Singing Loudly: Faith and Politics

Singing Loudly

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Faith and Politics

I'm with Josh Chafetz in my reaction to Bill Frist's (and various conservative Christian leaders) allegation about Democrats and faith:

Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, has agreed to join a handful of prominent Christian conservatives in a telecast portraying Democrats as "against people of faith" for blocking President Bush's nominees.

This is such an unfortunate thing, and I think something that requires a qualification. There is no question that faith in this context means Christianity. To continue, I've mentioned before that despite my faith, it is difficult for me to find a church to attend because of these exclusive misbeliefs: Christians who are so emphatic about their political beliefs that they start to believe those politics are compelled by their Christian faith, and conversely politicians who either encourage this exclusive and destructive behavior or endorse it for their personal political gain.

I know of very few people who are actually "against" people of faith, whereas I know of many people who are for religious tolerance. If a select group of Christians mistakenly view this as being against faith then they will thoughtfully be included in my daily prayers. I wish that politics and Christianity did not have result in such harmful dishonesty.


From Crooked Timber I read a wonderful quote from Rabbi David Saperstein:

The telecast is scheduled to take place on the second night of the Passover holiday, when Jews around the world gather together to celebrate our religious freedom. It was in part for exactly such freedom that we fled Egypt. It was in part for exactly such freedom that so many of us came to this great land. And it is in very large part because of exactly such freedom that we and our neighbors here have built a nation uniquely welcoming to people of faith – of all faiths. We believe Senator Frist knows these things as well. His association with the scheduled telecast is, in a word, shameful.

This is a wonderful explanation of why Senator Frist (and anyone who shares his point of view) is so far off the mark. It's an insult to people of all faiths including Christians who are both right leaning and left leaning. It's an insult to the intelligence of everyone. It's an insult to agnostics and atheists who certainly respect the fact that people have personal beliefs in religion and exercise those beliefs.


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