Friday, May 19, 2006

Faith: Political Capital

Politicians are developing a greater love of talking about [their] faith. It gives a sense of openness and normalcy from people who are genereally perceived as neither. It typically strikes me as more of a political maneuver than a sincere effort at honesty, but I'm a tad cynical when it comes to politicians. I suppose the problem is when they see (or represent) themselves as defenders of faith, doers of God's work. Throughout history any leader who believed/proclaimed themselves to be "ordained by God" or to be doing the work of God has subsequently done some horrible, inhumane thing, which is often times in direct opposition to the words of God in which they proclaim belief. So it goes today.

God wanted George W. Bush to be president (in his mind and words). W goes to war against a nation that had done nothing to us. W decries those who disagre with his methods/ideas. W talks about/supports: killing terrorists, capital punishment, retribution, revenge. W widens the gap between rich and poor, by giving to the rich. W supports writing discrimination into the constitution. W opposes proper care for our elderly, and opposes (scientific) work that could help the lives of many thousands. W backs off environmental standards that help improve quality of life and lead to better futures for children/grandchildren. W professes that he is a devout Christian, but he does NOT act like one.

The major crux of politicians talking about God is that it means they don't care about [some aspect of] humanity. If someone says they want to help the poor, there is no need to invoke God to defend that, everyone will see it as a good thing. If someone wants to deny an entire group of people (say, homosexuals) rights, then they must declare it as God's will to gain the favor of others...and to hush those that oppose. "Holy wars" are far easier to gain support for than are oil/land grab attempts. Faith is not a bad thing in and of itself, and politicians should not be ashamed of theirs, but the second it gets brought up anything political that follows should be considered quite suspect.

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