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Letters: Religion in politics? No thanks

August 17, 2013

Re "Invoking God in America," Opinion, Aug. 14

Joseph Margulies posits that a kind of generic "civil religion" pervades politics. This helps explain why candidates persist in touting their belief in God, blatant pandering that flouts the Constitution's declaration that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office."

Perhaps future candidates will heed this emphatic stricture from a document that, as Margulies puts it, is a "demonstration of God's hand in helping to guide America's destiny."

Greg Gilbert

Cool, Calif.

Margulies notes that we speak of progress in America as if God is at work. Would that he had pondered whether civil religion has emerged more from self-serving politicians' contrivance.

Above all, politicians need voters to trust them. What better way to curry trust than to avow belief in the selfsame God presumptively embraced by most of the electorate?

Candidates who tout their ostensibly common beliefs do so hoping that voters' trust — or blind faith — will substitute for the critical thinking that would jeopardize most political ambitions.

Nothing like a holy consensus to enhance manipulation of gullible voters.

Betty Turner

Sherman Oaks

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