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Mixing Religion and Politics

posted by mkress

What should the role of religion be in politics?

There has been some recent, some might say puerile, interest in the religious observances of two Mormon politicians, Massachusetts Republican governor and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who will become Senate Majority Leader in January.

The real questions that should be asked are how their personal beliefs shape their political platforms and perspectives.

As the first Catholic president, it was important for John F. Kennedy to show that he did not represent the Pope but rather the great and varied American people in his White House.

Joe Leiberman, not only the first Jewish vice presidential candidate but the first observant Jew to run for such a high national office, throughout his years in office has shown that being grounded in a personal faith commitment can help keep one’s personal moral compass straight without imposing one’s personal beliefs on others.

That seems to reflect the electorate’s view as well, judging from a recent poll cited in the Dec. 3 edition of The New York Times by op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof: While 90 percent of the respondents say they are willing to vote for a woman, African American, or a Jew, only 37 percent said they would vote for an atheist.

Rather than asking them about their Sabbath observances or what kind of underwear they wear, there are some religion-related questions we do need to pose to Mormon candidates: Are they dedicated to the separation of church and state? Can they reconcile themselves with defending the rights of people of other faiths (or no faith) to follow actions of personal choice that are contradictory to their own Mormon religious dictates? How does their understanding of religion shape their understanding of how contemporary events fit into world history (their theological history), particularly regarding the “End of Days” and the current Mid-East crisis?

Mormon politicians aren’t the only ones who need to clarify their perspectives on such matters. It would have been helpful to have answers to these questions from the current President Bush when he was running for office.

Whenever I read about the current mess in Iraq, I can’t help but wonder how much of it was due to incompetence, how much to oil shenanigans, and how much to a fundamentalist Christian End-of-Days mentality that keeps such books as the “Left Behind” series on the best-seller charts.

–Posted by Rabbi Susan Grossman



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Eva Feld

posted December 5, 2006 at 5:08 pm


Well put and questions well posed. As far as President Bush is concerned hindsight is 20/20. Nevertheless he was elected twice and not even by a majority vote. Be that as it may, he is our President for now. Perhaps it is a tough lesson we needed to learn to ask more questions of our potential candidates as to their peronal beliefs. Underwear, as long as it is clean, who cares. Sakranit



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Ruska

posted December 5, 2006 at 9:11 pm


I can not believe that any person who is a member of the church can separate church from state. The structure of the Mormon church can be closely compared to socialism. To the point of the leaders dictateing the members life even at home. (If a member wants to be in good standing.) I also take a strong issue as being Jewish of a church useing a ritual called baptism for the dead to baptize holocaust victims. The Mormon church leaders agreed to end this practice but still such practices continue. These are only a few reasons amoung many that make me wonder.



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Ruska

posted December 5, 2006 at 9:11 pm


I can not believe that any person who is a member of the church can separate church from state. The structure of the Mormon church can be closely compared to socialism. To the point of the leaders dictateing the members life even at home. (If a member wants to be in good standing.) I also take a strong issue as being Jewish of a church useing a ritual called baptism for the dead to baptize holocaust victims. The Mormon church leaders agreed to end this practice but still such practices continue. These are only a few reasons amoung many that make me wonder.



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HASH(0x217fd65c)

posted December 6, 2006 at 8:57 am


does anuone know of any Seventh Day Adventists? look at this site and tell me what you think? http://www.nwyouths.netaspace.com



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RHS A Member

posted December 6, 2006 at 5:17 pm


A Member of The Church of Latter Day Saints or (Mormons) do not force thier views on the non-member but have the belief that when the are at rest with themselves they might consider becoming members. I believe that a political figure would have true Christian beliefs following the dictates of the Ten Commandments. It would be well to set aside all other issues of our religion and concentrate on who would best provide a candidate for and of the people with true and honest intent.



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RHS A Member

posted December 6, 2006 at 5:17 pm


A Member of The Church of Latter Day Saints or (Mormons) do not force thier views on the non-member but have the belief that when the are at rest with themselves they might consider becoming members. I believe that a political figure would have true Christian beliefs following the dictates of the Ten Commandments. It would be well to set aside all other issues of our religion and concentrate on who would best provide a candidate for and of the people with true and honest intent.



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Dave

posted December 6, 2006 at 10:10 pm


Is the world here going to last forever in Judaism? Is the Earth going to last forever according to science? Does Al Gore not think humanity may end if we don’t limit our greenhouse gas emmissions? Why pick on Christianity?



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Dave

posted December 6, 2006 at 10:10 pm


Is the world here going to last forever in Judaism? Is the Earth going to last forever according to science? Does Al Gore not think humanity may end if we don’t limit our greenhouse gas emmissions? Why pick on Christianity?



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Rebecca

posted December 10, 2006 at 5:51 pm


Personally, I supported the war to remove a homicidal nutcase from power. I admit to being naive in thinking the Iraqi people having lived with Sadam as long as they did would embrace democracy and not fight amongst themselves as much as they have. The majority of Christians I know don’t follow Pat Robertson and his ilk, and enjoy the Left Behind series as good fiction, nothing more (in the same way I enjoyed the DaVinci Code as a good mystery without believing it). By the way, anyone besides me wonder why the pros couldn’t figure out the last riddle when it took me all of two seconds?



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Rebecca

posted December 10, 2006 at 5:51 pm


Personally, I supported the war to remove a homicidal nutcase from power. I admit to being naive in thinking the Iraqi people having lived with Sadam as long as they did would embrace democracy and not fight amongst themselves as much as they have. The majority of Christians I know don’t follow Pat Robertson and his ilk, and enjoy the Left Behind series as good fiction, nothing more (in the same way I enjoyed the DaVinci Code as a good mystery without believing it). By the way, anyone besides me wonder why the pros couldn’t figure out the last riddle when it took me all of two seconds?



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Leonard Grossman

posted December 14, 2006 at 2:47 am


Using Senator Lieberman as to show “that being grounded in a personal faith commitment can help keep one’s personal moral compass straight without imposing one’s personal beliefs on others,” is a joke. He has shown a great lack of moral compass in many of his positions, his sanctimoniousness, and his ego driven decision to run against the nominee of his own party. What will you say when he opportunistically becomes a Republican at a critical moment? Leonard Grossman



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Leonard Grossman

posted December 14, 2006 at 2:47 am


Using Senator Lieberman as to show “that being grounded in a personal faith commitment can help keep one’s personal moral compass straight without imposing one’s personal beliefs on others,” is a joke. He has shown a great lack of moral compass in many of his positions, his sanctimoniousness, and his ego driven decision to run against the nominee of his own party. What will you say when he opportunistically becomes a Republican at a critical moment? Leonard Grossman



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