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Separating faith and politicsPosted Monday, December 10, 2007, at 9:22 AM
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the Mormon church, of which he is a member, would not influence his decisions as president.
Romney also says he will never abandon his religious beliefs.
Seems like we've already run into a contradiction, and I'm not being critical of Romney.
Religious beliefs make up a large part of a Christian's value system (or those of adherents of any other religion). Can they actually be separated?
It wasn't so many elections ago that conservative Christians were almost to the point of insisting on a Christian candidate and a direct influence in the nation's decisions.
And suppose Baptist minister Mike Huckabee became president. He'd suddenly become secular? I don't think so, and I'm not criticizing him either.
Thrice-married Rudy Guiliani's a little more silent on religious issues, probably because he's more of what some refer to as "moderate" i.e. more open to those things moral conservatives abhor like abortion and gay rights.
We're not hearing so much about religion from the Democratic side. Hillary Rodham Clinton's dealt with the results of her husband's temptations, about which she isn't speaking. The others seem more silent, probably because they're not yet having to go after conservative Christians' votes.
I'd agree that a president should represent all the people, of all faiths or no faith. And "separation of church and state" is one of the United States' founding principles.
But how far should -- and will -- faith influence decisions? That can only be truly answered after the elections.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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