Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a spirited debate on the place of religion in politics. But the candidates are confusing two arguments. The first, which conservatives are winning, is defending the legitimacy of religion in the public square. The second, which conservatives are bound to lose, is proclaiming the privileged status of religion in political life.
But there is a huge difference between being inspired or animated in your politics by religion and thrusting your religious beliefs forward as “proof” of your superiority as a candidate. Or that your faith gives you a privileged position in a debate over public policy issues.
And that, boys and girls, is the problem with this GOP field. The Democrats have their own agenda when it comes to trying to appeal to Christians. Witness Barack Obama’s efforts in South Carolina where he staged a “Gospel-fest” featuring some of the country’s finest Gospel singers. But Obama seems to wear his faith like an old coat – comfortable and roomy. Candidates Romney and Huckabee wear their faith like a straitjacket, the tenets of which limit their worldview while binding them to positions on social issues that brook no opposition because they are based on holy writ.
The Republican primary risks falling into a theological beauty contest.
If the Republicans choose to follow that path, they’re well on their way to Huckacide.
Dan says that the Right’s Religious Fight Is Navel Gazing Nonsense
Mark my words: there will be no President Huckabee.
Luisiana Conservative is running a poll
Rich, I think what a lot of evangelicals may be missing here is that many non-evangelical conservatives are completely baffled, and frustrated, by the amount of support for the non-conservative Bush-channeling Huckabee. When we sit back and look at the amount of frustration and consternation that Bush has caused among conservatives, and then see Huckabee (who represents everything bad about Bush, with few of his positive characteristics) gaining the support of a fourth of our party, we have to ask ourselves why. The most obvious answer seems to be that he is attracting so much support because he is the only evangelical candidate in the race. To many conservatives, well at least to me, this idea that we should betray conservative principles in order to support a candidate with the right religious credentials is more than shocking, it is abhorrent, and the result is an anti-evangelical backlash. I consider myself a social conservative, and share so much common ground with evangelicals that it truly hurts me to see the strain being placed on our relationship. But as long as their power is used to push a statist non-conservative candidate on our party, we will not be seeing eye-to-eye.
Amen to that.