Thomas Jefferson Said It Best: Separate Church & State (Especially If You're Running for President)

mitt romneyI don’t want to know if a candidate prays to Jesus or prays to Allah. What I want to know is whether a candidate will honor the Constitution’s First Amendment right of all Americans to practice or not practice religion. Thomas Jefferson has been asking Americans to honor this clause since 1802. The Supreme Court of the United States has been deciding this issue since at least 1879.  

So when I hear that presidential candidate Rick Perry asked Americans to “call upon Jesus” to help restore and “to guide [Americans] through unprecedented struggles,” I immediately become worried. Surely Rick Perry wants to honor our Constitution, abide by binding precedent, and honor rights that so many Americans have fought to maintain. Right?  

It doesn’t sound like it.  

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By asking Americans to call upon Jesus, Perry was promoting and preferring one religious belief over another. Perry wasn’t acting in a neutral manner, as required by our Constitution, instead, he was promoting and endorsing Christianity. If he were in office, some would argue he would have infringed upon the Constitutional rights of Americans.

Rather than wonder or speculate where he draws the line at promoting his religious beliefs, I would rather not vote for him or other candidates like him. It’s easier to support a candidate that will allow my neighbor to honor, or not honor, a religion of his choice rather than to hypothesize if another candidate will attempt to legislate in favor of infringing upon Constitutional rights.

I respect the right to choose a religion and the right not to. I'm not selecting my next President because he has the same religious beliefs as I do; that's irrelevant. My candidate supports and honors the separation of church and state.  

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. Read the original question and find links to all their responses here: Does a Candidate's Religion Matter?


Image via GovRickPerry/Flickr

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