Saturday, December 08, 2007

Religion & Politics

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's December 8th editorial (Please see copy below) raised the question "Aren't we beyond this?" as to the place of candidates' religions (Or, lack thereof) in defining who we wish to elect to public office. The real, under the table, question was: "When Will Religion Disappear From The Public Forum?".

Unlike most raging secularists and those who have joined the "Religion of Atheism" (Declared as such by the Wisconsin Supreme Court), most Americans do ask some essential questions as to those they give their votes and political contributions, among which are those below.
1. What religious or moral training has the candidate had?
2. Does s/he hold fast to that training in private and public life?
3. Does s/he demonstrate divisions between personal beliefs in moral behavior from public acts and policies?
4. Is there anything in each candidates religious or other associations which are contrary to such issues (eg Freedom of speech and free exercise of religion, elective and medically unnecessary abortions, immigration control) as are important to our fellow citizens and often divide us?

The religious (Or civil equivalent) education and practices of candidates does matter!

Editorial: Aren't we beyond this?
Mitt Romney shouldn't have to defend his Mormon faith. Religion should be an issue only if a candidate makes it one.
From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Dec. 7, 2007
Religion for many, if not most, Americans is largely a matter of personal belief, especially in a country such as this with a well-established separation of church and state - a separation that has served this nation well since its founding.
So why, then, should Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have to justify his Mormon faith? The answer, of course, is he should not have to. We would further argue that attempts to artificially make Romney's religion a major issue could be considered fundamentally un-American, considering that this nation's founders put religious freedom right there at the top of the list in the Bill of Rights.
Simply put, a candidate's religious beliefs shouldn't be the litmus test for becoming president. Efforts to hold Romney to such a test, as subtle as those efforts may be, smack of religious intolerance and bigotry. They bring back ugly memories of the 1960 presidential race, when some Americans openly winced at the possibility that America might elect its first Catholic president.
A candidate's religious beliefs may very well be one of the points some Americans consider when they go to the polls. But, generally, religion should be a major issue only if the candidate makes it so.
Romney, commendably, addressed that point head on in a speech on Thursday. "I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest," he said. "A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States."
Absent evidence to the contrary, Americans should take him at his word.

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