Arguably the most influential among our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, viewed as his greatest contribution to our embryonic democracy, in addition to education, the separation of church and state – Freedom of religion and its corollary, which he deemed equally as important, Freedom from religion. In his day the church dominated politics. In addition to the mandatory, local government enforced, tithe to support the church, the clergy openly advocated government policies and influenced the selection of representatives. He feared that the integration of church and state would create a theocracy at the expense of a democracy. Freedom of worship cannot exist in a religiously controlled government, unless of course it is one’s religion that is in control.
Several attempts have been made in
Should government legislate morals? If so, whose morals? Should a dominant religious group control the reigns of government? In the alternative, should the role of government be restricted to national security, the promotion of public safety, the regulation of trade, commerce and immigration, for the general welfare of the people based on constitutional mandates and safeguards? Or as Jesus Christ is quoted as saying in support of the separation of church and state, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”?
A disturbing trend in the encroachment of
religion is the current campaign for the GOP presidential
nomination. Following the Busch/Rove precedent, Governor Rick Perry
As a discredit to his character and the moral authority to uphold the Constitution and govern the American people, Rick Perry refused to distance himself for Pastor Jeffress. In fact, he bathed on the irreverent endorsement.
By way of a footnote, the Mormon religion is a Christian faith. Mormons believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ as the son of God and the Resurrection. What separated the religion from mainline Christianity is that in addition to the bible they also believe that Joseph Smith, its founder, was a prophet (www.josephsmith.net). Those interested in clarifying and expanding on my explanation should consult the official version in www.mormon.org or www.lds.org.
Our online publication, HVC, has been inundated by Evangelical affinity groups attempting to influence the Hispanic vote by discrediting the GOP candidates, Mitt Romney and Jon Hunstman because of their Mormon faith. Of worthy note we received a reference to a slanderous Web site - www.mormonzeitgeist.com - which attempts to discredit the Mormon Church as racist – White supremacist – anti Hispanic, and anti-Christian.
The contrary is true, mainline Protestants, Catholics, Mormons and Jews are the most ardent in the support of the Hispanic community and compassion for the treatment of undocumented immigrants. They recognize, uniformly as do almost all Hispanics, that it is the right and the obligation of our country to protect and secure its borders and regulate immigration; and, that it is the plenary and exclusive power of the federal government, as opposed to the individual states, to accomplish these objectives. They are opposed to the marginalization and abuse of the human rights of these illegal immigrants in our country who sought economic refuge by filling a gap in the boom years of our economy, notably in agriculture, the service and construction, low wage industries. True Christians, men of conscience, do not favor that we demonize and spit out the workers who came to complement our needs on the basis that we no longer need them now during our great recession.
The Mormons, in fact, have taken the lead in
advocating a fair and compassionate solution to the immigration
issue. An excerpt from their official position follows: “What to do
with the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants now residing
in various states within the
Also, of interest to the Hispanic community is
the LDS commitment to the Hispanic culture: A majority of Mormon
missionaries, a two year ministry requirement of all Mormons, is in
We strongly recommend that our fellow Hispanic
Americans make informed decisions free of bigotry, free of fear and
based on an analysis of the relevant issues and in the exercise of
common sense. HVC neither endorses nor opposes the candidacy of
either of the two Mormon GOP aspirants, Mitt Romney and Jon
Hunstsman. That decision should be made by the voter based on the
merits of their platforms free of religious bias. However, we
entreat all Latinos to value the friendship and respect of the