Debbie Stabenow is not a strident voice of liberalism in the United States Senate. Of the progressive legislative actions we’ve tracked, Senator Stabenow has supported only 30 percent. Yet, one of the Republicans competing for the right to challenge Stabenow in next year’s election counts her as among the most extreme liberals in the Senate.
Although our legislative tracking system finds 34 Democrats and one independent in the Senate who have a more liberal record in the current session of Congress, County Commissioner Gary Glenn calls Stabenow “one of America’s most liberal senators”. Given this discrepancy, it’s important to undersand what Glenn counts as liberal.
The Separation of Church and State, as provided for in the Constitution, is a widely accepted principle, but Glenn seems to regard it as unacceptably liberal. Although the Constitution explicitly forbids any religious test for public office, the very first of his qualifications for the U.S. Senate cited by Glenn is that he is Christian.
Glenn proposes the idea that the United States is a Christian nation, with the government providing only a limited sort of religious freedom – that which protects Christianity in particular. His campaign site declares, “Gary Glenn believes the United States has from its founding been a nation of destiny, blessed and protected by God specifically because of its commitment to protect religious freedom and the Judeo-Christian faith and values shared by our Founding Fathers and by most Americans of the time.”
The protection of religious freedom is contained in the Constitution. The protection of “the Judeo-Christian faith” is not. In order for there to be true religious freedom in the United States, the government cannot provide special protection for any religion. If Christianity in the United States were to wither away, the government would not have the authority to prevent the change, as it would be an expression of the free will of American citizens.
Yet, Gary Glenn expresses the idea that American rights don’t come from the Constitution at all, but rather from the deity that he worships. Does Glenn believe that the Constitution itself is too liberal?