POLITICAL observations & opinions

* a voice of religious common sense from my Key West friend the Rev. Randy Becker

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 19, 2012


Rev. Randy Becker


the Rev. Dr. Randolph W.B. Becker … 

  • When I see a religious community surrounding a candidate for President of the United States, on their knees praying for his electoral success as a manifestation of their righteousness, I am worried and sickened.
  • The founders of the United States, a religiously diverse lot if accurately labeled by today’s theologies and ideologies, knew only too well the bloody history at the intersection of governance and religion.
  • To protect their bold experiment in democracy they wisely resisted attempts to identify the new nation as specifically Christian and instead adopted, in the First Amendment to our Constitution, a balance of separation between Church and State.
  • Central to this balance is an understanding that we do not all have to agree on certain central issues, but that the free interchange of sentiments about values, weighed in the equality of the democratic process, will preserve our free way of life.
  • This notion is so central to our shared American experience that we generally have the luxury (and possibly the arrogance) to believe that strife based on religious differences only occurs in foreign countries. We view the warfare between Sunnis and Shiites, or between Muslims and Hindus as alien to us, believing we have immunity to such conflict.
  • Our democracy works well when it is founded on the interplay, even passionate interplay, of competing values. “I see things differently,” is the formula for discourse.
  • But when values are replaced with notions of divine righteousness, American democracy’s claim to immunity to religious conflicts is voided. “You’re wrong and I am divinely right,” is the formula for conflict.
  • When discourse of values is replaced with the dogmatism of presumed righteousness, the very foundations of our national experiment are threatened.

Any fervent belief in the absolute righteousness of one’s position,

be it Christian or Atheist, Liberal or Conservative,

sows the seeds for the destruction of our democracy.

  • Rather than seek a President who will represent our own particular sense of righteousness, let us seek a President who will promote, in campaign as well as in office, the time-honored, open discourse of diverse values central to our non-sectarian democracy.


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