Saturday, July 16, 2011


Here's the thing: ultimately, I really don't care what religion a politician holds, or even if s/he holds any religion. That shouldn't enter into the mix in a country which has declared freedom of religion and which has traditionally kept intact the separation of church and state. Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, Christian, Rastafarian, Pagan: it shouldn't matter.

It shouldn't, but apparently it now does. I thought that with the election of John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, we could finally put the religious test behind us. I clearly was wrong. Religion is a qualifier. Mitt Romney is a Mormon, and the fundagelicals are unhappy about that. Will that be enough to keep him from the GOP nomination? Probably not, but the mere fact that it is a matter of discussion saddens me.

Somehow, the idea that we are a "Christian Nation" has taken root in our discourse, especially around election time, even though the founders of our nation deliberately refrained from such a position and even spoke against any religious test for holding office. Those founders would be surprised and appalled at the insistence of a particularly noisy sector of the population that not only does one have to be Christian to lead the country, one has to be a particular brand of Christian.

Unfortunately, some politicians, particularly on the right, are buying into that nonsense, dragging their piety credentials on stage at every opportunity. Michele Bachman does so relentlessly, and that's why I wasn't all that unhappy that she got bit on the backside this week.

According to CNN, the church that Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus had attended for more than a decade, Salem Lutheran in Stillwater, Minn., granted the couple’s request to be released from their membership last month, a week after Bachmann told a national audience that she would run for the Republican presidential nomination.

The Bachmanns had approached their pastor and verbally made the request “a few weeks before the church council granted the request,” said Joel Hochmuth, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the governing body for the church.

Bachmann had apparently been distancing herself from the church for some time. Hochmuth said the couple had not been worshiping with the congregation in more than two years.

Why the breakup? Well, one of the tenets of this particular denomination is that that the Pope is the Antichrist. Initially, Bachman denied that her church held any such stand, but she soon discovered that it did, and that meant her political career just might be jeopardized if enough people realized that. So she split. So much for brand loyalty.

What her church and what she herself believes is actually none of my business, but it becomes my business when she and other candidates continually shove it in my face with smug superiority. It also becomes my business when candidates make it clear that those religious beliefs will become national policy.

So this time I'm actually glad that the Los Angeles Times made an issue of her religious beliefs. I don't expect it will make much difference in the long run, but at least we got past the truthy stage for a brief moment.

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Blogger PurpleGirl said...

The Pope being the antichrist to the Wisconsin Synod is a minor issue.

Of more importance is the stand that the Wisconsin Synod takes on the role of women and if they can be a position of power over men. I haven't checked the Synod's web site yet but if they are like the Missouri Synod-Lutheran Church, a woman cannot be in a position of power over a man, i.e., they can be teachers but not principals, sing in the choir but not be choir directors, they can't be ministers.

So, is Ms. Bachmann submissive to her husband in all matters?

5:05 AM  
Anonymous John rove said...

Michelle Bachmans husband might be a unique case as it's likely he has been with more men than she has.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Toast said...

While I agree with your overall sentiment, I'm puzzled that you talk about this like it's a recent development.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Iconoclast said...

our media being so liberal and all I'm sure they'll
attack this issue with an even greater fervor than Reverend Wright

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Suzanne Noel said...

I think it says a lot about a person when they come to find out a perticular group, club, religion, etc., that they belong to adheres to a belief that is wrong or against their own position would excuse themselves from participation. Also in the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution, our Congress shall make no law prohibiting the freedom of speech, and of the press. It says nothing about limiting the expression, talk, belief of religion just about the establishment of religion, so remember when you have the freedom to say, write, and print what you want so do religious persons, even those running for office, and as for me I want to read what they have to say on the issue.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*snort* You think Mitt Romney is immune from pushing his religion on others? Move a little closer to Salt Lake City and you might re-think that. I'm non-religious, not a fundie, but I do live where the LDS controls much of the politics.

3:22 PM  

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