Why Religiosity Is A Factor In 2008 Presidential Race
By James Donahue
Seven years of right-wing fundamental Christian-driven American government under the Bush Administration
has reminded a lot of us (but probably not all) of the wisdom our forefathers had when they drafted a Constitution that separated
church and state.
Consequently, the issue of religiosity has became a major factor in the screening of candidates seeking
the presidential nomination this time around.
This may be the first time this has happened since John Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic to gain
the high office, tossed his hat in the ring. At that time some worried that a Catholic president would (or could) be influenced
by the Vatican in setting national policy. But Kennedy kept a promise made during his campaign to abide by the Constitution
and maintain a policy of separation of church and state. He is remembered today as among the finest of American leaders.
How we wish George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian, had maintained the wisdom and dedication to
American Constitutional liberties that Kennedy maintained during the past seven years.
Something ugly happened after that right-wing conservative/fundamental Christian and his friends gained
absolute control of Washington in 2001. Once handed the presidency by the US Supreme Court, following a contested close-vote
that many felt he did not win, George W. Bush found himself in a position of almost absolute power because of a Republican
controlled House and Senate, and because the nation was cowering in fear following an unprecedented 9-11 attack.
Unfortunately, the Bush Administration took advantage of that power and led this nation down a very
slippery slope from which we may have a difficult time recovering.
The Bush-Cheney machine pushed forth a twisted agenda that stripped Americans of many of our Constitutional
freedoms, alienated the United States from the rest of the world by bully tactics that resulted in two ugly wars against Moslem
people, drive the nation trillions of dollars into a debt that could affect us for generations, and hid its actions under
a cloak of secrecy unlike anything experienced since World War II.
It has only been since the 2006 elections, when voters put enough Democrats back into the two legislative
bodies to balance the scales that the crimes of the right-wing conservatives have begun to come to light. That a CIA report
exempting Iran of the Bush accusations of ambitions toward nuclear power was kept hidden for almost a year while the propaganda
machine attempted to drive us into yet a third war, probably is not the final straw.
We believe American voters are looking for a change. There is a genuine concern, not only by voters,
but clearly expressed by news anchormen and commentators, that religious extremism may accidentally get back into power. .
This is why, for the first time in American history, reporters are zeroing in on the religious backgrounds
of the various candidates, taking a close look at just how a former Baptist minister like Mike Huckabee, or a Morman like
Mitt Romney stand in their religious convictions, and how such convictions might influence decisions they might make as president.
And will the story that Barack Obama, now a professed Christian, was raised with a Muslim background in Indonesia, impact
his ability to lead?
Since most Americans share some form of a belief in God, and presidential candidates usually declare
themselves members or at least followers of some form of religiosity, the choosing of our next president can not be determined
wholly on church affiliation.
Our point is that we need to be darned sure this time around that we never turn Washington over to
a gang like the one that occupies the seat of power at this time. It is going to take years to repair all of the damage, if
we are even allowed the chance.