Monday, January 21, 2008

Unfounded Fears Of An American Theocracy

M. Abdul Hafiz, columnist for The Daily Star, proffers his opinion on who will be the next President of the United States. Like most international commentators, he leans Democrat, of course; and naturally he’s weary of Republicans, especially of Huckabee. He writes:

The US constitution, in its first amendment, prohibited state support for the establishment of a religion -- a stipulation further articulated and reinforced by Thomas Jefferson, the third US president. However, much of the recent invocation of religion can be attributed to the increasing enthusiasm of the fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. Their activities were openly promoted by the Republicans during Bush's presidency, which, inspired by the neo-conservatives, produced a heady mix of religion and politics. The result is that an obscure Baptist Christian preacher Rev. Mike Huckabee surged forward in the polls in Iowa on the strength of his religious background. This trend has already distorted the secular character of American polity. Unless checkmated, the entire civilisational achievement of the great nation will be at stake.
Fundamentalist Christians have been involved in American politics off-and-on since the United States was founded, but they’ve never been successful in turning the United States into a theocracy that Mr. Hafiz fears. We can thank the Founding Fathers for their vision: first, for separating religion and government, which was a novel idea in the 18th century; and second, for constructing a constitutional mechanism— a system of check and balances—that makes a theocracy almost impossible. If somehow Huckabee became president, the prospect of American turning into a “Christian” nation would be next to nil.