I accidentally tuned into a rerun on CNN of a forum on religion, faith and politics where the Democrats’ leading presidential candidates – Clinton, Obama and Edwards – were given a chance to strut their stuff. It originally aired June 4, one night after the network held its Democratic presidential debate.I fell asleep during the debate itself – it was so predictable; but this discussion was fascinating, if for no other reason than to see the aforementioned tie themselves in knots in an effort to appear more “spiritual” than the competition.
In presidential politics, the religious gap is huge. Polls show that the more a person attends religious services, the more likely he or she will vote Republican. Following the 2004 election, Democrat strategists began working to close that gap.
They found a powerful ally in the Sojourners Social Justice Ministry, which sponsored this forum at George Washington University. To the uninitiated, “social justice” is a euphemism for income redistribution or old-fashioned socialism. In the fall, Sojourners plans another forum for the top three Republican candidates (if they are gullible enough to fall for this gambit).
It was not surprising that the questions thrown at Clinton and Obama by moderator Soledad O’Brien, Sojourners leader Jim Wallis and company were softballs. Edwards, who trails, got the only tough questions. He was their sacrificial lamb. There was no mention of the Bible. Also, Edwards was the only one of the three to use the words Lord, Jesus, Christ or Lord Jesus Christ, which he did on seven different occasions.
However, when it comes to the social issues, these three candidates walk in lockstep. Therefore, the following exchanges were enlightening.
O’Brien asked Edwards if he believed in evolution or creationism. After offering a disclaimer that he grew up a Southern Baptist and was taught creationism, he now has seen the light:
I think it’s perfectly possible to make our faith, my faith belief system, consistent with a recognition that there is real science out there and scientific evidence of evolution. I don’t think those things are inconsistent. …
(Liberals have no trouble believing in God – or a faith belief system – as long as He marches to their drum.)
O’Brien then asked if the two were not mutually exclusive:
Either man was created from Adam’s rib or he came evolution-wise from apes.
No, I don’t think they are. Because the hand of God was in every step of what’s happened with man. The hand of God today is in every step of what happens with me and every human being that exists on this planet.
Ever heard of free will? Seriously, does Edwards think the hand of God was in all of his ambulance-chasing lawsuits that helped drive up the cost of medical care?
There is no evidence (only theory) to prove that man came from the apes. Perhaps Edwards can offer us some proof that this “real science” to which he refers exists. Also, if Edwards is correct, why are the apes still with us? Why have they not evolved? Perhaps for lack of a better environment, nutrition, education, etc., an ape would be in his place running for president.
Would I prefer an ape in the White House to John Edwards? Easy question! If you throw an ape enough figs and coconuts, he will leave us alone. An ape will not try to steal our money or social engineer everything.
Edwards was asked by O’Brien if he thinks homosexuals should have the right to marry. He answered,
No, not personally. Now you’re asking about me personally. But I think there’s a difference between my belief system (there’s that phrase again) and what the responsibilities of the president of the United States are. …
If you think something is morally wrong, though, you morally disagree with it, as president of the United States, don’t you have a duty to go with your moral belief?
This put Edwards in a tailspin:
No, I think that, first of all, my faith, my belief in Christ plays an enormous role in the way I view the world. But, I think, I also understand the distinction between my job as president of the United States, my responsibility to be respectful of and to embrace all faith beliefs …
After that dismal performance, should Edwards become president, he would sign or veto many pieces of legislation, all of which would represent someone’s moral values.
In our system of government, the people who work the hardest will have their values expressed in law. If we aren’t electing a candidate who believes in our values – and is pledged to stand by them – others will.