By Deanna Spingola
26 October 2006
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Maneuvering the religious feelings of others to enhance one’s political career or influence voter acceptance is certainly not a new device. Hypocritically manipulating voters for any ulterior motive is an egregious yet common practice. However, integrity is not a characteristic that we usually attribute to politicians – despite personal claims of religiosity. In fact, such claims should immediately arouse suspicion. Political rhetoric is professionally contrived to evoke emotion and support. After an election, when power reveals character, actions define motives more than campaign rhetoric as officials continue to solicit support for self aggrandizing programs that function in favor of the power elite, alias big contributors, while falsely promising benefits to the populace. If one will not uphold their oath to the Constitution which includes the phrase “so help me God,” why would we expect him or her to honor promises to their constituents – mere strangers at best?
A candidate’s religiosity should not play any part in the election or appointment process. George W. Bush asserts that he is a Christian. Whether he is sincere or not is insignificant unless he makes domestic or foreign relations decisions based on his ideology. Apparently his conversion was a direct result of his attempts to save his marriage from the effects of his habitual drinking. Did Bush’s new Christian piety replace his allegiance to Skull and Bones, the same secretive order that his father and grandfather had embraced? If we are to evaluate a tree by its fruit then what can we surmise from Bush’s actions? Are preemptive wars that have killed thousands of men, women and children compatible with Christianity? How about the death penalty? Do tax breaks for the wealthy fulfill Christ’s admonition to “feed the hungry and clothe the naked?” True Christianity is not just rhetoric but Christ-like behavior. Thomas Jefferson stated: “It is in our lives and not in our words that our religion must be read.” 
Genuine religion is a personal matter between an individual and God, not a contrivance to capture constituency support. Some presidential candidates have rightfully regarded religious preferences as personal. John F. Kennedy said: “I believe in a president whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.”  Kennedy told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association: “I do not speak for my church on public matters and the church does not speak for me.” He reminded the religious group that other faiths had experienced intolerance in the past and could again. “Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you.” 
George Washington wrote: “I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.” 
Thomas Jefferson wrote only one book, Notes on Virginia, which clarifies his opinions about religious freedom. In a letter to Benjamin Rush, he said “Religion is a subject on which I have ever been most scrupulously reserved.” Further, he stated “I have considered it as a matter between every man and his Maker, in which no other, and far less the public, had a right to intermeddle.” 
There should never be a religious litmus test for any political or appointed office. Article Six states: “but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”  According to Bush, so-called activist leftist judges would not be appointed because he, contrary to Article 6 of the Constitution,  said the following: “I believe that it points up the fact that we need common sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God. Those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench.”  Technically our “rights” were determined by constitutional law or more precisely by the court’s interpretation of that constitutional law.
A litmus test on abortion is a deceptive, distractive, “horse already out of the barn” false carrot instigated for the majority of Americans who view this practice as abominable. Roe versus Wade was passed by 7 out of 9 judges based on a faulty interpretation of a document that guarantees life, liberty and happiness for every citizen. Abortion was deliberately legalized by a stacked court as a divisive, “divide and conquer” tactic. New Right political strategists turned abortion into an issue that energized the Religious Right into a mass movement. It brought people together, Protestants and Catholics, who had never before participated in politics. The images of dead babies propelled new political activists to evaluate other issues and ultimately mobilized and utilized them to facilitate the whole right-wing agenda. 
Both men and women want abortion repealed – enough citizens who will gladly endorse candidates who employ right-wing rhetoric regarding abortion. Candidate acceptance on that one issue cements voter approval despite questionable history, secret society affiliation, and other problematic issues. We idealistically elect candidates or approve of officials who portray themselves as anti-abortion but who eagerly, for self-promoting motives, vote against the Constitution in dozens of other vital issues such as CAFTA, the formation of the North American Community, suspension of the Geneva Conventions, acquiescing to preemptive war and other life-changing, Bill of Rights slashing issues. Naïve Americans put all their eggs into the abortion or marriage amendment basket – two moral issues that we have no ability to change or control no matter how many donations we make to organizations or political candidates who manipulate those issues for huge financial gains. There is no comprehensive litmus test to cover all of the evil designs that are created in the secret society board rooms of the financial elite.
Karl Rove, a long-time Bush operative, counseled Bush in his 1978 run for a Texas congressional seat. Still around in 2004, Rove, the evil genius, political attack strategist, advised the candidate to endorse a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. It was a political device designed to draw additional conservative votes. Religious leaders could then urge their parishioners to support this “compassionate conservative” who understood their moral concerns.
The very vocal, government-approved Christian Right has opposed civil rights for homosexuals for the last three decades. James Dobson claims that homosexuality undermines our entire society and is hurtling us towards Sodom and Gomorrah. What next – yellow insignias to define specific citizens not worthy of civil rights? One group should not exercise so much influence! Yet they seek to strip the rights of unpopular cultural minorities by pressuring the government. They send out tons of direct-mail appeals, employ voter blackmail against public officials (who should represent everyone) and have the means to employ expensive lobbyists.
It is more than just a matter of same-sex marriage. They could just as well have proposed an amendment against infidelity but that would have embarrassed a myriad of politicians who, only after being discovered, confess their indiscretions. The whole issue became more important with the passage of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2003. Currently, in many states it is legal to fire an individual discovered to be gay, despite their job performance. Landlords may evict or refuse to rent to homosexual individuals. Laws have been enacted in some localities that ban such discrimination. The Christian Right opposes these antidiscrimination laws. 
Despite anyone’s feelings about homosexuality, no one should be targeted because of their personal moral decisions. Our rarely-read founding documents guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone – including gays and lesbians. A government regulation that seeks to control our God-given agency in order to prevent certain behaviors is a satanical tyranny. The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to impose a moral code on the masses no matter how morally-depleted society has become.
To cement Bush’s Christian image, an alleged “documentary” was “independently” produced by Grizzly Adams Productions Inc. to counter Michael Moore’s anti-war movie Fahrenheit 9/11, which was released October 5, 2004. Supposedly, according to the introduction, this right-wing film was produced without involvement from Bush or his handlers.  This purportedly inspirational film, George W. Bush: Faith in the White House was loosely based on two books: Tom Freiling’s George W. Bush: on God and Country and David Aikman’s A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush. It became available in Christian bookstores by August 30, 2004, just in time for the Republican convention in New York, and in mainstream stores by October 5, 2004. It was marketed for $14.95 but they freely distributed the DVD to as many as 300,000 churches, a very small expenditure considering the value of such a political endorsement. No one in this documentary acknowledged the constitutional boundary between church and state or the tax-exempt issue.  Interestingly, the churches that showed this film were not threatened by the IRS. What about churches that express anti-war sentiments?
When evangelical property developer and FITWH executive producer Ted Beckett was asked about the problems in the Middle East he replied, “I see it basically as a conflict between Christians and the religion of Islam, which is a religion of hate.” That statement sets the tone of the piece which reinforces the Bush theory that it's best to rule unquestioningly from the Mouth of God.” 
Some Christian conservatives attended an invitation-only, no-press-allowed “Family, Faith and Freedom Rally,” on August 31, 2004 brought about by the efforts of Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition Director, and Senator Sam Brownback as part of the Bush campaign. Brownback told the crowd: “We must win this culture war.” He also condemned same-sex marriage, abortion and criticized the principle of separation of church and state. 
Not content to merely return their man to the White House, after the 2004 election Focus on the Family warned their supporters, the “values voters,” about the grave “moral issues” and the activist judges that continue to put our nation in peril. In an email to their supporters Focus on the Family said: “The future of our nation is still in danger. We must be careful to not only protect what has been won, but move forward aggressively, pressing for the pro-family, pro-life and pro-mortality agenda we believe in. In other words, we must strike while the iron is hot.”  Many of the questionable judges were, in fact, appointed by Republicans but this exaggerated issue creates a viable diversion for right-wing activists and the complicit media.
“According to Time magazine, after Bush’s re-election, a group of evangelicals, known as “The Arlington Group,” wrote Karl Rove a letter signed by former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, Don Wildmon, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, Paul Weyrich and Jerry Falwell demanding that Bush not waver and support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Rove is credited with turning out millions of fundamentalist voters in the 2004 presidential election. Rove also managed to turn out hundreds, if not thousands, of evangelical and fundamentalist election ‘fixers,’ who ensured that Democratic votes were suppressed, miscounted, undercounted, discounted, and not counted.” 
Several Catholic field coordinators were hired by the Republic National Committee to visit Catholic churches to urge support for George W. Bush. This is certainly counter to the First Amendment as well as IRS tax exempt policies. During a visit to Pope John Paul II, Bush’s top aids asked the pope’s advisors to push pressure on American bishops to become ensconced in politics and involved in cultural issues during the impending reelection campaign. 
Stylishly suited political candidates hire Madison Avenue type media advisors, speech writers and even religious advisors to properly package themselves for voter acceptance. George W. Bush hired David Barton as a religious advisor during his 2004 campaign. Barton, a dedicated history revisionist spin master, is also a well-known opponent of the religious clauses of separation of church and state contained in the First Amendment.  Barton was the vice-chair of the Texas Republican Party. George W. is certainly not the first to employ a religious advisor – his father used the same tactics for the same objectives.
Perception management is crucial on the campaign trail where winning is everything. He managed the move to the White House – twice. How has that elite “victory” impacted the civil and religious freedoms of other Americans?
 The Separation of Church and State, Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America’s Founders, Edited by Forrest Church, p. 47
 How the Republicans Stole Christmas by Bill Press, p. 6
 Ibid, p. 59
 The Separation of Church and State, Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by America’s Founders, Edited by Forrest Church, p. 46
 Spiritual Warfare, the Politics f the Christian Right by Sara Diamond, p. 57
 Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics by Clyde Wilcox and Carin Larson, p. 148
 Onward Christian Soldiers? The Religious Right in American Politics by Clyde Wilcox and Carin Larson, p. 4
 How the Republicans Stole Christmas by Bill Press, p. 16
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