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June 2, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Mike Cubelo
January 22, 2006

Religion brings Halo Hell to politics.
It’s a halo that hovers above the wall separating church and state distorting our politics and ignoring our Constitution.
Instead of dealing with issues from a constitutional perspective, this halo leads us towards bible babble that tries to determine what the big guy in the sky wants.
What Would Jesus Do has become an underlying political mantra and many politicians claim to know exactly what the big guy wants.
What would Jesus do in picking a president to fight terrorism?
President Bush knows. He told a Texan evangelist that Jesus picked him. And, when Bush was asked, “Who is your hero?” guess what he said?
Jesus Christ.
This is how halo hell works. The politician grabs the halo proclaiming that he is serving his god first and not the public.
Being divinely chosen, a president can then spy on your emails, phone calls, and Google searches without having to worry about a judge looking over his shoulder. He can even jail you for years and you won’t be able to contact your family or a lawyer or even be able to go before a judge to plead your case.
Last week, the Supreme Court had to stop the divine intervention of the Bush Administration into the state of Oregon. The people there supported a state law that permits assisted-suicide for the terminally ill. A poll showed that 60% of the people in Oregon supported this state law but former Attorney General John Ashcroft believed that this was against his god’s will. Ashcroft’s the guy who went to Bob Jones University to declare that Jesus is the King of us all.  You can Google this but be careful out there on the web these days.
When he was a US Senator, Ashcroft tried to pass a federal law to override Oregon’s assisted-suicide law but failed. So, in 2001, as Attorney General, he used an existing federal law called the Control Substance Act to threaten Oregon doctors who prescribed lethal drugs to help the terminally ill commit suicide. This Act was passed to stop drug trafficking but Ashcroft, in his divine inspiration, used it against doctors following their own state law. Luckily, the Supreme Court slapped Ashcroft down on his religious misuse of this federal law. However, guess who sided with Ashcroft on the Supreme Court? Of course, Scalia and Thomas did. But both of them now have a new ally, John Roberts, who was recently appointed by Bush to the Supreme Court – as Chief Justice no less.
This is where halo hell really hurts the public most. Bush appoints people to his administration who want to convert bible babble into government policy and law so that we all have to follow their god’s will.
Bush appointed a deputy undersecretary of Defense, Jerry Boykin, who also knows what god wants. Boykin said that Bush (quote) “is in the White House because God put him there.” And, to be sure that everyone understood the difference between the Bush/Boykin god and any other god, Boykin told a church congregation about his discussion with a Muslim. Boykin bragged, “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”
Boykin is in the intelligence unit of the Defense Dept. His appointment gives us some insight into how Bush can know god’s will but not the whereabouts of WMDs in Iraq.
This is how halo hell distracts us from the real problems we face.
But, there’s more.
The anointed Bush administration even goes so far as to invoke god in treating premenstrual syndrome. Gynecologist and obstetrician W. David Hager was appointed to the Food and Drug Administration. He believes that premenstrual syndrome can be treated with Bible readings. I wonder if he recommends to pre-menstrual women the chapter where Eve eats the apple that got us all kicked out of paradise? But, as part of his biblical-based gynecology, Hager denounces birth control pills. Abstinence is recommended, instead.
What exactly does Hager do for the Food and Drug Administration? He is on the Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee.
This is how Halo Hell turns medical discussions and decisions about women’s health into bible babble.
It gets even worst if you are a comatose woman in a vegetative state who appears to be smiling on videotape. Yes, remember Terri Schiavo?
It does not matter if 18 different courts over seven years confirm that you are in a vegetative state and have the right to die. It does not matter if several independent guardians appointed by different courts agree with your husband that you would not have wanted to live in a vegetative state.
It is more important to ask, what would Jesus Do with you in your vegetative state?
Lawyers supported by the Bush administration actually cited the authority of The Pope since Terri Schiavo was raised a Catholic. These lawyers claimed that Schiavo’s right to religious freedom was denied because withdrawal of her feeding tube is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, Bush and these lawyers did not seek to find out if she was taking birth control pills while conscious in violation of Catholic Church rules before her illness. They just wanted to apply god’s feeding tube rule while she was unconscious.
So, instead of the husband making this private and intimate family decision, we have the Bush government and the bachelor Pope wanting to make the decision. Bottom line, both believe that Jesus wanted her to stay in her vegetative state until her number was called for heaven or hell.
This halo hell attitude in our politics even gave the blessing for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to actually subpoena a comatose Terri Schiavo demanding her appearance before the Senate. Frist’s religious beliefs inspired his physician skills so that he could diagnose Schiavo from a videotape to say that she was not in a permanent vegetative state. Of course, we all now know based on the autopsy that Schiavo was most certainly in a vegetative state. 
This Schiavo episode is classic halo hell in American politics.
Of course, this is all at the federal level. Here in South Carolina, bible babble is the language of our local politics.
We have state senator Mike Fair who proudly proclaims that he rather be right than tolerant. In other words, he knows what is absolutely right and will not tolerant anything else. He bases this on his Christian faith and his inside knowledge of his so-called “lord god.”  
His intolerance and righteousness went so far that he carried a dildo around South Carolina protesting the comprehensive sex education courses in public schools. He was offended that a dildo display about how to use condoms was enticing students to have sex. Amusingly, he did not get the irony of himself advertising the dildo that was so enticing. He must have been distracted and lost in prayer.
From dildos, Fair went to license plates that proclaim Choose Life. Of course, since he is absolutely right, he did not tolerant a license plate that proclaimed a Women’s Choice. He would not allow the opposing view and the courts finally had to tell Fair that SC had to allow both car tags with our tax money. He still refuses to propose legislation that will allow both tags.
Recently, Fair, who never returned the dildo as far as we can determine, now wants our public schools to teach Intelligent Design. I will not be surprised if we see Fair traveling around the state with a monkey and church organ grinder.
So, is religion always bad when it comes to politics?
Dr. Martin Luther King and President Abraham Lincoln knew how to use their religious convictions in politics.
Simply, both did not claim to know what the big guy in the sky was thinking. They did not claim that God was on their side.
Instead, both expressed the hope that they were on God’s side.
This is an important distinction. Instead of acting from the absolute certainty that you know what god wants, you act from a more humble self-doubt that possibly god may disagree with what you are doing. This forces you to listen and to tolerate views different from yours.
Dr. King would never have claimed like Mayor Nagin from New Orleans that god brought the hurricanes down upon us because god is mad at America. Dr. King could dream like Nagin but he was a preacher who spoke about trying to follow god’s will instead of knowing it. In his “I have a Dream” speech, King not only spoke of god but also about  the Declaration of Independence when he said that “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed --- "We hold these these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal."
Both Lincoln and King did not try to raise the halo above the wall separating church and state. Instead, they kept the halo on the church side of the wall where it belongs. Both understood that this constitutional wall protects us from all the gods circling around the church side of the wall. Those gods who want to leap over and take over our daily, private lives through halo hell politicians. 



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In Lincoln's personal writings you will find that he believed that America was the new Isreal and that he was appointed by God to lead America through the "trial by fire" aka The Civil War. Bush and Lincoln both believed God put them in the Oval Office.  . . .

Read the rest.

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