Thursday, December 06, 2007

Politics and Religion

Yesterday Mitt Romney made his speech about his faith and his candidacy for President of the US. I want to post my own beliefs on the subject and will forewarn those of you that think that every conservative or every evangelical has to be a Republican and every liberal or every heathen has to be a Democrat...I make little connection between faith and political party ties.

I do think that you can tell a lot about a person's character by their faith. I think that it is important to know what things are important (personally) to a candidate, knowing that it is hard to separate personal beliefs from political agendas. As a matter of fact, ones faith ought to be reflected in their actions. Inconsistencies between the two(faith and actions) will probably also lead to inconsistencies between pre-election promises and post-election actions.

Until the late '70's there was very little that tied religion and political parties to each other. It was largely Jerry Falwell's moral majority that began the notion that the Republican Party was the party of the moral people in America. The initial endeavor was to elect presidents that would appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision on abortion. Since that time, pro-life and pro-choice platforms have dominated much of the debate surrounding elections for House, Senate and Presidential candidates. For voters that choose to use this as a litmus test on whether or not to support a candidate for office, I have some bad news for you...they lie. That's right, they'll tell you anything to get your vote.

Okay, so maybe "lie" is a bit strong. At the very least they imply that if they campaign as pro-life, they will vote pro-life and make an effort to overturn RvW. However, in the first six years of the current Republican Administration we had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, a majority of Supreme Court Justices appointed by Republican Presidents and yet Republicans failed to take any significant action. At some point, somebody has to wake up and realize that they are being used to put liars into office. Perhaps I'm just really miffed that the party that I once subscribed to, has become a party that I don't even recognize. If Republicans are supposed to be the conservative party, where are the conservatives?

I say that I am a "Conservative." That means (to me) that I am morally conservative. I believe in right and wrong and those definitions can be found in the Bible. Far too many elected "conservatives" have found themselves to be the subjects of inappropriate activity; many have resigned leadership roles or have resigned from their office.

I am fiscally conservative. The recent past Republican Congress spent more money than any previous Congress and their Republican leader in the White House failed to veto a single outrageous spending bill!

I am also socially conservative. I believe in taking care of society's needy and believe that proper policing of social programs is the way to cut spending (back to the right and wrong thing). Cutting funding and letting needy children, elderly and disabled fall through the cracks is not my idea of social conservatism.

I also believe that we have an obligation to be conservative where our environment is concerned. Do I need to address logging in our National Forests or strip mining or any number of ecological issues?

It's pretty obvious to me that neither Republican nor Democrat is synonymous with "conservative." I have taken a lot of heat in the past for crossing party lines to align with the immoral heathens. I have had enough of religious leaders telling me how I should vote. I'm a big boy now and know how to research candidates on my own. Most of the "conservative" broadcasters/pastor/teachers seem to be very narrow in their focus of what they want in an elected official. That's fine. They get a vote. But please, don't tie my hands at the polls because of what you think a "good Christian" ought to do. I will research the candidates (without your input, thank you); decide how they stand on issues that are important to me and that I feel they will do something about (I guess that leaves abortion out--not because it isn't important but they won't do anything about it!); and I'll cast my own vote. While I'd be happy to explain my decision to you, perhaps even try to persuade you if you're undecided, I'll not judge you for your decision. That's all a part of what makes our country the great country that it is.

In the end, if I decide to back the former NYC Mayor (doubtful), it won't be because he's Catholic; if Huckabee, it won't be because he's a Baptist minister (yeah, me too); my decision on Romney won't be about his Mormon background; or any of the other candidates from either party. I don't think that Billy Graham would make a good President (and not because he's a Democrat!) any more than I think George W. would make a good preacher (even though he's a Republican).

How about we base our vote on a candidate's ability to be a good President of the US of A; to represent us well among the nations of the world; to take care of business at home and to uphold the Constitution?

Pardon me while I step down from my soapbox.


"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."


Bilbo said...

I hope you have a large soapbox, John, because there needs to be room up there for me, too. You have eloquently expressed my exact feelings on the topic. I had already planned tomorrow's post for my own blog, which is on similar lines, and I look forward to your comments at that time. Great post! You're the Man!

John said...

The soapbox is all yours. I look forward to your post.

Mike said...

"I have taken a lot of heat in the past for crossing party lines to align with the immoral heathens."

Which way were you crossing to get to the heathens? There's heathens at both ends of the political spectrum. Looks like your stuck in the middle where any normal person should be.

John said...

Wow, I've been called a "normal" person.

Thanks, Mike

Anonymous said...

Agree with everything you've written, John. There's few things in this world that make me more sad than a Christian who votes a certain way simply because James Dobson or Rush Limbaugh has told them to.


Anonymous said...

So what can you tell about me by my "faith", John?

Your atheist friend,

Jim S.