Religion And Politics Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Both religion and politics take dead aim at humanity’s primitive ego emotional desires for the preservation and promotion of self-interests. Both work off the forces of perception and hope verses reality and fact — whichever storyline the priest or politician believes can be most effective when directed toward a specific audience.

America’s radically enlightened founding father hoped to split apart the two. Most likely they were influence to this end by the horrors of the Thirty Years War 1618–1648 (the Counter Reformation) fought mostly on Germany soil, the lands comprising the Holy Roman Empire at the time. Twenty percent of the German speaking peoples of central Europe were killed off during this particularly bloody period, a time when the Pope’s Catholic forces were attempting to regain control lost to the reformation of Martin Luther and his protestant religionist — Lutheran and Calvinist sects.

Unfortunately separating church and state in America has been an uphill climb. Many early immigrants to the New World were religious fanatics hoping to find the freedom to worship as they wished. Thus freedom of religion became a central theme of the new American republic, giving a notion counter to the predominant intension of the intellectual faction of the country that church and state should be walled apart.

Indeed the common man could point to the many references to God in the nation’s public documents and think that American and religion were one and the same. Thus even today many religionists insist that America is a Christian nation, which for all practical purposes it was for its first few centuries. So in this regard the founding father original intent has been something of a failure.

As the nation matures and becomes more sophisticated, however, it has begun to move more and more toward becoming a predominately secular nation. It sees the horrors of the religious strife in the Middle East between Sunni and Shite, which seems to be that part of the world’s version of Europe’s Thirty Years War, and Americans say maybe it is a good idea to separate religion out of politics. Certainly with our delicate racial divide, America doesn’t need the added fiction of religion stirring up hostilities. Yet as religion and politics are psychological joined at the hip, it will always remain something of an uphill climb to keep the two apart.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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