Sunday, August 26, 2012

WAPO discusses political leaders & religious beliefs

by Gary Berg-Cross

As part of their "Liberty, through the lens" series on the proper role for government in America today the Washington Post has moved to cover the topic of "Faith" (aka Religious Faith). 

They have started by asking a dozen Virginia  folks or so the Q -"Do you think a political leader should or should not rely on his or her religious beliefs in making policy decisions? How much does it matter to you that a candidate for president shares your religious beliefs?"

Johari Abdul-Malik (55) pictured above had one of the more liberal answers which sounded almost Unitarian although he was identified as Director of outreach, imam at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center (Falls Church)

"What I’m looking for in a candidate is a relationship with the golden rule. I’m not looking for whether you pray to the east or to the west as part of your religious underpinning, but do you have a relationship with the source of those values. "

We'll see how the series turns out. Virginia is an interesting state to discuss and the section starts with founding father Jefferson and his raised eyebrows about much of scripture. So far they haven't gotten around to asking Qs of people who have Jefferson's skepticism or are clearly Humanists, although they include Mormons who said "it’s not important to me for a politician to share my particular kind of faith." and Buddhists  who said "I think it's incumbent upon the political person to understand that there are different views of reality." In their second installment they has a Korean American pastor, Peter Chin, who became  interim pastor of the  Peace Fellowship in Northeast Washington. This seems like one of those "liberal churches" much discussed on this blog and Pastor Peter discusses being open-minded to help build relationships. In another life I might imagine him working for a humanist group.

As one can see from comments on the first article, a number of non-theists have jumped in to emphasize some of the Founder's ideas on the US as a country of laws - secular laws - guided by the Constitution.

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