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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Politians Not Upholding The Constitution

Politians Not Upholding The Constitution
This article discusses a controversy caused by a comment made by Lancaster, California Mayor R. Rex Parris during a state of the city address. Parris commented that he was "growing a Christian community," and planned to "endorse prayer at city meetings, [...], as a way to validate a Christian stance." The Council on American-Islamic Relations wrote to the U.S Justice Department arguing that Parris' remark violated the Constitution. Parris did apologize and defended that he made the comment in a speech to Christian ministers at an event he paid for. He argued that "all of us get to express our opinion wherever, [...], including opinions of faith..." The article concludes by noting another California politician, Lancaster Councilwoman Sherry Marquez, criticized for posting anti-Muslim remarks on her Facebook.

Does Mayor Parris have a point in saying he has the right to make his opinions known? Does it matter that the event was personally sponsored? Does such a comment count as violating the Establishment clause of the first amendment?

I strongly believe Mayor Parris' comments were completely inappropriate and that he should be help accountable for them. Politicians are merely people, and I understand that they are likely to base their platforms on their religious beliefs; it's only natural. But, as an American politician you are agreeing to put the Constitution above your religious beliefs, as we are expected to do as American citizens. Mayor Pariss clearly stated his efforts to bring the church into the politics of the state of California. It is irrelevant whom he is addressing or why he is addressing them, he is meant to represent America and its government; which do not support the establishment of one religion over another. I also believe Councilwoman Marquez should suffer consequences for her discriminatory comment. I think politicians should be held to a higher standard when it comes to upholding the Constitution. How are members of a state expected to abide by laws of equality, toleration, and acceptance if those governing it cannot? I am especially surprised to hear such comments come from politicians of California, considering its generally liberal and accepting nature. I would believe such religious politicians could work their beliefs into their campaigns without blatantly offending or favoring a specific religion. Even if Mayor Parris stood for everything I wanted in a leader, I do not think I would be able to vote for him knowing all of his decisions would be based on trying to "Christianify" the state.

If we allow politicians to get away with running their campaigns in a bias way and making comments that violate the Constitution, we are not defending our position to separate church and state. There is a reason we accept this way of government and we cannot allow those within it to break it down.