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Should Religious Men & Women Hold Public Office?

Politics-American Religion Religions Candidates

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Poll: Can Religious People Hold Public Office? (45 member(s) have cast votes)

Can Religious People Hold Public Office?

  1. Yes - as long as they don't push their religious views on the public. (9 votes [20.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 20.00%

  2. Yes - as long as they uphold the Constitution governing their jurisdiction. (32 votes [71.11%])

    Percentage of vote: 71.11%

  3. Yes - as long as they aren't public about their religiosity. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. No - they are inherently compromised and cannot be trusted to maintain separation of Church and State (4 votes [8.89%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.89%

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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 11:46 AM

I'm SO going to regret doing this - I can just feel it.  :(  But, with the same morbid fascination that causes rubbernecking traffic jams, I feel compelled.

In several threads, people have criticised Bush for pushing what they consider to be a religious agenda.  The argument goes something like this:

Bush believes ABC.
Bush therefore took abc action.
Bush should not take abc action, because abc is related to ABC, and the law of the land is that ABC should not be established by government.

There is a counter argument.  It goes something like this.

Bush believes ABC.
Bush therefore took abc action.
Bush took abc action in accordance w/ the law of the land.
Bush therefore is not in violation of the establishment law.

I'm deliberately leaving out the specifics, because I'm really asking about the principles involved here.  

I think I have a lot to say here, but for the moment, I'm going to leave it at that.

Edited by Handmaiden07, 14 May 2004 - 12:05 PM.

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#2 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 11:51 AM

OOPS.  A word of explanation about the difference between 1 & 2.  

Answer 1 means that they would at no time promote any religious platforms because of the constitutional rule of no establishment of a religion.

Answer 2 means they COULD promote a religious platform, provided it was not in contradiction to the constitution of their jurisdiction.  

And by religious platform I want to be clear that I mean policies and programs that coincide with their personal religious convictions.

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#3 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 11:58 AM

oh wait.  QT, is number one "at no time" or when they're wearing their office's "hat".  I mean obviously a public official is allowed to go to church and doing so is a promotion of that church....

Lil

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 14 May 2004 - 12:00 PM.

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#4 G1223

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 11:58 AM

I feel that a person who takes an oath of office should do so with a understanding that his faith is not what got him into office. I have no problem with Bush having a prayer in the White House before starting any meeting. It is his and those who likewise do so business. That is till the prayers interfer with duties as detailed under the law.

I personally do not think Bush has done this. He invokes God in his speeches others before him have.

But like that judge in the south who violated his oath of office and was removed from his court for his failure to remove the 10 commandments from the courtroom was an example of going to far.
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#5 Rov Judicata

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:01 PM

You have it backwards, HM. With our electoral system and American sentiment, being religious is pretty much a requirement for attaining office. An atheist or agnostic is extremely unlikely to obtain any office with significiant power. It does happen, but it's extremely rare...

Edited by Javert Rovinski, 14 May 2004 - 12:02 PM.

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Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
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~~ Josh, winning the argument.

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#6 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:05 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2004, 12:56 PM, said:

oh wait.  QT, is number one "at no time" or when they're wearing their office's "hat".  I mean obviously a public official is allowed to go to church and doing so is a promotion of that church....

Lil
Good question, Lil.  I can answer two ways, but I think it's up to whoever's participating in this thread to figure out (and then state their opinions, I hope).

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#7 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:06 PM

Javert Rovinski, on May 14 2004, 12:59 PM, said:

You have it backwards, HM. With our electoral system and American sentiment, being religious is pretty much a requirement for attaining office. An atheist or agnostic is extremely unlikely to obtain any office with significiant power. It does happen, but it's extremely rare...
Rov the intent of the poll is misrepresented by the word "Can."  So I apologize - I don't seem to be able to fix that, but I did fix the title of the thread.  The intent is "Should" religous people hold public office.

HM07

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#8 Cyncie

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:13 PM

Voted for option 2. To exclude people from office because they're religious would be highly discriminatory and would eliminate a good portion of the general population from potential public service. And, I don't have any problem with any public official publicly avowing his faith. But, all public officials are bound by the rule of the law and Constitution, so that's the check between acting on religion inappropriately, and merely making decisions based on a religious world view.

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#9 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:13 PM

Well I'm not voting until I get an answer. :p~ My opinion is that it's unrealistic to expect that anyone can turn their faith on and off like a faucet just because they're "at work". However it's equally unrealistic to think that a person's faith automatically disqualifies them from performing their job.  It CAN do so of course.  For example, if a person who believes homosexuality is a sin and is a justice of the peace in a jurisdiction that allows gay civil unions, he may feel that presiding over a union of a same sex couple is something he or she cannot do without committing a sin.  But I think that's an extreme circumstance and that it's a case by case thing that is up to the individual.  

Lil

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 14 May 2004 - 12:14 PM.

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#10 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:19 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2004, 01:11 PM, said:

Well I'm not voting until I get an answer. :p~ My opinion is that it's unrealistic to expect that anyone can turn their faith on and off like a faucet just because they're "at work". However it's equally unrealistic to think that a person's faith automatically disqualifies them from performing their job.  It CAN do so of course.  For example, if a person who believes homosexuality is a sin and is a justice of the peace in a jurisdiction that allows gay civil unions, he may feel that presiding over a union of a same sex couple is something he or she cannot do without committing a sin.  But I think that's an extreme circumstance and that it's a case by case thing that is up to the individual.  

Lil
Lil - that would be an option 2 vote...

The person's personal conscience is not what is being decided here - its the person's appropriateness for office.  Let's all assume that a person who looks at the constitution and decides that he can't uphold it WON'T run for office.  Yes, its an unrealistic expectation, since all kinds of kooks run  for office, but again - let's work with the normal spectrum of people... :)  

So we are dealing with someone who will be sworn to uphold the constitution, and agrees to do so - but answer 1 & 2 differ on HOW they will do so, answer 3 specifies that they will keep their religiosity totally out of public view at all times, and answer 3 specifies that they cannot hold office because their religion will automatically influence their politics.  

HM07

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#11 Shalamar

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:19 PM

After reading your explaination I voted for number 2 - if nothing govermental can have a religous conotation ( bad wording but the best I can figure out at this time ) - then we are in a world of trouble. Most of the major religons say murder is a sin - there fore we can not make laws stateing murder is a crime? That an elected office holder can not vote on/ create/uphold on a law that happens to coincide with his religous beliefs?
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#12 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:20 PM

I can't vote for option two as worded either...  Damn.   :pout:
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#13 HubcapDave

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:20 PM

I personally think it would be absurd to restrict the eligiblity of elected officials to athiests. Matter of fact, I think (not sure, but I think!) it would be a violation of the First Amendment to not allow people who hold religious beliefs to not holf office.

#14 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:31 PM

HubcapDave, on May 14 2004, 01:18 PM, said:

I personally think it would be absurd to restrict the eligiblity of elected officials to athiests. Matter of fact, I think (not sure, but I think!) it would be a violation of the First Amendment to not allow people who hold religious beliefs to not holf office.
I'm pretty sure you are right about that.  :)  That would be establishing atheism as a the law of the land.  

I guess I have to put my own opinions and concerns on the line, and give more context to make this make sense.  

As stated before - there are two different views that have been articulated at various times on this board.

Bush believes ABC.
Bush therefore took abc action.
Bush should not take abc action, because abc is related to ABC, and the law of the land is that ABC should not be established by government.

There is a counter argument. It goes something like this.

Bush believes ABC.
Bush therefore took abc action.
Bush took abc action in accordance w/ the law of the land.
Bush therefore is not in violation of the establishment law.

My own inclination is to go with the second argument.  I don't agree with the proposition that enacting a law that happens to have its origins in a person's religious beliefs is the same thing as establishing a religion.  It may be that others of differing religious backgrounds happen to think that that religion has a good idea...and as long as the religion itself is not on the discussion board as law - the idea itself, articulated into secular policy - is valid, and can be put up for public debate.

I'm trying to think of an example of an idea that is popular now, though it doesn't coincide with the majority of religions. OH!  The idea that all paths lead to God.  That is a kinda "eastern philosophy" kind of idea, and it has resonance with a lot of people, who nonetheless, continue to call themselves Christians.  It isn't being enacted into public policy, but it ever had an opportunity to be expressed in public policy, EVEN if expressed by an elected official who happened to be of the faith that originally articulated the idea, it would probably be successful because lots of people agree with the idea. And they do so without embracing that religion.  

So I've found the arguments that Bush is pushing a religious agenda and must be stopped to be strange.  I understand that people disagree with his policies, but to assert that he hasn't a right to promote them just because the idea coincides with his beliefs seems quite a ways off from the right path in my view.

HM07

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#15 Rov Judicata

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:34 PM

HubcapDave, on May 14 2004, 10:18 AM, said:

I personally think it would be absurd to restrict the eligiblity of elected officials to athiests. Matter of fact, I think (not sure, but I think!) it would be a violation of the First Amendment to not allow people who hold religious beliefs to not holf office.
Actually, the constitution explicitly says in Article VI, Section III:

Quote

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

That would cut both ways, of course.

Source: http://www.law.corne....articlevi.html
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#16 Godeskian

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:34 PM

I'm not convinced it's possible, but i'll give people the benefit of the doubt.

Untill, like Bush, they prove they aren't worthy of that benefit by pushing a religious agenda in violation of the spirit (although probably not he specific letter of) the law.

#17 Cyncie

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:37 PM

We all have some kind of world view that informs our decision making processes. For those who are religious, their religious beliefs are integral to that world view. For those who are not, the decisions are based on other forms of ethical thought, but are still part of their world view. For a politician to express their personal world view and how it informs their decisions, to me, is not the same as establishing a religion, or lack there of.

If the public disagrees with the world view expressed, that's what elections are for.

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#18 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:37 PM

Bush is trying to change the freaking CONSTITUTION based on his own religiously induced homophobia.  It's not that the idea coincides with his religious beliefs it's that they are MOTIVATED by them.
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#19 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:39 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2004, 01:35 PM, said:

Bush is trying to change the freaking CONSTITUTION based on his own religiously induced homophobia.  It's not that the idea coincides with his religious beliefs it's that they are MOTIVATED by them.
So what?  

So what if they are motivated by them?  If you are of the opinion that his motivation matters, then that's option 1.

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#20 Rov Judicata

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:43 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2004, 10:35 AM, said:

Bush is trying to change the freaking CONSTITUTION based on his own religiously induced homophobia.  It's not that the idea coincides with his religious beliefs it's that they are MOTIVATED by them.
But isn't he playing by the rules? If he can get through a constitutional amendment (which he can't, but let's just say he could), then he hasn't violated his oath or the principles of his office. The amendment process exists for a reason. Nothing precludes him from pushing religiously motivated amendments. And what about politicians who are motivated by religion to promote something you like, such as greater education spending?

<And, you know, the term 'heterosexism' is so much more precise than homophobia. IMO. Just sayin'...>
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.



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