Religion and Politics: A Volatile Mix

Dr. Joel Shults

Please convey my thanks to writer Will Cameron for putting me in my place.
As a person of faith who, regardless of my failings, looks to sacred writings, prayer and meditation, and the wisdom of spiritual advisers as an essential part of shaping my world view and, indeed, my life I now understand that I must muzzle that essential component of my existence when it comes to public discourse on matters of law and policy.  Mr. Cameron opened my eyes to see that every person who mentions their faith,rather than locking it in a closet when they run for office, risks “religious fanaticism” in the White House (fortunately we presume other fanaticisms are allowable); and that voters like myself who want to filter some voting choices with a preference of persons of like-minded faith are “idiots and zealots” with “degenerate expectations.” The lessons of tolerance of all things but religion has been learned well young Will.
So if you have some extra duct tape with which I can be muzzled during election season, and an extra lock for my closet in which I must store my soul for the duration, please share.  If you hear me humming or whistling an age old hymn out of distress or joy, remind me that some ears might be
offended.  If I fail to hide my sacred texts beneath some secular poet or philosophy book or you catch me looking to the wisdom of the ages recorded in scripture please avert your eyes and show mercy to me for my insensitivities.
Let me also thank you for the rewrite of history that you crafted in your article.  The wall of which you speak is, of course, not in the Constitution and was not mentioned in a Supreme Court case until 1947. For the first 150 years of our history only two 1st amendment religion cases came to the Court ( No one seemed to mind that your secular Mr. Jefferson supported  federal funding for construction of churches and for missionaries to the Indians, as well as encouraging study
of the Bible in schools. While Governor of Virginia he designated a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God” fashioned from his own legislative efforts to frame a bill for appointing such days.
Poor Mr. Jefferson didn’t live to see the intellect of college newspaper
editorialists who could have corrected the Founder’s fanaticism and degenerate politics.   Since I may have jaded your perception of Jefferson, I can direct you to another great leader who felt that faith had no place in his public either. He was a certain German Chancellor whose views came sharply revealed to the world in November of 1938.  If people of faith had spoken their truth then in the public arena…ah but how
undemocratic it would have been for them to speak out!

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