Tuesday, October 19, 2010

religion and politics

This is a question first with a comment from me but mostly a question for anybody who reads here.

Should someone's religious beliefs be a factor in a campaign for office? Is it fair game in an ad? Should their life measure up to what they claim to believe? (trying not to laugh)

We know it is but should it be? Is it fair to bring up negative aspects to their religion as a possible impact on what they will do once they get the office and in the case of the Senate, that means you live with that for six years if their beliefs impact the job in a way voters didn't expect.

Jack Conway running for the US Senate in Kentucky probably got hurt himself when he put out an ad questioning the sincerity of Rand Paul's spiritual beliefs based on things he did when much younger. I suspect that wouldn't matter much to Christians anyway as they believe in redemption. What he might've done back then will even make them more respecting of him now-- assuming they don't think he picked those beliefs based on opportunism.

You simply cannot be nominated, in the Republican party, to an important office in probably most of the United States, certainly not the South without following what I call christianist doctrine, using that term to distinguish it from those who follow Christ and his teachings solely. Christianist doctrine is political and it's been a big factor in the United States off and on for a lot of years starting with the Puritans probably. Boy you want to look for American Taliban in the US and you can start with them.

(I'm reading American Taliban right now by Markos Moulitsas and he traces the current political fundamentalism through its more recent incarnation to where it is today. Bill Maher gave him a bad time for using the title as too provocative and unfair. But Maher was wrong. It's very fair as the Taliban are not al Qaeda even if they might have harbored them and sympathized with their goals. The Taliban are religious fundamentalists who when they have the power use their religion to brutalize others. This doesn't just happen in Islam).

So is it right to be concerned about someone's religious beliefs? Do you tend to believe their testimonies as to what they believe now? Are they fair game when they come from years back with an ad? It's unfortunate for Conway that he chose that path to winning as he may lose over it and would that be a fair outcome?

In case you haven't been following this story, here's a link to give you the idea of some of the ads out there right now. I miss all of that by not watching much television and then only cable news and movies.


mandt said...

Anybody's religion should and must be held up to the highest standards of satire.

Parapluie said...

The criteria is not the religious beliefs but the commitement to religious freedom. A strong leader does not need or use religion to gain power.

Robert the Skeptic said...

How timely, I will be moderating a forum in Corvallis on Wednesday night titled "What should be the role of religion in politics?". As an Atheist you can probably gather I think the answer is none, but we expect a lively discussion.

By the way did anyone see the clip about Christine O'Donnell not knowing that the "establishment clause" in the First amendment IS the statement about the separation of church and state in the Constitution? They practically laughed her off the stage!!

I cannot believe the Republican party believes this is the best of what they represent! I am sure my father is turning over in his grave fearing anyone would remember he was a Republican at one time.