Thursday, January 10, 2008

what do you value?

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee had to explain over and over to the media about why his Christmas “commercial” broadcasted in Iowa had “hidden” Christian symbolism.

I didn’t see anything that asked about the “hidden” Christmas tree plainly visible right by his side. Not the “hidden” Christmas greeting coming straight out of his mouth which explained that “what really matters about Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ.” Nope, it was the bookshelf in the background that looked like a cross to lots of viewers that made media people go nuts about it. Personally, it looks like a window to me!

In the end, I hear these folks were convinced the cross was an attack on former Governor Mitt Romney, who is Mormon. Strangely enough, no one has explained how the cross symbolism hurts Romney, whose church denomination is also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and who has professed in a televised interview that Jesus is his personal savior.

I think the people making those allegations are actually trying to kill two birds with one stone. It is unlikely they are honestly trying to protect Romney from Huckabee, but rather trying to protect the nation from what they perceive to be two religious bible beaters who will use their “moral codes” to govern with principle rather than simply by doing what is convenient or more commonly, the most popular.

It has become something of storyline on the news lately, when listening to political analysts that we should not select our political leaders because of their religious beliefs. Even Romney gave a speech a month or so back in which he said, “A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.”

It is in black and white in the constitution that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” We the people should be able to elect whoever we want, and should not see our desired candidate excluded because of their faith or more often, the lack of it.

But there is a difference between a requirement for office and a requirement for what each individual voter expects of the candidates they will support. It seems totally vital that the electorate should consider the deep moral qualifications of the candidates, and specifically the moral code or world view that each candidate goes along with. After all, it is the beliefs which a candidate has before being elected for which will help him make his choices after taking office. If you want abortion to be legal, for instance, you should not vote for someone who believes abortion is murder. If you want to improve border security, you should not vote for someone who believes that all people have a God-given right to relocate to wherever they choose. This isn’t rocket science.

Some voters will say that a person’s religion is a private matter, and of course it is. But when you run for public office you lose a certain amount of privacy, & just like Britney, they will be under lots of scrutiny. What matters to me is not what a candidate will do in the doors of church, but what they will do in public as a result of their belief system.

Toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus told us to “judge not lest ye be judged,” he also had this to say of false prophets: “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” In my translation, he taught us that in place of quick judgment we could substitute wise discernment, and recognize that not all those who come to lead us are suitable for a job of immense leadership.

It is stupid to think that when voting on our public leaders we should not consider their moral character. Who would want to elect immoral leaders to run the US? In large part, moral character is related greatly to one’s Christianity, or one’s decision not to follow Christ at all. As Jesus implied, it is very often those who pretend to be religious and honest who are the most dangerous among us. But that it doesn’t mean we should select our leaders based on some kind of non religious issue either. I won’t be out looking for the one that claims to be atheist.

Our president and other leaders are moral leaders as well as political leaders. And it is easy to see that moral character does matter to the American people by looking at the presidential reign of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, among others. Nixon and Clinton were some of the most skilled, and cunning politicians of the last several decades. Nixon was one of the most successful presidents in our history when it came to pushing an agenda through to Congress, yet he was ultimately forced to resign in disgrace because of a bad moral failing. President Clinton did not accomplish as much as Nixon, but he had great personal popularity, yet he too was disgraced by a huge moral lapse and was only the second president in our history to undergo the ordeal of impeachment. It’s funny to me that Nickelodeon pulled the plug on Zoey 101’s show, due to Jamie Lynn Spears indescretions, but our president still sat in office after doing the same things….and he was married….. ( I am not a fan of either Clinton, but I won’t go into that, I already have a book here!!)

As we vote on our president this year, it seems we should first think about our own moral values, then ask which candidate will promote those values in his character and also in his decisions and policies. This does not mean voting only for candidates who are of the same denomination as us, or who have the exact same world view, but it does mean realizing that we can’t just pretend our values don’t matter. If we don’t publicly vote for maintaining our values, they are not really valued, are they?


Mommatude January 10, 2008 at 6:28:00 PM CST  

I had heard about this-people making something of nothing I think-A bookshelf is a subliminal message,they have got to be kidding me.

I am normally not a Republican voter-I used to vote Democrat and right now I Independant...but....based on the issues,Mike is the only one I like.Of course you see that throughout the years,various issues have changed me,certain things mean more to me now.

dean January 11, 2008 at 12:41:00 AM CST  

Well, you'd think if they were really trying for some type of subliminal cross imagery, they wouldn't have continued panning the camera until Mike's head had completely obscured the bookcase. If they really were going for the cross, I hope they fired the director and the cameraman!

And of course you should know that isn't a Christmas tree... it's a holiday tree.

When Giuliani was the frontrunner, I got the sense that conservative Republicans were willing to overlook the fact that he is pro-abortion, he turned NYC into a sanctuary city for illegals, and actually seems to have low personal morals (cheating on his wife, and even billing the city of New York for security details while stepping out behind his then-wife's back). The party seemed willing to turn its back on its own values all because Rudy is/was "America's Mayor." All Giuliani has going for him is his 9/11 track record, but he finally seems to be an also-ran now. Romney has flip-flopped on a number of issues since entering the race in order to make himself seem more conservative... same with McCain. They keep going after Mike as a big taxer while governor, but most of that was done under court order in order to address the education crisis that was going on in the state. He's also supposedly weak on foreign policy. Anyone who thinks the president sits around for 4 years and thinks up every single government policy all on his own is delusional. It's why you have a cabinet and other advisers. He'll surround himself with good people.

So, at the end of the day, I'd say moral character is the most important trait I look for in any public servant... and I believe Mike has that in spades.

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