February 23, 2007

Superstition in Presidential Politics: Implications for Obama

Shortly after Sen. Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the American Presidency, the Christian power structure sprang to life. Was this a candidate that they could endorse? You see, it is evident that a sizable number of American Christians have no intention of butting out of politics. They believe that voting their Christian values is the most important consideration, far overriding any need to keep church and state separate.

According to Christian Newswire, Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, released the following statement about Obama:
"Barack Obama began his presidential campaign today with the words, 'All honor and glory to God.' While all Christians should welcome the public acknowledgment of God by a serious presidential contender, such a bold pronouncement and infusion of Christian faith into his campaign will require much of Mr. Obama. Jesus Christ said by what measure we judge others, we will be judged. By injecting his faith so directly into his campaign, Mr. Obama has invited an examination and debate focused on his faith. Sadly, we will find Mr. Obama's Christianity woefully deficient."
Evidently, Obama's attempt to broadcast his superstition was not fooling this reverend. In fact, Obama's Christianity was declared "woefully deficient." If this seems a bit harsh, it might be helpful to recognize that Obama's faith has already been judged by Faith and Action. If you are not familiar with Faith and Action, it is an organization you should know. You see, their mission is none other than "Bringing the word of God to bear on the hearts and minds of those who make public policy in America."

Regardless of what you and I think about the importance of protecting the church-state separation upon which America was founded, we must realize that ours remains a minority position. So when Obama says that he doesn't think American voters have a "litmus test on religion," I fear that he is mistaken. Of course, he is making this statement in the context of worrying that voters might assume he is a Muslim. Perhaps, but it appears that some have already decided that whatever else Obama may be, he is not Christian enough.

Obama insists that his faith is important to him (i.e., I'm superstitious like you), and he recognizes that he must do so. He says that voters seek "a candidate [who] has a value system" and who is "appreciative of the role that religious faith can play in helping shape people’s lives." Evidently, he believes that atheists do not have value systems. I wonder where he's been getting his information about us.

I have not yet made up my mind about Obama or any of the other candidates for 2008. However, I have made up my mind that superstitious nonsense has no place in government. It is a threat to democracy.

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