Politics and religion
Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker’s fawning commentary on Aug. 24 about U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and his new memoir full of “miracles that shaped him” said almost nothing about his political issues. Being told about his devotion to Christianity and Jesus Christ impresses me no more than being told of another politician’s devotion to Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We are a secular democracy with separation of church and state, and what should matter is how our politicians think about and vote on issues.
Politicians should not try to impose their personal religious beliefs on the rest of us. But as a member of Charleston County Council in 1997, Scott insisted on posting the Ten Commandments on the wall of council chambers, despite being told that he would lose any legal challenge to the action. In response, Scott argued that the display was needed to remind citizens of moral absolutes.
Scott, normally a fiscal conservative, then added, “Whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal is worth it.” The court, as expected, declared the display unconstitutional and handed taxpayers a substantial bill for legal costs.
Government must not favor one religion over another, or religion over nonreligion.
I support the free speech rights of individuals to prominently display their personal religious beliefs on private property, bumper stickers and T-shirts. But nobody may enlist the government to promulgate a particular religious view.