mad in pursuit journal


Return to Salem?

It annoys me when religion becomes part of politics. Why can't our public figures keep their eye on the ball of economic issues, corruption, crumbling infrastructure, civil rights, etc. etc?

I'm surprised that people are making an issue of Romney's Mormon faith. And I'm irritated that John Edwards keeps referring to the Lord. We, the people, elect our public servants and our public servants serve us. The Lord is busy listening to grieving families whose loved ones have fallen off collapsing bridges or been buried in unsafe mines or stumbled into Iraqi explosive devices.

Voters and media loudmouths need to shut up about who Jesus would endorse for president and start worrying about who has the brains and the guts to deal with the frightening mess that the current band of Bible-thumping cynics will leave behind.

Reality check: Unfortunately, more and more I'm hearing that religious issues are being reintegrated into political issues. We thought that political theology died in 16th-century Europe with the birth of the modern, rationalist world.* But the "Great Separation" between church and state, meant to reduce the scourge of religious wars, might have only been a temporary phenomenon. Pundits are beginning to predict the end of liberal, secular states where religion is a private matter. That's pretty scary. It doesn't bode well for international relations as our wars turn "Holy." It doesn't bode well for tolerance of minority beliefs within nations and societies. The "tyranny of the majority" is scary enough without contemplating going back to the days of Salem witch trials, where anyone who dared to be different was branded the devil.


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*"The Politics of God" by Mark Lilla, New York Times Magazine, 8/19/2007.