I donít want to argue religion endlessly. I do believe our forefathers did not intend for any religion to be a determining fact in how we govern. People left European countries for this land to escape religious persecution and have continued to do so from all parts of the world. When I think of Church and State not being separated, I think of so many of the middle eastern countries where we see oppression practiced as a way of life.
As for what you refer to as prayer free zones, I, for one, send my daughter to public school as I did my son. I donít want the school teaching them religion, I donít want them to be asked to say a certain prayer, and I donít want them to post the 10 Commandments - which, by the way, I believe in wholeheartedly. My reason for this is that my beliefs differ from someone who is Muslim or Hindu or some other non-Christian religion. I donít believe my Christian religion is any better than theirs, but just a different way of worshipping our Creator, whether we call him/her God, Allah, or any other name. If I wanted the schools to be teaching religion to my kids, I would have sent them to a Catholic school as I attended. My kids have both received their religious upbringing from family and church. As for being prayer-free around abortion clinics and the like, I suspect that is probably to prevent the violent situations that we have all seen on the news when the "pro-life" people protest at these places and people are attacked, etc. I have never understood how pro-lifers could do some of those things to other people.
I do not want people to abandon their morality and that is a ridiculous thing to suggest. I know people who practice no formal religion who have very high morals. We all know right from wrong and how we want to be treated. The Christian right wing conservatives in this country donít have a claim to that.
I have never witnessed the churches that espouse very conservative views being punished. Why they are in the back pocket of this current administration! My preference would be that the churches not talk politics at all. If they would teach the religious beliefs and concepts of their religion, people will be guided to make their own political decisions. I have told this to my priest and, in fact, to my former bishop before he retired recently.
Having said all of this, thatís all I will say on religion or politics. My point with the original post is that we have to look at all the issues, stem cell research being one, and based on our own moral values decide if this is an issue that is important to us in this election - as well as all the other issues on the table. The choices are very clear and, depending on the outcome in November, our families, our country, and the world will be greatly affected.
Consider the issues, factor in your own beliefs - and VOTE.