Town Square

Religion and Politics, Part 1 (uh-oh)

Original post made by Tom Cushing, Danville, on Aug 17, 2011

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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Aug 17, 2011 at 8:49 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Here's a youtube link to the full Kennedy speech: Web Link, and transcript: Web Link

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Posted by [removed]
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 17, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Dear Tom and Editor,

News services and their polling groups have allowed a majority of USAmerican voters to celebrate the rejection of arrogant, authoritarian dogma that is the basis of the "Three Stooges'," as Perry, Palin and Bachmann, campaigns. Polling studies released in the last 10 days show that these religious candidates must illustrate separation of church and state to have credibility with a majority of voters. Further polling shows that the same candidates' linkage to the Tea Party make that association less popular than if they were atheists.

There are positive signs among a majority of voters that ignorant, arrogant dogma does not sell any candidate. So, why not step forward with in-depth journalism and simply tell this story as the reality of USAmerican voters' focus on our economy, jobs, and effective management of our global relationships.

DO TELL, please.

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Posted by Jessica Lipsky
a resident of Danville
on Aug 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Even though Kennedy's religion was quite the source of contention during his campaign, he was one of the most beloved presidents in American history. When I compare that to speculation about President Obama's faith, I have to think that there is a larger good-religion vs. evil-religion argument brewing beneath the surface.

While I don't think a candidate's faith makes a lick of difference when it comes to their efficacy as a leader, I think it makes quite the difference during "crunch time." People tend to go with what they know, and if that means voting for someone who professes a similar faith to yours, that candidate has a leg up.

Interestingly, Sen. Joe Lieberman is currently promoting a book called "Gift of Rest," in which he touts the health and spiritual benefits of observing sabbath - for people of all religions. If I remember correctly, Lieberman's Jewish religion was significantly downplayed in the 2000 election. Would he have been more or less successful if he penned this text with religious overtones during the election?

Jessica Lipsky

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Posted by [notice]
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 18, 2011 at 7:01 am

For EMCEB management and editors,

Please be informed that counsel has filed claims of defamation and libel with federal agencies and publishing services based on jjjj, jjjr, and jjj commentary posted in various exchanges. It should be the purpose of each commentator in this exchange to provide further information and viewpoint on the role of religion in any candidate's or elected official's service to USAmerican voters. In posting news service research summaries with my identification [removed] or similarly specified, my purpose is to provide additional information, not my own, for consideration by your readers.

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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Aug 18, 2011 at 7:56 am

No faithful Mormon would ever disobey a command from the LDS prophet, because in the eyes of the faithful, the prophet speaks for God. To disobey the prophet is to disobey God.

Given this fact, some people have reservations about supporting a Mormon candidate, despite the fact that current LDS church leaders are good people who believe in God, Jesus, and the American way.

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Posted by Dirk
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Obviously a political candidate's views can disqualify him or her for higher government office. Many people in this country, perhaps even some presidential candidates, believe that the Rapture is coming soon, possibly in their lifetimes. Can we trust someone who believes that to work on the solution of our environmental problems? Some of our presidential candidates are very concerned with forcing their particular views about moral lifestyle on everyone. For those who don't share those views, this should be disqualifying.

But I think there is another problem when candidates, or for that matter people in general hold strange religious beliefs. Mitt Romney, for example, believes that the most significant event in American history is the revelation of the true religion to Joseph Smith in the early 19th century by the angel of the Lord Moroni. He also believes that God and Jesus have physical human bodies like ours, except perfect (no warts?). Do we want someone who has such a shaky view of reality that he can believe such palpably untrue things to be the President of the most powerful (still) country in the world? Or does he believe those things? Maybe hypocrisy excuses him, and he only pretends to believe because giving up his religion would be politically disastrous. But is that better?

I could say more about the undesirability of holding wacky beliefs but will stop here. Full disclosure: I am an atheist (Tom, please note the case of the “a”.) That means that spcwt, evidently, and most Americans feel that I can not be a good person.

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Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Danville
on Aug 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

Here's a link to the text of Mitt Romney's speech on religion, which goes to both spcwt's and Dirk's points: Web Link

In it, he acknowledges JFK's prior speech and states, similarly:

"I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.

"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin."

So take that, spcwt.

He also states:

"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone."

So, Dirk, you're right -- he might not consider you a proper patriot.

Romney later throws a bone to religious pluralism and decries the empty cathedrals of Europe (apparently he hasn't been to Rome), because it's always popular with his base to disparage Europeans. He also takes a gratuitous swipe at the GOP whipping-child ACLU, and evokes an image of his father marching with MLK -- all proving that this was indeed a political speaker in search of votes.

Anyway, in the next two postings on this subject, we'll look closer at whether a candidate can or should be expected to distance him/herself from church dogma on several social, economic and international policy grounds.