PDA

View Full Version : Rep. Harris: Church-state separation 'a lie'


Foeni
28-08-2006, 06:44 PM
MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris told a religious journal that separation of church and state is "a lie" and God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country be "a nation of secular laws."

The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also said that if Christians are not elected, politicians will "legislate sin," including abortion and gay marriage.

Harris made the comments -- which she clarified Saturday -- in the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention, which interviewed political candidates and asked them about religion and their positions on issues.

Separation of church and state is "a lie we have been told," Harris said in the interview, published Thursday, saying separating religion and politics is "wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers."

Electing non-Christians a 'legislative sin'
"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin," Harris said.

Her comments drew criticism, including some from fellow Republicans who called them offensive and not representative of the party.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, who is Jewish, told the Orlando Sentinel that she was "disgusted" by the comments.

Harris' campaign released a statement Saturday saying she had been "speaking to a Christian audience, addressing a common misperception that people of faith should not be actively involved in government."

The comments reflected "her deep grounding in Judeo-Christian values," the statement said, adding that Harris had previously supported pro-Israel legislation and legislation recognizing the Holocaust.

Harris' opponents in the GOP primary also gave interviews to the Florida Baptist Witness but made more general statements on their faith.

Harris, 49, faced widespread criticism for her role overseeing the 2000 presidential recount as Florida's secretary of state.

State GOP leaders -- including Gov. Jeb Bush -- don't think she can win against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in November. Fundraising has lagged, frustrated campaign workers have defected in droves and the issues have been overshadowed by news of her dealings with a corrupt defense contractor who gave her $32,000 in illegal campaign contributions.
Source. (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/08/28/senate.harris.ap/index.html)

I sure don't hope (or think) her comments are representative of the republican party.

To make a discussion out of this: What are your thoughts about Church-state seperation? Do we want a secular state?

hasselbrad
28-08-2006, 07:02 PM
The First Amendment states that...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

The founding fathers wanted to guarantee that Americans would not be subject to the religious persecution that they had been in England. Period. Now, it's used by anti-religious nuts (who are every bit as whacked in the melon as the religious nuts) as a lever to extricate any and all religious references from the public sphere.
One of these fruit-loops sued Las Cruces, New Mexico over the crosses that adorn the city's seal. That, he argued, was a violation of the First Amendment. Nevermind the fact that...

A. The U.S. Congress had nothing to do with the design of the seal.
B. Las Cruces means "the crosses" in Spanish.

That said, what Harris says is irrelevant because she has as much chance of getting elected as I do.

I sure don't hope (or think) her comments are representative of the republican party.
They don't usually say it...but yeah, this is what most of 'em think.

Digital_Ice
28-08-2006, 07:32 PM
i never quite understood the US constitution... seeing as as soon as congress changes their mind about something, they either ratify or repeal the appropriate amendment, thus making the whole thing utter bollocks anyway.

Religion should never be a deciding factor in politics, because there is no way to say that the religion you choose to base your laws upon is the *one true religion* the trouble is, whoever has the power, can twist the nations politics to fit with their own ideals, hence the stupid laws passed by bush and plair frequently.

ryan
28-08-2006, 08:43 PM
"we"?
Last I checked, you weren't an American citizen :P

Leah
28-08-2006, 10:07 PM
The seperation between church and state is important to me as an atheist. Our country was founded as a religious haven for people persecuted previously in other countries. I think we need to keep that in mind and realize that we have many different views in our country and respect that people believe in different things. Now as for the current seperation I'm not pleased. The theory of evolution is compromised in schools because of the incorrect perception that the theory of evolution is lumped with the theory of our life/the world began. I find it to be a common misconception that the majority of the time only religious people make. Religious folk don't realize that they can believe in both evolution as well as their theory that God created life. Now that said it's come to the point where schools don't teach us about evolution because of the controversy over it. It's my opinion that christians/other religious groups can go to church to learn about religious things but where else do non-believers go to learn of scientifically based theories? Thus I believe the seperation should be stronger and opposing views should be regarded.

Hazzle
29-08-2006, 10:33 AM
i never quite understood the US constitution... seeing as as soon as congress changes their mind about something, they either ratify or repeal the appropriate amendment, thus making the whole thing utter bollocks anyway.

See, it takes 2/3rds of both houses (well, a quorom of both actually) to even propose an amendment, so it's not quite that simple. There hasn't been an amendment since 1992, arguably the last SERIOUS one was in 1951 (limiting of Presidential terms to two) and whilst there is another method of amending the constitution (2/3rds of all State Legislatures voting in favour of a convention to consider amendments) it's never been successfully used.

Since 1789 well over 10,000 amendments have been introduced into Congress, and recently between 100-200 every year. Only 33 made it through, and of those only 27 actually got the required 3/4s backing of State legislatures to become ratified. Only one Amendment was ever repealed by another Amendment too, the 18th. There's still an unratified amendment from 1789 lingering around, one of four amendments still technically capable of being ratified now! That's what the constitution is for, rigidity in the law.

Religion should never be a deciding factor in politics, because there is no way to say that the religion you choose to base your laws upon is the *one true religion*.

Religion should never be a deciding factor because establishment of religion negates freedom of religion. That's the crux of what Brad's getting at, the establishment clause was actually created because without it, freedom of religion is pointless, it's a corrolary, not a seperate clause as the Supreme Court has always viewed it. It's getting to extremes now. True, a law banning, for example, stem cell research, should be held to close scrutiny and it should be asked if there are any secular reasons for its creation. Basically we should remain vigilant for "establishment by stealth", for imposition upon you, by the government, of religious morals that you don't personally hold.

What we shouldn't do is allow the establishment clause to suggest that the state must remain entirely free of any religion whatsoever. So having "In God We Trust" on currency isn't a problem as in no way would that possible infringe on freedom of religion. I'm sure it has no bearing on atheists that they spend currency with "God" written on it. The same with nativity scenes in government buildings, why ban that? Does someone having one actually negate your freedom to practice your faith, and doesn't stopping them having one negate theirs? This is where the liberal justices pushed "nonestablishment" too far, to the extent that it's now in CONFLICT with the right of freedom to practice your faith, the right it was supposed to be supporting.