Saturday, November 6, 2004

This week's homework -- I'm the boss

I was very tempted to skip this week's homework assignment.  I've been holding my tongue on a lot of political-type things because I like to think of my journal as a happy friendly place for childhood stories and kitten pictures.  But, y'know, what the heck.  This is what I think.  Dissenting comments are always welcome -- but remember, if you don't keep it civil, I have the delete button and I'm not afraid to use it.

This week's assignment, then...

Weekend Assignment #32: Congratulations! The American People have elected you President -- for one day. You are allowed to make one Executive Order. What is it? What can you do with your executive order? Why, anything you want (which is a little more power than the real President gets) I was going to make the proviso that your executive order can't run contrary to the US Constitution or any major Supreme Court decision in the last 30 years or so, but you know what? Most of you are grownups. I'm going to make the assumption that you can handle supreme executive power responsibly. So, no limits. You make the call.

Extra Credit: The Presidential Medal of Freedom is America's highest civilian honor. Give it to someone.

My one and only executive order would be the following six words:

"America is not a Christian nation."

By this I mean to address the recent disturbing trend of politicians (and citizens) to seek to govern this country by their interpretation of the Bible.  I am of the opinion that there is absolutely no place for that sort of thing in this country.  The document that we should be looking to for guidance is the Constitution, not the Bible.

I don't mean to say anything against Christianity or Christians.  One of the founding premises of this country is religious freedom, and I'm all for it.  I'm a big supporter of faith and I heartily respect the people who choose to live their lives as they believe God would have them do so.  But there's a big difference between that and trying to impose one's own religiously-based moral or ethical judgments on the rest of the country, and I'm having none of the latter. 

I used to think such an executive order would not be necessary.  I mean, the First Amendment is pretty clear about Congress making no law establishing a religion.  But it appears that certain folks in power (and others with political clout) are starting to think that Congress can legislate from the point of view of a particular Biblical interpretation.  That's not what our country is about.  There's a little principle in there about protection from tyranny of the majority -- and even when it is a well-meaning, faith-based majority that truly believes in the righteousness of its position, that majority has just got to suck it up and "live and let live."

In practice, what my executive order means is religious-based decision-making should have no place in legislation, judicial decisions or judicial appointments.  You want to argue against abortion, or gay marriage, or stem-cell research?  Fine, be my guest.  You want to argue your religious objections to these things while discussing them with friends, family and strangers on AOL-J?  Knock yourself out.  I would never dream of restricting anyone's speech, religious-based or no.  But when Congress gets down to actually making laws about these things, arguments based on religious authority have no place in the debate, and should carry no weight.

As for the extra credit, I would give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Gavin Newsom.  The Medal of Freedom was given to Rosa Parks in 1996, for sparking the civil rights movement by an act of civil disobedience.  I hope that, someday, our nation looks back on what Mayor Newsom did for gay marriage the same way.


ondinemonet said...

Hi :)

Fascinating point! Yes, it is a disturbing point when a president is chosen because he is a "man of God" I don't understand why John Kerry isn't a man of God by the same peoples reckoning. I suppose a man of God lies, cheats, hides behind their political connections, encourages hate...Oh boy...I am rambling a bit. Excellent idea here.

Gavin Newsom is the new guy to blame the loss of the Kerry/Edwards campaign on. Mr. Newson is trying to keep his word to the people across the bay from me, the rest of the country doesn't see the fine work he is attempting.

Always, Carly :)

tammyg22 said...

>>"America is not a Christian nation."<<

If you can get this message across to the people in power, you'll be my hero for life!!!