Last Tuesday night, I went down to Chicago's Grant Park to witness
Barack Obama's election and victory speech. At the event, I was struck
by the fact that the crowd was at its loudest and most excited not when
Obama and his family took the stage but earlier, when CNN projected him
as the winner.
Something Pope Benedict XVI said about immigration while he was in the U.S. sent CNN commentator Lou Dobbs into a rant that went something like, “We don’t need popes or preachers telling us what to think and how to vote. . . . Religion is about saving souls, isn’t it? . . . We have something called separation of church and state in this country, after all.”
By mid-March, Democratic presidential candidates will have participated in 20 debates, while the Republican candidates will have debated 21 times. None of these debates offered any substantive discussion of Israel and Palestine.
One of the most powerful leaders in conservative evangelical Christianity has discouraged his colleagues from supporting Fred Thompson as a presidential candidate.
James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, sent a private e-mail to many of his fellow religious right leaders criticizing some of the Republican contender’s stances and statements, according to the Associated Press.
Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has rejected calls to fire one of his top homeland security advisers, Representative Peter King, after the Long Island Republican said there are “too many mosques” in the U.S.
“I’ve known Pete for 41 years, so I’m not about to do that,” Giuliani told reporters in Virginia September 20.
Though considered a potential favorite among Bible Belt conservative voters in the presidential primaries, ex-senator and actor Fred Thompson told Republicans in South Carolina on September 10 that he is not a regular churchgoer and does not plan to talk about his beliefs in the campaign.
The recent-vintage wisdom of presidential politics is that voters want their candidates to have strong personal faith. But for the moment, the front-running candidacies of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani seem to suggest that beyond a certain minimum level, the religiosity of a candidate doesn’t matter that much to the voting public.
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