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Is God Running for President?

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I was reading the Letters section in the October 15 issue of Newsweek magazine, and found an interesting letter from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The letter was in response to an article in a previous edition that apparently had focused on Romney primarily as a practicing Mormon.

In the letter, Romney wrote, "I am an American running for president, not a Mormon running for president."

He goes on to say, "I would have thought that more important to my potential presidency would be my record as a governor, 25-year business leader, Olympic CEO, father, husband -- and American."

Indeed.

I am no fan of Mitt Romney, but I have to agree with him here.

I have thought the same thing through the past two decades' worth of elections, which often have seemed more like contests to prove who's more holy, not who's more qualified to run this country.


And I thought the same thing during a recent Democratic candidates' debate, when each was asked to share his or her favorite Bible verse.

I wondered if that question would have been asked if a non-Christian candidate had been standing on that stage.

And I wondered if this nation will ever evolve to where we really might see a non-Christian candidate standing on that stage. (Jewish Senator Joe Lieberman doesn't count. During his 2000 vice-presidential run, he managed to out-God all the other candidates.)

George W. Bush not only invokes his God in virtually every speech he makes, he also openly admits that he takes his instructions from his God. And look where that has gotten us. It brings to mind the words of Sinclair Lewis, who said, "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

The religious right and their supporters in Washington have brainwashed the American public into believing that Christianity is patriotic. In fact, according to a recent survey by the First Amendment Center, 65 percent of Americans believe that the nation's founders intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation and 55 percent believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation.

Hogwash. They need to read the Constitution, which makes no mention of God or Christianity. And they need to acquaint themselves with the Bill of Rights.

It was with good reason that this nation's founders wrote the "separation clause" into the First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

It was to protect the minority from tyranny of the majority. Our founders did not want this nation to sink into theocracy. They knew that theocracy always leads to oppression and loss of freedom.

Our founders wanted to establish a democracy in which the government serves all the people, not just the Christian ones.

For these reasons, we should not be compelled to vote for someone because he or she can recite passages from the Bible. In fact, we should be suspicious of those who do so in a political context. It's pandering, and it's often hypocritical.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 

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right on target. thank you. ... by Joan Brunwasser on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 7:58:36 AM
Amen!... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 10:07:30 AM
Dubya is a satan worshipper people,dont believe wh... by john riggs on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 10:41:10 AM
The Constitution gives men the right to kill. &nbs... by Steve Consilvio on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 12:17:48 PM
I won't be voting for Romney either (and I am ... by Frank Staheli on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 12:18:00 PM
the Mormon Church does play politics. One small ex... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 1:00:32 PM
Bigotry takes many forms.  I was just going o... by Mad Jayhawk on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 12:39:38 PM
147 years ago, Americans elected Abraham Lincoln, ... by iman on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 1:54:49 PM
a lot of the founders were deists, like Franklin a... by Rob Kall on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 6:09:20 PM
I am  reminded to the statement in the bible ... by Andris on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 11:27:02 PM
Ms. Shaw:The religious right and their supporters&... by Munich on Sunday, Oct 28, 2007 at 11:46:38 PM
There is no "separation clause" in the F... by tim bristol on Monday, Oct 29, 2007 at 8:58:04 AM
It is a sad day in our country when Presidential c... by Mark Angelo Cummings on Monday, Oct 29, 2007 at 2:52:20 PM
 We have George Bush who beleaves he is god. ... by vincent passiatore on Tuesday, Oct 30, 2007 at 9:14:07 PM