October 16, 2011

“Not Just Between Them and Their God” is a great piece by Bill Keller, executive editor, New York Times (08-28-11). Apparently, we voters and our media don’t want to ask candidates about their religious beliefs, like it’s invading their privacy. But this is ridiculous. What a candidate believes about gods and goddesses can affect his or her decisions. And I want to know that before I decide how to vote.

In his article, Keller asks, “If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him?” And he responds, “…I would certainly want to ask a few questions. Like, where does he get his information? Does he talk to the aliens? Yet when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little too squeamish about probing too aggressively.”

I want to know what candidates believe because that might affect their decision-making process. I want to know what Michele Bachmann means by being submissive to her husband. And I expect the media and citizens to ask that question – and not be booed for asking.

As Keller says in his article, it’s way past time that we get over our scruples about the privacy of faith in public life. If your faith is going to affect my life, I have a right to ask you about it. To demand answers. And you owe them to me.

I don’t care what Bachmann or Romney or Perry or JFK or Clinton believe in their religious faith. But this is a secular country – or so we claim periodically. So believe what you want, as long as your faith doesn’t change my rights and those of others. I have a right to know if your faith makes you anti women (just check out those patriarchal religions), is anti marriage equality, and doesn’t believe in global warming.

As Keller says, “I do want to know if a candidate places fealty to the Bible, the Book of Mormon or some other authority higher than the Constitution and laws of this country. It matters to me whetehr a president respects serious science and verifiable history…”


Filed under: Social Commentary

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About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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