The relationship of religion and politics has been fraught with controversy since America’s founding. In Europe a brutal mixture of church and state harmed both institutions: faith was perverted by power, sometimes using and sometimes used by the state. The Founders opposed a similar practice in America, hence the First Amendment’s ban on the “establishment” of religion.
At the same time, the new nation included people who fled religious persecution elsewhere and for whom obedience to God superseded obedience to king. To ensure their ability to practice their faith, including to be “salt and light” in the larger society, the Constitution guarantees religion’s “free exercise.”
However, the Founders did not want to see a republic divided along religious lines. Not only did the Constitution bar any religious test, but the early leaders were a motley crew when it came to matters of faith. Serious Christians were active at all levels of society, but the Founders were not an especially devout lot. Even George Washington, so revered by so many, probably was a deist despite his shows of public piety.
Yet today some Christian activists seek a Christian candidate. TV personality Jim Bob Duggar urged Iowans to vote for Rick Santorum: “We are asking all the Christians throughout America to get behind him so we can have a godly Christian man as president.”
Not a competent, smart, effective president. Not a realistic, thoughtful, or even principled president. ,,, Read More