Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Faith and politics

When asked whether his religious belief affects his political decisions the politician replied:
Yes, it does. I do believe in the separation of church and state. But I don't think separation of church and state means you have to be free from your faith. My faith informs everything I think and do. It's part of my value system. And to suggest that I can somehow separate and divorce that from the rest of me is not possible. I would not, under any circumstances, try to impose my personal faith and belief on the rest of the country. I don't think that's right. I don't think that's appropriate. But freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom from religion. And I think that anything we can do to promote the idea that people should express their faith is a good thing.
This is precisely the sort of thing George W. Bush says for which he has been attacked as a "Christianist" and accused of trying to establish a "theocracy." The quotation is from an interview John Edwards gave at beliefnet. The position Edwards takes in this part of the interview is correct and the outrage directed toward Bush was silly.

Source: John Edwards on faith


  1. The really interesting thing about ad hominem attacks like this is that it polarizes entire voting blocs of the country. In all studying of political science, it seems to me like its not a very prudent political move (even if Edwards really does feel this way) to say it out loud. The last election went poorly for the Dems, because, among other reasons, Bush-bashing didn't work. It turned people off. Politically, I don't think this makes much sense. It might get Edwards votes from the rank-and-file Dem hardcores, but even if this type of outburst wins him a nomination from his party, he would be opening himself up to the same attacks that sunk the Dems in 2004. I confess I don't understand why any Democrat would take this tack.

  2. I misread the post. I'm glad to hear that Edwards was prudent enough to avoid the trap. But I have heard these attacks. Having read the post again, defending Bush's view might earn Edwards ire instead of support from the party higher-ups. Interesting stuff.

  3. Edwards wasn't saying anything about Bush. That was my comment. I've modified the post to eliminate some of the ambiguity. The misunderstanding was not your fault, Nick.

    I agree with what Edwards says here although he goes on in the interview to say some pretty absurd things.


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