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Robert Jeffress wrote the op-ed Why a candidate’s faith matters published October 18 in the Washington Post. After watching Robert Jeffress on Bill Mahrer, below:

I gave Jeffress enough credibility to read his op-ed.

Prior to reading the op-ed I would have disagreed with the title. After listening to Jeffress and reading him in the Washington Post I have come to agree with him that a candidate's faith is important, but not the way many voters of the radical Christian right seem to vote.

While talking to Bill Mahrer the subject of faith and good works sticks its ugly head up. Jeffress says "Faith is the way we are saved. Good works is the proof we are saved." Careful examination of the statement leads to the conclusion that even, I, an atheist, can prove through my good works that I am saved.

To put this another way, candidates who profess faith in Christianity should be asked what good works do you have to offer as proof you have been saved. The point should be clearly made that more than expressing faith is necessary for these candidates. The must prove their faith through good works. This is where republicans of all stripes tend to fall short. But those who profess Jesus Christ as their savior should be held to this standard of good works. Those who are not Christian or do not proclaim Jesus Christ as their savior should also be asked "what are your good works?" This is a question that President Obama can answer easily.

Now what about policies. Candidates should be asked about are the policies they support "good works?" For example, "is the death penalty a good work?" Or, "Is denying health care a good work?" Another question that should be asked today is "isn't providing retirement benefits a good work?" Once these questions are answered in either affirmative or the negative, then we can have a discussion about how best to accomplish these good works.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A candidate's good works are important n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stwriley, Cedwyn, luckylizard

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 12:44:21 AM PDT

  •  I think that faith matters to many voters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch

    Faith does not matter to me, but it does matter to many voters and they have every right to decide who to vote for based on issues of faith, if they so choose.  I have seen several polls that show that two thirds of US voters would never vote for a candidate that did not believe in God. My guess is that is why candidates make a point of making some reference to their faith.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 01:49:35 AM PDT

  •  No, it doesn't (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch, roseeriter, Sue B

    A 'faith' is what a person says he or she is, what they believe in.

    What they do, how they behave, how they live their lives is often very different.

    I look to deeds, not stated beliefs.

    "Don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine. They fall right out of the sky." -- Kaywinnit Lee Frye

    by Technowitch on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 02:32:00 AM PDT

    •  Actions speak louder than words (0+ / 0-)

      If one says they believe "thou shalt not kill" and then for no reason kills someone, do they really believe? People act based on their beliefs and by their actions we come to know what their beliefs are. Professing is not enough.

      Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

      by LWelsch on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 02:37:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we had stuck to separation of church and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, JTinDC, LWelsch

    state, I wouldn't care, But Since the xtians don't really abide by the constitution, Hell yes it matters!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 03:01:07 AM PDT

  •  in this country it unfortunately does (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch, esquimaux

    in places like Australia and New Zealand, the electorate will laugh at candidates if they spout off about how awesome their god is and how it wants them to run for office. Here, we embrace them.

    If I had the funds, I'd leave.

    "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" -Prof. Farnsworth "I prefer to be a total bitch about my science"--me

    by terrypinder on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:31:40 AM PDT

  •  Anybody who buys all that poppycock (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JTinDC, LWelsch

    is too naive, needy or gullible to be the leader of the free world.  

    Yes we can, but he won't.

    by dkmich on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:33:40 AM PDT

    •  naive, needy, gullible and I'd add DANGEROUS. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LWelsch, dkmich, enemy of the people

      A candidate's faith absolutely DOES matter.

      Elected officials who have certain religious beliefs that dictate public policy could be a force for good, a force for social justice. But those kinds of religious beliefs are deemed illegitimate by the right. They call it forcing people to act charitably.

      Yet when the faith of elected officials denies the rights of women or lgbts or allows the poisoning of the planet cuz Jesus is due any minute now, that is perfectly acceptable. And these guys refuse to see the inconsistancy.

      Liberal theology in politics = bad
      Conservative theology in politics = good

      Policy that is truly good for everyone needs to be justified on secular grounds alone. Otherwise one set of religious beliefs is established as favored by government over another. Liberal theological policy can generally do that. Conservative versions not so much.

      Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

      by JTinDC on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 05:23:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good Works = Recruiting New Members (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch, terrypinder

    Good Works is code for saving the unsaved.  The admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless is ancillary to bringing more contributors into the fold.

    After the rampamt anti-Semitism of the 30's and 40's, a politician's faith was mentioned but not given much  importance until the candidacy of Catholic John Kennedy for President.  That doesn't mean that it went away.  The words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.

    The corruption exposed by Watergate gave rise to an openly religious candidate like Jimmy Carter.  Ronald Reagan, professional Hollywood actor, was good at pretending piety and managed to turn the definition of religious piety upside down.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 04:41:19 AM PDT

    •  Careful with that broad brush. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LWelsch
      Good Works is code for saving the unsaved.  The admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless is ancillary to bringing more contributors into the fold.

      Certainly some flavors of Christianity believe that, but that's hardly a universal notion. Many of us Christians believe that feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and sheltering the homeless are good things in their own right, and that working toward a society that leaves fewer hungry, naked, or homeless is even better.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 10:03:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The more extreme a candidate's religious faith... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch

    ...the less reality-based their solutions.

    Got drought? Got unemployment?
    Pray in one hand and shit in the other. See which one fills up first.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 05:12:02 AM PDT

  •  Obviously, "faith" is a primary concern (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch, esquimaux

    for many. "Does he believe?" is secondary to "does he accept Jesus as his personal savior in his heart?" in their minds.

    Needless to say, neither accepting Jesus as your personal savior nor good works as evidence of faith are universal requirements of all sects of Christianity. And indeed, they change as a matter of convenience when someone inconveniently hasn't seemed to have done many "good works", like Perry.

    What I propose is, if a candidate declares that his religion and beliefs will influence how he does the job of President, then we have the right to ask what that religion teaches and what those beliefs are. If one of them is "theocracy", we have the right to know that.

  •  I like this argument. Very Catholic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LWelsch

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 05:22:02 AM PDT

  •  US Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3 (0+ / 0-)

    "The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

    It really is that simple.

    Believe in your cause without hatred; Fight for your cause without violence.

    by CJB on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 07:13:20 AM PDT

    •  Except it isn't that simple... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LWelsch

      ...because the people vote for many who hold office under the United States.

      And they can vote for (or decline to vote for) whomever they wish, based on whatever criteria they want to base their decision on.

      The Constitution prohibits laws dictating officeholders' or candidates' religion, but doesn't invalidate the votes of those who decide on the basis of religious beliefs.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 10:14:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're exactly right. The Constitution gives (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LWelsch

        instructions to the state, i.e. government, not the voters.  Of course, it's fashionable in 2011 to regard any instance of religion in public as a violation of the Constitution....

        "Try our product for 30 days, and, before you know it, a month will have passed."--Unknown

        by savio on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 11:33:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Romney's position in LDS or 'Rev' Huckabee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama

    are BIG concerns to me. Clergy have a right to run and I have a right to make it a political issue---we NEED a wall of  separation between church and state. Rethug churchies will destroy that wall.

  •  The logic which informs these bash-athons: (0+ / 0-)

    The far-right fascists in question are Christians.

    Therefore, Christians are far-right fascists.

    "Try our product for 30 days, and, before you know it, a month will have passed."--Unknown

    by savio on Thu Oct 20, 2011 at 11:36:56 AM PDT

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