|Start Every Day with a Prayer|
|You Want to Be Lied To? Ask the man about his religion.|
And I want to warn everyone in the press and all the voters out there, if you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won't all lie to you but a lot of them will. And it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes. So, every day until the end of this campaign, I'll answer any question anyone has on government, But if you have a question on religion, please go to church."
--Arnold Vinick, West Wing
In one of it's typically prescient moments, in the the West Wing's sixth season is a confrontation at the end of an episode called, "In God We Trust" where the Republican presidential nominee, Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) responds to a question about whether or not he will attend a church meeting to which he's been invited and this Republican, who knows where his base is, but who can no longer tolerate the hypocrisy, finally commits a "gaffe" which is to say he tells the truth as he sees it, that when politicians start talking about religious faith, they lie.
This episode aired 10 years ago, but like so much of West Wing, it is eerily current.
Yesterday, Ted Cruz said that no atheist is qualified to be President and furthermore every President ought to begin his day with prayer.
There are other little examples of God being imposed on our secular state: our pledge of allegiance contains the phrase "Under God" which it did not have originally. The "under God" part was added at the height of the McCarthy Red Scare, when everyone was eager to be fighting Godless Communism.
The whole pledge of allegiance thing started in the 1870's as "patriotism" following the Civil War started to fade and school kids were in control of adults so it was in school kids learned a pledge. Things really got rolling in the early 1940's, during World War II when WASP America distrusted Orientals who might prefer Imperial Japan or German Americans, so we had kids doing the American "Zeig! Heil!" in their classrooms.
|Zeig! Heil! America! USA! USA! Oh, puke.|
With all the examples of religion causing havoc in the world, of irrational, rabid belief causing people to kill and destroy, one would think the dangers of introducing religion into our putatively secular society would be obvious, but no, not in the Bible Belt where people cling to their guns and their religion, as Obama was honest enough to observe, and he rued the day he was that honest.
The only politician I can imagine with the guts to say what Arnold Vinick said is Bernie Sanders, who is just irascible enough to sputter in his best Lewis Black tone, "You want to be lied to? You want to really be played? Just demand your political leaders profess their undying love of God, and you'll get just exactly what you deserve!"