Monday, April 09, 2007

First, thanks for the well wishes, Tim. It took over an hour, but I eventually did stop bleeding (after staining a t-shirt - the first white thing I could grab - completely red). Now, you can barely see the cut (though the skin does split without being held together with a bandaid).


I should be working on a proposal that is due tomorrow. And, as this is the Joyful Easter Season (tm) I should be ponficating on the Grace Jesus's death and ressurection bestowed upon all of us. I should at least be telling all of you to download Hootenany Power's podcast from this past week, which was awesome. Or perhaps I should be telling you what Hootenany Power is.

Instead, I shall rant about politics and Church.

You have been warned.

This past week, I received a letter from a parishioner at St. Al's CCC (Church and Country Club, for the unitiated). Now, even though I don't consider myself Roman Catholic any more, I'm still on their rolls. I don't know why I haven't asked to be taken off, but I haven't. But that's a topic for another time.

Anyhow, this parishoner is running for state representative in our district. In the letter, he states something along the lines of "As a fellow parishoner of [insert actual parish name here], I'm sure you must be concerned about the same issues I am." He goes on to talk about things that have been said in sermons in recent weeks, and just generally talk about the fact that we should all vote for him because he is a good Catholic.

This is the second such letter I have gotten in the past few months. The first was from some woman running for judge (and I have a whole 'nother rant in me about why judge should not be an elected office, but I won't inflict that on you tonight).

Now, both of these people are good people. I know them and their families. They would probably be good in the respective positions they desire, despite the fact that they are Republicans. However, I didn't vote for the woman running for judge, and I won't vote for this guy.

I have a real issue with someone sending out election materials based on religious parish rolls (as opposed to civil parish - I live in Louisiana, so I need to make that distinction). Whether they handtyped the data from the parish directory, or received it electronically from the church office, it is wrong.

I am a firm believer in separation of church and state. I believe the state should keep it's nose out of what churches are doing (as long as they are not harming people, animals, etc., or breaking civil law), and churches should keep their noses out of politics.

Now that doesn't mean that religious leaders shouldn't speak out against things like discrimination, poverty, etc. Those are human rights issues, and all people (religious or not) have a moral obligation to speak out agaist them.

But it does mean that I don't want this country turned into a theocracy controlled by the religious right. I read to day that the Bush administration employs over 155 graduates of Regent University School of Law. That is the law school founded by Pat Robertson, with a stated intent of Christianizing the country.

And it does mean that I don't want people to assume they know what I think or that they will have my vote just because we belong to the same church. I know that the guy I just got the letter from is about as far to the right as a Catholic can be. I am pretty darned far to the left. He doesn't know that I agree with him on issues that face the state such as abortion, discrimination based on sexual orientation (which is a big issue in state government here - it is technically still legal), the death penalty, stem cell research (LSU has lots of biomedical research going on), or even taxation.

Now, that doesn't mean that people of faith who serve in public office need to compartmentalize themselves, either. Spirituality (Christian or otherwise) is a vital part of the make up of an individual. Of course your religion is going to impact your views, as is your age, marital status, whether or not you are a parent, your economic bracket, etc.

But tell me what you are going to do to make our state a better place. Tell me what you think we should do to quicken rebuilding in New Orleans, or improve the infrastructure in Baton Rouge, or improve the pitiful state of our public schools statewide.

Don't tell me that I should vote for you simply because we share a religion and a church. That is a surefire way to tick me off and to get me to not vote for you.

There was more to this rant, but my brain is fried from working on this damned proposal all weekend.

So I now return you to your regularly scheduled, boring, non-controversial blog.

Have a nice day.

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