Politics and Religion
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian.
I’m sure most of you saw his “Strong” ad, as it’s more than a month and a half old at this point. Earlier this week, Perry withdrew his candidacy, which I don’t think was surprising to anyone given the fact that much of his campaign was a train wreck.
To be perfectly honest, the first time I saw this video, I glazed over his comment about “gays serving openly in the military.” I guess I just misunderstood him or wasn’t really listening. To me, at first, it seemed like he was excited about servicemen and women being allowed to be openly homosexual, but I realize now that’s not where he was going with the statement.
I’m not writing today to debate that argument however, I’m moreso interested in discussing the reason I glossed over much of the video when I first watched it.
You see, with those opening lines of “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian,” my thoughts were immediately transported to a time when I wanted to be a politician. I’m still not opposed to public office, in fact I’ve held leadership positions in just about every organization I’ve ever belonged to, but that wasn’t what I was thinking about when I watched Rick Perry’s ad.
I started wondering how I would approach a political campaign, even for something as small as city council member, etc. Would I talk about my religion as part of my campaign? What about 5-10 years down the road, I will presumably be a Pastor at that point in time if I continue on the path I’m going now, would that have an effect on a campaign? Would I ever be seen on television proclaiming to my neighbors, or even the entire country that “I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a Christian… Vote for me!”
And it was in thinking through all of this that I came to a realization about what seems to be a problem in political campaigns of late.
I have no problem with a politician openly stating their religious beliefs. Nor do I have a problem with that politician’s decisions being affected by their religion. But there’s a fine line between being a politician whose comfortable speaking about one’s faith, and one who’s pandering to people of faith.
While in the strictest sense of the word, Christians ARE in fact a demographic, we shouldn’t be treated as one in the American political system. No politician should ever be discussing with their campaign manager “how can I win over the church-goers vote?”
I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian, but I sure am ashamed of Christian politicians who try to flaunt their religion to win votes.