In discussing John McCain’s outrageous statement that he won’t vote for Muslims, Atrios makes a good point:
We’re at this absurd spot in our political discourse where “faith” somehow matters but the specifics of that faith do not. And even this obscures the fact that what this really means is Christian faith matters. If religious beliefs matter, then surely it’s the substance of those beliefs which matter and not simply some meaningless nod to “the importance of faith.”
I wrote something along those lines last December:
While Bill O’Reilly celebrates and defends the secular American Christmas holiday from imagined attack, he and the evangelicals we see on Meet the Press, you know the ones, they are the folks Barack Obama is courting, NEVER actually discuss what it is they supposedly have faith in. It is relatively insignificant politically, but illuminating intellectually. The reality is the intersection of religion and the State never REALLY happens – radical social conservatives are NOT acting based on any true religious beliefs – on abortion, sexual orientation or anything else. It is a conceit that we grant extremists for no good reason frankly. But there it is.
If “faith” is going to be an issue in politics now, then let’s debate it. What is Christianity? What is Mormonism? What is Rudy’s standing in the Catholic Church? Otherwise, keep religiion and “faith” in churches, homes and in the decisions and actions of individiuals.