Monday, December 10, 2007

Politics and religion 08

Religion is always a part of any presidential contest and for good reason--America has a long tradition of being a moral nation. Our own Declaration declares this fact, along with numerous state constitutions, even California's. And although we've heard a lot about how we're collectively losing our religion or there's too much church in state, if the current race is any indication more than a few candidates missed the memo.

First, Mitt Romney gave a highly publicized speech defending his faith, which was evidently some kind of attempt to distance himself from his faith, or perhaps the sins of its past. Yes, all religions have sins but Mormonism hasn't been around very long in comparison so its sins are somewhat fresher on some people's minds.

Concurrent to the Romney speech we saw the rise of Huck, a former Baptist preacher who we've lately discovered got into politics to save souls. I'm all for saving souls but America is not a large Christian mega-church. Electing someone solely because they have an underlying goal of conversion sounds every bit as shaky as electing a fundamentalist Jihadi bent on conversion, without the sword or IED, of course.

Don't misunderstand, I like Huck. I think he's a good man taking an incredible amount of flak for being a true Southern Baptist. But this isn't a race for president of the Southern Baptist Convention. As many have pointed out, he's fallen short on being a true conservative so far.

Finally, from the few snippets coming out of the GOP Latino debate last night it appears that Huck and Mitt are not the only candidates unafraid to make reference to deeply held beliefs, such as the Catholic roots of our new majority minority.

Let's not forget the Democrats, though. Hillary's attempts to pander have been laughingly transparent so far, but nobody buys it anyway--we've seen her before. Meanwhile, some conservatives have chidingly called Obama "the messiah", a moniker perhaps more scarily accurate than assumed:
"I give all praise and honor to God," Obama began. "Look at the day the Lord has made."

Obama's wife, Michelle, opened the rally with a description of her husband that could, at moments, have been a description of Jesus Christ.
Notice he said God, not Allah. Perhaps that's the underlying reason Oprah has signed on, to reassure the masses of that distinction:
"It's amazing grace that brought me here," she began, adding that she was "stepping out of my pew" - television – to engage in politics.

It isn't enough to tell the truth, Winfrey said. "We need politicians who know how to be the truth."
Well OK, but sometimes we can't handle the brutal truth. But one has to wonder whether Oprah and the Obama backers, being so deep into telling the truth and servant leadership, would consider voting for Huckabee if he were the Republican nominee, rather than Hillary?

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