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Keep church and state separate in the U.S.

A week before the November election, the great New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote "Republicans are geniuses at getting people to vote against their own self interest."

To conservatives and the right wing, the left-leaning Times is a "Commie Newspaper."

But Dowd is right on.

The mechanism used by Republicans to accomplish their goals is religion.

In the months leading to their action, you could read the editorial pages of any paper and be exposed to a conservative sermon about how awful President Barack Obama and his administration were.

The implications being that anyone with a liberal point of view is an atheist, a communist or a socialist. Maybe all three.

I keep reminding myself, though, that it was the right wing segregationists in the South all those years who claimed slavery was in their Bible.

Most irksome to me in the recent editorials were the repeated references to religious themes and our Constitution.

I'm always asking questions. I think that's a very good thing to do. This requires two big ones.

If religion was so central to our founders' vision of America, why is even God not mentioned in the Constitution?

And why did the chief architect of the Constitution, James Madison, say that where religion had been part of civil government in past times, it had always resulted in "tyranny" and was "needed not."

So, how do the Republicans exploit religion and faith?

It's as simple as human nature.

I've long believed that we make more important decisions in our lives based on emotions than we do on facts, logic or common sense.

What is love if not pure emotion?

Religion is a very emotional thing, especially on issues like abortion and same sex marriage.

What are we missing by all this though?

For instance, how many of those in the anti-abortion movement who care so much about protecting us while we're on the way, are opponents of universal healthcare? They have to be saying that once we're here, only those with enough cash on hand deserve it.

That's hypocrisy 101.

We hear a great deal in America about "Islamic Terrorism." Islam being a religion of course.

After all the hateful missives I've read this fall from other religious zealots, many of them sound like terrorists to me.

A threat to anyone - atheists, liberals, gays, etc. - that dares to be or is different.

I'm convinced James Madison and our other founders were mindful of such concerns when separating church and state in or civil government.

And despite all the noise from the religious right, that alleged socialism/Marxist in the White House, Barack Obama, was re-elected president of the United States on Nov. 6.

I think our founders would have approved.

Jerry Turner


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