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Presidential Candidates' Faith at Center of Media Scrutiny

Bob Ray Sanders
McClatchy / News Analysis
Published: Thursday 11 August 2011
God is sure to be a major part of next year's presidential election whether he wants to be or not.
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After Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Reliant revival - an all-day prayer meeting (with no-dinner-on-the-ground) - last weekend, God is sure to be a major part of next year's presidential election whether he wants to be or not.

Even without Perry getting into the race, which he's expected to do within days, several Republican contenders have been making God and Christian values an issue.

Perry, however, took it a giant step further when he called preachers and lay people together for "The Response," a prayer and fasting rally at a Houston football stadium on a day the governor said "people are going to discuss for years to come."

No doubt they will.

Some of those ministers associated with the prayer meeting are known to have fairly extreme views when it comes to certain groups in this country like gays, Catholics and Muslims. Perry tried to distance himself a bit by suggesting that he did not agree with all the views of the participants. He insists that the nation's problems were so big we need God's help in solving them.

That's fine, but the governor should know that in a presidential race, candidates often are judged by the people with whom they associate, including the preachers they've listened to over the years. Just ask President Barack Obama.

During the campaign of 2008 the president's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, was subjected to a barrage of denigrating criticism based mostly on a few out-of-context passages taken from a couple of sermons. Obama was constantly hammered for having been a member of Wright's church for 20 years and refusing to denounce the man he had regarded as a spiritual mentor.

The term "liberation theology" became a dirty phrase once the radio talk show hosts got through defining and maligning it.

Obama eventually would have to distance himself, denounce some of his pastor's statements and ultimately quit Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.

I'm wondering if the conservative media and all those who criticized Obama for his choice of church and pastor will treat Republican candidates' clergy and associates with the same scrutiny.

Not that I particularly care what church or religious institutions a candidate belongs to, I think we should insist that the media examine statements and sermons of the preachers these contenders have embraced.

Let's go back 20 years and see what their thoughts are about the "social gospel," the role of women, ethnic and religious minorities and the U.S. government, just to get started.

Leading candidate Michele Bachmann, who's expected to do well in the Iowa straw poll on Saturday, has proudly proclaimed her religious conservatism. She apparently wasn't so proud of her church, however, when she prepared to announce that she was running for president.

Bachmann and her husband left the Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minn., where they had been members for more than 10 years. In addition to teaching that the Roman Papacy is the Antichrist, what else did her preacher and church instill in Bachmann over the years?

I would love to know what Newt Gingrich has learned in church, as well as former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

With his current ratings, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty could use some divine help, as could former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Still, I'd love to know what religious instruction they draw on as they seek the presidency.

There are two candidates whose religion already is under attack, not by Democrats but other conservative Republicans. Frontrunner Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman are Mormon, which some conservatives don't see as Christian. Huntsman detractors, though, probably are more upset with him for having served in the Obama administration as ambassador to China than they are about his religion.

Then there's Herman Cain, former CEO of a pizza chain, who many conservatives "adore" perhaps because he's a black man who obviously has never been smitten by liberation theology.

It seems, no matter what we wish, religion will be a major part of this presidential contest.

To that I simply say: Hallelujah, praise God, and pass the campaign collection plate.

misschien heb ik het niet

misschien heb ik het niet ddueilijk genoeg op geschreven. Je heb nu 2 oplossingen door elkaar gebruikt :)Hier even hoe ik het heb gedaan.Ik heb smb.conf gekopieerd naar /ffp/etc/ en daar het volgende stuk aan toegevoegd:[USB_Stick]comment = External USB stickpath = /mnt/usbvalid users =read only = noguest ok = yesSamba is de linux versie van windows sharing, met deze instellingen maak je een nieuwe gesharde directory aan.In de /ffp/etc/fun_plug.local heb ik de volgende regels gezet:cp /ffp/etc/smb.conf /etc/samba/smb.conf/usr/bin/smb restartHier mee wordt de samba server opnieuw opgestart met je nieuwe samba instellingen.Zet ook nog even de rechten goed voor fun_plug.local met:chmod 777 /ffp/etc/fun_plug.localNa een reboot zou het moeten werken en kan je met de windows verkenner naar je nas en zou je de usb moeten zien.

Remember the Rick Perry pray

Remember the Rick Perry pray for rain campaign? Remember his statements concerning the fact that our problems are so bad we need Divine Guidance to solve them. Now flash back to the campaign ads which feature the phone call at 2:00 AM and how the person who answers the phone would respond? Now let's look forward to the 2:00AM call and the person who answers the call is Rick Perry. If the answer to the crisis is "Let me check with God and I'll get back to you", what happens next? What if he calls God and God doesn't answer?

Faith becomes public agenda

Faith becomes public agenda when in you try to impose your faiths views on others. This includes the imposition of the belief there is no god. Either way is a path full of injury and pain.
Since as a country we were founded on religious freedom any candidate who makes thier faith something to impose on others rather than something to celebrate within the diversity that is America loses my vote. I don't care wether you are agnostic, Anglican, Buddhist, catholic, Mormon, atheist keep your faith to yourself if you wish to run for public office. Valerie Foltz

This is nonsense. Even if we

This is nonsense. Even if we are to believe as you did in God, who are you to judge, or more importantly, why is it up to you to defend a supreme, omnipotent being. This philosophy in extremis is no different than attacking Danish for blasphemous cartoons. The US was found on religious freedom, not religion. You are missing the point.

Religion is one of the roots

Religion is one of the roots of all evil. Even more egregious is greed, i.e. the accumulation of wealth, and thus, power. Our economic system is based on greed, and as result will fail

This what it means to "take

This what it means to "take the name of the Lord in vain": to co-opt God for one's personal agenda.

Owe, the poor ignorant

Owe, the poor ignorant American voter, who can't resist the chance to go against his fathers wishes . Dad said that a religious man is not a fit man for a candidate for public office and that if someone professes to religion then vote against him .
Folks we need intelligent people for public office not superstitious ,religious people.After all do not the constitution advise a separation of church and state. So voting a known religious candidate in to office is going against your own constitution. POOR THINKING ON ANY ONES PART. Not an advisable path to take.

I would like to point out

I would like to point out some of the responses here are the very definition of a holier than thou/smarter than you attitude. Just a bit ironic considering the topic.
Valerie Foltz

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