Politics, policy, and the role of faith

In the wake of the latest tsunamis about abortion and contraception, on which I’ve commented briefly earlier, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how faith should fit into how we set the rules for society through our government.

First, it’s more than a little ironic that we’re here 50 years after candidate John Kennedy felt compelled to give a speech reassuring America he would not be under orders from the Vatican.

Religious doctrine is often complex, and it’s pretty easy for zealots of any stripe, from the jihadists to Rick Santorum, to cherry-pick holy writ and use it to justify exercising power – even committing violence – in the name of one’s chosen faith, or, perhaps more accurately, one’s chosen interpretation of faith. (Perhaps even more accurately, in the name of powerful interests who are bankrolling them, using religion as a smokescreen.)

In this country, the Right loves to pull stuff from the Old Testament; they like all the fire and brimstone and punishing sinners. But they tend to ignore the New Testament, including, for example, the Sermon on the Mount, which I consider to be Christianity’s mission statement. Of course, even that is open to interpretation. It’s worth it, if you have the time, to dig into the scholarship, but bloggers like me have to skate the surface.

I’ll have something original to say later, but in the meantime, blogger Armando, writing at Daily Kos, has what I think is a good, thoughtful piece.



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