Rep. Harris (R-Fla.) on Church and State
SLevinson at law.utexas.edu
Sat Aug 26 14:28:48 PDT 2006
So what will the Bushes do? Is she going to be the second Republican
senatorial candidate to be disowned? But the Democratic candidate is
scarcely so compatible to Republicans as Joe Lieberman.
Incidentally, given her apparent belief that God casts the relevant vote
in all elections, will she interpret her own likely repudiation by the
voters of Florida as a sign that God may actually support separation?
Rep. Harris Condemns Separation of Church, State
By Jim Stratton
Saturday, August 26, 2006; A09
ORLANDO, Aug. 25 -- Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) said this week that
God did not intend for the United States to be a "nation of secular
laws" and that the separation of church and state is a "lie we have been
told" to keep religious people out of politics.
"If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to
legislate sin," Harris told interviewers from the Florida Baptist
Witness, the weekly journal of the Florida Baptist State Convention. She
cited abortion and same-sex marriage as examples of that sin.
Harris, a candidate in the Sept. 5 Republican primary for U.S. Senate,
said her religious beliefs "animate" everything she does, including her
votes in Congress.
Witness editors interviewed candidates for office, asking them to
describe their faith and their positions on certain issues.
Harris has always professed a deep Christian faith. But she has rarely
expressed such a fervent evangelical perspective publicly.
Political and religious officials responded to her published remarks
with outrage and dismay.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said she was "disgusted" by the
comments "and deeply disappointed in Representative Harris personally."
Harris, Wasserman Schultz said, "clearly shows that she does not deserve
to be a representative."
Ruby Brooks, a veteran Tampa Bay Republican activist, said Harris's
remarks "were offensive to me as a Christian and a Republican."
"This notion that you've been chosen or anointed, it's offensive,"
Brooks said. "We hurt our cause with that more than we help it."
Harris told the journalists "we have to have the faithful in government"
because that is God's will. Separating religion and politics is "so
wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers," she said.
"And if we are the ones not actively involved in electing those godly
men and women," then "we're going to have a nation of secular laws.
That's not what our Founding Fathers intended, and that certainly isn't
what God intended."
Harris campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Marks would not answer questions
about the Harris interview. Instead, she released a two-sentence
"Congresswoman Harris encourages Americans from all walks of life and
faith to participate in our government," it stated. "She continues to be
an unwavering advocate of religious rights and freedoms."
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