Hnn | HNN Articles

God-Awful Political Conventions

 

By Matthew Bulger

Republicans and Democrats can’t really find much to agree on these days, and are often seen squabbling in Congress about issues as controversial as tax reform to ones as simple as whether or not the Capitol building should receive funding for much-needed repairs. This squabbling only gets more heated on national television, as politicians from both parties do their best to discredit and disgrace their political opponents in front of millions of Americans.

But don’t worry, because Republicans and Democrats can still come together on one issue: God. Both parties showed us during their presidential conventions just how much they absolutely love God, and how much they wanted the rest of us to love God, too.

Let’s start with the Republicans. As was widely reported, Republicans repeatedly referenced God at their convention and in their party platform. Their platform (the entirety of which can be found here) states that the primary role of government is to protect the “God-given, inalienable, inherent rights of its citizens.” The words “God-given” is repeated throughout the platform, from references to our “God-given right to self-defense” to our “God-given energy resources.” In regards to the Republican party’s support of private school vouchers, the platform says that a young person’s ability to achieve in school must be “based on his or her God-given talent and motivation” and not on economic status.

While the problem with vouchers can be discussed in another article, anyone reading this platform gets the idea that the Republican Party feels that our country and everyone in it owes their existence and prosperity to God. The Republican Party is firm in their belief that America is in fact a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, and their platform is strongly supportive of the “right of students to engage in prayer at public school events in public schools” and of “every citizen’s right to apply religious values to public policy and the right of faith-based organizations to participate fully in public programs without renouncing their beliefs, removing religious symbols, or submitting to government-imposed hiring practices.”

This fundamentalist reliance upon the Judeo-Christian God is mirrored by the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform, although admittedly to a lesser degree. The Democrats used the “God-given” phrase once themselves while referencing the need for a government that stands up “for the hopes, values, and interests of working people, and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.” However, this reference was inserted only after Republicans discovered and subsequently complained that the Democrats’ 2012 platform omitted any explicit reference to God. What Republicans forgot to mention was that even though the Democrats didn’t initially have a reference to God in their platform, they did have a whole section devoted to the role of faith in politics and in every American’s personal life.

This section begins by stating that “faith has always been a central part of the American story, and it has been a driving force of progress and justice throughout our history,” and goes on to claim that “our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith and the countless acts of justice and mercy it inspires.” These statements, in addition to just not being historically accurate, seem to suggest that faith is a prerequisite for the foundation of a democracy and is the sole inspiration for charitable acts. This is beyond offensive to the many proud non-religious Americans who support their country and perform charitable acts all without the influence of faith or any other sort of dependence on supernatural belief. The section on faith ends with a constitutional doozy by stating that there is no conflict between government support of “faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution, and a full commitment to both principles is essential for the continued flourishing of both faith and country.”

What both parties don’t seem to understand is that they alienate potential non-religious supporters by placing such a heavy emphasis on the role of faith in our government and in our day-to-day lives. This emphasis seems to insinuate that by not believing in a God, non-religious citizens aren’t really Americans, and that the non-religious community is less willing or able than the faith-based community to help those that are in need. Hopefully, in the future politicians will realize just how alienating their words can be to non-religious Americans, and will make an attempt to include the interests of every citizen in their subsequent party platform. Barring that, humanist Americans will have to stand up for themselves and work to ensure that our elected officials truly represent all of their constituents, and not just those that believe in a god or gods.

Matthew Bulger is the legislative associate for the American Humanist Association.

blog comments powered by Disqus

American Humanist Association

What would you say if your child wanted to believe in God but you don't? Ethical...

18 hours ago

American Humanist Association

The 2014 year is coming to an end and theHumanist.com has compiled a list of the...

21 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Tis the season to be a heathen! Check out great freethought merchandise at Evolv...

23 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Five stars for Fighting Back the Right, the new book from AHA's David Niose, fro...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Many humanists celebrate Human Light or the Winter Solstice around this time of...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

A South Carolina school district has agreed to stop sponsoring religious fundrai...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist Hour Podcast, James Croft discusses the complex issues...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Freethought Fort Wayne, to the American Hu...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

"It’s not just about the freedom to enjoy marijuana anymore...This is about the...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

There's only a few holiday shopping days left: Buy your favorite freethinker a g...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Bill Nye, our favorite science guy, explains evolution by using emoji..."emojica...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Out today! Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Congratulations to the Las Vegas Coalition of Reason on the occasion of their of...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Humanist Service Corps has volunteer positions open beginning in summer 2015...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

In a response to a letter sent by the AHA, today we are pleased to report that t...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Most Americans say they accept Christian displays on public property, regardless...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

UBER car service has been getting in to some trouble lately, but will that stop...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

A date for history, as today marks the anniversary of the ratification of the U....

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

One more day! Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Rea...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

It's almost here! Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday everyone! Enjoy some comics!

8 days ago