Mitt Romney gave his speech on faith today and, not surprisingly, he got the state/church separation angle completely wrong:
We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation “Under God” and in God, we do indeed trust.
No. No. No no no. No no no no no.
Author Wendy Kaminer says this a tad more eloquently:
Religion is the basis of morality, Romney asserted, parroting conventional wisdom that we cannot be good without god (as if people were good with god.) Religion is even essential to freedom, he declared, a “fact” that would surprise members of religious or irreligious minorities (and many women) who have the misfortune of living in theocracies.
Romney also offered up the usual misconceptions about secularists, claiming that they want to remove religion from the public square. In fact, secularists (some of whom are religious people who believe in secular government) do not oppose public expressions of faith: every secularist I know would defend the right to preach in the public square. What secularists oppose is government support for public or private expressions of faith. If a public park is also a public forum, then religious groups have the same right as non-religious groups to make speeches, hold rallies, or mount displays, like crèches, in them – so long as their activities are not funded or otherwise endorsed by government.
It’s true that some secularists want to remove references to god from our money and from the Pledge of Allegiance. But, however petty and meaningless these references seem (and I am not in favor of making a federal case of them,) they do represent inappropriate government support for religious belief: a dollar bill is not the public square, and neither is an official pledge of fealty to the nation.
These are not such subtle distinctions, but Romney is not alone in ignoring them; and the hypocrisy of his call for tolerance is likely only to be noticed by those secularists and non-theists who are targeted by his intolerance. To many of us, it will be clear that Romney’s position on religious bigotry is a lot like his position on abortion rights, stem cell research, and gay rights: it’s determined by political expedience. Romney opposes bigotry in self-defense, not in defense of others, which is to say that he does not really oppose it at all.
What she said.
[tags]atheist, atheism, vote Ron Paul[/tags]