To the Editor:
Can a diverse people be united under one faction’s religious doctrine?
And even if it could, since when has religion been a legitimate form of American governance?
In “Presidential fire and brimstone,” Justin Zaremby praised the president’s voice, and I agree with Zaremby that the President has, indeed, found a distinctive voice.
Yet I have to disagree with Zaremby’s confidence in said voice. President Bush may succeed in being remembered for preaching politics from the pulpit instead of mispronouncing “peninsula” and “nuclear,” but perhaps he could lead more effectively if he kept the Holy Trinity to personal battles — and not to national or international ones.
Separation of church and state has for much of our history been at the heart of our concept of personal freedom. The freedom of the individual from dictated faith is a concept celebrated in our national consciousness.
The president may, of course, use all the Biblical rhetoric he wants because that is his right as an individual, but are the interests of a pluralistic nation best served in this identity our political icon has created?
I would not say that “By using such language, the president becomes one of the American people,” as Zaremby writes. Nor would I state that “Religious language is a strong way to unite the disparate domestic and international goals of the administration” or that “The American people like to hear the words of the Bible from their elected representative. It offers them comfort and further belief in the justice of our actions,” as stated by Zaremby. Political policy withstands scrutiny when founded on political logic, not loosely derived from religious doctrine. Politicians major in political science instead of religious studies for good reason.
When the President answers to his Bible in matters of national interest, he undercuts that political ideal of separation of church and state that has allowed our diverse population comfort in freedom of belief. There exists a language of human universality that reaches across religious difference. Let us speak as to bring together, not to separate.
Grace Morris ’06
February 4, 2003