That was enough, though. A few hours ago, when my wife, daughter and I stopped by an area bookstore, I temporarily put down a bargain hardback paired copy of Tom Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising” and “Cardinal and the Kremlin” and picked up a prominently displayed paperback copy of Barack Hussein Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope.”
I opened the book to page 79, smack-dab in the middle of a chapter entitled “Our Constitution.” This is the first–and only–sentence that I read:
“With conservative republicans making gains in the congressional and presidential elections, many liberals viewed the courts as the only thing standing in the way of a radical effort to roll back civil rights, women’s rights, civil liberties, environmental regulation, church/state separation, and the entire legacy of the New Deal.”
Given my concern about Obama’s view of and plans for the United States Supreme Court–the next president will have anywhere between two and six nominations before him (or her)–the idea that this sentence was the first and only piece of his book that I read makes me laugh.
Without having read the context–here, I don’t find it extremely necessary, as the excerpt is fairly self-contained–I’m guessing that it was written in reference to the continued success of the GOP in 2004.
I think that it is particularly telling that Obama views the judiciary on even ground with the legislative and executive branches with regard to enacting legislation that would expand civil rights, women’s rights, environmental regulation, and more. Now, I could be reading it wrong — Obama could merely be making reference to a liberal Court’s role in interpreting law and not making it, but given his sentiment that the Supreme Court should serve the nation by favoring the weak over the strong, I’m guessing that objective interpretation of our founding documents is not exactly on his short list of priorities for the folks in the robes.
Using one portion of the excerpt as an example, the idea that the GOP wants to undertake a “radical effort to roll back” the church/state separation shows that Sen. Obama–even being a graduate of Harvard Law School–has a skewed understanding of the nature of our Constitution and of the people who composed it.
The words “separation of church and state” appear nowhere in the United States Constitution. What does appear is the Establishment Clause–Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof– which essentially requires that the government be enjoined from establishing a national religion. With regard to the reasoning behind the inclusion of this clause in our Constitution, James Madison once wrote: “The people feared one sect might obtain a preeminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform.”
The left, in this country, has invoked this distorted view of religion and government for a myriad of reasons. To them, the proper “separation” of church and state can be effectuated by removing the words “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, by pulling renderings of the Ten Commandments from courthouses, and by demanding the removal of crosses from the altars of university chapels and from war memorials across the country. This goes for religious symbols of all denominations, as Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was under fire recently for hanging a mezzuzah on the door to his office. While Crist himself is not Jewish, he spoke of his office as belonging to the people of Florida — still, civil rights groups had a problem with it.
One Florida state senator, Ronda Storms, put it nicely when she spoke about how she saw no problem with the display: “The Constitution provides freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.”
Just like his perspective on favoring the weak over the strong instead of following the rule of law, Obama’s hope that the court will continue to expand and enforce the expansion of the false church-state divide is a microcosm of his perspective on the judiciary as a whole. Democrat or republican, rich or poor, all Americans benefit from a Court which interprets our laws and leaves the enacting of legislation in the hands of elected legislators. Obama’s contrary beliefs, compounded with the age of the Supreme Court Justices, presents an extremely dangerous situation.