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April 22 2012

Eliza Dushku recalls her childhood crush on Mitt Romney. The GOP's presumptive nominee was Eliza's Mormon bishop growing up, but according to NYMag, "It's fair to say that Dushku probably won't be stumping for Romney on the campaign trail this year."

Never knew she had an LDS background. Interesting. Always nice to hear her speak out, even in such a small fashion, on important issues. I do so love this woman.
I didn't know, either. I'm glad she's vocal, too, even if I probably would disagree on 80% of any political questions we were both asked. Kinda cool and unexpected intersection between famous people, though.
Small world moment if ever there were one.
Funny that she knew Schwarzenegger and yet disagreed with his politics as well.
Having said that I agree with her felling on his attitude. I'm just happy with our politicians in the UK that don't do religion at all. I have enough reasons to disagree with them without adding their belief in some fictional being as well.
Yeah, I dig that in the UK, religion is incidental for a politician. We have other problems.
Actually religion isn't incidental for British politics and politicians. it's played quite the role here and still does. And remember, Church and State aren't separated here.
I should have said "England" Simon...

My mothers half of the family is from Northern Ireland and I know it plays a big part there, and Scotland as well. But in Westminster I couldn't tell you what religion David Cameron is, or even if he is religious at all.
Though there is no separation between church and state out political leader is not the head of state or church. We let the Queen be both and let out political leader get on with his job.
Simon -

Of course religion played an enormous part in our past, as it has any ancient country. But religion no longer plays significant role in a candidate's profile or his/her's platform. Especially when you compare to the states. The deputy Prime Minister is an atheist. Cameron rarely speaks of his own religion, and when he does, it's in measured, distancing language.

Our Conservative party is for the right to choose, for gay marriage and against creationism being taught in schools. Religion is not a significant part of British political life.
I think it will be a long time before we elect a prime minister here in the UK who is religious and not Christian, though. I can see an atheist in the position without a problem, but I'm not sure a Muslim wouldn't suffer in the polls...

And I only found out the other week that the point of separation of church and state in the US wasn't to keep religion out of government (as I'd always assumed, and as I'd prefer were the case here), but to keep government out of religion. Which is kind of totally the opposite and implies that laws shouldn't be able to prevent you acting in accordance with your faith. I'm glad we don't have that here, honestly...

[ edited by skittledog on 2012-04-23 13:36 ]
Skittledog -

Really? I'm not an American so I will defer to our cousins, but I thought the whole point of the seperation of Church and state was to make sure that the government serves the people along the principle of freedom and not religious doctrine.

A Catholic takes his lead from the Pope, but the President serves the people. JFK broke the barrier first for a Catholic in the Oval Office (I think) and a lot of people were concerned it would mean that the White House would be taking it's cues from Rome. Seperation of Church and State makes sure the people come first.

Also, if you're fleeing a monarchy - albeit one which is already losing power to parliament - the first thing you want to do is dispell the notion of a God appointed leader.
But a lot of them cared less about fleeing the monarchy per se and more about fleeing religious oppression (given the massive Catholic vs Protestant wars of succession and power raging across much of western Europe at the time). I haven't had time to do a whole lot of further reading on this yet, but the main focus of this part of the First Amendment seems to be to both prohibit the state from establishing any one religion and enforcing attendance or tithes etc to that religion on the populace, and to prohibit it from interfering with free practice of religion. Nothing there to prohibit legislators from bringing their own beliefs into their governing policies.

The wikipedia entry regarding the use of the phrase (in particular by Jefferson) perhaps shows the historic context better than I can.

I'm not saying that it only protects religion from state, not vice versa (and I definitely know less about this than I should, and need to do more reading) but that certainly seems to have been the main reason for setting it up.

[ edited by skittledog on 2012-04-23 14:22 ]
Regarding the US separation of church & state, the Constitutions exactly two things: the applicable bit of the First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...." & Article VI notes "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
There is often debate over what degree of separation the founding fathers intended.

ET fix typo

[ edited by QingTing on 2012-04-23 14:30 ]
Skittle - Appreciate the insight. I don't think it's a problem for individuals to define their morality with their faith - didn't George Bush say God wanted him to go to war? - but I guess in an all inclusive melting pot, you wouldn't want religious factions controlling governement, or be run out of the country BY government.

My own view is that personal beliefs should remain personal, and government should be secular.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2012-04-23 14:29 ]
Religion is not a significant part of British political life.

But it is. You have the far right and elements of the traditional right using Islam as the bogey man to get votes. Plus there's the coseying up of the radical left to Muslim voters. Then you have a Prime Minister saying Britain is be a Christian country. And we're starting to starting to see the idea of abortion getting restricted gaining more ground purely a result of pressure by radical Christian groups.

The far right and the far left will always be the extremes on the scale and are not representative of mainstream politics (yet). And Cameron saying we were a Christian country was met with more than a little befuddlement. We don't take this stuff into the vote anymore.

Xenophobia will never go away either. But equally that applies to eastern European immigration, EU influence, or American imperialism. It's not based on religion, it's based on a perception that British tradition is under threat. Not unusual for an island which has bombs thrown down on our homes 70 years ago.

What we DON'T have, and to bring it back to Romney, and American politics, is a thirst from the electorate to know what God a politician believes in. We don't have them sell themselves on their faith. Religious hot buttons in America, like gay marriage and abortion, are nothing LIKE as intertwined with scripture. Nick Clegg can be candid in his atheism because he knows, ultimately, it's not going to cost him. What Church does David Cameron belong to? Most people have no earthly idea, because neither they, nor the media, actually give a hoot.
The No Religious Test, Non-establishment and Free Exercise clauses here have a more complicated origin than anybody's platform slogans make out. The most basic motivation by the Revolutionary Fathers is that they wanted to prevent religious wars breaking out in the States on a national level. There were some evangelicals, practicing Catholics, and Christian Unitarians (like John Adams) among them, but most were Deists who looked back on the Wars of Religion as a bad chapter they didn't want to repeat. Plus, the individual states differed so much -many of them *had* estbalished churches (Anglican in parts of the SOuth, Congregational in much of New England) and the ones that didn't also varied so darn much there was no chance of na establishment.
Mormons are in some ways more like Roman Catholics and Jews than like traditional Protestants. People who fall away from it don't become so much "non-religious" as "non-practicing." Eliza sometimes mentions religious things on Facebook and Twitter; she once talked about wanting to buy a vacation home in Utah and I teased her about it, didn't get a response of course.

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