The McLaughlin Group last week (05/25) posted an excellent discussion regarding the delicate balance between faith and politics, the involvement of religion in the public square.
Here are a few excerpts:
Barry Goldwater on Religion:
Mclaughlin Group_05.25_Goldwater on Religion.mp3
“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious belief. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ or God or Allah or whatever one calls the supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain. They threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both.
“I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C and D. Just who do they think they are, and from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today, I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.”
McGlaughlin: Is he still the conscience of conservatives? Is he more in line with what you were saying earlier than are the fundamentalists today?
Buchanan: No, look, they are both parts of the conservative movement. Barry Goldwater at one point was Mr. Conservative. But John, Martin Luther King invoked God in the battle for civil rights. The whole battle to overthrow slavery came out of a lot of the churches. Religion has always played a role in social reform in this country, and it’s got every right to state its case and make its voice heard.
Founding Fathers & Religion
Mclaughlin Group_05.25_The Framers on Religion.mp3
McLaughlin: Were the Founding Fathers afraid that an official religion might take root? Were they worried more about religion affecting statecraft or statecraft offending religion?
Walker: But they were good Bible-reading people, because what they understood was to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and render unto God that which is God’s.
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