And no, it’s not faith. It’s called religion. That aside, there’s an interesting internet exchange among Eric Sapp, Rabbi Andy Bachman, and Jameson Foser about the role of religion in the Democratic Party. I found it interesting that the only ordained participant was the most skittish about the embrace of ‘faith’ (italics mine):
In watching the 3 leading Democratic candidates debate their views on religion, I had two conflicting impressions.
One, it’s a good thing that, in response to the ascendancy of the Religious Right in American politics, the Progressive religious community is being heard now as well. Many of us religious leaders have been frustrated by the dominance of one religious voice in the public discourse and it’s refreshing to hear a greater diversity of expression in that regard.
However, as I listened to Edwards, Obama and Clinton articulate themselves quite clearly, I grew increasingly depressed. Because the truth of the matter is that I don’t care whether or not my president goes to church or synagogue on any given Saturday or Sunday. I want my president to execute their job with the best talent they can find, in the most efficient, caring, and ethical way in service to all citizens of the country–believers and non-believers alike.
It matters not to me what the President “believes.” I want a government that works, that cares for the disadvantaged, that defends us when we are under attack as a nation.
That the “debate” was framed under the glare of news and entertainment, with a beautiful cable newscaster smiling her way through questions that were as fitting for a gossip column as they were political-religious discourse. And that juxtaposition was the true source of my despair.
We seem to have lost our way as a nation and have certainly strained that once strong fence of separation between “church and state.”
We liberals have to talk about religion not because we want to but because we’re competing for votes in order to put our man or woman in office over their man or woman.
I understand it as a pragmatic strategic move.
But it strikes me as fundamentally insincere and a dangerous precedent for the future of our country.
I’ve mentioned this before, but having been raised in a covenantal, non-salvationist religion (Judaism), much of the popular discussion of religion (i.e., abortion and homosexuality) seems odd to me. It’s far too focused on individual purity and not enough on society and justice.