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February 25, 2012Posted in Blog, News

Gary Johnson on freedom of religion

By Craig Schlesinger, Nashville Libertarian Examiner

For a nation rooted in liberation from state-sponsored religion, American politicians sure love to interject their faith in the public sphere without the slightest hint of historical irony. One politician, however, actually gets it, former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

Gov. Johnson, the reigning valedictorian of ACLU Liberty Watch, took to the airwaves Tuesday night on Alan Colmes’ FOX News Radio show:

As much as I hate the fact that the ACLU would tell a community that they can’t hang a Christmas tree in the lobby and play Christmas music in a public building, isn’t that why we became the United States of America? Isn’t that why we broke away from England?

Just don’t tell that to the GOP primary contenders. Look no further than the campaign trail for an overdose of religiosity.

Newt Gingrich thinks the decisions made by presidents are “beyond the ability of mere mortals,” which begs the question as to why he’s even running in the first place.

Mitt Romney will “seek the guide of Providence in making critical [oval office] decisions.” One of his staffers might want to try slipping him the U.S. Constitution if he requires presidential guidance. It’s even available in pocket size format and as a downloadable iPhone app!

But no one candidate can push Christendom like the Gonfaloniere himself, Rick Santorum. Admittedly, he would use the government to regulate morality and dictate how to live your life because “faith has everything to do with it.” Santorum even measures other politicians’ shortcomings based on their willingness (or lack thereof) to channel their own faith and weave it into public policy. Fortunately, the Gonfaloniere has not yet gone so far as to pledge public burnings for suspected heretics.

Gary Johnson understands that the fervor needs to be about freedom of religion, not a perverted contest to see which candidate can out-God the other. There is no self-righteous agenda in his campaign or on his resume. Johnson’s only agenda is to let people worship how they see fit so long as they aren’t harming others.

In his deadpan style, Gov. Johnson recalled an anecdote about the dangers of blending the morally self-righteous with public policy:

I do remember one of the Christian conservative leaders in New Mexico talking to me and said, ‘You know Gary, it isn’t so much that I disagree with what you’re saying about drugs, its that God disagrees with what you have to say about drugs’. And I wanted to ask him at the time, with his intimate connection with God, could he just get a copy of next Thursday’s Wall Street Journal?


I hope that comes off tongue-in-cheek!

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