Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

18 July 2008

GOP Platform: Speak Out

By Diana Hsieh

The Republican Platform Committee is soliciting comments on issues pertaining to the 2008 GOP platform. It's an excellent opportunity to clearly and forcefully advocate that the Republicans uphold the separation of church and state based on the secular principles of individual rights.

To submit a comment:

  1. Create an account, then check your e-mail for your login and password. Go back to the web site and login in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

  2. Click on "Submit a Text Entry" in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Write your own comment on church-state separation. (You might wish to compose the message in a text file, so that you can post versions of it in multiple categories.)

  3. In the menu for "Issue Category," select "Protecting American Values." Then a new submenu appears. Select "Religious Liberty." (You can also submit your comment -- or some modified version of it -- to the "Abortion", "Stem Cell Research", "Same Sex Marriage", and "Faith-Based Organizations" categories.)

  4. Hit the submit button!
Here are some examples of stellar submissions from supporters of the separation of church and state:

From Doug Krening:
It is impossible to protect our religious liberty as well as all of our individual rights unless we endorse the strict separation of church and state.

This is the single most important issue of our time. It eclipses the war against islamic fundamentalists, energy issues, health care, social security etc. Because religion in government always leads to disastrous theocracy. Always.

The proper role of government is to protect the individual rights of its citizens. In order to do so, all laws must be derived from the realities of this world. To let any one group's religious beliefs dictate law strikes at the very heart of the liberties which government must protect. Religious government is anathema to religious liberty.

I have been a Republican for my entire voting life, but cannot endorse the GOP currently because of it's explicit endorsement of religion in government.
From Hannah Krening:
As a Republican since 1976, I am disillusioned, largely because of the party's abandonment of individual liberty in favor of religion in politics. Separation of church and state should be part of the Republican agenda, as religion has no part in the law of the land. Religious fundamentalism is a threat to individual liberty and is not true to the original principles of our founders or our party. One can stand for freedom to practice religion (or not) but stand against laws restricting reproductive freedom, teaching faith (creationism) as if it was science in public schools, legislating sexual issues, etc. It is dismaying to see the religious right become a driving force in the Republican Party. I am not alone in this; most Republicans I know feel alienated from the party on this issue. Living in a swing state, I believe that this issue needs to be revisited, as we have a lot to lose if Democrats increase their power.
From Ken Barclay:
My family has always voted Republican. The Party has changed in recent years.

The important issue: the Republican Party must stand for strict separation of church and state.

But the Party has now allied itself with the religious right, with such pet issues as anti-stem-cell research, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage.

I will not vote Republican under such terms. Protection of individual rights is the most important political issue. Citizens have the right to indulge in their religion, but only privately. There is no right to force one's religious views on others, as the religious right hopes to do through the Republican Party.

My hope is for the Party to get back to issues of individual rights, national defense, and free markets. Leave the "social" issues to Americans' free choice. Until then, the Party will not have my vote.
From Paul Hsieh:
The Republican Party must promote the strict separation of church and state. I used to support the Republican Party because I believe in individual rights, free markets, a strong national defense, and the right to keep and bear arms.

However, the Republican Party alliance with the religious right on "social issues" like stem cell research, abortion and gay marriage has turned off many former supporters such as myself.

Americans have a right to practice their religion as a purely private matter, and I defend everyone's right to do so.

But the government should not force one group's religious views on everyone. Hence, I no longer have a home in any political party. To paraphrase a quote from Ronald Reagan, "I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me."

(This should not be taken as any kind of endorsement of Barack Obama - I find his policies loathsome and anti-American.)
Finally, here's my own submission:
15 years ago, the GOP attracted me for its commitment to free markets and fiscal responsibility, even if only half-hearted. Today, the GOP has lost my vote due to its dangerous entanglement with evangelical Christianity.

The GOP should reject any attempt to inject religion into politics as a violation of individual rights, particularly freedom of religion and conscience. It should uphold a strict separation of church and state.

It is immoral to force a person to comply with Biblical laws -- such as restrictions on abortion and discrimination against gays.

It is immoral to force a person to fund religion with his tax dollars -- as with "faith-based initiatives" and intelligent design in public schools.

The only proper government is a secular government devoted to the protection of individual rights. When the GOP upholds that principle in its platform, I will vote for its candidates again.
Given Barak Obama's goal of expanding faith-based initiatives, the Democrats can and ought to be criticized on this issue too. America doesn't need its two political parties stumbling over each other to see who can tear down the wall of separation between church and state the fastest.

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