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Internet buzzes with calls to GOP to leave religion out of politics

Internet buzzes with calls to GOP to leave religion out of politics

Perhaps the moans in the press started with Rick Perry's wife, who loudly claimed her husband was being "brutalized" because of his Christian faith, something Perry agreed with when talking to George Stephanopulous:
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Or it may be the ongoing testimonies of the Christianity of the candidates that is finally making the press throw up its hands and say "enough already!"   For example, John Feehery at The Hill.com on 17 October, 2011,  calls religion and politics a "toxic mix:"

I would venture to say that America’s political leaders are now more overtly religious than was the case during our nation’s beginning. Indeed, many of the Founding Fathers — in the throes of the Enlightenment — from Madison to Franklin — shared Jefferson’s more skeptical view of religion […]

It would be far better for public discourse to keep religion separate from our politics.  By all accounts, Mitt Romney demonstrated great leadership qualities when he served in his church. As long as he keeps his church separate from our government, that track record should recommend him to all voters, no matter what religious faith they practice.

The Iowa Independent of 18 October 2011, took a survey of Iowans and found that most believed religion was being exploited for political gain:

Iowa politicians from across the spectrum agree religion is exploited for political gain.

Faith plays an important role in politics across the nation, but maybe more so in Iowa. A recent poll from NBC News/Marist shows 91 percent of potential Republican caucusgoers in the state identify as either protestant or Catholic. Of those, 40 percent consider themselves fundamentalist or evangelical Christians.  Bob Vander Plaats, a three-time Republican gubernatorial candidate and head of the social conservative advocacy group The Family Leader, said he doesn’t want to name names but there are those that exploit faith.

A recent Chicago Tribune opinion piece point blank said "Let's keep religion out of politics," and its author, Charles Madigan, said:

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's supporters (and some of her critics too) argue now that it was unfair of some in the news media to react so harshly to comments she might have been making in jest about God giving a warning to our national leaders with earthquakes and floods for their wayward spending behaviors.

I don't know whether she was kidding or not. I do know these are the kinds of wink-wink comments that are embraced by the blind followers even as they are laughed off by the critics. There is not much doubt that some people actually believe God sends punishment to individuals because of their wayward behaviors…[..]

I think it is blasphemous to suggest we can know the mind of God, or even to assume that whatever God is, it is all about us. I am quite certain that God does not punish evil here on Earth because there is so much of it that goes unpunished, so much of it that is rewarded, in fact.

I know this because I have lived as venal a life as anyone else, and when the Great Adjudicator had his chance to burn me to a crisp for my rough and rowdy ways, damned if he didn't give me a pass!

I was struck by lightning a long time ago in the Hudson Valley of New York when I was playing guitar in the kitchen of a steel reinforced concrete building that had been transformed from barn to a residence.

It scared me to death and knocked a little chip out of the guitar.

But that happened because a place full of steel and wiring and concrete is an ideal magnet for lightning. It wasn't because I had lived a bad life. It was because I was leaning against a radiator and waving a steel stringed guitar in the air like some kind of complete fool.

I survived, I believe, because God is good, just like the old man's sign said on Michigan Avenue.

We should embrace that thought and keep the rest of our projections about God's behavior out of politics.

We previously reported in June that the Interfaith Alliance saw this resistance to religion in politics coming.

The President of Interfaith Alliance, The Reverend C. Welton Gaddy, in a letter dated June 16, sent to GOP leaders, including, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, has expressed his deep concern at the, "disproportionate role religion has played during recent election cycles."

In the letter, the Republican candidates in their Monday CNN debate were specifically mentioned for their preoccupation with religious issues in the debate.

Herman Cain seems to have it right.  Nobody's running for theologian in chief.

Of course, that was after he compared himself to Moses on the Christian Broadcasting Network:

We're just sayin'.

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • In a way, as much as I am sick of hearing religion in politics, I'd rather know of a candidate's allegiances with the religious right before voting.

    The real issue is whether a candidate will respect the separation of church and state, not the candidate's religious views.

    Can you imagine if someone who seemed moderate was voted in because he knew that talking about religion on the campaign trail was a turnoff, and once in office, then pushed a dominionist agenda?

    I think I'd rather see less religious lobbying going on — which produces bills such as the "let women die' legislation — than the candidates pretending that they are not religious or hiding their views from the public. However, all groups have the right to lobby, including the religious right, so my second choice would be more media coverage on the extremism being promoted so that people know about it.

    There needs to be some level of transparency.


    • I agree to you. Candidates should know the boundaries between religious points of view and differ it from politics. I know, it's tough to separate both but I think it would be better too have a leader with respect to others belief as well.

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