Former press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, occasional Reason contributor, and self-proclaimed "libertarian Democrat" Terry Michael wasn't impressed with CNN's show earlier this week in which Donkey Party presidential candidates yapped about their religious streaks:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) all decided they did, indeed, owe an accounting of their personal religious beliefs—a televised recitation, in fact—to an audience assembled Monday at George Washington University by the left-liberal-worthy Rev. Jim Wallis and channeled through a television anchor aptly (or at least euphoniously) named Soledad O'Brien.
The front-runners' pandering to "people of faith" is the latest expression of Religion Lite advocated by the consultant wing of the Democratic Party.
After several decades of the religious right's attempt to trash the First Amendment and Christianize America via the GOP (God's Own Party?), we are now treated to the religious left and its heavenly claims on behalf of social justice….
Michael excoriates the Holy Trinity of Clinton, Obama, and Edwards (who he thinks was the biggest panderer of the trio) in detail and then relates some pretty interesting experiences of his own:
Having worked as press spokesman for the Democratic National Committee 20 years ago, when the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority was in full flower, I am appalled at how little these possible future leaders of the free world have learned from decades of mixing "faith" and politics.
I came to Washington in 1975 with the late Paul Simon, working for five years as his House press secretary and later traveling with him for seven months as spokesman for his 1988 presidential campaign. Never once in the almost four decades I knew the Illinois Democrat did I ever hear him invoke religion or mention God in a speech, or even in private conversation, though I assumed his religious views were probably those you would expect from the son of Christian missionaries to China (where he was conceived in 1928) and the brother of a Lutheran minister.
A man with the moral rectitude of an Eagle Scout, Simon understood why the Founders included not a single reference to a deity in our Constitution. The best way to protect your right to be guided by faith (and mine to be guided by reason) is to keep our understandings of where we come from and how we come to be moral animals on the other side of a very high wall between the state, with its coercive powers, and the temples created by believers.
The willingness of Democratic candidates to breach that barrier reflects a failure of nerve in a political party that ought to be our best hope for secular governance in a world where so much hate and murder is still being unleashed by "people of faith," whose beliefs were never touched by The Age of Reason and The Enlightenment—the same felicitous era in human history that gave us Jefferson and others averse to the mingling of religion and governance.
To put it in bumper sticker form, Hillary, John and Barack: "I'm a Person of Reason, and I Vote, Too!"
Whole thing, well worth reading, here.