January 07, 2008
Over the past seven years we’ve watched as the president and congress have repeatedly breached Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state. But now you can act to prevent a continuation of this process.
At every opportunity you have, ask the candidates pointed questions on this issue. Or call on your local media to ask such questions. Write letters to the editor expressing church-state concerns. Request that your friends ask such questions. Let’s make 2008 the year we begin to set things right as we publicly hold the feet of all presidential candidates to the proverbial fire.
Here are ten questions to draw from or to modify in your own words.
1. Leaders of the religious right often say that America is a “Christian Nation.” Do you agree with this statement?
2. Do you think houses of worship should be allowed to endorse political candidates and retain their tax exempt status?
3. Do you think public schools should sponsor school prayer or, as a parent, should this choice be left to me?
4. Would you support a law that mandates teaching creationism in my child’s public school science classes?
5. Do you think my pharmacist should be allowed to deny me doctor-prescribed medications based on his or her religious beliefs?
6. Will you respect the rights of those in our diverse communities of faith who deem same-gender marriage to be consistent with their religious creed?
7. Should “faith-based” charities that receive public funds be allowed to discriminate against employees or applicants based on religious beliefs?
8. Do you think one’s right to disbelieve in God is protected by the same laws that protect someone else’s right to believe?
9. Do you think everyone’s religious freedom needs to be protected by what Thomas Jefferson called “a wall of separation” between church and state?
10. What should guide our policies on public health and medical research: science or religion?
These suggested questions were developed by First Freedom First, a joint project of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Interfaith Alliance Foundation. First Freedom First is cosponsored by the American Humanist Association and its allies in the community of reason. So we urge you to use one or more of these questions if you attend a Town Hall meeting or another event where candidates for office will be gathering. You may also want to copy and paste these questions into an e-mail message to the candidates, an e-mail message to your friends, or a posting on an Internet discussion group or blog.
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.