Welcome to Roger’s Take on Religion: An Inclusive Perspective
There’s an old Baptist saying that “If you mix manure with ice cream, it doesn’t do much for the manure but it sure ruins the ice cream.” This metaphor can be applied to much of today’s political rhetoric.
Consider Donald Trump’s opposition to the “Johnson Amendment.” This is the amendment to the tax code prohibiting not-for-profit groups like churches from becoming involved in political campaigns or supporting individual candidates.
Mr. Trump voiced his opposition at a recent meeting of evangelical pastors sponsored by the American Renewal Project, a project led by conservative Christian activist David Lane. The ARP’s goal is to “re-establish” America as a Christian nation by having 1,000 pastors run for political office in 2016-2018.
Mr. Trump’s goal is more immediate – to obtain the backing of Christian conservatives.
Here’s My Take: As history professor John Fea points out in an article on this topic, the Founding Fathers, unlike David Lane, were opposed to ministers holding political office and argued forcefully for the “separation of church and state.”
The 1776 North Carolina Constitution even states “that no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of the pastoral function.”
In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers thought it a bad idea to mix manure with ice cream. It still is.