I am already sick and tired of people using religion as a cudgel in the 2008 election.
First Reverend Al Sharpton smugly talks about people who “really believe in God” defeating Mitt Romney.
Then evangelical Christian leader Bill Keller warns that “If you vote for Mitt Romney, you are voting for Satan!” and “Romney getting elected president will ultimately lead millions of souls to the eternal flames of hell!” (thanks to JM Bell for the notice)
This is ludicrous. I wonder if Mo Udall (another proud liberal) and Mitt’s daddy had to face the same divisive religion baiting? The tenor of religion in politics seems to have gotten much more shrill in the past decade or so.
(then again, Kennedy had to give a speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association to reassure fears about a papist puppet president. Maybe things haven’t changed so much after all…)
Now I’m no fan of Romney. In fact, lets look at the flip side. Are the many within the LDS community who are enthusiastically embracing Romney simply because he is Mormon acting any better? Isn’t that pretty much the same thing in reverse that Sharpton and Keller have done: exclude others based on sectarian affiliation?
Religion shouldn’t be a factor in the presidential election (or any other election, for that matter). We are a secular nation guided by principles which include the separation of Church and State. I could care less whether that candidate is Mormon, conventional Christian, Catholic, Unitarian, Deist, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Shinto, Muslim, Shaman, Wiccan, or Atheist! Really the only things that matter are a candidate’s understanding of the law, their understanding of and belief in the principles upon which this nation was founded, and integrity (and yes, atheists can have just as much integrity and morality as religious folk!).
This is why I so appreciate religious organizations such as the Network of Spiritual Progressives, associations promoting moral and causes among people of all beliefs and faiths—including those who claim no faith but are willing to work for noble causes hand-in-hand with people of faith. That is how the U.S. should work.
I hope all interested parties will stop using religion divisively, and will concentrate instead on what these individuals and platforms represent for the entire nation.