Casting Stones

Casting Stones

Religion and Public Policy: An interesting presidential perspective

In preparation for a speech on religion and public policy, I was recently reviewing sections of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s The Mighty and the Almighty (2006).
Secretary Albright makes some truly important points in her volume. The whole effort is tremendously enhanced, however, by her startling transparency in acknowledging that she and most of the people in the diplomatic classes had completely underestimated the importance of religion as a potent force in societies around the world.
In the course of reviewing sections of The Mighty and the Almighty, I noticed something that I had forgotten: the author of the book’s introduction. The introduction contains this passage:

“Does this mean that policy-makers should try to keep religion walled off from public life? As Madeleine Albright argues, the answer to that question is a resounding no. Not only shouldn’t we do that, we couldn’t succeed if we tried. Religious convictions, if they are convictions, can’t be pulled on and off like a pair of boots. We walk with them wherever we go. The skeptics and atheists side by side with the devout. A president or secretary of state must make decisions with regard both to his or her own religious convictions and to the impact of those decisions on people of different faiths.”


Guess who penned those words–William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States. This passage reminded me of how enthusiastic then President Clinton was about Stephen Carter’s The Culture of Disbelief, which was published in 1994. President Clinton came back from vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and declared that everyone should read Carter’s book and said, “What we have in this country is freedom for religion, not freedom from religion.” Amen.

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W. Holler

posted September 19, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Dear Readers,
I want to start by saying that I enjoyed the post, and it brings to light something that we as a society must consider. I am a believer in Gods plan and believe that there is a purpose for everyone if they so choose to follow. I am continually reminded by a spirit that lives within my very soul that we must not judge others we must take the plank out of our own eye before removing the spec of dust from our brother’s. Yet I do believe that we have much too long remained silent as leaders of our great nation are elected with the idea that they must keep their faith a deep dark secret that this faith must not interfere with the business of running a nation. On the surface, we like to blame the leaders themselves. However, one of the greatest privileges of this great nation is that we are able to elect and impeach these leaders. Therefore, by remaining quite and not allowing our light to shine we are the ones to blame. Yes, there are many who do not believe as I but that does not excuse me from denying God when considering who should lead our nation. One of the greatest events I seen this election year was the Saddleback debate as this gave me an opportunity see the candidates for who they really were although I do not agree with all of their thoughts on policy I feel I understand better where each of them stand. Those who are willing to stand up for what is right having become the minority instead of loving each other, as we should, we are continually at each other’s throat wondering, “What’s in it for me?” I do not have all the answers and consider myself to be the least of the wise however, I do know that the we have remained silent way to long to be loving of those who do not believe does not excuse us from giving our country to the devil.
-W. Holler

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