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Friday, August 10, 2007

Don't talk about religion?

John Baer in the Daily News writes that the public should not care about a presidential candidate's (Romney specifically) religion (Mormonism).

But it writing this, Baer doesn't argue that a Mormon can make a good president, but that any and all religious beliefs are irrelevant.

Baer asks, "Can I get an amen?" Sorry John, but no. My disagreement with Baer's argument has nothing to do with Romney or with Mormonism, but with his mockery of all religions:

I'm no expert, but it seems to me all religions can be regarded as cults.

Plus, while there are goofy things in Mormonism (founded by a guy who decoded messages from angels by wearing diamond-encrusted glasses), there are goofy things in all religions (virgin birth comes to mind; so does Christian literalism saying the earth is 7,000 years old).
as well as his dismissal of religion's importance in how a person will govern.

Not discussing a candidates religious beliefs is an absurd an idea and not discussing their economic philosophy, or their philosophy of government, or their views on war. And I'm not merely talking about which church they ostensibly belong too, but about what they actually believe--beliefs that are certain to guide their decision making in office.

Whether a candidate believes Noah literally built an Ark that held all species of animals, or that Allah wants them to pray to Mecca five times each day, or that Joseph Smith received a message from God probably doesn't matter to most voters. But if a candidate believes that God wants them to wage war on all "heathens," convert everyone to their religion, or even that Jesus supports their health care plan should matter greatly.

Discussion of religion and religious beliefs deserves its place in the public square.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mohammed and Joseph Smith were crackpots. Martin Luther was also a loose cannon.