Matt's Blog
...religion, politics, and other things you should never discuss at bars (but probably do anyways).
Thursday, January 01, 2004

David Brooks has written an column in which he examines how some of the prominent politicians of the day like to "skip around" between denominations. It's interesting to note:

George W. Bush was born into an Episcopal family and raised as a Presbyterian, but he is now a Methodist. Howard Dean was baptized Catholic, and raised as an Episcopalian. He left the church after it opposed a bike trail he was championing, and now he is a Congregationalist, though his kids consider themselves Jewish.

Wesley Clark's father was Jewish. As a boy he was Methodist, then decided to become a Baptist. In adulthood he converted to Catholicism, but he recently told Beliefnet .com, "I'm a Catholic, but I go to a Presbyterian church."

Of course, there are other examples. It's not fair to paint all politicans with the same brush. But I think it's also interesting to note the politicians who maintain their religious identification yet don't adhere to all the dogma/teachings expected. See Kennedy on abortion, Kerry on homosexuality, Daschle on... well, acceptance.

Brooks compares the religious divide (or lack there of, he seems to argue) with the political divide in America.

I think this is both a good and a bad thing. Despite what some may argue, we are not a theocracy here in America. The state does not (or should not) establish or promote one faith over another. Our roots as a nation are not only with the New England puritans or the PA Quakers or the MD Roman Catholics; rather, they're with all of these groups.

Yet shouldn't our faith mean something? Shouldn't it be more than a social club? A pot luck supper? A place to go once a week? A mere obligation?

I think it should.

But thus is the complexity of religion in America: Hold fast to your faith. Evangelize, by all means. But respect others, and do it on your own time and dime, not Uncle Sam's.

God writes a lot of comedy...
the trouble is,
he's stuck with so
many bad actors
who don't know how
to play funny.

-Garrison Keillor


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