No Religious Test for Office

Separation of church and state is intended to keep each from interfering in the workings of the other.

Separation of church and state isn’t just ensuring that government leaves religious groups alone – but that the religious groups also do not interfere with government. No lobbying from the pulpit, no interference with voting.

In fact, any charity that receives monies or tax consideration is generally not permitted to lobby the government. It’s a conflict of interest.

In the current Republican candidate race, Mitt Romney, Mormon, raises all the specters that John F. Kennedy did when he rans for and became the first Catholic president.

It’s something that I didn’t really understand as a teen in the 1980’s and not seeing that Christians view Catholic as a separate religion.

It’s curious, since all Christian sects have basically sheared off of the Catholic Church, being the oldest and longest continuous sect. After all, isn’t one of the commandments about respecting your parents?

In any event, while the concerns and objections to JFK was that the Pope would be the de facto President; the concerns about Mitt Romney and Mormonism are entirely different.

The Catholic Church is generally characterized as an out of touch, non-relevant, corrupt and systemically abusive, it is viewed by Christians as a religion whereas the Mormon Church is usually deemed to be a cult.

As an outsider, I honestly can’t see any meaningful difference between the Catholic Church, Christians (Evangelical, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, etc) and Mormons.

They include the same stories, with Mormons going an extra testament, the same cast of characters and pretty much the same gender roles and behavioral norms and a lot of the same beleifs, social attitudes and bigotry.

Truly, is there really a difference if a person believes that Armageddon will happen someday vs a given particular day?

Separation of church and state isn’t just a guide for how government and religious groups interact and relate to each other – but also a guide for how citizens are meant to interact with each.

Which means, you are supposed to vote for the person or party you beleive best qualified for office – not who you’d be happiest to share your pew with.

Politicians used to shake hands and kiss babies, now they have to trot out their religious beliefs as if these are qualifications for office – which is precisely what the Founding Fathers of America sought to avoid. No religious test for office.

That doesn’t mean that a politician can’t be religious, but rather that what they do in office must arise from the law of the land – not handed down from on high.

The idea of a president who believes that they have a direct line to God and the ability to destroy the earth multiple times by launching nuclear weapons, should be terrifying to any thinking person – no matter what their religious or not beleifs are.

I worry far less about disorganized terrorist groups with nukes, bio or other mass destruction weapons – than about a government led by a religious zealot who is no different than the disenfranchised terrorist.

Nations need to be lead by facts on the ground, reality, science.

We cannot have governments who do nothing post disaster because extreme bad weather is punishment for immoral behaviour.

There is a place for religion in people’s lives and communities; humans haven’t evolved beyond religion yet, but it’s not in the highest office of the land or in the policy room. Religion, being so widely varied, is not a solid or rational basis for policy or good governance.

US Civil War Rages On

Capitalism in it’s purest form, puts profit before people.

Capitalism tempered or alloyed with socialism, depending on the magnitude of socialism, can balance between the two.

The US Civil war is the beginning of the battle of how much to temper capitalism – the heady days of the robber barons and a slave based economy have not quite left the world stage.

The US civil war was not about slavery in terms of human rights; the US civil war was about economics and how slave labour gave the south an economic advantage – and that the south wasn’t wanting to be lesser than the north.

The north only freed the slaves to reduce the southern labour pool and in hopes of the slaves rising up and creating a second front inside the southern lines – and revisionism doesn’t help resolve a matter when only by acknowledging it, can it be actually dealt with.

The founding fathers were more enlightened than most of their day, but do not impose modern sensibilities and make them into that level of visionary; as most founding fathers owned slaves, so slavery was never an issue for them – all the people they thought of as human had rights – white male landowners, like themselves.

If the founding fathers had a more modern sensibility, then gender would have been explicitly made equal and it wasn’t – women didn’t get to vote in the US at first and have they ever passed the ERA?.

Slaves were not going to get more consideration than free women.

I was kindly reminded that the North’s industry was based largely on textile manufacturing, which was profitable because of cheap southern cotton. Yankee mill owners were deeply complicit in the slave trade, because they well knew that while they piously outlawed slavery in northern states, they made their money from a system that only worked because slavery existed in the south.

Of course, in colonial times, the ancestors of the mill owners were even more directly involved in actually importing slaves as one leg of the “triangle trade”. England was supporting the south because English cotton mills were in direct competition with New England’s mills, and the English saw an opportunity to open a new supply source cheaper than the existing one.

One of the often overlooked keys to the Union’s victory was the naval blockade of southern ports that kept the south from financing their war effort with the profits of foreign cotton sales…..

This confirms my point that the civil wasn’t about the north being upset over slavery – since they continued to benefit from it indirectly –  the south wanted to leave and that would have increased the cost of doing comparatively slave free business in the north.

So why do I say that the US civil war and the central issue of slavery is still being fought? Because we haven’t learned the lessons as multinational corporations outsourced jobs overseas because labour was cheaper than in the US – because there were no human rights, unions, environmental protection act that increase the cost of labour.

Why didn’t anyone consider that the US was effectively still struggling with the issues that caused the civil war – labour vs management – in fact, it’s a battle over the form of capitalism – pure capitalism, uncaring of the people who power the economic engine and unwilling to share the profits with the labour that produce them.

So who is it that has the jobs to buy these cheaper products of what is essentially still slave labour? At what cost do we continue to produce cheap goods that are cheaper to replace than repair? Especially when the warranty costs nearly as much as the product?

Or does the world follow on Canada’s model of socialized capitalism, where there’s environmental, labour and consumer protection?

The reality is that the few who benefit, benefit the most in the short and immediate term by the exploitation of the masses.

We can’t keep pumping poo into the environment or burning through the labour forces;  after a while, all of this comes back on us – the pollution, dead zones in the oceans, desertification of arable land, increased cancers, shorter lifespans.

There isn’t a god who’s going to fix all our bad behaviour – and, if there was a god, we would all be collectively condemned, not rewarded for how we’ve treated the planet – as a personal playpen filled with poo.

One Nation, Many Gods

“This country was founded by and for people who believed in God and the Constitution declared we are “one nation under God”. People wake up!!! Only nations that were dictatorships and communist denied people the right to honor God. If we continue on this path we will lose all our freedoms.”
Any Godbot

*Offer only good for people who beleive in said god*

How come people who think that they are “real Americans” (aka No True Scotsman Fallacy) and trumpets the constitution, never seem to have read any further than the pre-amble? Don’t know that  “under god” was not original to the pledge, it was added when McCarthism was in charge – talk about your zealot dictatorships.

If these are “real Americans” why do they know so little about their country’s history, that the Founding Fathers were deists, not theists who were largely scornful of Christianity and that the idea that America was founded on was the freedom of the individual.

That said, several Founding Fathers expected the US to rejoin with Britain and all of them expected a further generation – and not too far off – to hold another revolution and change the social system again.

Aside – Also, the story of the Cherry Tree is a lie told to explain why truth is so important.

Probably something profound in that about the American psyche.

There is nothing preventing any person from believing what they want nor preventing them from teaching those beliefs to their children. Have you noticed that the very religious parents demand that schools not act as parents when it comes to teaching sex and tolerance towards others? But these same parents tend to want their religious beliefs imposed on all the school children, as if they are better parents than the other parents?

Seriously, did these people miss the class on sharing, working well and playing with others? The major laws of the land do not end at the preamble.

Government cannot establish or endorse any religion or over other or over non-belief.

If a person wants to live in a country where the government forces one religion on the people, because there’s no separation of Church and State – then America is not the country for you.  Go live in a Theocratic nation, but you’ll have to convert to another religion.

Not allowing government to control people. That’s as American as it gets.


Groupthink: empowering the individual to bully