God Has No Place in Politics

S. Paul Forrest

During every election period, we concerned citizens force ourselves to listen to the empty rhetoric and meaningless banter of another generation of up-and-coming political puppets as they try to convince the American public that they are the best candidate to lead us into the future.  Typically, the messages are sterile and filled with the same tired promises of a better tomorrow with less taxes, more jobs, etc.  In this particular election period, though, new tactics have been implemented to profit from current trends of dissatisfaction with our government and the growing movement toward global separatism that has become so prevalent in the disparate dysfunction of mass media and their purposeful drive toward public confusion.  

Driven by blind ambition and fed by a wanton disregard of truth, the least likely of all tactics has become the most effective talking point by representatives of a lost society. That tactic is what I like to call, God Talk.  The primary users of this tactic seem to be the Tea Party candidates; the people that increasingly seem to represent a world of mental mania run wild.  These candidates consistently tout American recovery, while enveloping their campaigns in images of a renewed purpose; one where we all go back to the past and reclaim the meaning of this country as first designed by our founding fathers.  In this delusionary state, we all will once again be free from the deceit and taxation that has so impaired our present government.  This is a welcomed message to many who live each day in a troubled world.  It has taken the public imagination to new heights of hope, even though in reality it is just another play in the grand old political game.  

One of the overwhelming aspects of this quasi-American reform seems to surround the idea of getting back to the morals of a bygone Era.  Many candidates on both the Right and the Left of the aisle have argued that modern politicians are infected with immorality including but not limited to extramarital affairs, gambling, taking bribes, corporate partisanship, and shady deals on their own behalves.  The irony of these statements is this will be one of the few times these people will actually be completely honest with those who will elect them to office.  

The most noticeable example of this confounding stance is Glenn Beck’s taking of the religious right’s hand and parading with them and the Tea Party like a prophet from God toward his personal version of salvation.  He and other political celebrities have led the charge by bringing God into the equation in an effort to assert their own moral standings, or lack thereof.  Though he has not proclaimed himself an official member of the Tea Party, Beck, in his almost schizophrenic ranting, has backed their efforts with his own brand of spiritual reclamation.  
In a recent episode of his show, Beck told viewers that only God is the source for our rights.  He has stated, “…if our rights come from man, then man is permitted to regulate or abolish those rights, and government’s power over our lives therefore becomes absolute and unlimited.”  In his recent assault on the Capitol and on the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Beck asserted that “this day is a day that we can start the heart of America again, and it has nothing to do with politics, it has everything to do with God.”
This sentiment has been readily accepted by the desperate masses in this, our modern age of growing unemployment, homelessness, and the daily reminders and examples of the corruption stemming from the corporate takeover of Washington.  The problem with these God statements is they have no bearing upon the modern reality of our governmental structure.  In fact, when God becomes the only “giver of rights,” which man has no power to take away or interpretively regulate, then anarchy is the result.  
Beck is also fond of quoting the English philosopher John Locke to back his arguments for a renewed America.  He has said that “Locke used the belief in Liberalism to further the concept of natural rights and to rally support for the protection of private property and the consent of the governed.”  He has used Locke’s philosophies to back his build-up to the rights granted by God and his advocating of governmental elimination.  As is typical of media celebrity, though, he has only given half the story.  
John Locke had frequently pointed out what he takes to be clear evidence of the hypocrisy in the combination of religion and government.  His central claims are that “government should not use force to try to bring people to a ‘true’ religion and that religious societies are voluntary organizations that have no right to use coercive power over their own members or those outside their group.  Those who are quick to persecute others for small differences in worship or doctrine are relatively unconcerned with much more obvious moral sins that pose an even greater threat to their eternal state.”  Beck had forgotten to mention that bit of information in his preaching.
Locke’s words are very poignant, though, considering the current condemnation of Islam by the Right and the bipartisan agenda to force “American” values upon the rest of the world.  The assertion that all Muslims are represented by the few that may or may not have been involved in the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers is an example of this forcing of a religious ideals upon the people.  Our forefathers and mothers came to this country to escape religious persecution.  Yet, in their drive toward their God, these politicians have advocated the same persecutions our founders sought to escape.  The constant mention of “The America our Forefathers envisioned” seems very much hypocritical in light of this contradiction.  
The reality of it all is that these politicians are only searching for a new way to sway the public opinion to their favor.  Vineeth Menon said is best in her article, Politicians & Religion: “The government is turning its sight to religion as the next powerful tool to control its people.  In a land where most of its population is obsessed with symbolism and idolism, religion is a very powerful tool to ignite a crisis between the various groups of people in the country.  Thus, we see our self-righteous leaders in various states scrambling for the honor to become holier than the leader of the next state.” This spiritual reclamation also acts as billows beneath the fires of religious prejudice.
Not to be outdone in the drive toward ignorance, Sharon Angle recently made this statement:  “We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government.  We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government.”  This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.  Is God going to take care of the elderly citizens in their last days, or the poverty stricken mother of three in the ghetto, or the veterans of our wars when they come back with disabilities?  To me, that is the rightful responsibility of the moral government.  Is God going to ensure that corporations don’t poison our lakes, streams, oceans or our food?  Again, that is society’s purpose and the government’s by extension, not God’s.
What bothers me the most about these incessant ramblings on faith and morality is that they are being delivered with a facade of honesty by some of the most dishonest people in our society.  Quite simply Mr. or Ms. Politician, I don’t want to know about your faith, your God or your quasi-Christianity.  I want to know what you are going to do to help my country; and, in the larger picture, the global community.  If anything, the stronger your Christian convictions are the less likely I am to vote for you.  I don’t want a leader with Christian leanings when the issue of relations with Islamic Nations has become so important and the right to abortion is still an issue.  
I believe in God, in faith, and in morality, but at the end of the day I want my representatives to be leaders not followers.  Keep the God concept and the personal promotion of your false integrity for the Sabbath.  During the other six days, I need to know that I am being represented in government and protected from those that will do harm to my family.  When it comes time to elect a man or woman to office this coming election please remember something:  God will not be the one depriving you of your rights, it will be those who use “His” name for their own advantage.  As far as I am concerned, God has no place in politics.
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