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Too Much of a God Thing

| April 4, 2012

Pew Research Center poll, March 7-11, 2012.

From the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: “A new survey finds signs of public uneasiness with the mixing of religion and politics. The number of people who say there has been too much religious talk by political leaders stands at an all-time high since the Pew Research Center began asking the question more than a decade ago. And most Americans continue to say that churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics.

the live wire flaglerlive“Nearly four-in-ten Americans (38%) now say there has been too much expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders, while 30% say there has been too little. In 2010, more said there was too little than too much religious expression from politicians (37% vs. 29%). The percentage saying there is too much expression of religious faith by politicians has increased across party lines, but this view remains far more widespread among Democrats than Republicans. Slightly more than half of the public (54%) says that churches should keep out of politics, compared with 40% who say religious institutions should express their views on social and political matters. This is the third consecutive poll conducted over the past four years in which more people have said churches and other houses of worship should keep out of politics than said they should express their views on social and political topics. By contrast, between 1996 and 2006 the balance of opinion on this question consistently tilted in the opposite direction.” See the full summary here, and the full report here.

The report reminds us of a 2005 column by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the late historian, a piece entitled “Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr”: “THE recent outburst of popular religiosity in the United States is a most dramatic and unforeseen development in American life. As Europe grows more secular, America grows more devout. George W. Bush is the most aggressively religious president Americans have ever had. American conservatives applaud his “faith-based” presidency, an office heretofore regarded as secular.

Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

“The religious right has become a potent force in national politics. Evangelicals now outnumber mainline Protestants and crowd megachurches. Billy Graham attracts supplicants by the thousand in Sodom and Gomorrah, a k a New York City. The Supreme Court broods over the placement of the Ten Commandments. Evangelicals take over the Air Force Academy, a government institution maintained by taxpayers’ dollars; the academy’s former superintendent says it will be six years before religious tolerance is restored. Mel Gibson’s movie “Passion of the Christ” draws nearly $400 million at the domestic box office. In the midst of this religious commotion, the name of the most influential American theologian of the 20th century rarely appears – Reinhold Niebuhr. It may be that most “people of faith” belong to the religious right, and Niebuhr was on secular issues a determined liberal. […] He declared himself “in broad agreement with the relativist position in the matter of freedom, as upon every other social and political right or principle.” In pointing to the dangers of what Justice Robert H. Jackson called “compulsory godliness,” Niebuhr argued that “religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.” Religion, he warned, could be a source of error as well as wisdom and light. Its role should be to inculcate, not a sense of infallibility, but a sense of humility. Indeed, “the worst corruption is a corrupt religion.”

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16 Responses for “Too Much of a God Thing”

  1. Darby says:

    Well color me surprised ! Society has turned into the GODLESS SOCIETY. Maybe that’s why there’s so much crime, drugs, sexual freaks and perverts, corrupt politicians, and War in the Middle-East. Way to go society, turning against GOD has taken you in such a positive direction.

    • Nancy N. says:

      I take serious offense to the statement that living without god makes you a degenerate freak that commits crimes.

      I’m an atheist and live by a strong moral code – one that just doesn’t happen to include a supreme being. I don’t commit crimes or do drugs and I’m not corrupt or a pervert. I believe in being moral because it is the right thing to do to honor my fellow human, not because some invisible being told me to.

      I also seem to recall that it’s the bible-thumping conservative politicians that got us into all the wars in the Middle East so why are you blaming peace loving people like me?

      • Angie says:

        What defines right and wrong in your belief system? Who decided what morals were? Why? Animals, the one’s your belief system says you evolved from, aren’t bothered by morals.

        No one blames you for any war, but I seem to recall a host of godless politicians voting for the wars alongside your few “Bible thumpers”. And peace is a nice objective, but it is unattainable. It only takes one person to screw it up and we have a world of evil people standing in the way of peacefulness. That’s why we have to fight wars. We’re not fighting to have world domination. What war effort have we ever engaged in that wasn’t fought for the liberation of some people? America has often played the role of the big brother fighting to protect the younger siblings.

  2. Gia says:

    Church must stay away from politic & shut up. They have huge estate & do not pays property tax which is wrong.

  3. JIM.R says:

    What was the faith in G. W. Bush’s presidency, Satanism? He couldn’t possibly be a Christian, they believe in peace, love and tolerance, supposedly.
    Someday people will advance enough to not need some magic guy in the sky to tell them what to do, even though they never do what they profess to believe in.
    The assassin in chief is no better, he says he’s a believer too.

  4. Outsider says:

    What a piss poor example of journalism. Someone completely left out a chart that should have been titled “Percentage of People Who Believe the Government Should Stay Out of the Church’s Affairs.” Once again, the left-wing media distorts what the whole argument was about a few months ago. The Catholic Church did not want to get into the politics of contraception; it wanted the government to stay out of it’s business. Since that didn’t go over very well with the American people, they tried to change the debate and make it seem like the church was getting in the political realm. It only did so after the Obama administration attempted to bypass the First Amendment by forcing the Catholic Church to go against itself. Of course, that won’t stop the left from trying to dupe the gullible. Now where did you hide that third chart, Flagler Live?

    • jespo says:

      It’s hidden right next to the chart listing all the children raped by priests over the last two thousand years…it’s a pretty big chart, must be hiding the one you’re seeking…

  5. resident says:

    This is a country who was build on religious values. The problem is there is not enough God in anything we do. Hence that most politicians are Greedy, liers,adultures, and the list goes on. If we would put God first then we might start seeing alot of changes in our youth, as well as the rest of the country we might start seeing ourselves come out of debt. Think about it.

  6. Sad Times says:

    Whatever happened to “separation of church and state?”

  7. B. Claire says:

    Republicans [Lee Atwater, Karl Rove come to mind] figured out early that you wrap whatever you want your ‘followers’ to vote for …in religion…and/or the flag… and BAM…done. They knew they would not even stop to figure out that they are voting against their own self-interest, well-being & future. In droves!

    Tea Party…both a result and re-birth. Hitting their own selves in the head with a hammer…and happy to do it !?!



    Ruining us.

  8. Zachary says:

    The ‘G-O-D’ was a master geneticist, he made Eve from Adam’s rib, Adam himself was made from soil. That’s some advanced technology, more proof he was actually an alien

  9. Sherry Epley says:

    In my mind, religious freedom also means freedom “from” religion. As Thomas Jefferson wrote:

    The phrase “separation of church and state” is derived from a letter written by President Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to Baptists from Danbury, Connecticut, and published in a Massachusetts newspaper soon thereafter. In that letter, referencing the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Jefferson writes:

    Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

    Too many atrocities have been committed in the name of “my” particular God. Study and consider the motives behind the Christian (Catholic) “Inquisition”, and historically many more religious wars . . . even the strife and lives lost in the Middle East today.

    I am a very spiritual person and my personal belief that basic moral concepts, derived from a cross section of religious teachings, make a good and just foundation for governing principles and statues. However, it is my opinion, that pulling “particular” religious beliefs into the details of the laws that govern our lives, rights and freedoms is the opposite of the religious freedom upon which our country was founded.

  10. happening now says:

    I attended a church sevice in Flagler when the paster screamed and pounded the podium, WE MUST GET RID OF THESE HOMOSEXUALS NOW! Haven’t been back to a church since, Scared the hell out of me.

    • Terry says:

      I’ve been to that church…Love it ! Going again this Sunday. Amen !

      • jespo says:

        Yup…yer probably going there for the Lot incest sermon where he sleeps with his daughters…much more acceptable to you. Amen.

    • B. Claire says:

      happening now +

      Who else is continually shocked that such a charming town/county can be harboring such hate & intolerance in so many areas? And the pride with the vitriol is stunning.

      It is ‘The South’ on steroids…and not in a mint julep & charm sort of way.

      Would have NEVER thought this b4 moving here. Don’t know whether more sad, angry or embarrassed.

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