The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and church-state separation

I have not been watching the debates among the GOP hopefuls, mainly because my mind is pretty much made up already, but also because there are too many candidates that haven't got a chance included in the field to be able to concentrate on the significant ones, because I don't have the time, and because I'll find out if anything important came out of them from newspaper or blog articles anyway. And the last point was borne out by my seeing a post by David Frum in his FrumForum blog:

On the Las Vegas stage, Anderson Cooper asked the candidates about the role of faith generally and then specifically to the disparaging comments about Romney’s Mormonism by the pastor who introduced Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit.

Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich used the opportunity to describe religious faith as a bona fide job qualification for the presidency.

Gingrich: “And how can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?”

Perry unpleasantly tried to play it both ways, both edging away from the disparaging remarks while refusing to criticize the pastor for making them.

I have said I didn’t agree with that individual’s statement. And our founding fathers truly understood and had an understanding of — of freedom of religion.

And this country is based on, as — as Newt talked about, these values that are so important as we go forward. And the idea that we should not have our freedom of — of religion to be taken away by any means, but we also are a country that is free to express our opinions. That individual expressed an opinion. I didn’t agree with it, Mitt, and I said so. But the fact is, Americans understand faith. And what they’ve lost faith in is the current resident of the White House…I have. I said I did not agree with the — Pastor Jeffress’s remarks. I don’t agree with them. I — I can’t apologize any more than that.

Now Romney:

What I actually found was most troubling in what the reverend said in the introduction was he said, in choosing our nominee, we should inspect his religion. And someone who is a good moral person is not someone who we should select; instead, we should choose someone who subscribes to our religious belief.

That — that idea that we should choose people based upon their religion for public office is what I find to be most troubling, because the founders of this country went to great length to make sure — and even put it in the Constitution — that we would not choose people who represent us in government based upon their religion, that this would be a nation that recognized and respected other faiths, where there’s a plurality of faiths, where there was tolerance for other people and faiths. That’s a bedrock principle.

And it was that principle, Governor, that I wanted you to be able to [say], “no, no, that’s wrong, Reverend Jeffress.” Instead of saying as you did, “Boy, that introduction knocked the ball out of the park,” I’d have said, “Reverend Jeffress, you got that wrong. We should select people not based upon their faith.” Even though — and I don’t suggest you distance yourself from your faith any more than I would. But the concept that we select people based on the church or the synagogue they go to, I think, is a very dangerous and — and enormous departure from the principles of our — of our Constitution.

That may have been the most full-throated defense of religious separation on a Republican platform these past 30 years – and we owe it to Rick Perry’s weasely attempt to “disagree” with Rev. Jeffress’ anti-Mormon animus while still profiting politically from that animus.

More reason to support Mitt Romney. He actually knows the content of the portion of Article VI, ¶ 3 of the Constitution that says:

no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

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