By Sandhya Bathija
Did you know that I’m an “enemy of what is good about America”? And if you support Americans United, well, then you must be, too!
But that’s what Mark Ramsey, a blogger at Texas GOP Vote believes.
In a blog post, he asked:
“Why does the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State exist? They are enemies of what is good about America. Why does the ACLU exist? They are enemies of what made this country the envy of the world.”
You see, Ramsey thinks we are standing in the way of churches speaking out about politics and participating in society. He says that Christians need to seize control of our government.
“Christianity dutifully sitting only on the sidelines of politics has been tamed by and is subservient to those politicians,” he writes. “The two are intertwined so closely with our future that Christians must become politicians, at least for this season. We must participate. When ‘city hall’ is on the wrong side of issues—all issues—we must fight city hall. We must be city hall. From the school house to the White House the enemies of Christ and America must be challenged.”
He also adds that there is not enough mixing of religion and politics in the United States.
“I humbly submit that we are in the midst of various crises today precisely because we have not focused on the things that really matter,” he writes. “Religion and government are at the very top of the list of oft-ignored topics—ignored at our great peril.”
He has to be joking. Coming off a weekend of attending Gov. Rick Perry’s “The Response,” I KNOW that is not true. Religion and politics are merging everywhere we look – whether we like it or not.
Plus, Americans United has never been for preventing houses of worship from speaking on issues of the day. All we seek is to do is stop religious organizations from turning into partisan political machines by actively campaigning for particular candidates. After all, most people go to church, synagogue or temple for spiritual guidance, not to hear how to vote.
I’m not sure what things Ramsey thinks is good about this country – but I’m sure most Americans will agree that the religious freedom we enjoy here is certainly one of them. I think it’s fair to say Americans United is certainly no enemy of that.
We’re also being attacked by another right-wing activist. On the Christian News Wire, Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, has calledAmericans United hypocritical, saying that we chastised Perry for his involvement with “The Response,” but seem to have no problem with Sojourners’ Jim Wallis making an appointment with President Obama to defend welfare programs.
Tooley misses the point and is comparing apples to oranges.
Americans United opposed Perry’s involvement with “The Response” because the governor overstepped his constitutional bounds by initiating an event that favored one particular faith group and excluded Americans who are not fundamentalist Christians. That’s a violation of church-state separation.
But Wallis’ meeting with the president is not at all the same. The president meets with all sorts of faith-based and secular groups. So long as he doesn’t favor one particular belief in his official policies, we see no reason to protest.
I guess we should be pleased that critics such as these are out there beating on Americans United. It means we’re getting the job done, and they don’t like it. I just wish they would get their facts straight and make coherent arguments. Is that too much to ask?
Church-state separation is a bedrock principle of American life, but it’s under attack by wealthy, well-organized religious and political forces. If you believe in freedom, take a stand!