Truth, Freedom, and Religion

In the early days of the Revolutionary War one of the American generals, Nathanael Greene, expressed his desire for America to be an independent nation from Britain. His sentiments echoed that of many others of his day. Gen. Greene wrote:

“Heaven hath decreed that tottering empire Britain to irretrievable ruin and thanks to God, since Providence hath so determined, America must raise an empire of permanent duration, supported upon the grand pillars of Truth, Freedom, and Religion, encouraged by the smiles of Justice and defended by her own patriotic sons…. Permit me then to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a Declaration of Independence, and call upon the world and the great God who governs it to witness the necessity, propriety and rectitude thereof.” (as cited by D. McCullough in 1776, Simon & Schuster, 2005; emphasis added).

Contrary to the beliefs of many who are foes of organized Christian religions, the United States of America was founded upon religious principles and to some extent, religion. Our nation was not founded upon a particular religious sect but it certainly was never meant to be “free from” religion. There are movements that would remove any mention of religion from public discourse, especially in government. This is completely at odds with the Constitution. I recognize that Gen. Greene was not one of the Founding Fathers, per se, but his sentiments were in line with many others of his day.

Some feel justified in attacking religion in part because of a few words Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson believed in God but He did not believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He was also critical of some of the prevailing religions of his day. He was also critical of nations that had state religions – many people in the soon to be United States were; after all, that is why many of their fathers had come to America, for the freedom to practice religion as they saw fit. Here is the problem with building so much on Thomas Jefferson’s few sayings and writings that were critical of religion – Thomas Jefferson was merely one of the Founding Fathers. He was very influential, he wrote the Declaration of Independence and was involved in the framing of the Constitution, but he was only one voice out of many. But here is the more important issue – Thomas Jefferson did not write the Constitution; James Madison wrote most of it. A number of other men had their input (and all states’ representatives had to ratify it) but it was largely written by Madison.

John Adams, who was very religious, and Thomas Paine, who was deist like Jefferson also had a lot of input to the Constitution. In any case, none of the Founding Fathers were atheist. Those who were critical of the religions of their day grew up in a time when there was little religious freedom. America was in practice the only ‘civilized’ place on earth where there was relative religious freedom. Some religions had become oppressive and none of the Christian religions were quite like the religion Jesus Christ had established [I focus on Christian religions because at the time that was mainly what there was in America]. In light of this, the critical statements and beliefs were understandable. However, none of the Founding Fathers ever called for the abolishment of religion – most were religious, God-fearing men.

Those who would remove religion from public discourse (and even the government) would remove one of the pillars of our great nation. Religious principles played and play a large role in our government. Judeo-Christian beliefs are at the foundation of our legal system. This does not discount the influence of philosophers such as John Locke but neither should we discount the influence of Judeo-Christian principles. The Bill of Rights explicitly protects religions in the 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This means that just as there should not be a state religion (like there was and is in Britain) there also should not be freedom from religion. Again, religions are protected by this clause. Christian religions are the some of the staunchest defenders of liberty; a nation without religion would not be a free one.

More Anti-Mormon News Bias

Mormon church approves gay rights law – as long as it doesn’t have to follow it.

In the above-linked article, the author bitterly complains that the new law passed in Salt Lake City banning discrimination against homosexuals does not have to be followed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What the author so conveniently ignores is something called the First Amendment that prohibits the federal government (and all “more local” governments) from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The whole amendment is worded as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first right guaranteed in the First Amendment is specifically given to religions. That is not a coincidence. Religions are protected by the U.S. Constitution – a person’s sexual preference is not.

The author also incorrectly refers to a film ostensibly about Proposition 8 (called 8: The Mormon Proposition) as “the church’s new film” as if the LDS Church produced and made the film. Anyone who believes Proposition 8 was a “Mormon Proposition” is either misled or disingenuous. What the LDS Church did do is encourage its members to support Prop 8 (although no one was forced to vote for it and no one was disciplined by the church if they voted against it) and be active in the political process. Why is a church – again, which is a Constitutionally-protected entity – not allowed to speak up on issues but any number of other, ostensibly secular, institutions can? Why can women’s clubs, school groups, unions, businesses, and other organizations take stands for or against same-sex marriage but religions should just mind their own business? Religions provide a key role in the moral checks and balances of our nation.

The author continues on with dishonest editorializing:

“The LDS Church will always fall back on its lame  ‘bedrock of marriage’ argument to defeat any attempts at furthering gay rights.

Remember folks, these are the same people responsible for reversing the gains the LGBT community so tirelessly worked for in California and Maine, the same people who just a few months ago faced nationwide criticism and spurred “kiss-in” protests because they detained a gay couple for having the gall to express their affection in public, then let their hateful PR spokesperson disastrously handle the situation in the press.”

Firstly, how is defending marriage “lame”? The burden of proof rests with the editorial’s author to demonstrate exactly how the LDS Church’s marriage argument is lame. Or, is it just easier to call people names or call arguments names without actually addressing the issue? Second, I thought a majority of people in California passed Proposition 8, not the LDS Church. LDS Church members are free to donate their time and money as they see fit. The LDS Church also acted completely appropriately in its role in Prop. 8. Third, now the LDS Church is responsible for the vote in Maine? I think some appropriate citations are in order by the article’s author. Fourth, the “public affection” of the two men arrested on church property included groping, making out, and drunkenness. The men were asked to leave the private property and did not. So, do homosexuals somehow belong to a protected class that does not have to follow private property laws? The only PR “problem” came from LGBT groups who misrepresented or misunderstood what happened and tried to create a controversy where no controversy existed.

Gay-rights advocates do themselves no service by writing articles like this one in The Examiner. The LDS Church stood up for gay rights as far as they are morally and doctrinally able to do. Why are some people so bitter at the LDS Church for standing up for marriage and families, which are the very foundation of our society? In the end, the author expresses disgust that the LDS Church did not change its doctrines to support the imaginary “right of same-sex marriage.” The author did not help his argument by continuing to spread misinformation, lies, and hatred about the LDS Church.

Our Judeo-Christian Nation

The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian values, especially those of the Bible. While we reject state sponsored religions, the Constitution protects religions – they have a special protected status in the 1st Amendment. There is a reason freedom of religion is in the 1st Amendment – it is vital to the health and survival of our nation! All, or nearly all, of our Founding Fathers and Mothers were religious (especially compared to many people in our day) or at least held strong Christian beliefs, even if they did not attend church regularly (I have my opinions about why some of them did not attend church but that is not a discussion for this blog). Even Thomas Jefferson, who was Deist, held strongly to the Bible and Christian teachings.

There are many today who would dismiss my statements but any dismissals do not lessen the truth of my words. I know that is a strong statement but sometimes we need to speak boldly. A Judeo-Christian nation welcomes all religions and beliefs – in fact, there is no other value system that is as open and accepting as Judeo-Christian values are. That is the irony of the anti-religious position so many take in our country today – it is the values of our Judeo-Christian nation that allow the freedom to believe and express anti-religious sentiments. Sure, purely secular governments like Communism reject(ed) religion, but they are and were very restrictive of people’s freedoms.

For a more in-depth and more insightful post about the religious origins of our nation, read this essay.

In defense and honor of our nation’s religious heritage, here is a great brief speech by Rep. Randy Forbes from Virginia.

LDS Church Further Clarifies Its Role in Prop 8

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following article today on their newsroom site:

Media Reports on Proposition 8 Filing Uninformed

The article is fairly brief but very comprehensive. If anyone still doubts the Church’s financial role in Prop 8, they are just willfully rebelling against the truth. The Church was always very open about its role, they never tried to hide any part of their involvement in Prop 8. LDS Church members were encouraged to vote in the election and to vote in defense of traditional marriage but no one was ever forced to vote a particular way. The LDS Church became involved in the issue because it is an important and fundamental moral issue. Marriage and family are the foundation of society. Redefining marriage to include same-sex couples is a radical shift that could have unintended negative consequences on society for generations. It is an attack on the sacred bond of marriage and family.

Prop 8 Spending Update (and Lies)

The final numbers are in. “The final tallies show that opponents of Proposition 8 raised $43.3 million in 2008 and had a little more than $730,000 left on hand at year’s end. The measure’s sponsors raised $39.9 million and had $983,000 left over.” (Source). Many opponents of Prop 8 are bitter about the measure passing. Some say that the LDS Church bought Prop 8 (see below), yet opponents raised and spent more money on the measure than proponents did. The hatred toward the LDS Church is mind-boggling. I don’t mind the hatred though but I do mind the lies.

Here are a few inaccurate headlines/articles describing the LDS Church’s role in Prop 8.

How the Mormon Church Bought Prop 8 (this site is full of hatred; I just skimmed some of the comments to the article. They were appalling). If the LDS Church bought Prop 8 with their $190,000 of in-kind (non-monetary) donations, that’s quite a good return on their money considering that is less than 0.44% of the total money spent by opponents of Prop 8. In other words, if the LDS Church bought the proposition then their $190,000 of non-monetary donations was more effective than the $43.3 million spent by opponents of Prop 8. That’s quite a good return on money. So who bought the election (it of course begs the question that the election results were purchased)? Even if you factor in contributions by individual LDS Church members (and of course, church members do not equal the LDS Church in any political or legal sense), they still raised and spent less than half of the money opponents raised and spent.

Separation of Church and State…except in Utah and, Uh, California. I will not provide much commentary on this article (because their dishonest portrayal of the issue has already been addressed by the LDS Church). The author completely misunderstands the 1st Amendment (and separation of church and state, for that matter). I love this drossy gem: “There’s no point in asking if what LDS did is ethical; clearly, it is not. But that didn’t stop the church from intensifying its disregard for the rule of law and the political system in this country.”

Mormons Caught in $188,000 Lie. I’m sorry but the only lies being told are by the opponents of the LDS Church on this matter. The LDS Church acted in accordance to law. The reported every expenditure within the time frame that they were legally required to. If you argue that the Church was trying to hide their involvement, then you have to argue just as strongly that all other groups on both sides of the issue who just reported their financial contributions were hiding their involvement as well.

There are more inaccuracies along the same lines. The LDS Church already responded to the issue. They hid nothing. They did not lie. They acted well within all legal, moral, and ethical bounds. The only lies being told are those who spread this misinformation about the LDS Church.

LDS Church Prop 8 Spending Update

From the LDS Church Newsroom site: “SALT LAKE CITY. 2 February 2009. Today The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints clarified erroneous news reports following the filing of its final report on donations to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition.

On Friday, 30 January, the Church filed the final report of its contributions (all of which were non-monetary) to the ProtectMarriage.com coalition. The report, submitted in advance of the 31 January deadline, details in-kind donations totaling $189,903.58.

The value of the Church’s in-kind (non-monetary) contribution is less than one half of one percent of the total funds (approximately $40 million) raised for the “Yes on 8” campaign. The Church did not make any cash contribution.

Because media coverage about this filing ran without a comment from the Church, the following statements of fact from the Church add context to this story and should help correct the record:

Fox13 (Utah): “The documents show the amount spent by the Mormon Church is greater than what was initially stated.”

Fact: The Church, like other organizations on both sides of the ballot issue, was required to publicly file these donations by the 31 January deadline. The Church has been filing required contribution reports throughout the campaign. Those earlier donations “initially stated” were filed for specific time periods prior to this last reporting period, as required by law. Other groups are also filing their final contribution reports to meet the same deadline.

San Francisco Chronicle : “Mormon church officials, facing an ongoing investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Friday reported nearly $190,000 in previously unlisted assistance to the successful campaign for Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.”

Sacramento Bee : “The disclosure comes amid an investigation by the state’s campaign watchdog agency into whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints violated state laws by not fully disclosing its involvement during the campaign.”

Fact: This filing is in no way prompted by an investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Many organizations are filing this week to meet the deadline required by law. We believe we have complied with California law.

KFMB 760 AM (San Diego) :

“Mormon Church Misstated How Much It Spent in Prop 8 Fight.”
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints previously claimed only about $2,000 was spent in support of the measure.”

365Ga y : “Mormon Church admits it spent 100 times more for Prop 8 than reported”

Fact: Again, the previous disclosure of an in-kind donation was to meet an earlier deadline. In fact, previous filings detailed over $50,000 out of the total non-monetary contribution of $189,903.58. This week’s filing reported donations that fell within a different time period and required reporting by the 31 January deadline. Other groups also made their final contributions reports this week.

Understanding the extent of donations from other organizations may help the media and the public better understand the context in which the Church’s donations were made.”

The LDS Church clearly acted in accordance to the law. The only reason this is an issue is because some people are so hateful of the Church that they try to do anything to discredit them.

The LDS Church Contributed $190,000 in “In-kind” Donations to Prop 8

UPDATE: I corrected the figures in this post now that we have the actual amounts. I will post a reprint of the LDS Church’s clarification of news stories about the issue.

On Friday the LDS Church filed a report outlining their contributions to the Prop 8 campaign in California. They spent $190,000 (a GLBT site reports the amount was “more than $190 thousand.” Notice how the amount creeps upward as sites become more pro-homosexual. Note: I don’t know what the actual amount is; news sites have just been rounding the number – some up and some down). $96,000 of that was spent paying some church employees for their time (e.g., designing a website or things like that). The rest came from flying church officials to California (and putting them in hotels and renting cars and similar expenses). The Church did not donate any money directly. When a complaint was filed against the Church in November 2008, the LDS Church stated they would be making all required declarations by the time they were legally required to. They were not required by law to declare their contributions until February 2, 2009.

The articles I linked to generally do not give the LDS Church the benefit of the doubt (searching the related headlines in Google News reveals such biased gems as “Mormon Church Misstated How Much It Spent in Prop 8 Fight”). The news bias is not surprising given that all 10 major California newspapers editorialized against Prop 8. Only the SF Chronicle even bothers to mention the Feb. 2 deadline for reporting contributions. However, those who filed the complaint against the Church believe that the Church was required to report their contributions earlier.

The Yes on 8 campaign spent $39.2 million out of a total of about $41 million spent (Source). Older estimates had supporters of Prop 8 spending $35.8 million with opponents spending $37.6 million (Source). We’ll see what the revised number is once opponents of Prop 8 declare all their contributions (it is likely higher than the $41 million spent to support Prop 8). While LDS Church members donated a sizable portion of the money spent to support Prop 8 (possibly as high as $20 million – but those are estimates are by anti-Prop 8 groups and so may be on the high end of the actual amount), the LDS Church as an entity donated a whopping 0.45% of the total money spent to support Prop 8!

True, individual LDS Church members might have donated 50% of the money spent in support of Prop 8 (again, this is based on unofficial estimates) but church members who donated are citizens and are allowed to donate however they want to. Hollywood celebrities contributed large of amounts of money to fight Prop 8 (for example, Brad Pitt donated $100,000). At least churches are Constitutionally-protected entities unlike Hollywood. The LDS Church encouraged time and money donations but never forced anyone to donate. It’s ironic how some who “fight against hate” hate the LDS Church so much. Where are all the complaints against entities who made anti-Prop 8 contributions?

Showing their intense hatred of hate, Californians Against Hate has a “Dishonor Roll” that includes people who donated more than $5000 to support Prop 8. Way to fight hate! It’s the kind of list I’d like to be on.

Thomas Jefferson on Religious Liberties

Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, played a major role in the establishment of the U.S, especially in helping shape the founding philosophies. His writings and ideals inspired others of his generation; they still inspire us today. Thomas Jefferson like all of the Founding Fathers believed in God. The U.S. was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and principles – the government was secular but the people were not. Jefferson, like the other Founding Fathers, knew however that state-sponsored religion too often led to oppression and loss of individual freedoms. He also knew that the converse was true – not allowing the free exercise of religion would also be harmful.

In 1779, Thomas Jefferson wrote a document called the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This document was, in Jefferson’s eyes, one of his greatest accomplishments. It was codified into law in Virginia a few years later. This document is important today because many who subscribe to secularism and atheism are trying to remove all religion from public discourse. Many view religion as nothing more than an aberration of a deranged mind. The Founding Fathers felt strongly the opposite – Jefferson included. I’ll include a few highlights from this important document.

“Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either…”

“…the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible [this is true of both religious and non-religious beliefs], and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions [these “religions” could be secular] over the greatest part of the world…”

“…our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which in common with his fellow-citizens he has a natural right…”

“That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

“The rights hereby asserted [religious liberties] are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present, or to narrow its operation, such act shall be an infringement of natural right.” (Source, all emphasis mine).

Thomas Jefferson stated that mankind was created by God with a free will. He argued for separation of church and state because state-sponsored religions usually suppress the free exercise of other religions. What many secularists ignore is that Jefferson, in supporting a separation of church from state, was not arguing against religion at all; to the contrary, he believed that religions are vital (even if he wasn’t particularly fond of the specific religions of the day). He argued for religious liberties. The free exercise of religion should play a large role in politicians’ lives if they are religious. If they are not, then they should not be forced to accept any religion. He also stated that religious beliefs should not be given greater weight in political matters than mathematics or science (this means that religious beliefs should also not be given less weight either). In the end, Jefferson stated that religious liberties are “natural rights of mankind” – they are part of our fundamental rights.

Religious Values and Public Policy, Part 5

Continuing Dallin H. Oaks’ speech:

Perhaps the root fear of those who object to official church participation in political debates is power: They fear that believers will choose to follow the directions or counsel of their religious leaders. Those who have this fear should remember the celebrated maxim of Jefferson: “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” 9 Some may believe that reason is not free when religious leaders have spoken, but I doubt that any religious leader in twentieth-century America has such a grip on followers that they cannot make a reasoned choice in the privacy of the voting booth. In fact, I have a hard time believing that the teachings of religions or churches deprive their adherents of any more autonomy in exerting the rights of citizenship than the teachings and practices of labor unions, civil rights groups, environmental organizations, political parties, or any other membership group in our society.

I submit that religious leaders should have at least as many privileges as any other leaders, and that churches should stand on at least as strong a footing as any other corporation when they enter the public square to participate in public policy debates. The precious constitutional right of petition does not exclude any individual or any group. The same is true of freedom of speech and the press. When religion has a special constitutional right to its free exercise, religious leaders and churches should have more freedom than other persons and organizations, not less.

If churches and church leaders should have full rights to participate in public policy debates, should there be any limits on such participation?

Of course there are limits that apply specially to churches and church officials, as manifest in the United States Constitution’s prohibition against Congress’s making any law respecting an establishment of religion. Some linkages between churches and governments are obviously illegitimate. It would clearly violate this prohibition if a church or church official were to exercise government power or dictate government policies or direct the action of government officials independent of legal procedures or political processes.

Fundamentally, I submit that there is no persuasive objection in law or principle to a church or church leader taking a position on any legislative matter, if it or he or she chooses to do so.

Now, relative to church participation in public debate, when churches or church leaders choose to enter the public sector to engage in debate on a matter of public policy, they should be admitted to the debate and they should expect to participate in it on the same basis as all other participants. In other words, if churches or church leaders choose to oppose or favor a particular piece of legislation, their opinions should be received on the same basis as the opinions offered by other knowledgeable organizations or persons, and they should be considered on their merits.

By the same token, churches and church leaders should expect the same broad latitude of discussion of their views that conventionally applies to everyone else’s participation in public policy debates. A church can claim access to higher authority on moral questions, but its opinions on the application of those moral questions to specific legislation will inevitably be challenged by and measured against secular-based legislative or political judgments. As James E. Wood observed, “While denunciations of injustice, racism, sexism, and nationalism may be clearly rooted in one’s religious faith, their political applications to legislative remedy and public policy are by no means always clear.” 10

Finally, if church leaders were also to exhibit openness and tolerance of opposing views, they would help to overcome the suspicion and resentment sometimes directed toward church or church-leader participation in public debate.

In summary, I have pointed out that many U.S. laws are based on the absolute moral values most Americans affirm, and I have suggested that it cannot be otherwise. I have contended that religious-based values are just as legitimate a basis for political action as any other values. And I have argued that churches and church leaders should be able to participate in public policy debates on the same basis as other persons and organizations, favoring or opposing specific legislative proposals or candidates if they choose to do so.

Politicians sometimes seek to use religion for political purposes, and they sometimes even seek to manipulate churches or church leaders. Ultimately this is always self-defeating. Whenever a church (or a church leader) becomes a pawn or servant of government or a political leader, it loses its status and the credibility it needs to perform its religious mission.

Churches or their leaders can also be the aggressors in the pursuit of intimacy with government. The probable results of this excess have been ably described as “the seduction of the churches to political arrogance and political innocence or even the politicizing of moral absolutes.” 11

The relationship in the world between church and state and between church leaders and politicians should be respectful and distant, as befits two parties who need one another but share the realization that a relationship too close can deprive a pluralistic government of its legitimacy and a divine church of its spiritual mission. Despite that desirable distance, government need not be hostile to religion or pretend to ignore God.

That concludes Dallin H. Oaks talk on religious values and public policy. Original Source.

Religious Values and Public Policy, Part 4

Continuing Dallin H. Oaks’ speech:

No person with values based on religious beliefs should apologize for taking those values into the public square. Religious persons need to be skillful in how they do so, but they need not yield to an adversary’s assumption that the whole effort is illegitimate. We should remind others of the important instances in which the efforts of churches and clergy in the political arena have influenced American public policies in great historical controversies whose outcome is virtually unquestioned today. The slavery controversy was seen as a great moral issue and became the major political issue of the nineteenth century because of the preaching of clergy and the political action of churches. A century later, churches played an indispensable role in the civil rights movement, and, a decade later, clergymen and churches of various denominations were an influential part of the antiwar movement that contributed to the end of the war in Vietnam.

Many sincere religious people believe there should be no limitations on religious arguments on political issues so long as the speaker genuinely believes those issues can be resolved as a matter of right or wrong.

I believe that questions of right and wrong, whether based on religious principles or any other source of values, are legitimate in any debate over laws or public policy. Is there anything more important to debate than what is right or wrong? And those arguments should be open across the entire political spectrum. There is no logical way to contend that religious arguments or lobbying are legitimate on the question of abstinence from nuclear war by nations but not on the question of abstinence from sexual relations by teenagers.

What limitations should churches and their leaders observe when they choose to participate in public debate on political issues?

I emphasize at the outset that I am discussing limits to guide all churches across a broad spectrum of circumstances. I am not seeking to define or defend a Mormon position. As a matter of prudence, our church has confined its own political participation within a far smaller range than is required by the law or the Constitution. Other churches have chosen to assert the full latitude of their constitutional privileges and, in the opinion of some, have even exceeded them.

Where should we draw the line between what is and is not permissible for church and church-leader participation in public policy making?

At one extreme, we hear shrill complaints about political participation by any persons whose political views are attributable to religious beliefs or the teachings of their church. The words “blind obedience” are usually included in such complaints. Complaints there are, but I am not aware of any serious or rational position that would ban religious believers from participation in the political process. The serious challenges concern the participation of churches and church leaders.

More to follow. Original Source.