Mix religion and politics, and run like the devil before the explosion.
It is a lesson Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis learned after refusing to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples because it ran counter to her religious beliefs.
It also brings to mind Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to close Planned Parenthood offices in Columbia and Greenville. After her successful effort to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds — an effort that broadened her national visibility — Haley is being talked about as a vice-presidential candidate; what perfect timing to focus attention on another hot political potato.
About 6,500 South Carolinians seek medical and educational services at Planned Parenthood each year. About 70 percent of them have no health insurance. Meanwhile, presidential contenders are jumping onto any hot issue they believe will make them more popular with voters.
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Allow me to state this as clearly as I can: Religion should reign in places of worship and politics in places of governance. Yet too often, those boundaries are pummeled, and the result is a firestorm of invective.
In the online news magazine Consortium News, retired Baptist minister Howard Bess writes that, among other complexities: “A significant number of Christians believe the United States was formed to be a Christian Nation. Therefore, they reject the principle of the separation of church and state.”
America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Meantime, the Pew Research Center reports that the Christian share of adults in the United States has declined sharply; 71 percent of American adults called themselves Christian in 2014, down from 78 percent in 2007. Non-Christian faiths such as Judaism, Islam and Hinduism held steady or increased their share of the population. Then there are those who, while professing no belief in a specific religion, either profess a belief in God, feel a deep connection with nature and the earth or classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.”
Rev. Bess also mentions “the onslaught against the rights of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons by religious organizations.”
It is time to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Time to promise not to attack the rights of others unless they make some effort to attack yours.
And time to understand that “majority rule” is an undeniably faulty concept.