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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 renounced Catholicism.
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 as saying.
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 Democrats’ 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 pulling 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 is an 18-year-old homeschool graduate who writes for World Newspaper Publishing and is a regular columnist at AmericanDaily.com, ARationalAdvocate.com and RenewAmerica.us. He is also a contributing writer to Tolkien-Movies.com. Bass is currently working on his first novel.