The exercise of political power in service to....
Perhaps no other nation is so thoroughly associated with civil rights, human rights, religious freedom, and the idea that politicians who win election as representatives proudly serve the highest power in a democratic society, the People of their consitutency. Unfortunately, far too many of our "representatives" do not appear to adhere to this founding principle of democracy. By the time We the People find out that the "representative(s)" we elected have decided to put the People's interest in second place behind the representative's interests it is too late: days, weeks, or months after the election.
All too often, the first actions of newly elected "representative(s)" is to proudly announce that they have decided to place their personal religious beliefs over their responsibilities to their constituents. They explain that their beliefs require that they begin taxpayer funded public meetings in taxpayer owned public buildings while being paid by with taxpayer moneys with an often-persionalized religious ritual such a "prayer," which later becomes an "invocation," or "benediction" once they realize just how bad it looks in an allegedly free society. Such announcements are often accompanied by the "representative(s)' heartfelt statements disclosing their plan to "ask for guidance from a higher being," or "account to God first."
Probably the most important founding concept of functional democracy appears based upon the elected representative(s) surrendering the advancement of their personal agendas to instead shoulder the responsibility of representing will of the People. Therefore, publicising one's decision to be guided by or account to something other than - or even worse - "higher" than the People seems to violate the trust placed in them by the voters. This is especially true in the context of alleged "freedom of religion" and the grafting of the representative(s) personal religious beliefs and rituals onto public service events.
Thre are many reasons to keep religion and government separate. Many would argue that since both religion and government place great power in the hands of fallible human beings, the intermixing of goverment and religion grants our represenative(s) far too much power. Since the People's of the earth appear to follow about ten thousand different religions and at least some people prefer their government straight, such public displays of belief can be unpleasant to large segments of the People. Furthermore, there is a danger that those not sharing the beliefs of the representative(s) might find being forced to sit through very public religious rituals as a price for the right to interact with the represenative(s) not only distasteful, but also an "in your face" display of contempt for the very People the representatives were elected to serve. In addition, those holding great political power and the belief they are serving an even higher power have been associated with some rather infamous events in history.
Although apparently minor examples of the intermixing of goverment and religion such as prayer in public meetings can become quite uncomfortable for individual citizens (even though they might be comforting to the representative(s)), "representative(s)" who attempt to or appear to hide the pursuit of personal religious goals during the exercise of political power risk the discovery of their apparent disdain for the will of the People they are paid - and sworn - to serve. At times, it appears that there are far more of our "reperesenative(s)" who hide their prioritization of advancing their personal religious (and sometimes other) goals than flaunt them.
The risk associated with any exercise of political power grows with the amount of power exercised (e.g. attempts to revoke hard won civil rights with the stroke of a pen), the number of people affected (e.g. members of all public sector unions - spareing union political supporters), and the rationality of the exercise of power (e.g. revoking hard won civil rights will balance the budget). The only thing that could make such a sweeping apparent abuse of political power worse is the disclosure that the will of the People is being violated in service to "representative(s)" religious beliefs, and that since virtually every religious leader involved opposes the exercise of political power, the religious beliefs being served are almost exclusively personal.
Apparently, this is the situation the People of Wisconsin are facing today. To quote the governor of Wisconsin, "The Great Creator, no matter who you worship, is the one from which our freedoms are derived, not the government" (http://www.progressive.org/wx030711.html).
If freedoms are derived from someone you "worship" rather than the government, how come only the absence of democratic lawmakers (for whom the governor has issued arrest warrants) has prevented the governor from summarily revoking the freedom to bargain collectively (e.g. freedom of association and speech) from many of the People of Wisconsin?
This exercise of rigid brinkmanship and apparently unconsitutional political power in an attempt to unilaterally revoke freedoms allegedly granted by an omnipotent being by a governor who appears to believe he is acting on the instructions of omnipotent beings seems rather wacky. However, if he is successful, will the governor have demonstrated that "the Great Creator" wants him to have the power to revoke freedoms only those worthy of "worship" can provide?
God in Wisconsin, Scott Walkers "Obedience"
Diana Butler Bass, The Huffington Post, February 25, 2011
Scott Walker Believes He's Following Orders from the Lord -
Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive Magazine, March 7, 2011
by Groff Schroeder
March 7, 2011