Church, State and Tea

by Dan Quinn

Tea party activists across the country have been doing a lot of shouting about what they say is government getting involved in things it shouldn’t. But we’ve seen a number of tea party-backed candidates in this year’s elections, such as Senate candidates Christine O’Donnell of Delaware and Sharron Angle of Nevada, who don’t seem to have a problem with government getting involved in religious matters. In fact, they want to mix government and religion. Think Progress provides another example: Ken Buck, the Republican nominee for the Senate from Colorado. Here’s what Buck had to say at a candidate forum last year:

I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. It was not written into the Constitution. While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not gonna have a religion that’s sanctioned by the government, it doesn’t mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion. And so that, that concerns me a great deal. So I think there are cultural differences, I think there, we are as strong as we, our culture, our culture gives us our strength, I guess is the best way to put that. And, and I am worried about the fact that we seem to be walking away from culture. And, and one thing that President Obama has done that I would certainly speak about is calling the Christmas tree, which has historically been called a Christmas tree in Washington DC, a holiday tree. It’s just flat wrong in my mind.

FactCheck.org debunked the claim about President Obama supposedly preferring a “holiday tree” instead of a “Christmas tree.” In any case, Buck’s argument against separation of church and state exposes the far right’s fraudulent rhetoric about “small government” and “religious liberty.” Mixing government and religion would threaten religious freedom in America, which is why the First Amendment — which the Texas Freedom Network strongly defends — forbids government promotion or interference in religion.

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