Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Separation of Church and State

Mike Huckabee has appeared in recent news due to his involvement with churches during the Christmas season. I do not intend to insult or judge Mr. Huckabee, only to use these incidents as case studies for what I feel one should not do in politics: combine belief and

To begin with, in what has been dubbed a largely Christian Nation, any politician should be aware that openly declaring his or her support or belief in Christianity carries with it prolific societal implications and associations. Despite the ostensible excuse of “reminding people there’s a time for political things and this is not one of them,” by declaring "Merry Christmas! Jesus is Lord!” as a politician one inextricably links his or her campaign with religion. It is impossible to justify such actions with the defense that there is a time for politics and there is a time for religion, for although this is true, a politician breaks this pact when he or she stands in front of 5,500 people and asserts his or her faith or belief. Such an act bonds ones' political and religious character together, creating many unnecessary and unhelpful results.

Although one's decisions as a lawmaker may not be affected by publicly declaring one's beliefs or not-that is to say an individual's strong faith would cause them to make certain decisions regardless of whether or not they use their faith as a political tool- publicly associating oneself with a particular religion does nothing but ostracize some potential voters and cheaply persuade others. The point here is that there is no way to include religion in politics that would not play in some way to the interest or disinterest of the candidate, and because religion is such a personal, and in many cases arbitrary predicament, politicians should sidestep involvement in such ignobly sleazy tactics.

Clearly, despite outwardly professing that one is "not here to make a political statement or deliver a political message," by simply appearing and speaking at a church one gains the support of the "evangelical community" eager to "hear something good about a candidate from someone they trust through a religious network." The full effects of Mr. Huckabee's political strategies can be found here.

A candidate who understands the particular distinction between church and state will have my vote, unfortunately in our world religion has become much more of a tool used to manipulate citizen's opinions rather than a practice of a self fulfilling life which benefits others. For if one was to truly understand the concept of benefiting others they would put as much distance between public relations and religious affiliations as possible.