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30 March 2005

Politics of God?

John Danforth, former Republican senator and an Episcopal priest, writes in the Times today:

The problem is not with people or churches that are politically
active. It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian
agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious

When government becomes the means of carrying out a
religious program, it raises obvious questions under the First
Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a
political party should resist identification with a religious movement.
While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes,
the work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together
as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion can be a
uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For
politicians to advance the cause of one religious group is often to
oppose the cause of another….

During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often
disagreed with each other. But there was much that held us together. We
believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation
and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free
economy might thrive. We believed that judges should interpret the law,
not legislate. We were internationalists who supported an engaged
foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were
principles shared by virtually all Republicans.

But in recent
times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become
secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I
worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not
spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the
institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.

Amen.  My marriage to a man isn’t going to hurt your
kids.  But signs from home and abroad indicate that the crushing
national debt, the national security state, and the dissolved social
safety net will.

Posted in Politicks on 30 March 2005 at 6:05 pm by Nate