Church/State Separation Questions for the Presidential Candidates January 11, 2008

Church/State Separation Questions for the Presidential Candidates

Professor Marci Hamilton has a number of pointed questions she would like to ask both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates regarding their views on church/state separation.

The Republicans and Hillary Clinton are asked more direct questions than John Edwards and Barack Obama (who she says do not have records that tie their faith with their public decisionmaking).

Some examples are below.

For Mike Huckabee:

… I do have another question regarding how, as President, you would handle scientific questions, given your rejection of evolution and your embrace of creationism. What exactly are your criteria for rejecting settled scientific opinions backed by numerous, impressive experts at the world’s leading universities? Given that the President must deal with cutting-edge technical questions affecting the military, NASA, and the FDA, among others, citizens have a right to know when you will gather the best expert advice and take it seriously, and when you will look to the Bible to guide your scientific conclusions.

In particular, here is a test case that might come into play with respect to, say, NASA: Since you reject the well-established scientific deductions behind evolution, do you also reject the scientific-mathematical deductions used to determine how many light years separate planets and stars from the sun and the earth? When, as President, would you be most likely to reject expert advice in favor of the Bible’s teachings?

For Rudy Giuliani:

… Just how far are you willing to go to protect your church from the operation of the law, especially when criminal activity is involved? Based on your past performance, your personal loyalty to your church appears to have trumped your obligations to the Constitution and the law.

For Clinton:

… Do you truly believe in the separation of church and state? Or, would you continue your husband’s legacy of backing legislation to benefit of religious entities, without consideration of those who would be harmed by such legislation? For example, would you support the legislation Senator Kennedy has proposed that would immunize churches from the government’s eminent domain decisions?

Mitt Romney got his own separate column.

Surely there are more questions that need to be asked of the candidates.

What do you wish they would comment on?

(via Rant & Reason)

[tags]atheist, atheism, politics, religion, faith[/tags]

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  • Good question for Huckabee. Although it may have to be asked in bite sized chunks just so he understands it all. This is a man who has said he will use the position of president of the United States as “a bully pulpit” and who claims gay marriage will “end civilization”.

    “Ten years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have gay marriage even in liberal Massachusetts. Now it’s there … There’s never been a civilization that has rewritten what marriage and family means and survived.”

    It is absurd to claim that the fate of former civilizations is somehow a litmus test for assessing the moral status LGBT unions in today’s society. But this is the type of false analogy Huckabee will deal in to support his prejudices. Nothing like ignoring cultural and legal progress to suit your bigotry.

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