On Religion and Politics~ Judge Roy Moore
Posted by wordforit on January 24, 2008
In his Farewell Address to our nation, President George Washington declared that religion and morality were “indispensable supports” for political prosperity. Nevertheless, in the fall of 2007, some political prognosticators began to proclaim the demise of evangelical religious influence on American politics. This began shortly after the Rev. Ted Haggard – head of the National Association of Evangelicals and someone politically connected to the president – fell from his position of leadership, and candidates with social positions wholly antithetical to traditional moral standards appeared poised to claim the Republican and Democratic nominations for president.
However, since former Baptist preacher and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucus and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made headlines for his speech on “Faith in America,” pundits and the press have been in a steady retreat concerning their exaggerated claims about the death of religion in American politics. In fact, instead of a decreasing emphasis, it appears that the role of religion has taken center stage in political campaigns for the office of president. John McCain was criticized in several circles for calling America “a Christian nation,” and in the midst of a downward slide in the polls, Rudolph Giuliani recently spoke at a Florida church where he asked the members to pray for him. Alan Keyes has also spoken passionately of his faith in God, and Ron Paul has publicly acknowledged that our rights to life and liberty come from God.
The discussion of religion has not been limited to the Republican candidates. Barack Hussein Obama’s campaign has said that his political views are “an outgrowth of his reading of some of the seminal parts of the Bible about doing unto the ‘least of these’ just as we would have done unto Christ.” John Edwards has openly shared about how he relied upon his faith in God in dealing with the loss of his son due to a car accident. Even Hillary Rodham Clinton has admitted that she and other Democratic candidates are attempting to “inject faith into policy.”
But perhaps Mrs. Clinton’s candid admission illustrates the real problem. Giving lip service to matters of faith deceives the voters and amounts to nothing more than empty rhetoric if it is not backed by a firm understanding of the importance of religious principles in our constitutional republic. Without an understanding of how religious principles helped in the formation and design of our government, a president is ill-qualified to fulfill his oath under the Constitution “so help me God,” and voters are ill-advised to vote for him. For this reason, our first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Jay, counseled a friend in an Oct. 12, 1816, letter that, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
Most conservatives and libertarians agree that government should be limited, but only a biblically informed candidate will understand that the ultimate reason for restricting the power of government is that we should, as Jesus so aptly stated, “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Because all things do not fall under the authority that God gave to government, it has limited powers and cannot interfere with those things which belong to the church, the family or the individual. A candidate who does not understand God’s ultimate jurisdiction over government will tend to allow government to infringe upon the realms of the church, the family and even the individual, resulting in tyranny.
Likewise, the powers of government are divided between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and each branch has powers to balance and check the other two branches because our Founders believed that all men are sinful and will abuse power if given the opportunity. For this same reason, the powers of government were also separated between the federal and state governments. As James Madison observed in Federalist No. 51 regarding man’s ambition for power and the need to restrain it by the Constitution: “It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices [separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism] should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Obviously, men are not angels; they must recognize that their powers are limited, and rightfully so, under the Constitution.
Those who would like to undermine the importance of religion in politics point to Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution, known as the Religious Test Clause, which provides that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office. …” This provision only prohibits the federal government from making religion a litmus test for holders of public office. It was never intended to limit voters from considering the religious opinions of candidates or their positions on moral issues. James Iredell, one of our first associate justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, noted in discussing the Religious Test Clause that “it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own.” A candidate’s religious convictions will shed light not just on who they are, but on how they will perform their duties and respect the U.S. Constitution. It would be absurd to suppose that the Constitution itself prohibited the consideration of such vital information.
The question is not whether the religious convictions and beliefs of a candidate – especially those of a candidate for the highest office in the land – are important; they certainly are. The issue is whether a candidate understands the relationship between the Bible and our Constitution, an understanding that comes from a belief that God impacts every area of life, both public and private. While it is proper for voters to consider the religious convictions of candidates, we must be careful not to allow candidates to use religion simply to garner our vote and then, after election, disregard the godly principles in the Constitution they are sworn to “preserve, protect and defend.”
Source: WorldNetDaily.com (all links=new windows)
Judge Roy Moore is the chairman of the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery, Ala., and the author of “So Help Me God.” He is the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had placed in the Alabama Judicial Building to acknowledge God.