Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tim Burgess's Jesus

This article gave me mixed feelings. On one hand I don't think the religious should be barred from serving in public office, though arguing against religion is no more bigotry then arguing against republicanism.  It also nice that his faith, for the most part, makes him have decent political beliefs.  However I am still uneasy when people's views are influenced by something so weird as faith.

While the article was so-so, this just made me mad:

When I left Burgess, he was very nervous about this column. About how Seattle voters might react to an entire article about his religious faith a week before the election.

It occurred to me later his worry may say as much about us as it does about him.

While I don't think one religion should matter when it shouldn't, i.e. most jobs, how can a person beliefs not be relevant in a campaign.  If we are to take Burgess at his word when he says this:

"My world views, my political views, my lifetime of working for equality and justice — I can't deny it's shaped by my religious beliefs."

Then how can we at least not analyze his religious beliefs.  Had he said his views were shaped by his commitment to Marxism no one would even think twice about questioning Marxism, even if his Marxism leads him to view points in total agreement with this City.  Its not bigotry to disagree with claims people make about the world.  I don't go around arguing with my religious friends about their beliefs, but if we are talking about religion, I'm not going to pretend that somehow I don't think its wrong.  No more then if we were talking about whether a movie was good or bad.  Bigotry requires at least some level of immutability.  For example race, sexual orientation, height, etc. Its not nice to argue that someone should be taller or to think that blacks aren't suited for higher office.  But to look at the religious doctrines someone chooses to accept especially when they readily admit they shape their decisions is just prudent.

And there in lies the problem with many on the left.  We have a habit of going after policy agreement at the expense of everything else. At the national level its people who think everyone should support Ron Paul or Kucinich because they say all the right things.  As if being president is about picking the right answer on a multiple choice test.  I am coming to support Clinton, not because she is the candidate I agree with most, but becasue she seems to have the right personality for the job.  I'm still at least partly behind Obama, but his recent actions have made me doubt he's up to being president, even though I agree with him more then Clinton. Hopefully the dem nominee will be president for 8 years.  I want someone who doesn't just say the right things now, but has the sort of temperament and worldview to do the right thing on issues I'm not even thinking about yet, or don't even exist. 

I'm not saying everyone who supports Burgess is doing this.  Elections are much more complex then that and Della is a tool.  What I am saying is that to maintain that the only thing we can consider is what a candidate says about particular issues is wrong.  We have to go deeper. A candidates faith doesn't disqualify them, but if we are to accept what they say about its power, then it has to at least matter. 


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