posted on 10 February 2016
Written by Frank Li
Here are three recent news stories:
The fact that our Presidential candidates use religion to their advantage speaks loudly about our political system: it encourages pandering at any expense, even if it obviously goes against a founding principle of America: church and state do not mix! Therefore, I feel necessary to address the issue of "the Bible vs. the Constitution", holistically.
1. The correct answer
Here is the correct answer: between the Bible and the Constitution, the American President must choose the Constitution!
This is actually a litmus test for the U.S. citizenship. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Oath of Allegiance (United States):
End of discussion? Yes, but what about the word "God" at the end of the Oath? I believe, or at least hope, that today the word "God" refers to a general God, not that of a particular religion, even if the founders were referring only to their god. More on this in Section 3 ...
2. Freedom of religion in the U.S.
Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia - Freedom of religion in the United States:
In short, church and state do not mix!
3. Public references to God
There are many public references to God in America, from the one Dollar bill (shown below) to many examples listed in this article: God in Our Nation's Capital.
Once again, my interpretation of the use of "God" refers to a general God, not that of a particular religion, including atheists who believe in no god.
On the other hand, if all the public references to God refer to a particular God of a particular religion (e.g. Christianity), they are an anachronism, perhaps acceptable at the time, but not so today, just like slavery and "We the People" in the Constitution. Specifically,
4. Working towards a more perfect union
As a nation, we have come a long way to make our union more perfect. We must continue to do so, while resisting any attempt to curtail religious freedom in America!
Today, there is too much Islam bashing in America, which is not only totally wrong, but also utterly dangerous! Do we really want to turn the world’s Muslim population against America? To understand a vast subject like Islam, you need to read from both sides, the West and the East. Unfortunately, most Americans read from the West only, resulting in a hugely distorted view of the world, including the understanding of Islam (as well as Christianity)!
Bottom line: we must do everything possible to avoid a religious war in America!
Now, back to Dr. Ben Carson ... Why did he fail the litmus test? I guess he was trying to please his core constituency: the evangelicals! More profoundly, it's democracy, stupid!
Throughout human civilization, it has been a constant power struggle between two authorities: king and religion. Religious power tends to get stronger with a weak king, while a strong king often means weaker religious power.
The power struggle remains little changed after a monarchy is replaced by a republic. The same can be said about the power dynamics between the two authorities: government and religion.
Unfortunately, most democratically elected governments have proven to be untrustworthy, with ridiculously low approval ratings! As a result, people turn more to religion, which is true today not only in the Middle East, but also in America! For more, read:
For some religious Americans, the image below may be very helpful …
Here are two recent news stories:
Are these just more examples of America vs. the World?
Finally, for those Americans (e.g. Donald Trump) who think "Muslims hate us", here is a simple question: why do not they hate the Chinese (as much)? The answer is also very simple: it has a lot to do with the key difference in foreign policies between America and China – intervention vs. non-intervention! Overall, China’s non-intervention policy will prove, if not already has proven to be, far superior to America’s intervention policy!
Church and state must not mix!
For all public officials, the Constitution must top any religion, including the Bible (or Koran)! This, I believe, is a key aspect of true American exceptionalism!
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