How can a candidate proclaim a faith which teaches about all aspects of life but tell us that those teachings will not shape their approach to governing the rest of us, who may not share that faith? If they genuinely believe, how do they bracket those beliefs when it comes to making public policy? And if they do bracket those beliefs, what does it mean to genuinely believe?
My questions for both Senator Biden and Governor Palin focus on how they balance religious traditions that would dictate every area of life, which each of their faiths would, and their obligation to respect people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all. Too often that balance is either a function of politicians claiming to believe more deeply than they really do, or of their harboring a genuine desire to see their personal beliefs drive public policy. The first is disingenuous and the second is dangerous. Can these candidates avoids the pitfall of either position?
Questions for the candidates:
What is the greatest threat we face as a nation right now, and how do your religious beliefs help you to address that threat?
On whose side is God in the Iraq war? And if you rely on Lincoln’s response that we should pray to be on God’s side, please explain what it means to “be on God’s side”.
How do you justify enforcing laws which violate your personal beliefs, such as abortion, or would you prefer to see the laws mirror your beliefs? And if you would not, why not?
Do you think people are better off if they believe in God?
Does religion have any proper place in American public life? And if it does, how does that not violate the Constitution’s establishment clause?