The separation of church and state is a fundamental precept of American democracy that seeks to prevent government at any level from force-feeding religion upon the citizens. So, governments in the USA aren't supposed to promote one religion over another, nor can they require a citizen's adherence to the rules of any religion.
Our government, of the people, is not supposed to require or discourage any faith in a Creator.
But since the concept for codes of conduct all began with ancient religions, and for most of history there wasn't much difference between church and state, washing all the vestiges of religion out of government has been easier said than done. It's a work in progress.
Still, people sometimes get confused about how separation of church and state is supposed to work. It doesn't mean preachers, or any sort of religious figures, shouldn't vote, or take part in the political process.
So, it was entirely proper when Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took a leadership position in the most important political causes of his day. Rev. Pat Robertson still enjoys the same license to pursue the goals in politics he sees as worthwhile.
Likewise, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago, has been both a religious and political figure. Some of Wright's political rhetoric got President Barack Obama in trouble during the campaign last year. Obama's deft handling of the crisis Wright's antics had injected into presidential politics was impressive.
First Obama managed to show a reasonable amount of loyalty to a man he had respected, as the minister of his church, for a long time. After Wright made new statements away from his pulpit that threw gasoline on the flames, Obama pushed away from Wright's off-the-wall behavior. Then Obama gave a speech about race and politics that was very well received.
OK. How about former Attorney General Bob McDonnell? Doesn't he have a preacher problem? First associated with Rev. Robertson in his days as a postgraduate at the televangelist's Regent University in Virginia Beach, McDonnell has continued as Robertson's protégé throughout his career in politics. Has McDonnell ever really distanced himself from the most extreme things Robertson has said or done?
Let's face it, Robertson has said a lot a goofy things over the years.
No need to dredge up his ridiculous comments about bad weather and blurred genders, and so forth. A more ambitious researcher could put together a nice long list of absurd Robertsonisms. The point is, when has McDonnell ever stood before cameras and mics and said where he draws the line, regarding some of the stuff Robertson has said to make headlines?
Maybe he did and I missed it?
Moreover, it says here that McDonnell's connection to Robertson is at least as strong as was the one Republicans were so upset about between Obama and Wright. Remember the righteous indignation?
Then Obama put the record straight. Although many Republicans weren't satisfied, the issue was put to rest for most voters. Now, let's see McDonnell do the same thing.
Since we saw last year that the GOP insists candidates say just exactly where they separate church and state, in their own life, they should be happy to hear Mr. McDonnell set the record straight.
Where and when does McDonnell push away from Robertson?