Originally posted by kbm8795
You are clouding the issue here - the point the minister made is that their religious faith should first and foremost guide state policymaking - that is a lot more than simply an "influence." There are lots of reasons why both the federal and state constitutions limit the participation of religion in government. For one thing, Catholics are guided by directives from the Pope, who approves appointments of high officials in different countries. Obviously, the Pope isn't an American citizen. Protestant denominations have their own governing councils that shape and form their positions on biblical interpretation and policies - none of those officials are elected from the public at large nor, in many cases, do they even represent their own members.
When I vote in an election, I'm supposed to be selecting a candidate who I believe may best represent the viewpoints of myself and will take responsibility for upholding the constitution and the rights of all the residents of the district - not by FIRST basing policy decisions on the interpretations and policy statements of their individual ministers or churches. If we wanted that type of government, both political parties should be scrapped and replaced by a party representing each religious group in this country.
Assuming that those who don't agree with mixing Church and State have "no religious feelings" is not only defamatory but a violation of my constitutional right to worship as I CHOOSE - not at the direction or definition of "christianity" imposed by your own religious beliefs or the beliefs or elected officials who have a responsibility to all citizens.
No one suggests that President Bush is not entitled to worship as he chooses - however, his job is to uphold the Constitution, and not serve as an endorser of particular religious interpretation. The Constitution prohibits a religious "litmus" test as a qualification for holding public office for a reason, yet some Americans continue to assert that only "approved Christians" (meaning those who will push their religious agenda) are eligible to hold office and influence public policy.
There was a time in this country's history when people were killed if they didn't meet the definition of "christianity" as decided by a particular religious group. The Puritans, for example, long had a doctrine that if native Americans did not convert to Christianity, they were to be killed. Of course, they had their own definition of christianity, which, similar to certain American fundamentalist groups today, didn't recognize certain other denominations as Christians, too.
As for saying the words "under God" MY definition of what that means doesn't have to be defined by your particular religion OR your definition of what God IS or ISN'T. As increasingly difficult as it seems for a lot of Republicans to understand this year, no one holds a copyright on the Creator, nor exclusive rights to Divine assistance. Political elections in this country aren't supposed to be about competing religious organizations or beliefs.