Posted: Oct 26, 2011 5:13 pm
by jdp
AlohaChris wrote:
Senator addresses students on issues of faith and politics

PROVO, UT — Sen. Joseph Lieberman, of Connecticut, spoke to college students at both BYU and the University of Utah Tuesday about faith and the public square.

Lieberman, who was the first Jewish-American to run on a U.S. presidential ticket, has just written a book titled "The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath."

In his BYU speech, Lieberman justified why a United States senator would write a book on such a religious subject.

"I think Sabbath observance has greatly diminished in this country over the course of my life," he said, "and the country has lost as a result of that."

Lieberman said there is a place and a need for faith in the public square, and that the Constitution provides freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

That is what makes a candidate's faith a relevant part of political discourse, he said.

"A candidate, it seems to me, doesn't give up their freedom of religion or freedom of expression when they decide to run for office," he said.

"They have the right, if they choose, to talk about the role faith plays in their life," he continued, "understanding that others — voters — have the right to decide, based on those expressions, whether that affects their view of those candidates."

Lieberman also discussed one religious controversy of the 2012 campaign: the Mormon faith of two presidential candidates.

Americans will be challenged again to be true to the founding principles of equality of opportunity and a prohibition of a religious test for public office, he said.


(bold mine) Actually, Joe the free exercise clause has nothing to do with giving religion a place in government.


Lieberman make a curious contidiction here. He starts by saying, "A candidate, it seems to me, doesn't give up their freedom of religion or freedom of expression when they decide to run for office." True, I don't think anyone would suggest otherwise. Although as a practical matter most politicians do in a sense give up some of these freedoms because in a lot of cases if they say what they really believe they may not get re-elected. So you sort of become self censored.

Anyway he goes on to add, "They have the right, if they choose, to talk about the role faith plays in their life," he continued, "understanding that others — voters — have the right to decide, based on those expressions, whether that affects their view of those candidates." Again, both parts true. The canadate may again self censor though.

But he follows it by noting, "Americans will be challenged again to be true to the founding principles of equality of opportunity and a prohibition of a religious test for public office." Which seems to contradict the previous statement and it makes me wonder.

Do you believe that it is right to make a decision on a candidate based soley on their religious views? For example, a devote Catholic is likely to take a stance against abortion; even if they've provided no prior evidence (such as a vote) for that position. For those who say such a position is right, do you think we've seen devote candidates who've been able to temper their personal beliefs when dealing with public matters? For those who say such a position is wrong, is not a religion so central to one's life that it impossible not to bleed into their policy stance?