mixing religion with politics

 

While playing his first round of golf during the 1925 US Open, amateur golfer Bobby Jones, thought his ball moved after he addressed it and assessed himself a one stroke penalty. Jones ended up losing the tournament by one stroke.

The great golfer was praised universally for his honesty. He was irritated by the uproar, stating that honesty was a bedrock of golf and every true golfer would have done the same thing. His quote is still recalled:

“You might as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.”

Many people are celebrating the voters of Alabama for fashioning Doug Jones’ upset win over Roy Moore, especially black women who visited the polls in droves and voted overwhelmingly for Jones. The national press is calling this result everything from a monumental upset to a sign of things to come for Republicans around the country.

I am also very proud of what happened last Tuesday but let’s remember the basic facts. A Republican politician who had twice been kicked out of office for violating the U.S. Constitution, made outrageous or demeaning comments about nearly every minority possible, and had been accused by at least eight women of sexual assault, including several under age eighteen, lost this election to a man who finally, bravely prosecuted KKK members for the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham that killed four young girls. And the margin of victory was so small that write-in votes for Alabama football coach Nick Saban might have been what turned the election.

I’m extremely proud of my home state for not doing what I, and many others, expected them to. The fact Alabama did the right thing is great; for the state, and hopefully for the country, but no one should be celebrating just yet.

A racist strain of religious zealotry has taken hold in the Republican Party and, in the words of fellow LTD writer Jeffry Scott: “They are motivated by hate and resentment of anyone who points it out. The only real cure is to outnumber them.”

Our Founding Fathers knew what they were doing when they focused much of the Second Amendment’s attention on religious liberty. There were hundreds of religious groups in the British American colonies, and most of them were afflicted with zealotry.

The framers of the Constitution reasoned that when politicians figured out how to harness the unquestioned belief of a religious group with things they could sell as holy, complete power would result.

The Republican Party is currently there. Offering hysterical diatribes of the ruination of our great country by Liberals and focusing on alcohol, abortion, and the War on Christmas, none of which are discussed much in the Bible, conservative politicians have convinced nearly half the country that God will strike us all down unless we vote Republican; no matter the person representing the “R.”

Ironically, lying, mixing religion with politics, and worshiping rich people, are all things the Holy Book either frowns on or ignores. But rational people will never convince these converts of their mistake. It would be easier to pass a camel through a needle’s eye than talk sense to a zealot.

Our only hope is to outnumber them. Over and over.

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Image: Roy Jones election watch party by Jamelle Bouie (flickr/CC).
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.