Friday, December 07, 2007

Religion & Politics

I know it's the current fad to spend a lot of time talking about your religion while on the campaign trail. It lets you use certain "buzzwords" that resonate with members of the voting block. I, for one, don't want to hear it. The Constitution specifically states that no religious test should be applied for the office of president. So you can be Christian, Pagan, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Seventh Day Adventist and I really don't care. That being said, I have my own test.

"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."(Matthew 7:30)

I don't quote from the New Testament very often, but the statement is apt. Telling me you're a devout Christian (etc). is not like SHOWING me. Heavy-handed tactics do not impress me. Demanding that the 10 Commandments be displayed in courthouses doesn't rock my boat. I'm Jewish. My people received the commandants at the foot of Mt. Sinai, but I don't expect my Hindu or Muslim neighbors to be impressed by that. They have their own religious texts which are just as meaningful as the Bible or the Old Testament. What? How can that be? Read 'em, folks. The underlying beliefs are the same -- Love Thy neighbor. And what about the Atheists? Not everyone believes in a Higher Power. Who am I to tell them that belief is invalid? Despite all the promises, none of us will truly know until we're no longer here.

America was founded on the principal of religious tolerance. Choosing staff members at the Justice Department based on political loyalty and religious preference is anti-American. Spreading rumors that Barack Obama is a closet Muslim on a holy crusade to destroy America from within is just stupid. If a Muslim was the best man/woman for the job, you'd pass them over for some idiot who is of the "real" faith? Apparently so.

Jimmy Carter had it right. He is a decent man who has quietly led by example. He kept his faith private for the most part. He's built homes for the poor, monitored elections around the globe and earned his keep while in retirement from the Oval Office. Mr. Bush, on the other hand, will slink off to Crawford and cut brush. Period.

We've only got one country, folks. We need the best person for the CEO position. We've done a lot of damage to ourselves, our reputation, our economy over the last eight years. We HAVE to get it right this time. Deciding who should be the next president based on his/her religious qualifications is destructive. It's a sad thing to watch candidates preening for their religious constituency while the country swirls around the drain.

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