democrat" and his political views are shared by many on the religious right.

The average evangelical, nun or missionary is primarily a social conservative (and not neccessarily a fiscal conservative). They listen to Huckabee because he has the gift of presenting his "liberal views" in Biblical language. (That is something that neither Thompson, Romney nor Giuliani can/or is willing to do).

Traditional conservatives enter politics to limit government and slash taxes - Religious conservatives enter politics "to do good works".

Religious Conservatives do not necessarily believe in small government or low taxes.

How will this affect the future of the Republican party?


Maduka

Frogg,

What percentage of the Republican base is libertarian and what percentage is fiscally conservative?

Frogg, USA

Maduka, I don't know the exact percentages. But, do you know why Reagan was so successful and was elected with a landslide? Because he merged social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, and those who were strong on national defense all into one party. Break it up......and you can't win elections.

Most religious right are fiscal conservatives. Think of the Bible belt. They have the lowest taxes of all states and several even have it written in their constitution that budgets must be balanced and the state government can't raise taxes without a referendum vote approval by the citizens. These same states also have the highest charity ratings.

There is a religious left also. Perhaps you are thinking of them. They are socialist leaning and vote Democrat.

Frogg, USA

Also Maduka, I don't like to get into Biblical or religious arguements. However, the Bible endorses private ownership and it also endorses mercy. As far as I know it does not say, anywhere, that the government can take ones belongings and do whatever it wishes with it. In fact, that would be stealing. Even the verse you note talks about those who "owned" property freely choosing to "sell" and then "donating" the proceeds. That's charity/mercy/or whatever you want to call it. It is not socialism and income redistribution. I think it would be questionable to say the Bible endorses either capitalism (as usually defined) or socialism (as usually defined). It does, however, clearly endorse both private ownership and mercy.

Isn't Socialism most promoted by athiest governments (Marxists, Communists, etc. (which go against Christian teachings)? Think upon that.

Maduka

Frogg,

Are you aware that many of the founders of the British Labour Party were evangelical christians (James Keir Hardie, for example).

Europe also has a tradition of Christian Democratic parties.

The religious left is a wishy-washy grouping on its way to extinction.

What I am talking about is a gentle, creeping christian-socialism within the evangelical movement (especially amongst young evangelicals).

I think Huckabee represents this trend.

Frogg, USA

No, I don't see it Maduka. And, I live in a southern religious state. I think you are simply confusing it with the normal trend. You know how the saying goes....

If you aren't liberal when you are young; you don't have a heart. If you aren't conservative when you grow up; you don't have a brain.

I, myself, like President Bush's 'compassionate conservatism". But, that is not the same as socialism. Don't confuse the two.

mamapajamas

Frogg, wasn't it Winston Churchill who said that? Apropos comment in a UK/US relationships blog. :)

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