Theology - Just Another Branch of Human Ignorance
December 9, 2007
Those arent my words; they belong to Sam Harris, author
of The End of Faith. But they could be yours if you really
listened to the religious rhetoric spewing forth from some of
our presidential candidates. There is already a silent but sizable
group of voters who tremble at the thought of a fervently religious
president seeking guidance from a higher power that is not the
Supreme Court. We would be wise to take notice of their growing
concern about candidates who wear their religion on their sleeves
as visible as a flag on their lapel.
Mike Huckabee is an alarming example of what can happen when
religious beliefs take precedence over beliefs in our laws. When
Mr. Huckabee was Arkansas governor, a convicted, imprisoned
rapist convinced him that he was "saved" and had become
a born-again Christian. Apparently being conned by a con is not
so difficult when the god-fearing pious eagerly play the role
of the sucker. This pond scums word was good enough for
Huckabee to want him set free. Because God played such a big role
in this decision, we can only wonder what kind of Heavenly Father
would foist such a cruel fate on the next victim who was murdered
less than a year after this rapists release.
And what about Huckabee wanting creationism taught in public
schools? As Tim Rutten recently wondered, does anyone worry about
the future of our countrys technological competitiveness
with a president who wants our taxpayer-educated children to grow
up scientifically illiterate?
Mr. Rutten also took a look at Mitt Romney, comparing his recent
religious address with that of Kennedys, pointing out their
pointed differences. Kennedy not only defended the separation
of church and state; he insisted upon it. Romney, on the other
hand, told us that we cant have freedom without religion.
Really? Maybe this Christmas, Santa should bring Mr. Romney a
copy of the constitution.
Kennedy told his audience that religious beliefs are private.
Romney, however, voiced concern that secularism is hellbent on
viewing religion as a private affair with no place in public life.
And while Kennedy had the guts to address an audience that was
a hostile assemblage of Protestant clergyman, Romney played it
safe with his hand-picked audience, blatantly appealing to the
Although Huckabee and Romney have been in the headlines lately
regarding their religious views, it would be prudent to take a
closer look at the other candidates as well. Pay attention not
only to what they say, but also to what they may wisely withhold
from you. Kennedy was right; religious beliefs should be kept
private, just in case non-believing but nevertheless discerning
voters might marvel at how otherwise intelligent candidates tend
to speak as literally about their God as do children who talk
about their St. Nick.
Mr. Harris feels that people who harbor strong convictions without
evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in the halls
of power. If you agree, then how dangerous is our world becoming
when leaders from this supposed superpower profess such devotion
to the supernatural?
Do we really want God making decisions in the Oval Office? If
so, whose God and whose religion would be navigating us through
beliefs that are as unchanged today as they were back in the twelfth
An Iowan recently declared that Romneys speech clinched
his decision to support him. Although this voter didnt agree
with a lot of Romneys theology, he wasnt concerned
because, as he pointed out, were not electing a national
But with candidates practically elbowing each other over bragging
rights for best divining the infinite wisdom of their Almighty,
dont be so sure.