Thursday, June 7, 2007

Presidential Candidates and Faith

Last Monday, when speaking at a forum about faith and politics, Hillary Clinton said that her faith in God helped to save her marriage after the Lewinsky affair was made public.

"I am very grateful that I had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right, regardless of what the world thought," Clinton said. "I am not sure I would have gotten through it without my faith." She added, "At those moments in time when you are tested, it is absolutely essential that you be grounded in your faith."

While this is all well and good for her, I think my first reaction to being asked such a personal question in public would have been to say that it was a private matter and not the public's business. I think the question was entirely inappropriate.

Indeed, I think that delving into a candidate's personal religious beliefs is treading on thin ice -- it smacks too much of the idea of a religious test for office, a notion the Founding Fathers discarded over 200 years ago.

But the 2008 candidates, both Democrat and Republican, all are quick to assure voters that they possess a religious faith. But as far as I'm concerned, their faith or lack thereof is an entirely private matter and should not reflect on their fitness to hold the country's highest office.

I think the best handling of the personal faith issue so far has come from the Rudy Guiliani camp, when a spokesman released a statement saying that Guiliani was Catholic, but that "The mayor's personal relationship with God is private and between him and God."

In other words "'Nunya' Business!"


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