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Candidates & Religion

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
I've been listening to lots of discussion about the presidential candidates and their religious beliefs and the controversy surrounding some of their individual beliefs. Why do we not hear anything about those of us who do not want to hear about their religious beliefs? Or about how offensive it is that only mainstream christianity is considered acceptable, and that others actually have to explain their beliefs?? When did this start??
post #2 of 42
I think it started right after 9/11 when there seemed to be a bit of a revival as the conservatives took the majority in politics, thereby seizing the opportunity to project USA as a "Christian nation". The majority of US citizens either belong or believe in some form of a Christian God, hence why so many think that the US ought to be a Christian nation. It's rather frightening to me. I myself am a Christian, but I would NEVER want to live in a country with a national religion or a country where the lines between religion and state were blurred. Because of the recent Christian political movement gaining strength, I think some of the candidates feel pressured to express their religious beliefs in order to gain favor with some very powerful conservative groups.
post #3 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelpie545 View Post
I think it started right after 9/11 when there seemed to be a bit of a revival as the conservatives took the majority in politics, thereby seizing the opportunity to project USA as a "Christian nation". The majority of US citizens either belong or believe in some form of a Christian God, hence why so many think that the US ought to be a Christian nation. It's rather frightening to me. I myself am a Christian, but I would NEVER want to live in a country with a national religion or a country where the lines between religion and state were blurred. Because of the recent Christian political movement gaining strength, I think some of the candidates feel pressured to express their religious beliefs in order to gain favor with some very powerful conservative groups.


After 9/11? Are you serious?



In 1960 everyone said JFK couldn't get elected because he was <gasp> Catholic.



You know?






If anything, it's easing up in that Catholics can run for office without it being an issue. The Mormon candidate's religion is apparently still an issue for many. And we won't discuss what happened when a Jew ran.
post #4 of 42
What Amy said.
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
After 9/11? Are you serious?



In 1960 everyone said JFK couldn't get elected because he was <gasp> Catholic.



You know?






If anything, it's easing up in that Catholics can run for office without it being an issue. The Mormon candidate's religion is apparently still an issue for many. And we won't discuss what happened when a Jew ran.
Well you know I just don't see it as being such a *huge* issue as it has been since 9/11? I don't seem to remember faith being a big controversy when Clinton was elected, and then elected again. Of course religion has always played a role in politics, but I've never see it gain such a huge movement until recently. I'm not saying huge religious movement influencing political elections have NEVER happened until now, because there are many times in history will this has occurred, and it will most likely occur again-but at least in the US it seems as though for some voters, religious beliefs matter now more than ever. I'm speaking from since the liberal revolution of the 1960s, of course, and I probably should clarify that. The US was very conservative before the 60s and I don't recall since then the US taking such a turn towards religious conservatism since then, except for maybe a little bit with the Reagan years.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
After 9/11? Are you serious?



In 1960 everyone said JFK couldn't get elected because he was <gasp> Catholic.



You know?






If anything, it's easing up in that Catholics can run for office without it being an issue. The Mormon candidate's religion is apparently still an issue for many. And we won't discuss what happened when a Jew ran.
I think there's a difference now though. When Kennedy did his speech he talked about his religious beliefs being private and separate from him public life and that's what reassured everyone. I think the republican candidates almost fall over themselves attempting to prove this is supposed to be a Christian nation. So Romney's speech wasn't about how being Mormon was separate from his public life it was about how it wasn't and how it's still close to the beliefs of mainstream Christians. Kennedy couldn't make the speech he made today and get elected at least in certain quarters.
post #7 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post
I think there's a difference now though. When Kennedy did his speech he talked about his religious beliefs being private and separate from him public life and that's what reassured everyone. I think the republican candidates almost fall over themselves attempting to prove this is supposed to be a Christian nation. So Romney's speech wasn't about how being Mormon was separate from his public life it was about how it wasn't and how it's still close to the beliefs of mainstream Christians. Kennedy couldn't make the speech he made today and get elected at least in certain quarters.


I disagree. I think the people who wouldn't have voted for him then still wouldn't vote for him. And there are more folks who would willingly vote for him.

The US is, like most countries, a country with many religious people. And a lot of candidates feel they have to play to this audience.


Am thinking that maybe some folks just haven't noticed it before because it wasn't in their reality.

Speaking as a nonChristian, and as someone who has voted very seriously without missing elections (even primaries for midterm useless elections) for close to 30 years now b'H, I can tell you that it's *always* been that way. When you're a minority, you're more conscious of stuff like that, maybe.

IMO the only difference is that now we do have candidates like Giuliani, a divorced pro-choice Catholic ... and Obama, the son of a Muslim ... and yeah, Lieberman The Jew ... so now there will be other candidates who will try and bring out the anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim and anti-Jew votes by pandering to the whole "Christian country thing.

IMNSVHO.
post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
After 9/11? Are you serious?



In 1960 everyone said JFK couldn't get elected because he was <gasp> Catholic.







And we won't discuss what happened when a Jew ran.
I did not know about JFK! Wow.

Which Jew ran?

It doesn't bother me what religion they are... AS LONG AS NO ONE GETS HURT!!!!

:
post #9 of 42
Um, isn't senator Joe Lieberman from CT a Jewish man who ran for president?!!

Religion is ALWAYS an issue. In the republican race, it's a particularly big issue because they don't have race and gender to mix it up a little!!

There is no difference today than there was when Kennedy ran. Lots of hype was made about John Kerry's religion: Too Catholic, not Catholic enough.
post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
I disagree. I think the people who wouldn't have voted for him then still wouldn't vote for him. And there are more folks who would willingly vote for him.

The US is, like most countries, a country with many religious people. And a lot of candidates feel they have to play to this audience.


Am thinking that maybe some folks just haven't noticed it before because it wasn't in their reality.

Speaking as a nonChristian, and as someone who has voted very seriously without missing elections (even primaries for midterm useless elections) for close to 30 years now b'H, I can tell you that it's *always* been that way. When you're a minority, you're more conscious of stuff like that, maybe.

IMO the only difference is that now we do have candidates like Giuliani, a divorced pro-choice Catholic ... and Obama, the son of a Muslim ... and yeah, Lieberman The Jew ... so now there will be other candidates who will try and bring out the anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim and anti-Jew votes by pandering to the whole "Christian country thing.

IMNSVHO.
I sort of agree with your and sort of don't. I still saw religious tracts talking about how catholics sacrifice babies and worship Mary some 20 years after JFK, so I agree that a hardcore group didn't vote for him regardless of what he said. But I do think there's more of a push now to wear your religion as a badge of honor to a wider group of people to prove how moral you are as a candidate than there was when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. I think it started before 9/11, probably with Reagan. And I completely agree it's all about being a Christian not any other religion. It's more ok to be openly Christian and to talk about God in political speeches as long as it's a Christian God. Does that make sense?
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
.

IMO the only difference is that now we do have candidates like Giuliani, a divorced pro-choice Catholic ... and Obama, the son of a Muslim ... and yeah, Lieberman The Jew ... so now there will be other candidates who will try and bring out the anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim and anti-Jew votes by pandering to the whole "Christian country thing.

IMNSVHO.
I totally agree. And I have so little respect for our country as a whole. I can't believe we are such immature ninnies.
post #12 of 42
Oh, and Lisa, I do agree that we are seeing a whole new breed of religiosity after 9-11.

There is a much more open, vocal, push for people to prove how Christian they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelpie
Well you know I just don't see it as being such a *huge* issue as it has been since 9/11? I don't seem to remember faith being a big controversy when Clinton was elected, and then elected again. Of course religion has always played a role in politics, but I've never see it gain such a huge movement until recently. I'm not saying huge religious movement influencing political elections have NEVER happened until now, because there are many times in history will this has occurred, and it will most likely occur again-but at least in the US it seems as though for some voters, religious beliefs matter now more than ever. I'm speaking from since the liberal revolution of the 1960s, of course, and I probably should clarify that. The US was very conservative before the 60s and I don't recall since then the US taking such a turn towards religious conservatism since then, except for maybe a little bit with the Reagan years.
I think it is different since 9-11 too.

I agree with Amy, the stuff existed before, but it has taken on a whole new face since 9-11. Although, CLinton isn't a good example, really, he was the perfect "kind" of Christian, I doubt fuss would be made of his faith before or after 9-11 FWIW.

But you can't deny it is a bit more freakishly serious after 9-11. I mean this is a holy war! We need the right guy in there.
post #13 of 42
I'm going to go out on a limb here...

I partially base my voting decisions on religion. I would not vote for members of certain religions. For example, would I vote for a Scientologist? No, I cannot think of a circumstance under which that would be a remotely likely scenario. There are certain religions that are very common in the U.S. that I would stay away from in the voting booth because of their policy (not moral) stances on women's rights, same sex relationship equality, and rights of racial/ethnic minorites.

I have voted for a Catholic, a Jew (Conservative), a Muslim (Sunni), and someone who went to both Serbian and Greek Orthodox churches, as well as a handful of the usual, run of the mill, mainline Protestant candidates. I definately would vote for a Buddhist, Wiccan, Pagan, Hindu, Agnostic, or someone who practiced Native American spirituality (if I agreed with his/her policies, of course). So someone certainly does not have to share my religion to get my vote.

Over the years, despite changes in the number of Americans who participate in a weekly temple worship fluctuating, the number of Americans who really, really want a leader with a strong faith in a higher power consistently polls at around 75%. (Check out Pew for poll numbers going back several decades.) So honestly, I think, in some cases, the pols are just giving the people what they say they want. Which is, after all, the nature of democracy.

To go out on a even shakier limb...

To those who haven't already guessed, I am I wildeyed liberal. I consider being called a socialist a compliment. However, I think it is totally okay for people to consider a candidate's religion when voting. I think it's okay for people to vote for someone based on hair or height, too. And as personally abhorrant as I find it, if someone only votes for white Protestant males, well, that's okay, too. It is not in the nature of our democracy to demand reasons behind ballots. We don't quiz our voters while they're standing in line at that high school- "So, did you decide to vote for Hilary based on her health care plan? Yes? Okay, well, don't you care about the war? Isn't that more important?" If we demand reasons behind ballots, we may as well go back to poll taxes and literacy tests, yk?
post #14 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post

IMO the only difference is that now we do have candidates like Giuliani, a divorced pro-choice Catholic ... and Obama, the son of a Muslim ... and yeah, Lieberman The Jew ... so now there will be other candidates who will try and bring out the anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim and anti-Jew votes by pandering to the whole "Christian country thing.
Yeah, pretty much.
post #15 of 42
I don't think it's really any different post-9/11. I'm assuming back in the day there was a big air of "vote for the Christians cause the Commies are coming." Now it's just "vote for the Christians cause the Muslims are coming."
post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangebird View Post
I totally agree. And I have so little respect for our country as a whole. I can't believe we are such immature ninnies.
Word.

And I thought the big deal with JFK is that the uninformed thought he would take his marching orders from Rome. What some people think Catholics do just boggles the mind.
post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisalou View Post
I think there's a difference now though. When Kennedy did his speech he talked about his religious beliefs being private and separate from him public life and that's what reassured everyone. I think the republican candidates almost fall over themselves attempting to prove this is supposed to be a Christian nation. So Romney's speech wasn't about how being Mormon was separate from his public life it was about how it wasn't and how it's still close to the beliefs of mainstream Christians. Kennedy couldn't make the speech he made today and get elected at least in certain quarters.
I completely agree. There is a hgue difference now. Kennedy respected the separation of church and state. Romney's was all about getting religion into politics, with the emphasis on how his religion shouldn't worry the fundies.

I also agree with Leta. Religion does play into who I'll vote for. I wouldn't vote for anyone who belongs to a high demand religion, unless I'm absolutely convinced that they won't bring their religion into politics. I also wouldn't vote for people who belong to certain religions because of the views on women, minorites, etc.
post #18 of 42
Religion plays a role for me, but mostly how it comes out in the candidates' policies.

I would never vote for Huckabee because he's a Creationist and wants Creationism taught in public schools. His comments on AIDS both 15 years ago and now also leave much to be desired in my book.

I would never vote for any pro-life Christian candidate as what other civil liberties would they take away from women. Same goes for gay rights.

Mitt Romney, I could care less that he is a Mormon. The fact that he is a complete opportunist who did very little for my state as governor despite what his ads say prevents me from voting for him, besides his pro-life/anti-gay rights stance.

So yeah, if one could truly follow the separation of Church and State, then fine. But so many can't.
post #19 of 42
People care about candidates' religious beliefs because they (erroneously IMO) use certain religious beliefs as proxies for certain policy positions.

I think we need more religiously traditional yet politically liberal (you know... like me) people running for office. I loved the way John Kerry responded to criticism against him that he was not "Catholic enough" because he didn't want to impose his personal religious beliefs into law. He affirmed his Catholic beliefs while at the same time affirming his commitment to personal and religious freedom. We need more people like that, breaking up the false dichotomy that political and religious orientation need to be the same thing.
post #20 of 42
Unfortunely, some religious organizations like the Catholic church, play into this by blackmailing politicians with religious consequences if they don't try to get the church's position made into law. That certainly makes me less likely to vote for candidates with those religious affiliations.
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