Partisan media stalwart Helen Thomas is just the latest in a long line of commentators to argue that religion and politics don't mix. Like the others, she is woefully misguided.
Commenting on this year's presidential election, Ms. Thomas wrote, "Let's keep religion out of the presidential election campaign. Or is it too late?" Religion, according to Thomas, hasn't played such a major role in a national election since John F. Kennedy's Catholicism became an issue in the 1960 race. But Kennedy, noted Thomas approvingly, dealt with the issue squarely by advising protestant leaders that, if elected, he would not serve as an agent of the Vatican.
Thomas seems offended by the recent decision of Roman Catholic bishops to empower priests to deny communion to pro-abortion politicians such as Senator John Kerry. She says that Kerry has defined himself as a "secular politician who doesn't want to be viewed through a religious prism."
Kerry himself said, "I am not a spokesperson for the church, and the church is not a spokesperson for the United States of America. I'm running for president, and I'm running to uphold the Constitution, which has a strict separation of church and state."
The idea that John Kerry is running to uphold the Constitution is ? well, interesting. I guess it depends on what your idea of the Constitution is. But it is amazing that liberals like Kerry cling to this superficial notion that our religious liberties are dependent on a radical separation of church and state.
Even if the First Amendment mandated a strict separation of church and state -- as opposed to prohibiting the establishment of a national church -- it is difficult to see how a reasonable person could interpret the separation principle as requiring office holders not to infuse their governance with their worldview.
Indeed it's hard to imagine how anyone with the slightest grip on reality could believe that any human being, politician or not, could separate who he is from what he does. If our religious moorings, or lack thereof, don't largely define who we are, then nothing does.
But that's the extreme degree to which irrationality has captured the secularist psyche today. The secularist not only advocates extending the separation principle to the point of smothering religious liberty. He demands that religion -- at least the Christian religion -- be privatized (relegated to churches and homes).
Actually, it's worse. He sometimes doesn't even want the church to be free to express itself on religious matters if such expressions could be construed to overlap into politics, as they inevitably do, especially on social issues.