Question by Joel Thornton
Religion and politics have gone hand in hand for a long time. Jimmy Carter introduced many Americans to the term “born-again” Christian when he was campaigning for president in 1976 (and he was a Democrat!). A dozen years later, televangelist Pat Robertson jumped into the presidential race and beat George H.W. Bush in the Iowa caucuses.
Fast forward to this year’s campaign. Most everyone on the Republican side feels comfortable wearing their faith on their shirt sleeve. When Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, he said, “Let me first of all say, to God be the glory.” Marco Rubio celebrated his third-place finish there by thanking “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Are outward professions of faith like those expressed by Cruz and Rubio more likely or less likely to make you want to support a presidential candidate?
AMY MARTIN, president emeritus, Earth Rhythms
There have been times in my life where I’ve given thanks to a divine greater than myself, times that I have acknowledged in humility I am a mere mortal treading this Earth for a brief time and owe my life to forces which I can barely comprehend.
Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement was not that. Instead it resonated as one man’s desire for dominance by aligning with the ultimate power. More than one commentator referred to it as being “Republican for ‘Allah hu akbar.’” Those of us who eschew organized religion — 1 out of 5 U.S. citizens — did not get warm feelings from it.
Those in power such as Cruz who yearn for religious law, who denigrate the religions and Gods of others, frighten the nonreligious to our core. For all our lives, no matter how old we are, we have witnessed perpetual religious conflicts driven by an impossible aching for purity, for rightness, in a world of blood and bone.