Hart Cunningham was raised as a Presbyterian during his formative years in Memphis, Tennessee. Hart is a Christian and reflects daily with his Bible and daily meditation. His strong faith and devotion governs his personal life and actions. But he feels strongly the line one must not cross between personal faith and being the President of the United States. Hart respects the separation of church and state, with a deep understanding of the “Establishment of Religion”1 clause of the First Amendment introduced by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson wrote that one specific denomination should not be held as the state religion, which Hart agrees with. One person’s faith should not supersede another in status, decree, or officially as it causes division, fear and resentment amongst Americans. Hart also believes in that one set of commandments and decrees will not cover the spectrum of our diverse American society.
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Hart Cunningham is a Person of Faith
Hart genuinely embraces all people’s race, cultures and theological denominations. This is his natural disposition with true belief that our diversities are our unique strength in America. He believes any encouragement of non-acceptance of others is the deliberate and willful destruction of the American fabric. He evidences this by the variety of close friends and associates he’s had for almost 40 years. People of various faiths make up Hart’s circle of friends. This rich diversity of friends has shaped Hart’s outlook on the world and people in general. During his time as a businessman, Hart has worked with almost the entire spectrum of people found in the United States. This is to include: Latinos, African Americans, Caucasians, Middle Easterners and Asians. It’s because of this exposure, he has such a wide cultural periphery. Hart understands that people are different, but can come together on simple principles and find common ground. From our common ground, Americans can build a code of morality and ethics that can richly cover every American interest in society.
Meditation and Clarity
Outside the church, Hart practices yoga, stretching and meditation as means to spiritually connect with people. Yoga has a grounding effect on Hart from his busy day to day activities in the business world. Hart has been practicing yoga for many years and considers it an essential part of his persona and lifestyle. Yoga promotes clarity of thought, fluidity of mind-body-soul, and brings a stillness from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Hart feels that yoga promotes self-awareness and forces you to be intertwined with people, you might not regularly meet and promotes social harmony. Hart also participates in inner faith dialogues between groups that have deep rooted conflicts. His administration genuinely believes and will live by the mantra found in the Biblical expression of “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Hart Cunningham’s personal approach, unique personality and spirited attitude for peace can facilitate harmony and diplomacy with the nations of the world.
America’s Spiritual Deficit
Hart believes that there is a spiritual deficit in America. Less and less Americans are practicing spiritually nourishing activities. He wishes that everyone could benefit from spiritual grounding to balance out the noise of the world. Sometimes sitting down in a church or synagogue, or attending a spiritual gathering in one’s faith promotes a centeredness Americans once had before social media and television. Spirituality promotes community within one, quietens cultural obsessions caused by social media and the internet. Unplugging from the modern world and communing with another person is an important part of wellness that all Americans can embrace.
Despite its inclusion in the pantheon of democratic virtues, separation of church and state did not become constitutional canon until the mid-twentieth century with incorporation of the Bill of Right to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. In the modern Court’s first Establishment Clause holding, Everson v. Board of Education (1947), Justice Hugo Black wrote:
The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another […] No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion […] In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between Church and State.”