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Name: Mister Rea
Gender: Male
Hometown: Houston
Home country: Moon
Current location: afk
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 48,808

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One reason to keep your religion out of gov't is that I may need to come after you & your ideas

Apparently Orin Hatch wants to tear down the wall of separation between church and state. He thinks his idea of God is a better way of governing the nation than my idea (and the Founding Fathers' idea) idea of leaving religion out of politics. He seems to want to ignore both the lessons of history and the reality of human psychology when our most precious ideals and values are brought under attack. He seems to think that his notions of religious truth are strong enough to withstand the give and take of political debate. He has no idea, apparently, of two basic truths the Framers of the US Constitution protected us from:
1) just how silly and vulnerable everyone's religious beliefs are, and
2) just how ugly the fighting can and will get when you put religion into the mix.

Let me break it down for you (and for anyone you choose to forward this message to). You see, religion is about faith, which is a beautiful thing, and politics is about testing ideas against each other in ruthless and sometimes crushing arguments.

In the political realm, you might have what I judge to be bad ideas. In politics, we must examine and tear apart one another's ideas. That's how we debate, that's really the only legitimate way to debate, both for policies and for who ought to be voted into office or not. But if you openly tether your political ideas to your religious ideas, then you more or less oblige me to go after your religion every time I disagree with your politics. You make attacking your religion politically viable, maybe even politically necessary. And things can only get ugly from there.

It'd be like changing the rules in Boxing so that all contenders have to fight nuts-out from their boxing shorts and then allowing crotch-punching inside the ring. Look, I don't want to punch your nuts... I want you to leave your nuts out of the game. But once you change the rules so that scrotum shots are a legit maneuver, I'd be a damn fool of a pugilist not to throw a few roundhouses down testicle way. By advocating nuts-out politics for America, Senator Hatch, you're more or less announcing that you both choose to swing yours around and will punch away at mine whenever we disagree.

You might think your nuts are invulnerable, that they're perfect nuts, that your God would never let me land a solid blow to your twin swingers. But believe me, I know a lot about hitting nuts and yours will bust in ways where you can't imagine the hurt. Nuts are like that. They seem to be happy little things, full of promise and joy and glad tidings. But in fact they are soft and tender and pliable and, once exposed and brought into the zone of fair play, I will make the "War on Christmas" seem like a picnic in the park before I'm done. I will have your chestnuts roasting on an open fire, my Christian friend, if you dare try to swing your personal business up in my personal space in the public domain. Thomas Jefferson wisely called for a "wall of separation" but since you can't see that, Senator Hatch, I'm going to call it the Cup of Religious Liberty.

What I'm saying is, your religion is your nuts. You don't want to deal with mine and--trust me--I sure as hell don't want to deal with yours. Sorry, but it's just not my bag of tea. If you or I happen to land a particularly solid blow inside the ring, the punchee won't simply lose points from the judges; we'll actually damage, maybe do permanent damage to, our opponents. You won't be able to perpetuate your family line and my glove will be covered in bloody scro-sweat. It's a lose-lose situation. The rowdy sport of gentlemen will become only a synonym for war. Cause, you see, if you punch me in the face, I might concede the fight. But if you threaten my personal harm in what I consider most important and sublime in this life, I will not fight by the rules. I will fight to win. I will fight to kill. So would any man.

This is what England found out in its Civil War in the 1600s. This is what Germany found out in the Protestant Reformation. This is what the rest of Europe found out in the Thirty Years War. When you put your nuts in the game, the game changes in ways that can only bloody up the conflict, end personal liberties for all, including the winners, and damage family lines in ways that ought to permanently left out of politics. Secular, church-free politics lets us lose gracefully and keep our democracy. Politics that exposes our religions to attack is a short walk to civil war. If occupying and attempting to democratize Iraq taught us anything, we should know that. But then, Senator Hatch, that's a different lesson of history you chose not to learn from.
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