The divide between us grows by leaps and bounds. Our politics have been this country's worst enemy for the past three decades. We used to be a nation that might be separated by issues of a political nature, but we always remained a nation united by our common desire to see our countrymen and women succeed. The truth is, that even for a non-believer such as myself, many of the principles of the bible were the standards by which this country grew and prospered. It was one of the key reasons why the United States was different from the rest of the world. We had figured it out. There was a way to infuse the positive principles of all religious into a secular society. We did it then, but we lost it know.
It seems that so many of the principles that brought us together for the first 200 years of our nation's existence have become points of contention rather than points of unity. There was a time when one of the driving principles of the American psyche was that we were all our brother's keeper. For two hundred years we took care of one another whether it was done through private charity or public welfare. There was an understanding, an intuition, that given a bit of assistance the entrepenurial spirit of Americans would come to bear. Whether it was offering free land to those who would settle or the protections of government, when it was the egalitarian church that was home to both rich and poor or private charities, there was a belief that we werponsible for one another.
Our founding documents are steeped in the best thoughts of the bible, presented as a secular proposal. The proposal that all men are created equal eventually became so important that we fought a long, bloody civil war to begin to insure that equality. It was the clergy and the religious of the land who sounded the clarion call toward the acceptance of all. That biblical call to equality moved us through the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, and the LGBT movements. It is only in the past thirty years that the wisdom and accuracy of these beliefs have been questioned.
While this country has always been entreprenurial, with the hope that every individual could eventually connect with the American dream, the demonization of the poor and the separation of the rich and poor into enclaves and opposing camps surely goes against all of the tenets of the Judeo-Christian religious traditions that the country used as part of their founding. We've moved away from Jesus' admonition about for whom the entrance to heaven would be the easiest.
It has been difficult to understand how our religious world could have become so fractured. The outsider could understand how religionists of faiths that are fundamentally different might hold a different view toward governance, but in the world of 2012 individuals in the same religious sect are as likely to be at odds with one another as a Wiccan and a Muslim.
Can it be that what may really be the poison pill in our political system is the alliance between two major parts of the society, each of which work well separately, but become poisonous together. The marriage of church and state is an unholy alliance between the two most volatile aspects of our society. To start the discussion, it must be recognized that for all the debate on church state matters, it is fairly universally accepted that one of the reasons this country was originally settled by English, Dutch, and Spanish settlers was that the entanglements of church and state in their home countries were leading to persecutions of those who believed differently. By the time we became an independent nation, the necessity for separation was plain in the eyes of most of the founders.
We were part of a secular revolution. When we won our secular revolution, we were able to allow all religions to worship equally in their own milieus with little or no intervention from the state. This model worked brilliantly for us.
But with the rise of fundamentalism around the world and in the United States, that separation is being challenged at every turn. Whether it is the imposition of church doctrine on the state part of the marriage issue, abortion issue, contraception issue, etc., or whether it is the willingness to throw a religion like Islam under the bus because of fear and hatred, we are allowing religion to become to much a part of our politics. We've made our candidate's religions a litmus test for office. We've allowed the denigration of a candidates pastors or religious advisors to become a campaign issue. We've aligned our religious beliefs with our political affiliation.
This is ugly. If this is what religion is, the explanation of why many have left the religious community is obvious. What is most important, however, is that those who are still in the religious community have to work toward the separation of religion from government. It protects their religious beliefs and insures that this nation can come together on the political issues.