After writing yesterday about Pastor-in-Chief Huckabee, I got to thinking... what role should faith have in presidential politics?
What I came to is this... I know what I don't want. I don't want a president who uses Jesus as his or her barometer for action. Or Muhammad. Or Buddha. Or any of the other folks who cast their eyes heavenward. They lived for a different purpose than politics, and this earthly realm wasn't really their bag.
I know Christianity, so I'll discuss that. And Christians, by the charge of their Lord and Savior, are to live in view of eternity as they live to serve their Lord. Does that really make for a good president?
A president is the Commander-in-Chief of armies. Armies kill people. By design. That's their mission. To wreck things and ruin lives. That's why they carry weapons that sport real - not rubber - bullets.
So imagine you're a Christian. You love Jesus and want to be a good servant for him. As president, you might ask yourself, "What would Jesus do?" And that's where you go off the rails into Jimmy Carter-land.
The world is not made of people who want to play nice. On the world stage, the world is made of people who want power. That requires ruthlessness. Our president should not be willing to nationally turn the other cheek, but to diplomatically and ferociously kick your ass if you mess the people of America.
Jesus taught people that it's better to pray in a closet than in the public square. Faith is a private matter. It's between you and God. So anyone who grandstands their faith on the national stage in pursuit of political office begs skepticism from the audience about their intentions with both politics and faith.
I once hopped into an elevator with a guy at a hotel who wore a HUGE cross around his neck. He was a hotel employee.
"That's quite a cross."
"Yeah," he smiled.
"You're obviously quite devoted."
He looked me up and down and then smiled all the wider. "No. See, the thing is," he said as his voice smoothed into a whisper, "chicks love this. This gets me so laid all the time."
At that point, I reached my floor. The bell chimed.
He nodded with vigor. "Oh yeah."
I stepped out and the elevator doors shut. I've never forgotten that moment.
That's how it feels to me when candidates for office trot out their faith.
I want a ruthless, America-loving, optimistic tightwad running this country. This country, and not heaven, needs to be the citizenship declared by any president.
I think the zealots get it wrong. It's not that America was founded by people expecting politics to be soaked by the faith of its leaders. No, America was founded by people who simply wanted to have their worship in private without fear of being persecuted.
What would Jesus do? I think he'd want that declaration of faith made in the closet, and not in the town square.
ETC: I read this today:
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, asks in an upcoming article, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"That is low and offensive. Mike Huckabee is not just a faith-plastering suck-up, but a crass man as well.