What America Needs Now Is a Secular President, Like George Washington
Religious controversies produce more and more acuteness and irreconcilable hatred than those that come from another source. ( George Washington, letter to sir Edward Newenham, June 22, 1792.)
Restrain your enthusiasm for progressive candidates who flaunt their religious beliefs. this essay
explains why godchildren, attractive as they may be, prove to be dangerous to the kind of nation that JFK has envisioned:
I believe in an America in which the separation of church and state is absolute … in which no religious body tries to impose its will directly or indirectly on the general population. (September 12, 1960 at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association)
Obviously, all progressive candidates are preferable to typical right-wing, divisive fundamentalists like Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, or almost any Republican in Congress, the Supreme Court, or the Cabinet of Donald Trump. However, the progressive candidate who vocalizes his religiosity even though he reviews all or most of the respected liberal boxes – gay, teen, smart and educated, friendly, attractive, funny, a war veteran, maybe even a vegan and so on – should always be still be viewed with skepticism as a probable danger to the preservation of the remnants of our secular republic.
This is no idle concern. Without mentioning any mayors of the Midwest, who at the moment seem almost too attractive to be true, the concern for religious devotees of enthusiasts should be valued for science, rationality and especially strict separation of church and state. Extreme caution seems warranted when someone claims that theology shares its political positions.
In a sense, secularists could be encouraged by an attractive democratic presidential candidate showing Christian piety, since the first thought could be a feeling that this increases his prospects of eligibility. We've seen cases where a certain religious liberal, like the elders in the game Bye birdie, who shines perfect in every way Asking Trump's religion morally scolds the hypocritical vice president as part of one Actor presidency and uses Biblical references to support his positions. Unfortunately, public interest in a secular democracy is not well served by politicians arguing for a good Christian or number one believer. Who cares or should be interested? Let the believers have these discussions when you are ready, but do them in churches and religious households, not in candidate forums or political campaigns.
Personally, I confess that I would prefer an attractive democratic candidate who distinguishes his speeches with Christian chatter primarily as a strategy for gaining some of the religious rights, from one who really believes in such nonsense. I never thought that I would take over Barry Goldwater's notorious remark from the 1964 presidential campaign, or at least adapt it to justify such an expediency (ie Extremism in defense of freedom is not a vice; Moderation in the pursuit of justice is not a virtue ). However, given the circumstances that existed in 2019, I have no such compensation.
Fake piety in defense of freedom is not such a terrible vice when it is done to prevent another term for Donald Trump. A language that reduces the supernatural but interferes with the rationality of the government is not a virtue.
Apart from the expediency, here are some examples of the current rhetoric of the otherwise glowing candidate, which triggers my sensitivity to theocracy:
At CNN, at a city hall meeting, he said: My feeling is that Scripture is about protecting the stranger, the prisoner and the poor person and this idea of greeting. That's what I get in the gospel when I'm in church.
Actually, I prefer someone who thinks about everyone the whole time, not just when he reads a gospel and / or in a church.
The otherwise ideal candidate also criticized the vice-president in a way that just seems strangely spiritual:
The Vice President's point of view has much more to do with sexuality, and I do not know, with a certain point of view or righteousness.
I find it challenging to Connect pence with sexuality, especially given its overdeveloped focus on righteousness, moral correctness and justice.
When a candidate presents quotes from sacred books and brings out what he or she considers revealed from religious dogmas and teachings, the clear message is that his political views are informed, guided, or dependent on spiritual or faith-based matters. This in turn reinforces the widespread delusion and hope of religious fundamentalists that America is a Christian nation.
James Madison believed that Religious bondage captivates and weakens the mind and makes it unsuitable for any noble enterprise, any extended perspective.
I wonder if an otherwise attractive candidate would approve of either President Madison or President Kennedy's previously stated commitment to an absolute separation of church and state.
In a Washington Post article recently, David Niose has proposed this attitude to an otherwise attractive presidential candidate:
There is a reason why progressives have weakened religion over time – and that reason is called progress. Science and empiricism, along with values that recognize the dignity and worth of all people, are seen as legitimate reasons for a progressive political dialogue. (David Niose, The progressive Christianity of Mayor Pete Buttigieg is also no reason to celebrate , in Hemant Mehta's Friendly Atheist, April 21, 2019.)
What America needs now is a candidate like Courtland Palmer who is described in a funeral speech by Col. Robert Green Ingersoll as follows:
He examined for himself the questions, the problems and the secrets of life. Majorities were not for him. No mistake could be old enough, popular, plausible or profitable enough to bribe his judgment or keep his conscience calm. He believed in intellectual hospitality, a fair exchange of ideas, good spiritual manners, the amenities of the soul, and the chivalry of discussion. He believed in the morality of the useful, that the virtues are the friends of humanity, the seeds of joy. He lived and worked for his fellow man.
Unfortunately, neither George Washington, John F. Kennedy, James Madison nor Courtland Palmer are available, but many others advocate a political agenda that differentiates the governance of all people from the controversial spiritual agendas of Christianity and other religions.