Thursday, December 6, 2007

Please remember Sara

The video says it all.

Religion's place in the 2008 election

On my Yahoo homepage today, there is a poll that asks how crucial a candidate's faith is to your vote. Surprisingly to me, at the time I checked the results, out of nearly 10,000 votes, 42 percent of people said a candidate's faith was "extremely important." Sometimes I swear for all our progress and fancy technology, we are still living in the dark ages. Now, in this poll I took faith to mean religion. I believe the rituals a person uses to connect with God have no bearing on whether that person is a thoughtful, intelligent, strong, inquisitive, reasonable, results-focused, uniting and compassionate leader. Indeed, I think it is possible to be a non-believer or a seeker and still embody the aforementioned qualities--ones I think are some marks of a good president. That so many of my fellow citizens don't agree is detrimental to the health of our republic.

Believing that "my leader must worship my God" encourages the pandering and hypocrisy we say we deplore in our leaders. I find it interesting that most people I know whom I would deem religious rarely talk about their beliefs in day-to-day conversation. How they choose to renew their spirits, worship God and help their fellow man, is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is personal. I think most Americans, like me, believe their spirituality (or lack thereof) is their business. Now, political candidates these days wear their professed faiths like billboards, stumping at churches, shaking hands with high-profile preachers and giving shout outs to God. Call me cynical, while I don't doubt most politicians have some sort of spiritual belief, I suspect most of this religious grandstanding is for show.

I evaluate people based on what they do, not who or what they claim to pray to. For all the God talk that George Bush has done, for all his claims of being born again, he apparently hasn't asked himself "What would Jesus do?" in eight years. His brand of Christianity is like none I recognize.

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

I agree. What do you think? How important is faith to your choice of a candidate?


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