Oxford union

I participated in a roundtable dialogue on Wednesday, May 11, at Oxford University within the Oxford Union in England. The subject was once about blending politics with faith. See
https://oxford-union.org/event/interfaith-panel/
Here have been my opening remarks,

Mixing politics with faith is fraught with threat. We all know theocracies, the place leaders govern by means of the desire of an infallible god. Openly defying the “correct” religion is known as blasphemy and ends up in harsh punishments, even loss of life. I thinkeveryone will have to have the appropriate to follow any faith or none, so long as they do not drive their ideals on others. I respect folks whose faith conjures up them to paintings on vital social justice problems. In international locations that aren’t theocratic, politics would possibly nonetheless be infused with faith. My nation, the United States, has an earthly executive with an issue of faith immersed in politics.

I cling in my hand a Godless file—the United States Constitution. Our framers established the primary country in historical past intended to split faith and executive. Authority rests with “We the People” (the primary 3 phrases of the Constitution) no longer with “Thou the Deity.” The handiest mentions of faith within the Constitution are exclusionary. The First Amendment prohibits america Congress from making rules respecting an established order of faith or prohibiting the unfastened workout thereof. Article VI prohibits non secular checks for public workplace. That did not prevent some states from hanging non secular necessities of their state constitutions, together with my state. I used to be a candidate for governor of South Carolina in 1990 to problem the availability in my State Constitution that bars atheists from retaining public workplace. After an eight-year criminal combat, I received a unanimous resolution within the South Carolina Supreme Court, placing down this unconstitutional non secular take a look at requirement.
       
The US Declaration of Independence, which isn’t a governing file, does check with a Creator endowing folks with unalienable rights. The Declaration was once a decision for rise up towards the British Crown, to differentiate us from an empire that asserted the divine proper of kings. Our founders have been merchandise of the Enlightenment, having a look towards explanation why and proof from the flora and fauna. Many have been deists, regarding Nature’s God who set the rules of nature in movement after which retired as deity emeritus. Had they identified about evolution and fashionable science, many would most probably had been atheists.

In 1954, American President Dwight Eisenhower signed into legislation the addition of the phrases “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance to differentiate us from godless Communists. This became our secular pledge, recited day by day by means of scholars, into a non secular pledge. America is one country beneath the Constitution, or possibly beneath Canada, however no longer one country beneath God.

Similarly, “In God we trust” turned into our arguable nationwide motto in 1956 on the top of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, changing the extra inclusive motto “E pluribus unum,” Latin for “out of many, one.”
                       
The 10 Commandments are another divisive issue. Many Americans who want them displayed in schools and courts either don’t realize or don’t care that the first Commandment (Thou shalt have no other gods) conflicts with the First Amendment, which guarantees the freedom to worship one, many, or no gods. Churches and individuals are certainly free to post the 10 Commandments openly, just not on government buildings.

In 2016 Donald Trump became president, in large part because of overwhelming support by white Christian Evangelicals. Many are also white Christian Nationalists who long for the olden days when their white privilege enabled them more easily to discriminate against those of a different race, and those with non-Christian or no religious beliefs. These white Christian nationalists are trying to rewrite American history, claiming that the US was formed as a “Christian nation.”
 
On January 6, 2021, we learned just how fragile my country’s democracy could be as Donald Trump incited a mob of terrorists to storm our nation’s Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Many were inspired by their white Christian nationalism.
 
Lots of Christians in America feel Christianity is under attack and that Christians deserve special rights, including tax dollars to support private Christian schools. They want to require prayer in schools, and sex education classes to teach “abstinence only.” Some have satisfied states to cross anti-gay, anti-transgender, and anti-abortion expenses. Some additionally advertise unscientific non secular teachings, like creationism, in secular colleges
 
Christians have a large number of affect over america executive. The Republican celebration succeeded in packing our Supreme Court with conservative Christian justices who, in June, will vote to overturn Roe V Wade, a 1973 resolution that legalizedabortionfar and wide in america
 
Looking at international locations around the globe presentations that faith and politics could make a horrible partnership, and when blending the 2 we ceaselessly get the worst of each.

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