In order to win the presidency in America, candidates must stir up the religious fervor of the voters (gay marriage/civil union) and then vocally (and in some cases visually) wear your (new) Evangelical beliefs on your sleeve. It used to be candidate vs. candidate, then party vs. party, big business vs. the common (wo)man, platform vs. platform, then region vs. region, but now none of that matters as a new America has emerged, an America in which the majority with a religious manifest rules the minority with a secular agenda.
Throughout the centuries, most of the wars have been based on religion, something all people realize to be true. Iraq is divided into a power struggle of three religious factions; the same in the former Yugoslavia; the annihilation of the Jewish people in Germany; African genocide, and let's not forget the last 800 years in England and Ireland, to name but a few. The same thing is beginning to happen in America. We are so split between our ideals and beliefs - and religion is winning! Separation of church and state is being debated more and more often. Soon, if you're not like everyone else, religion's minorities will be faced with fear and uncertainty as history has proved throughout time. Proselytization will become rampant, with people converting so as to be in the majority. Missionaries will be like door to door sales(wo)men spreading their word that they are the true defenders of 'the American Way.'
The First Amendment of the Constitution is just words. However, the actions to support it without question are what make it alive with meaning. With the division we now have in America, will it still be supported? Or will it be changed little by little by a soon-to-be lopsided, right-wing Supreme Court. No one knows, but many are fearful of what may happen, especially after last night's surprising, or not-so-surprising, main issue.
In the presidential election of 2004, 82% of the voters said that their main concern was moral (religious) beliefs. That was more than the economy, education, the environment, terrorism, energy, and the war in Iraq. It was the number one concern in America; the basis of most people's decision on who gets their vote. Does that make any sense when our country is filled with so many more pressing ills right now? However, in reference to it, and give it its due process, one must ask: Whatever happened to 'live and let live?' Whatever happened to tolerance? Whatever happened to 'love thy brother?' What has happened to America, the land of the free to live our lives as free, consenting adults and pursue our forefathers' foresighted decree of 'separation of church and state?'
Ask yourself: Why do I have to swear on the Bible in court when the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed in a federal building?
What will happen next? Only time, and the actions of our President, will tell.
Bruce Schwartz is a lifelong political activist. THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, his novel on politics today, discusses this subject as well as others that affect every American. It is on sale on the Web at http://www.thetwentyfirstcentury.com and at http://www.amazon.com. All of the author's royalties is being donated to the Alzheimer's Association.