Whilst the world quibbles about Pluto’s status as a dwarf planet, I thought I’d follow up on the real astronomy story – well covered over at Cosmic Variance – proof of the existence of dark matter. I was, however, taken aback by a matter far darker: Katherine Harris’ condemnation of the separation of church and state.
Said Harris (via the Washington Post):
Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) said this week that God did not intend for the United States to be a “nation of secular laws” and that the separation of church and state is a “lie we have been told” to keep religious people out of politics.
“If you’re not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin,” Harris told interviewers from the Florida Baptist Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention.
It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for ignorant people to get elected to public office in this country. It’s especially ironic when one considers that nearly every other profession requires a working knowledge of the field. Wouldn’t it be nice if politicians were required to pass a test on political science, political philosophy, or even better the history of our country?
It’s pretty clear that founding fathers were Deists and not evangelicals as Harris and her ilk would like us to believe. Wikipedia’s entry on Deism has this, which is a good jumping off point for further exploration:
In America, Deists played a major role in creating the principle of separation of church and state, and the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment of the Constitution. American Deists include John Quincy Adams, Ethan Allen, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.
There is debate as to whether George Washington was a deist or not.
Thomas Paine published The Age of Reason, a treatise that helped to popularize deism throughout America and Europe.
One does not need to delve to deeply into history to see that the intermingling of church and state is a terrible thing, bad for government and bad for religion. I suspect the founding fathers – a religious sounding term if ever there was one - knew that. (There are some interesting quotes from the founding fathers at Bring It On, discovered via The Gun Toting Liberal.)
If Harris is representative of the conservative movement in this country, I hope that the fiscal and libertarian wing of the Republican party will someday (and soon) stand up and take back their party. But even if she isn’t representative, she is, sadly, a Representative to the US House.