They have every need to until it is obvious to every one. And that is unfortunately still a ways away.
Just because you disagree with someone/do not fully understand their POV, does not mean you need to mock them.
Oh I understand their point of view. But it makes it no less ridiculous.
If a politician believed that unicorns from Neptune to save the souls of the poor. That is something that is ridiculous and can be mocked.
If politicians believe that because a Jewish rabbi was crucified that they don't actually die and instead get new bodies and then live forever.
That is something that is ridiculous and can be mocked.
If politicians are young earth creationists, that is something that is ridiculous and can be mocked.
If politicians believe that women can be subjugated and force them to wear curtains to hide their bodies from men, that is something that is ridiculous and can be mocked.
I fully understand the Christian POV, apparently better than you do. Because I am able to see it as it is.
You cannot separate religion from government. Government itself is a religion.
Though you can separate politics from supernaturalism and superstition. Though the loonies who still subscribe to those beliefs continue to fester in their chairs.
Have any of you watched the West Wing? It's an excellent TV show, revolving around a fictional Democratic president and his administration.
Towards the end of the series, the sitting president (who, by the way, is a devout Catholic) is running towards the end of his second term. Two very excellent politicians--an idealistic Democrat from Texas and an extremely intelligent and experienced Republican (these two are actually parallels of the 2008 election; it's like, scary prophetic, seeing as the show ended around 2006-7ish)--are the main contenders for his spot in the Oval Office. The Democrat is also Catholic, but the Republican finds himself on the end of lots of uncomfortable questions about his religion--or lack thereof, actually. He and the president discuss the issue over ice cream. The president tells him, "They never said anything about the separation of religion and politics."
Later, the Republican is speaking to reporters, where he delivers this speech: "If you demand expressions of religious faith from your politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. Not all of them will lie to you, but a lot of them will, and it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes. Now, from now on, I'll answer any question you have about the government. But if you have a question on religion, please, go to church."
What do you guys think about that? I thought it was a fascinating commentary, myself.
As for my personal take on the issue, I am a very strong believer in the separation of church and state. I don't understand how the so-called Christian Right, which in the same breath claims to revere God, small government, and the Founding Fathers, can possibly forget that Thomas Jefferson--the CHAMPION of small government (if only in his word; his actions actually greatly expanded the size of the government, but that's off topic), the original conservative!--deeply cherished the idea, practically INVENTED the PHRASE separation of church and state! The Churches of the World do not run the United States of America--PEOPLE run the United States of America.
I think there's a few different ways to look at this.
Obviously our beliefs, including our religious beliefs, are going to inform our politics. And I think that's fine.
But, in a secular, pluralistic democracy, people cannot and should not legislate their specific religious beliefs/practices, or use religious doctrine as a justification for public policy.
I might, as a Christian, oppose the proposed cuts to SNAP (food stamps) because Jesus told his followers to care for the poor, and SNAP is a means of doing that. I think I'd be entitled to believe that. However, I couldn't, as a politician, declare that SNAP cannot be cut because Jesus says we should feed people. That is a bad argument. I would need to come up with a compelling case, acceptable to a pluralistic, secular public, for why we should have social service programs.
I think I would disagree with you in terms of example. I think a government can do pretty much whatever it likes, provided it doesn't violate human rights. So, to be clear, the source of a government's legitimacy cannot be God, because if it were it would give it licence to do anything, but I think it can be the inspiring force behind legislation, so long as such legislation doesn't contradict human rights.
It can be an inspiring force, and in a theocratic society, that might be all the justification that's needed.
But, in a pluralistic democracy, like most of us here live in, I think it's ineffective and problematic to justify legislation in terms of religious teaching. I might, for example, be primarily inspired to oppose the death penalty because for religious reasons. And, I think that's fine. Much of the U.S. opposition to the death penalty comes from religious groups. But, for that opposition to have any real political power, it has to have other, secular justifications.
I think what I'm trying to say is, if the only justification for a particular piece of legislation is that my particular religion believes something, then it's not something that should be legislated in a pluralistic democracy. If, on the other hand, it's legislation that should be applied to society at large, I should be able to justify it in purely secular terms, even if my inspiration for the legislation was religious conviction.
I think what I'm trying to say is, if the only justification for a particular piece of legislation is that my particular religion believes something, then it's not something that should be legislated in a pluralistic democracy.
While I agree that it does not open the law up to the most possible scrutiny, I would argue that if you have a democratic mandate, are being true to that mandate, and you arn't violating anyone's human rights, you can legislate in any manner you choose.
I'm not sure, though, that a law that was passed, that applied to everybody, but could only be justified by appealing to the religious teachings of one particular religious sect, could NOT violate other people's rights.
It's possible, maybe. But I honestly can't think of any examples. I'd say that any legislation that wouldn't violate people's rights could be justified in secular terms.
Though using god as the inspiring force behind legislation violates a human's rights to freedom of religion.
No it doesn't. Not unless the law in question itself says "you can only be X religion". It is the content of the law that determines whether or not it violates human rights, not the inspiration behind it. William Wilberforce's anti-slavery legislation was religiously motivated, however the law itself had absolutely nothing to do with people's ability to worship/believe what they wished.