Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Not Quite News... But

Palin doesn't understand the necessity of the separation of church and state.

Steve Benen draws our attention to a speech given by Sarah Palin last Friday in Kentucky to an evangelical women's group called Women of Joy, one in which she appears to deny the existence of church-state separation:

I beg you, Women of Joy, to bring light and be involved, loving America and praying for her. Really, it is our solemn duty. Praying for true spiritual awakening to overcome deterioration. That is where God wants us to be. Lest anyone try to convince you that God should be separated from the state, our Founding Fathers, they were believers. And George Washington, he saw faith in God as basic to life.

As Greg Sargent observes, this is historical nonsense; many of the Founders were practicing Deists who ardently believed in separating religion from the conduct of secular politics:

There was a time when this sort of thing would provoke widespread media mockery and perhaps even be seen as a potential disqualifier for the presidency.

Ah, but we live in an age where a cable-TV network is doing the presidential qualifying for us.

What was perhaps most noteworthy -- and disturbing -- about Palin's speech, though, was how she publicly called out and thanked the "Prayer Warriors" who were out there on her side:

Palin: Given the chaos these days, just kind of standing up and speaking out for common sense has kind of become a full-time job. And it's keeping me pretty busy. And some days are kind of crazy. And my faith, my family -- they are what keep me grounded, keep me going.

Prayer Warriors all across the country -- and I know some of you are here tonight -- your prayer shield allows me and others to go forth. You give out strength, providing a prayer shield. That is the only way to put one foot in front of the other, and get through some of these days with joy.

I don't know how any politician could, or would want to do this, without knowing that there were prayer warriors out there, holding you up and seeking strength and wisdom for you. ... I am so appreciative of their efforts.

Thanks largely to the reportage of Max Blumenthal, we've known for some time that Palin was religiously affiliated with the "Prayer Warriors," but this is perhaps her first open public acknowledgment of it.

You can read the rest, but this isn't really news. The Tea Party as a whole is all about pressing the concepts of the religious right as a backbone for their stigma against minorities, gays, women, poor people, whoever doesn't fit the bill in their eyes. The first thing to recognize in my opinion is that this entire movement is clearly a fad of the times. Just like this comparison of the Tea Party movement to the Perot movement, it's clear that most of this trumpeting isn't real at all. Not in basis, not in historical accuracy, not even in legitimacy as a party.

These people are out to get media attention and push dogmatic religious views, nothing less. It might seem logical that some of the movement's initiatives have some merit, but the fact is the Tea Party is nothing more than a bunch of extreme right-wingers hellbent on ensuring the United States is a Christian nation, something that hasn't been true since its existence. If you want to live in a theocracy, move to Iran. At least there the government is in tandem with religion. Here it has always been the intention of the founding fathers to ensure that religion would never be the reason to subjugate anyone.

Fools that want to believe that Washington or most of his contemporaries were anything but Free Masons practicing a sect of mysticism based in science and free thought are just ignorant of history. Our forefathers intended that religion was too fickle a device to devote something as important as government. This doesn't mean they didn't respect Christianity or that they were a bunch of heathen atheists, on the contrary, they were gentlemen who had learned in their lifetimes that governments that utilize religion as a groundwork(C of E anyone?) do so just to ensure the population follows their rules with a penalty greater than taxes or imprisonment. It is to subjugate lesser minds of the population that not following the law is the fastest way to hell. Our founders saw this as a mockery of religion and chose to eliminate it from the discussion. They felt that was the only way individuals can truly be free of oppression. When neither religious viewpoint or free thought could be held to allegiance by the state.

If instead we choose the route that the far right protests, we'd not only have to convert the thousands of Jews, Muslims, Taoists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. etc. to Christianity, but we'd have to choose the sect which would in turn create feuds among Christians in general as to how to properly devote their lives to Christ. Bottom line, this is the United States of America, not the United States of Jesus.

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