How Would Jesus Vote? Christian Politics in the State Of Lost Causes

Christianity and many other religions are sometimes described by category, rather than by denomination, as conservative, liberal or cultural. To that, I would add a fourth category: political Christian, i.e. a candidate for public office who feels the need to profess deeply held Christian beliefs.

In my home state of South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley was raised as a Sikh, and became a Christian prior to running for public office. When she first became a gubernatorial candidate, her website said, "I believe in the power and grace of Almighty God." She later felt the need to change it to "My faith in Christ has a profound impact on my daily life. Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day."

A cynic might say, "Maybe it's also about winning elections."

Her predecessor, former governor Mark Sanford, had sex with his "soul mate" in Argentina, which he mistook for the Appalachian Trail. After being caught, he held a press conference in which he apologized to his spiritual advisor and to people of faith across South Carolina. Implicit in his apology is that people of faith are expected to be more moral than people without faith. What seems clear to me is that politicians who continually proclaim their faith are likely to be more hypocritical than those who don't.

I watched with some sympathy when Mitt Romney, a Mormon, ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008. My sympathy was not for his political positions, but because surveys showed the main thing atheists like me and Mormons have in common is that a significant number of Americans wouldn't vote for either of us, no matter how qualified the candidate.

In trying to explain how reasonable Mormonism is, Romney said on the June 5, 2006 Charlie Rose show, "The most unusual thing in my church is that we believe there was once a flood upon the earth, and that a man took a boat and put two of each animal inside the boat, and saved humanity by doing that." Romney essentially said that his holy book is no more preposterous than the holy books of other candidates. I think he has a point.

Here is a brief history of non-religious freedom in South Carolina. The 1778 State Constitution stated, "That the Christian religion is the true religion" and "The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State." That was updated in 1868 to its present form, "No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor who denies the existence of the Supreme Being."

 

Read the remainder of the article on the Huffington Post here.

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Comments

I think that rgaredless of what you decide, the most important thing is to teach your kids to accept and honor others? beliefs True to an extent, but keep in mind a lot of people use their religion to justify their bigotry. I don't think people should get a pass on vile beliefs because they got them from a Book.
I'm the author of six textbooks, past lecturer at MIT, Harvard and Tokyo University. Just published a novel envisioning a frightening world prescribed by Evangelicals. What might life be like under an American theocracy? Could it really happen? What would we do if it did? The Mosaic is set in a near-term American theocracy. Much as 1984 gave us a look at the enormity of suppression from a totalitarian state, this book puts the reader into an America that has been taken over by Dominionists. It's difficult to summarize in a short email, but this appeal is based on the notion that nonfiction expositions and secular writings (Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Dennett), grounded in logic and evidence as they are, may not fully express the anguish of humans under what they fear, may not energize their hearts. Here's a book that, in a small way, might help to do so. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZAX6PA Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-mosaic-robert-gilbreath/1108320008?e...

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