Thursday, October 27, 2005


Danforth Criticizes Christian Sway in GOP

Danforth Criticizes Christian Sway in GOP - Yahoo! News: "LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Former Sen. John Danforth said Wednesday that the political influence of evangelical Christians is hurting the Republican Party and dividing the country.
Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, commented after meeting with students at the Bill Clinton School of Public Service, a graduate branch of the University of Arkansas on the grounds of the Clinton presidential library.
'I think that the Republican Party fairly recently has been taken over by the Christian conservatives, by the Christian right,' he said in an interview. 'I don't think that this is a permanent condition, but I think this has happened, and that it's divisive for the country.'
He also said the evangelical Christian influence would be bad for the party in the long run."

His fears on this are running through many of our minds. Religion can be a private matter. As it relates to government, there are many of us who think it should be. When one considers that at least a couple of our Founding Fathers were Deists, not evangelical, we can clearly see that they saw a danger in the mixing of politics and religion.
In a recent conversation with my father, we discussed how diverse, religiously, the country was at its birth. With Indian cultures surrounding what were becoming cities, the various different views of Christianity, be it Anglican or Catholic, etc., there was at least some diversity of religious thought. It seems to me, however, that they were escaping from a place where religion was forced on them by the Establishment. The separation of Church and State was an experiment based on bad experience with these two very powerful institutions acting as one. This experiment allowed for the diversity of religious thought. That is the important part of it. They did not say that there would be no religion allowed. Quite the opposite. They said that religion should be a personal decision, and that all should be allowed to practice their own religion without persecution, meaning also that people would have the choice to be free of religion.
I don't mind that some religions find certain political philosophies more in line with their values than others. I mind that there has been a hubris formed as a result of a second term win of "their guy". This hubris of both the religious right and of the politicos that won has been a distraction from the original reasons they were placed there. When Falwell and Dobson get air time to discuss the nominations for the Supreme Court or other such political dealings, it is a sign that we are experiencing a melding which many of us do not think was intended.
For the good of a party that has stood for religious freedom, let us free ourselves from the grasp of religion on this party.

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