Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Compare and Contrast: McCain and Religion

As I was writing that last post, my wife said I should read Obama's books before posting it. Surely, an excerpt of one speech is a remarkably incomplete picture of a presidential candidate's stance on religion. There is much more to the story than that, and she's right: I should read his books.

But for me it comes down to this: whatever a person's private prejudices may be, religion should not dictate policy, and I am DELIGHTED that Obama acknowledged this: even if God tells your neighbor Abraham to murder his kid doesn't mean you shouldn't call the police when you see a knife at poor Isaac's throat.

Let's contrast for a moment what Obama said with McCain's take on the role of religion in public policy.

But first, let's debunk the claim that McCain makes in this video. McCain claims that the "Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."

This is simply FALSE. Indeed the Constitution makes no mention of Christianity, Jesus or anything vaguely Yahwistic. The Constitution does make a brief and oblique reference to a "creator," but there is zero exposition on the nature of that creator, which was surely an intentional choice on the part of the Deist drafters of the document.

Indeed, there is -- and this is important -- just one official government statement on the role of Christianity in the U.S. government made by the "Founding Fathers." The Treaty of Tripoli (whose main purpose it was to stop North African Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean from attacking U.S. ships) states the following:
As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
This treaty was signed into law by President John Adams in 1797. The treaty is not a founding document, but it far more powerful a sign of the intent of the founders of this nation than anything the "Chritian Nation" people have been able to dig up (which is to say, no supporting evidence).

Anyway, here's John McCain on the role of religion in making our public policy...

1 comment:

Raven190 said...

This is so depressing.