President Palin - A Dark Possibility

It could be argued that we stand witness to the most epic of political battles in the recent history of our marvelous republic. Based on television viewership, surging voter registration, and the sheer volume of water cooler and bar stool talk; It seems that many voters feel that this is the most important election in their lifetime.

Both McCain and Obama have done the necessary dirty deed of pandering to the religious right to try to secure that voting bloc. And, yes, I do not think that neither of these intelligent and honorable men has nearly the religious conviction that their rhetoric would have you believe. The unfortunate truth is that, if one wants to serve this country (or state or community), they must feign strong spiritual belief…and both have done so in spades.

McCain raised the ante, however, with the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. It is my sense that her selection was a ‘Hail Mary’ effort to get a leg up on the Obama juggernaut. As a political move, I would characterize it as brilliant and has likely delivered the evangelical vote to McCain signed and sealed.

My problem lies in some cold, hard facts. Social Security actuarial tables indicate that there is about a 15% chance that John McCain will not live through his entire first term. I have also read that there is roughly a 7% chance that Mr. McCain could have a debilitating illness or injury (not sure of the veracity of that number, but it sounds reasonable). This puts us at a 1 in 5 chance that we are actually electing a President Palin…not even good odds for Russian Roulette! With those kinds of odds, we need to ask ourselves is Ms. Palin fit to be President Palin? By any reasonable standard, NO!

In Palin, we have someone who pretty obviously believes our actions in the middle-east are God’s will. In my estimation, there is nothing so dangerous as to have public policy defined by supernatural worldviews. Palin’s religious beliefs are so deep that she believes her motives to be unassailable…just like al Quaeda and the Taliban. If Palin turns this into a religious war, or even gives that impression (which she already has), we will make the world a far more dangerous place and there cannot be any winners…just divisions and conflict and death.

The original colonies of our country’s fledgling days became mini theocracies. It is not insignificant that our founder’s very first amendment to our constitution was to separate religion from government and address the clear dysfunction that ensues when they merge. Governor Palin, while very possibly an otherwise capable person, must not place her religious convictions on the world stage; and we cannot risk the possibility of there being a President Palin.

4 comments:

Ryan Jennings said...

"It is not insignificant that our founder’s very first amendment to our constitution was to separate religion from government and address the clear dysfunction that ensues when they merge."

It may seem like a small point to many but the 1st amendmant was not about seperating religion from government; instead it was about seperating gov't from exercising authority over religion. There is a big difference here which is largely ignored in the public square today. When one considers what the founders actually said it is much easier to properly interpret the 1st amendment.

Consider:

"The highest glory of the American Revolution is this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." John Adams

Also from Adams, "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." (see George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, etc...quotes which are similar)

which opens our eyes to the pressure to re-interpret the constitution as we move away from a biblical worldview to a secular worldview in the public square, our constitution is appearing more and more "wholly inadequate" to the secular mindset.


The current movement to remove all connection between gov't and religion sounds more like someone else's famous rhetoric...

"All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the MOST STUPID of those toward whom it is directed will
understand it... Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way
around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise." Hitler, Mein Kampf

Not accusing you of a Hitler-like argument...just pointing out that propaganda which purports the 1st amendment to be an article against religion is certainly Hitler-esk.

"freedom of religion" not "freedom from religion"

FVThinker said...

Easily the best book that I have read on the matter is "Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America" by Steven Waldman (founder of Beliefnet.com). In it he details each of the founding fathers positions and statements and chronicles the religious history of the colonies. Indeed our founding fathers ran the spectrum from devout to deist to non-theistic. I find it frightening and ironic that some of our most revered forefathers could not be elected today because they didn't subscribe to conventional Christianity (or belief at all).

The metaphor of the wall of separation (given to us by Thomas Jefferson works both ways. The distinction between "freedom of" and "freedom from" is a semantic one. We are a secular nation that happens to have a Christian majority. As a republic; it is more important to protect the rights of the minority that the enforce the will of the majority.

Once you realize how the original colonies actually formed mini theocracies (and how dysfunctional they were), one recognizes that even the most devout of our founding fathers saw the merits of having neither religion involved in government nor government involved in religion.

Ryan Jennings said...

Yes...I see your point...and I'll order the book you've recommended (though I've got about 5 in front of it at the moment).

Though, you said "I find it frightening and ironic that some of our most revered forefathers could not be elected today because they didn't subscribe to conventional Christianity (or belief at all)."

I disagree...Obama's version of Xianity (specifically religious pluralism) is a far cry from the founders...also Romney and several Dem candidates were close to succeeding with different worldviews than traditional Xian faith.

"a semantic one" is misleading...what did they mean? There is a way to know this...we have their interpretations in their own words recorded.

Also, you said, "We are a secular nation that happens to have a Christian majority. As a republic; it is more important to protect the rights of the minority that the enforce the will of the majority."

I feel this is a bit misleading too.."happens to have" distorts that reality that we always have had a Xian majority. And your interpretation of Republic principles (defend the minority) seems misleading as well. In a Republic is the minority opinion more important than the majority opinion? No, everyone deserves representation...that seems to be the foundational element missing in the discussion.

As to the "mini-theocracies" you mention I'll have to do some reading as you suggested...however, secular gov'ts have created (and are presently doing so) such dysfunctional communities. No one seems to have the corner on the market for "the utipian community" thus far in human history.

Again, thanks for the discussion. I'm glad you are standing for what you believe...rather than living an apathetic existence like most Christians and secularists...peace today!

FVThinker said...

Well, I suppose we could go on and on about how far we have come from our Constitutional precept that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." It seems that the "Faith Forum" was compulsory during the last presidential campaign.

It is interesting that you bring up Obama. As a Constitutional Law professor, he would seem to have a good handle on church/state separation. From my perspective, he might just as well be an atheist (and I say that in a good way). He knows that we can't define policy based on religious arguments. In the case of abortion...we can't say "it make's God mad", but we can all agree that reduced teen/unwanted pregnancies would be a good thing.

Even the faith-based/neighborhood initiative...It makes sense that a non-bureaucratic organization could provide a public service more efficiently than a bureaucratic one. Under Bush there was no oversight to keep monies from going toward proselytizing or hiring discrimination. I could not support that. Obama wants oversight and non-discriminatory hiring practices. If that's how it shapes up, I can support that.

Of course the minority opinion is not MORE important; merely the minority must be protected just as the majority must be protected.

I, of course, claim to know any road to Utopia...that would be monumental arrogance. I am merely of the position that, while religion can do the right things for the right reasons, it too often does the wrong thing for the right reasons. ...and I know that we can to the right things without threat from God.

If you want to add another great book to your list; pick up "Breaking the Spell:Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" by Tufts Philosophy professor Daniel Dennett.