Campaigns confuse good citizenship with religiosity
an op-ed piece by
Freethought Today editor Annie Laurie Gaylor
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Sunday, Aug. 15, 2004.
In the midst of a presidential campaign that has often
resembled a religious
Reagan, appearing on the June 23 Larry King Show on CNN,
also said: "I'm an atheist. So there you go right there. I can't
be elected to anything because
Reagan is right. An arresting political poll (Reuters, Zogby 2000) found that when voters are given a hypothetical list of Jewish, black, female, Arab-American, gay or atheist vice presidential candidates, they were least likely to support the atheist.
Ron Reagan was one of the only purely secular voices to
be found at the
The Democrats were not about to be out-amened by the GOP, whose upcoming convention is bound to couple religion and patriotism. It's a testament to the degradation of our First Amendment that it has become politically necessary for candidates to genuflect before the national altar of professed piety to be electable.
Yet the non-religious-atheists, agnostics or just plain
"nones" - are a
President Bush is leaving no religious stone unturned,
going out of his way
Significantly, it was that Catholic fraternal organization
that was the
As is so often the case with symbolic violations of the establishment clause, the harm has been incalculable, with several generations of Americans now confusing good citizenship with religiosity.
The attempt to mix religion and politics has never been
more overt. Bush
The U.S. Catholic Conference unanimously passed a statement
in June that
This summer, the Bush-Cheney campaign even contacted 1,600
The mix of church and politics has gotten so out of control that the Internal Revenue Service contacted the major political parties in June, warning them to cool it in soliciting tax-exempt church votes or money. But where are the sanctions for politicians who cross that increasingly blurred line between church and state?
All of this, inevitably, calls to mind the pains former
"I believe in an America where the separation of
church and state is
"I believe in an America that is officially neither
Catholic, Protestant nor
Would any politician dare speak these same words today?
In his foreword to the book. "If You Had Five
Minutes with the President,"
"People who believe they are acting with the mandate of God, who see others who don't share their beliefs as inferior in the eyes of God, make dangerous leaders. Just ask Osama Bin Laden."
Annie Laurie Gaylor is a co-founder of the Freedom
From Religion Foundation,
which is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin
This E-News is courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation,
PO Box 750,
Madison WI 53701. See their entire effort on behalf of Freethinkers worldwide.