Separation anxiety: politics and religion shouldn’t mix

By Cliff McCollum
Posted 6/17/16

While I champion a great many causes, I dare say the one I hold dearest is one of our most fundamental of rights as American citizens: the rigid separation of church and state.

I take that separation to be a two-fold one.

I believe that people …

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Separation anxiety: politics and religion shouldn’t mix

Posted

While I champion a great many causes, I dare say the one I hold dearest is one of our most fundamental of rights as American citizens: the rigid separation of church and state.

I take that separation to be a two-fold one.

I believe that people should be free to practice whatever religion they choose in a fashion that coincides with their particular beliefs, free of governmental involvement or interference.

It was governmental intrusion into religious practice that drove the Puritans to Plymouth Rock and made the First Amendment the bedrock of the U.S. Constitution that it is.

The other side of that same coin, however, is that I also want the church as far away from my government as possible.

In an area where church attendance and involvement are listed as credentials of office for candidates, I realize my views are in the minority on this one.

However, creating opportunities for candidates to use religion as a means of securing your vote only goes to disservice in the long run.

Any candidate can come and visit a church, glad hand, smile and kiss the babies – it isn’t hard work.

As I’ve said before, you must examine the candidates to find if they truly possess the virtues they claim to espouse.

This examination is a highly personal one – some may pass your tests and not mine and vice versa.

We all judge by different criteria.

We may be able to come together and agree that some things being done during this election season are somewhat less than honorable, though.

Maybe I’m a stickler, but I think anyone who hands out yard signs at church or wears a campaign sticker during church should be thrown out of God’s house the way Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s the same principle.

When I am in church, I am there to be renewed by the presence of God, not have to stare incredulously and wonder if my eyes deceive me.

Sufficed to say, if I see any such behavior from now on, I will gladly raise up whatever pitiful forces I can muster and do my damnedest to make sure that those candidates are not elected.

Truth be told, I’m also not a huge fan of candidates who are not regular members and attenders at a church popping by for a visit on Sunday mornings, waiting for recognition from the pulpit as if they were some visiting head of state worthy of such deference.

If you want to come visit my church, please, by all means, Mr. or Ms. Candidate, come worship.

But, don’t ask to be recognized and don’t you dare troll for votes.

Answer questions when asked, but don’t politic from the pew.

Again, I don’t want to have to go crazy on some folks, but I take the sanctity of my faith and where I choose to worship quite seriously.

I wish these candidates would, too.

If this is a problem you are seeing (and I know I’m not the only one because many of you have talked to me about it), don’t just sit back and let it happen.

Speak up.

Let these people know that we will not have our faith and our beliefs be trampled upon just to help get some folks into office.

It’s time to say “Shibboleth,” candidates.

Get ready to be real or get ready to face the wrath of true people of faith.

Cliff McCollum is managing editor of Gulf Coast Media. He can be reached at cliff@gulfcoastmedia.com.