October 1, 2007

McCain Says U.S. Needs Christian President

One would hope that a contender for the American presidency would at least be familiar with the Constitution. In the case of Republican hopeful, John McCain, this appears not to be the case. McCain was recently quoted saying that America needs a Christian president and that he opposes allowing a Muslim president. This sounds an awful lot like he's proposing a religious test for the nation's highest office, precisely what our Constitution forbids. Then again, McCain also claims that the “Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.”

McCain is clearly desperate to remain relevant as the primaries approach. His campaign has been a disaster, and he is probably having a difficult time realizing that he hasn't been part of the first tier for some time. Now it seems that he's made a strategic decision to engage in the worst kind of pandering to boost his dismal numbers.
But I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith.
McCain goes on to clarify that he's not actually advocating a religious test for office and that he's simply expressing his personal feelings on the matter. The problem is that he just so happens to be asking for the presidency. Thus, his willingness to express views of this sort is both relevant and problematic.

On the subject of a candidate's Christianity, McCain insists, "I just feel that that’s an important part of our qualifications to lead." I understand that he feels that way, but his feelings do not determine reality. Moreover, I fail to see how comments of this sort should be ignored by the media. How is this any less intolerant than the sort of comments that have led to trouble for other high-profile individuals?

When Don Imus and Bill O'Reilly make racist comments, public outrage ensues (although I am still waiting for more in O'Reilly's case). But McCain can say that non-Christians are not qualified to be president and nobody bats an eye. Imagine what would have happened if McCain had said that he feels a candidate's race or gender is "an important part of our qualifications to lead."

This state of affairs stems directly from the equation of Christianity with morality in our culture. If Christianity = morality than everything other than Christianity is evil.

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