Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Democratic Presidential Candidates Talk Religion

George Wenschhof

Last night it was the democratic candidates for president who spent time discussing their views on many subjects at the Compassion Forum held at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Surprisingly, it was the presumptive republican candidate for president, John McCain who did not show up.

This was a significant event for it signaled a shift in how major democratic figures view religion and politics. Remember, it was just four years ago the media was reporting the influence on the 2004 election by evangelicals. Their support of republican President George W. Bush reportedly helped Bush win crucial mid-western and southern states as he won reelection.

The setting of the forum was very relaxed and Senator Hillary Clinton won a coin toss and chose to go on stage first to answer questions from the moderaters and clergy who were in the audience. Each candidate were asked questions separately for a forty-five minute period with the two candidates greeting each other briefly on stage at the switch from Senator Clinton to Senator Obama.

Newsweek's Jon Meacham asked both candidates if they believed life begins at conception and Campbell Brown asked about the end of life and allowing someone to die by choice. Both are emotionally charged questions and the candidates discussed their positions in a calm manner.

Obama was asked about his recent comments at a San Francisco fundraiser pertaining to small town voters being bitter and clinging to religion and guns. He was also asked about the controversial statements made by his former pastor, Reverend Wright.

On international human rights issues, Clinton made points calling for President Bush to boycott the Olympics due to the harsh treatment of Tibet by China. She also said the U.S. needs to restore it's moral authority and standing in the world. Obama made points by saying as President he would make it plain the U.S. government does not torture, and will not farm-out or sub-contract torture. Obama also did offer praise to Bush for his efforts against AIDS.

In a lighter moment during Senator Clinton's interview, she was asked "why does God allow so much suffering"? She responded with "she can't wait to ask him"! Another question was "Does God want you to be President"? and her short response was "we'll find out".

The questions from the audience came from clergy of many different faiths and both CNN's Campbell Brown and Newsweek's Jon Meacham did a good job of moderating the forum. To read more on some of the questions and answers click here.

The separation of Church and State is a solid principle in the U.S. and should remain so. However, voters also want to know the faith of candidates for office and how this may influence their decisions. More of these type of forums should occur and democrats should make sure they attend. Republican Senator John McCain should make sure he attends as well.

No comments: