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Separation of church and politics..or not?

(12 Posts)
Rinouchka Fri 03-Feb-17 08:59:18

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he would act on another campaign promise: repeal The Johnson Amendment, created by the then Senator from Texas, Lyndon B Johnson.
Religious groups have tax-free status in the US. This amendment prohibits endorsement and financial contribution from any such group to a particular campaign or candidate. Doing so means losing the tax-exempt status enjoyed since 1954.

Secularism is not an American concept( 'In God We Trust', ) but this next presidential act has caused more controversy.

NY Times link:

Your thoughts?

Elegran Fri 03-Feb-17 09:34:12

The cynicism of the man is amazing, acting to buy the political endorsement of churches.

rosesarered Fri 03-Feb-17 09:38:56

I wonder if he has the executive power to do this, or will it take a lot of backing?

Rinouchka Fri 03-Feb-17 10:10:37

Yesterday, he promised to do this by a new executive order setting out 'conservative Christian social tenets' which will become policy. If you listen to his speech to a church group in the link below, he claims to be protecting" freedom of religion, but with a slant:

This would give a more powerful, political voice to the Christian Right which feels it has been gagged by liberal policies( abortion, gay marriage, etc.) plus is obviously a direct attack on what he perceives to be the power ( and threat) of Islam in America.

So it gives more "freedom of speech" but allows Church groups to keep their tax-free status even when they endorse particular parties.

varian Fri 03-Feb-17 12:04:26

The list of "early warning signs of fascism" at the Holocaust Museum includes "religion and government intertwined"

The fundamentalist Christian right wing lobby is already incredibly powerful in American politics and Trump obviously sees this move as one which will consolidate his power base.

varian Fri 03-Feb-17 12:07:32

James O'Brien's comparison of the list with Trump's policies and behaviour is scary to say the least. He is only one of many commentators to have drawn this comparison.

MaizieD Fri 03-Feb-17 13:45:59

Yes, varian. But is this the LBC that has just employed Farage as a presenter?

I wonder how much resistance Americans will put up to Trump? 3 million more people voted for Clinton than for him. I wonder how strong their appetite will be for opposing him? I wonder how much of the military he has behind him? Would they at some stage say "We are not going to do this to our fellow citizens" if he tries to use them as an instrument of repression? It was startling that his travel ban on citizens/native borns from the 7 countries was so rapidly enforced but can this obedience to his decrees be guaranteed to continue?

I suspect (hope?) that we are only hearing one side of the story at the moment

varian Fri 03-Feb-17 14:15:25

Yes Maizie LBC does employ Farage and also Katie Hopkins. One very regular poster here who is a fan of Katie Hopkins was the person who drew my attention to James O'Brien (who she describes as hard left). I hadn't listened to him before but I have to say he does talk a lot of sense and could only be called hard left by someone on the extreme right.

To get back to the subject, it is clear that politics has in recent years become more polarised in many countries. The USA is in theory a secular country with no established church, unlike the UK with bishops in the House of Lords. Sadly other secular countries like Turkey and France are also under threat from nationalistic and religious pressure groups.

Church adherance in the US is at a much higher level than here where only a small minority are regular churchgoers. It has been a very powerful force for a long time and Johnson saw that political prosletizing from the pulpit was a danger to democracy. Trump's attempt to repeal the Johnson Amendment is another dangerous move which I hope can be stopped.

varian Fri 03-Feb-17 17:25:59

One thing I have always found especially abhorrent about fundamentalist religion (not just Christian) is this association of God and guns.

In America it seems that the ardent churchgoers are often the same people that support the National Rifle Association, another of Trump's favourite organisations. In the USA toddlers with guns have killed more people than folk from any of the seven banned countries.

Rinouchka Fri 03-Feb-17 17:53:08

...and being militantly anti-abortion, but then refusing entry to refugee children, refuting the fact that more and more American children are killed by guns each year.

Cunco Fri 03-Feb-17 18:01:06

To ensure religious freedom for all, I would have thought any government should be free from any one religion. In practice, obviously, things are often very different.

Where religious issues enter the political arena, there will inevitably be religious interest groups lobbying for their point of view but decisions should be made by government for all.

I am not well informed on American politics so, for now, will leave consideration of Trump's latest pronouncement to others.

mcem Fri 03-Feb-17 18:54:45

I read today that in one state - Alabama or Arkansas - a husband may have the right to block his wife's proposed abortion.