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I See Presidential Candidates . . .

It seems like each person running for President gets a news cycle all of his or her own. This week, apparently, is Huckabee Week. I'm kind of divided about Huckabee. Don't get me wrong -- the thought that this man, who seems to understand the concept of "separation of church and state" even less than our current Fearless Leader, stands a good chance of becoming the Republican candidate next year is a thoroughly frightening one. But the question is: will the American people actually go for him, or will he make the Democrat look that much better by comparison?

(We're not even talking about Ron Paul. Really, Nixon displayed less paranoia.)

Given the way that large wodges of America are manipulated by Fox News and the Shrub, I have a sinking feeling that Huckabee is going to go far. It does depress me that my fellow countrypersons find attractive a man who runs with a TV ad that flashes the words "Christian Leader." It also depresses me that the country is apparently willing to seriously entertain questions about whether or not Mitt Romney's Mormon faith makes him a good candidate for national office. Mitt Romney is certainly not someone I'd want for President -- I lived in Massachusetts for a while when he was governor, and the man is an order of magnitude oilier than the latkes I made last night -- but the whole national questioning of his faith makes me mad. Didn't we already go through this with Kennedy?

Why should Huckabee have to emphasize his Christianity to be attractive? Why must Romney defend himself against accusations of being a member of a cult? Why must faith (or the lack thereof) even be an issue in the race for national office? You'd think we'd have learned from our latest experience, but nooooo . . . .


Dec. 11th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC)
I probably haven't been following politics as closely as I should have, especially the Republican side of things, because a lot of what you said was new to me. Anywho....

I don't think that morality should be so firmly bound to religiosity in public discourse.

I agree. I do wish morals weren't so tied to claiming a certain religion. But for a lot of people they are tied together - I don't like it, I don't agree, but I know that thinking occurs. All I was trying to say is that, when people question a candidates' religion, they may be trying to get an answer to two questions: a) Are you a person to whom morals are important, and b) Are those morals likely to be similar to my morals.

Romney loses big points with me for having said that freedom requires religion.

*boggles* He said that? How did I miss that? Yeah, he just sunk a few notches in my esteem.

[on sticking to your "principles"]
This is not always a positive trait. One must be willing to change one's mind when presented with evidence that one's former position was wrong.

Oh, absolutely. But by the same token it's important that a leader only change his stance for the right reasons. Right reasons = circumstance changing, or something causing you to reconsider your previous evaluation of the issue. Wrong reasons = special interest groups, bullying from other politicians, or simply that your position has become unpopular (not necessarily wrong).

that's not really the course that the debate over Romney The Mormon is taking. That would be too sensible. The most current questions are: Do Mormons believe in Jesus? If so, do they believe hard enough? Aren't they just a weird bloody cult anyway? People aren't asking the right questions about Mormonism.

Fair enough. Though I'd argue that for a Christian (and especially an evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant), Christology is probably the most important question. If you believe God can be incarnated in a human body, it radically changes God's relationship to the world, and therefore whether the world is "worth saving" or whether it's just something we pass through on our way to haven. (Which is a valid question with political implications IMO.) But I doubt most people asking these questions think about the theology on that deep a level, so I'll grant you that the questions being asked are the wrong ones.

Again, I'll fall back to my claim of ignorance - I really haven't been following the Romney questioning too closely.

Even if there are people like Christopher Hitchens sniping in the public sphere [...], this country is very Christian-friendly, probably more so now than when it was founded.

You would get no argument from me on that point. It boggles my mind how so many rational people can feel so under attack by so little. Yet they do, and so I guess that makes me understand why they ask the question, even if I don't think it's the right one to ask.
Dec. 11th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
*boggles* He said that? How did I miss that? Yeah, he just sunk a few notches in my esteem.

Yes, he did. I forget whether it was during the debates, or in his speech about Why I Am Not A Bad Person For Being Mormon, but he did come right out and say that he thought that religion requires freedom and freedom requires religion. See? Told you he was oilier than my latkes.

Christology may be an important theological point to Christians, and they are perfectly welcome to that. It should not be an important political point, however, and that seems to be the area in which this country is falling flat on its face.


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