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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Barack and Hillary QUESTIONS

When I was on vacation in Virginia this past Sunday, I turned on the TV and happened to catch the last 45 minutes of Barack Obama's Q&A with CNN on religion/faith/values. I thought he seemed most impressive and comfortable; I didn't see Hillary Clinton. Then I catch the local news tease asking if the Dems have a "prayer" of dealing with faith issues. The story itself noted Clinton's and Obama's "struggle" talking about religion (in general, it was implied) and then showed the clips of Hillary and Barack talking about abortion (she said that the potential for life began at conception, Barack noted that he did struggle with this particular issue).

It seemed that abortion is still THE issue when it comes to matters of faith, at least according to that broadcast. A related issue in the media also seems to be that the Dems are FINALLY talking about religion in 2008, when, in fact, John Kerry for one was, I thought, quite eloquent in speaking about his faith and how he acts on it in a 2004 debate; since he didn't talk about it often, and because he didn't oppose abortion, he was perceived as somehow inauthentic.

So my questions:
1) Did you see or hear any of the Clinton or Obama pieces on race? If so, what did you think?

2) Regardless of whether you actually saw them, what was your perception of how they did based on what you read in the newspaper or heard on radio or TV? I'm interested in sources of your info, too, if possible.

3) How SHOULD candidates be talking about faith and religion, if at all?

4) I also caught much of the ABC News debate on Wednesday, and I thought they both were fine. Mostly it reminded me that either of them is a better choice than John "not so straight talk" McCain, who had ducked the faith debate. Did you see the Wednesday debate, and what did you hear about it, whether you saw the debate or not?


1 comment:

Anthony said...

Roger - Regarding how candidates ought to talk about faith, as you might know, on my blog I have a page titled, "Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr", which expresses very nicely how I would like to see candidates process the relationship between religion and politics. Below I will post a selection from that page that gets at the heart of what I appreciate about Niebuhr's thinking:

"Original sin, by tainting all human perceptions, is the enemy of absolutes. Mortal man’ apprehension of truth is fitful, shadowy and imperfect; he sees through the glass darkly. Against absolutism Niebuhr insisted on the 'relativity of all human perspectives,' as well as on the sinfulness of those who claimed divine sanction for their opinions. He declared himself 'in broad agreement with the relativist position in the matter of freedom, as upon every other social and political right or principle.' In pointing to the dangers of what Justice Robert H. Jackson called 'compulsory godliness,' Niebuhr argued that 'religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values.' Religion, he warned, could be a source of error as well as wisdom and light. Its role should be to inculcate, not a sense of infallibility, but a sense of humility. Indeed, 'the worst corruption is a corrupt religion.'"

I would be tempted to vote for a candidate just on the basis of knowing who Niebuhr is and affirming his basic insights.