Howard Dean is no
longer the only Democrat presidential candidate for guys with Confederate
flags in their pickup trucks, according to a recent article by CNN.com. Fortunately
for Dean, the hubbub over his October remark has settled down, but apparently
the Democrat’s quest to garner southern religious voters hasn’t.
In the CNN article, the nine Democrat presidential contenders attempted to
reassure southerners that, contrary to what some might think, Democrats really
do have religious faith. Wesley Clark is quoted by CNN as saying: “[T]he
Republican Party does not have the monopoly on faith in this country.” Obviously
so, since Clark has so many religious affiliations it’s difficult to keep
them straight. He was raised a Baptist, married a Catholic and supposedly
converted, but now goes to a Presbyterian church, although he’s never openly
How about the others? According to CNN, John Kerry is a practicing Catholic,
but one who believes the Founding Fathers articulated a “clear” separation
between church and state in the Constitution, even though such words appear
nowhere in any of America’s founding documents. Howard Dean (of Confederate
flag fame) describes himself as a “nice New England Congregationalist.” Dean
was raised an Episcopalian, but switched after a dispute with the church
over a bike path location.
Richard Gephardt is a Baptist who claims his faith helped him through the
pain of his son’s struggle with childhood cancer. Ever since Gephardt began
telling his son’s story, the other candidates have been falling over each
other to try and come up with an I’ve-got-a-tear-jerker-too story they can
use at campaign stops. While everyone feels for anyone in such a situation,
it is sad seeing suffering used for political purposes.
John Edwards is a Methodist and says he prays every day, but he evidently
doesn’t think his relationship with God is important enough to affect public
policy decisions. The President of the United States “should not be setting
policy for the country based on his or her faith,” Edwards is quoted by CNN
Carol Moseley Braun lists her faith as Catholic. Her support of abortion
on demand, though, stands in stark contrast to the teachings of the Vatican.
Dennis Kucinich is also a Catholic, but his stance on homosexual marriage
not only differs with his faith, but with most Americans in general.
Al Sharpton began preaching in public school kindergarten (whatever happened
to separation of church and state, Mr. Sharpton?). He was ordained a Pentecostal
minister at age 13. But honestly, when was the last time you saw Sharpton
preaching from anything other than the NAACP’s handbook?
Joe Lieberman has used his faithful adherence to Judaism as a campaign tool.
Oddly enough, however, while he’ll strictly observe the Sabbath, he voted
against the ban on partial birth abortion in the Senate. To boot, his homepage
proudly displays the vote.
So what’s the deal? Are the Democrats really as religious as they claim?
Do their sympathies really lie with the faithful, or are they simply pandering
to conservative southerners?
Just take a look at the political opinions and voting records of the nine
Democrat presidential candidates to get an answer: no prayer in public schools,
no government funding of faith-based initiatives, absolutely no display of
Christian or Jewish symbols in the public square, promotion of homosexual
agendas, support of a President who practiced adultery and blatantly lied
before the nation, support of every abortion procedure imaginable (no questions
asked), rabid support of euthanasia, and unapologetically favoring more intrusive
government and taxation.
How many of the Ten Commandments have the Democrats upheld with their political positions?
How have the Democrats honored the precepts of the churches they claim to attend?
The Democrat’s religious push isn’t about true faith but about votes. The
Democrats need key southern states to win in 2004. And appealing to those
southern states is only possible by appealing to the predominantly religious
people who live there. That’s a hard task for any Democrat considering America’s
current political climate. Witnessing these competitors walking the fine
line between appealing to religious southerners and satisfying northeastern
liberals is amusing.
Maybe Howard Dean, et al., really do have religious fervor in their souls.
None of us can know for sure. But if they do, they keep it tightly guarded,
and that pretty much nullifies everything they believe. After all, if you
don’t allow your faith to affect your decisions, why believe at all?
Put simply, the Democrats are playing the religion card and I suspect southerners
realize it. Like Howard Dean’s comments on the Confederate flag, the hollow
faith of the nine Democrat contenders is nothing but a vie for votes.
David N. Bass writes for World Newspaper Publishing and has a regular column at AmericanDaily.com, ARationalAdvocate.com, and RenewAmerica.us.