The Marriage of Church and State, and the “My Muslim Faith” Obama Idiocy

Okay, I’m seeing that the crazies country-wide are leaping on this video from ABC News.

This is the full video, and from it you can see full well that Obama is obviously discussing “his Muslim faith” not as something actually connected to him but as something being talked about among conservatives, Republicans, and other anti-Obamaists. Its not that he’s saying he’s a Muslim, its that the McCain supporters and right-wing bloggers and pundits are saying he is. As far as I’m concerned, the video speaks for itself, and those who are using it as a means to smear the man are just as nuts as Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.

What I’ve noticed in this election, and it probably existed in elections previous to this since 2000, is the almost “requirement” of a religious view in order to get elected. I tend to blame the current administration who have made religion a part of politics. The issue is that this point of view generally has to be a Christian one. The country’s republicans wouldn’t pick a Mormon in their primary, even though it is a Christian religion. It seems that Muslim and Islam are dirty words for a large population of people in the US. For the longest time, it was even completely inconceivable to vote in a Catholic into office, the first being John F. Kennedy. Don’t even mention the idea of one of the two “Evil A’s” (Atheist or Agnostic) trying to run.

So why does religion matter in an election? The constitution says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof and essentially the idea of the separation of church and state was derrived from this, the first amendment, or from the writings of Thomas Jefferson. While it is not actually in the constitution, we have more or less deemed it important to govern seperately from the teachings of any religion. Does that mean a religious viewpoint has no place in politics? No, I don’t believe it does. But it has no place in deciding a candidate for office, and therefore has no place in a campaign.

Both McCain and Obama were interviewed in this ABC report, and the only one getting attention is this little “gaffe” on the part of Obama which was in fact a planned part of his answer. Obama is a Christian, not that it matters. I wouldn’t care if he was Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Atheist, Agnostic, whatever. And it shouldn’t be important to voters, but it has become important. Its grown to be a social norm and I believe we should make discussing religion on the campaign trail a violation of campaign rules. This is just something that draws our attention away from the issues at hand. Its just another misdirection utilized to make the issues less important.