Other Campus: Christian right divides us

By Daily Texan

(CSTV U-WIRE) AUSTIN, Texas – It’s one divided nation under God.

The recent debate over Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’s affirmation comes down to whether he will overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark law case that gave abortion rights to women. It demonstrates that Christian-right politics are a widespread force that shape much of American politics nowadays.

The politics of the Christian right have influenced abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage and even environmental policies.

Separation of church and state dictates that church should not get involved in politics. Whether the separation of church and the government was to protect church from state or vice versa, it’s probably best for churches not to get involved actively in American politics.

More important than the history lesson, America is an immigrants’ nation. People with different religious views come to America. Their freedom of religion also means that they have a freedom from a government-imposed religion. In America today, they have to live under rules made by lawmakers that look to further Christian causes.

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    For instance, Texas, as well as other states, have debated whether displaying the Ten Commandments violates the separation of church and state principle. While the Supreme Court ruled against displaying the Ten Commandments in front of a Kentucky courthouse, though it was ruled permissible to put the Ten Commandments in front of the Texas State Capitol. The majority declared that the monument “conveys a predominantly secular message.”

    Now the commandments remind everyone who passes that “Thou shall not have any other god besides me.” Certainly, if there were a Buddha or Krishna statue in the heart of the Texas Capitol, it would have been promptly removed.

    However, despite these concerns, members of the Christian right have moved the political atmosphere of America towards integration of church and state. For example, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said, “I don’t believe there is a separation of church and state” in 2001. The Texas Republican Party platform of 2002 stated, “Our party pledges to do everything within its power to dispel the myth of separation of church and state.”

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the politics of the Christian right have coincided with Senate Republicans. Theocracy Watch, a project of the Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy at Cornell University, conducted a survey in 2004 to look at how often members of the U.S. Senate voted with or against Christian Coalition supported bills. It found that 41 out of 51 Republican Senators voted with Christian Coalition 100 percent of the time while 31 out of 48 Democrats and one independent did not agree at all with the bills supported by the Christian Coalition.

    The reason for this striking consistency among Republicans? Theocracy Watch said many lawmakers vote for Christian principles to motivate and mobilize their constituents.

    Of course, nobody is saying we should ban Christians from participating in politics. Everybody should be allowed to express themselves and try to further their interest in a democracy. However, in addition to blurring a governing principle, when the majority impedes on the rights of minority to have it their way, it should be stopped.

    Christianity is not secular. The Bible does not say to get rid of the people, physically or politically, who impede the religion’s causes-at least not in the New Testament. Rather, the underlying principle is love and tolerance. Christians’ involvement in politics reduces much of this principle.

    Put in more plain words: America is a democracy, not a theocracy.

    Staff Editorial

    Daily Texan (U. Texas)