Campaign speech to keep religion out of government

January 25, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More

Author Susan Jacoby has proposed the following as a “little campaign speech” she’d like to hear from candidates running for President.  In proposing this speech, she notes that she is taking it for granted that “the 2008 Democratic nominee will be a believer in God and a member of some church.” It wasn’t always this way.  As she also notes, Abraham Lincoln refused to join any church –he didn’t believe that his personal faith had anything to do with any church hierarchy.

Without further ado:

“My fellow Americans, I stand before you as a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and I believe that it is my duty to share my views on the proper relationship between religion and government. For eight years, the president and his aides have tried to write their particular religious views into law and have suggested that anyone who disagrees with them is lacking in values and morality. This suggestion is an affront both to God and to a free people, and I will never insult your intelligence or your faith by claiming that I, or my government, speak for the Almighty.

“I believe in God, and I believe just as deeply in the separation of church and state that was America’s founding gift, not only to its own citizens but to the world. I will never suggest that my policies are the right ones for our country because my God says so. I will never allow one form of religion to exercise a veto power over any policies that I believe to be in the best interest of all Americans.

“If you elect me, I pledge to you not miracles but a total commitment of my heart and mind to the hard work that lies before us all. Join with me as Americans–whether you are religious believers or religious skeptics–in this great enterprise. Forty-five years ago, President John Kennedy spoke of peace as ‘the necessary rational end of rational men.’ Today I stand before you and speak of peace, social justice, and human rights–at home and around the world–as the necessary rational ends of rational men and women.”

Jacoby’s speech was in response to an question posed by the Washington Post:

As the presidential campaign begins to take shape, do you think it is appropriate and or important for the candidates to express their personal religious views and to use religious rhetoric? Why?

The answers of other respondents (all of the others were affiliated with religious organizations) can be found here. 

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Category: Politics, Religion, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Chris says:

    Hear, hear. It's too bad the chance that any American politician will actually make such a speech is less than the chance that we will actually "win" in Iraq. (Whatever that even means at this point.)

    Our political system has been so totally corrupted by Christianity that daring to suggest a return to American values of separation of church and state and religious freedom and tolerance would be perceived (possibly correctly) as political suicide.

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