Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Candidates and Religion: Just Wondering What the Rules Are

It seems that the establishment media is giving wide if not deep coverage on the over-the-top rhetoric of Barack Obama's Pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright held some advisory role on the campaign until controversial past statements came to light.

I don't want to re-hash those statements here. Instead, what I would like is a little help clarifying what the rules are vis-a-vi questioning a candidate over the beliefs of their church or religion. It seems to me that Mike Huckabee got in a huge amount of trouble, and later apologized, for simply asking a question about the Mormon faith of his rival Mitt Romney. "Don't the Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan were brothers?" he asked. While the full answer is a little more complicated than that, it turns out that they do. Yet Huckabee was raked over the coals for asking the question. Now here the media is asking Obama even more pointed questions about the statements of his long-time pastor.

So maybe the national media should tell us what it thinks the rules are. Are the doctrines and beliefs of a candidate for public office relevant or not? Or since it seems clear that they want to discourage the idea that they are relevant in the case of Romney and encourage the idea that they are relevant in the case of Obama, perhaps they can tell us under what circumstances it is or is not OK to question a candidate over the beliefs and practices of their church.

Until they can come up with an answer that makes more sense, I am going to continue to assume that what faith a person chooses says something fundamental about who they are and what they believe. I will also assume that what one believes or doesn't believe, matters. It will affect their decision making on some level. Because of that, I am going to continue to consider the "personal" religious beliefs of anyone who seeks authority over me relevant when casting my vote. This may not take a shallow or obvious form- for example I would not vote for a shyster who is always talking up Jesus but whose policies are against what the Bible teaches about government. Still, it is a factor. What one believes matters. At least until the media can reasonably explain to us why and when it shouldn't.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of holding the mass media accountable!

11:27 AM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

The rule is if a candidate's religion has tenants that a secular newsperson thinks are objectionable, then their religion is a legitimate topic for discussion. If a candidate's religion has tenants that only an orthodox Christian finds objectionable then the secular media is outraged when someone questions the tenants of another persons religion and it is "bigotry" to suggest that ones religious beliefs matter.

1:20 PM, March 18, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,

I listened to some of Obama's speach today. One good point he made is you don't disown a family member that makes comments you disagree with and likewise with friends. I agree with that. But if you want to know what kind of administration he would have look at who he appoints to positions in his campaign---as in Mr. Wright.

3:22 PM, March 18, 2008  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I don't doubt he can make a great speech- I found myself agreeing with Bill Clinton too, as far as speeches go. As you point out, it is the actions that are the problem.

PS- I emailed you.

5:07 AM, March 19, 2008  
Anonymous Rick said...

Mark,

I would like to know how people can believe Obama can bring people together when he attends a church whose pastor for the last 20 years has made racial statements and hate America speeches.
Did you email me Mark? I didn't recieve it. If so its rickcandler@yahoo.com

5:57 AM, March 19, 2008  

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