ThinkingBaptist 15: The Cross and The Hill

Intersection of religion and politics – should the religion of a politician matter? why does it to so many people? Even if religion doesn’t matter to how I vote does it influence how someone does/will govern? Should it?

The Republican party is trying to win the hearts of Christians around the country. Last night during the GOP Debate in Iowa the candidates all worked to see who could out anti-gay everyone else. As far as I know, every GOP candidate has based his or her anti-gay policy and statements on their religiously-based beliefs that marriage should be between one man and one woman. What does this say about their broader understanding of equality and it’s importance to their religion?

A Submissive Michele Bachmann

At last night’s GOP presidential debate was asked

“In 2006 when you were running for Congress you described a moment in your life when your husband said you should study for a degree in tax law. You said you hated the idea. Then you explained “The Lord said ‘be submissive. Wives you are to be submissive to your husbands.'” As President, would you be submissive to your husband?”

The crowd seemed particularly put-off by the question, though I don’t think it was out of line, given the fervor with which she promotes her religious conservatism and the fact that she is the one running for President, not her husband.

She answered this way: “What submission means to us … it means “respect.” I respect my husband. He’s a wonderful godly man and a great father and he respects me as his wife. That’s how we operate our marriage.”

So, what does it mean to “submit”? Does it really mean “respect” as Bachmann said?

Her answered sounded a lot more like egalitarianism than traditional conservative evangelical usually preaches.

Rick Perry’s Response

Last Saturday Rick Perry, the governor of Texas and an imminent candidate for President (he is said to be announcing his bid in SC tomorrow), led a day of prayer and fasting at a large even called “The Response.” It’s purpose was to “pray for a historic breakthrough for our country and a renewed sense of moral purpose. We want the presence, power and person of Christ to fill our nation and turn the hearts of millions to righteousness, peace and joy in Him.”

That’s not necessarily a bad purpose behind an event but many are questioning Rick Perry’s involvement. He was listed as “Initiator of The Response” and is no stranger to blurring the lines between church and state, or out right ignoring them.
– In his invitation to people to join him at the response he said, “This is Governor Rick Perry” making it clear that he is speaking from a political position and not a personal one.

Bill Leonard, a baptist church historian, wrote this in an opinion piece for the Associated Baptist Press two days before the event:

“Exercising my First Amendment rights and old-timey Baptist conscience I must dissent against a sitting governor’s endorsement of an explicitly Christian endeavor. It is an action that reflects implicit religious establishmentarianism, politicization of prayer and a state-based hindrance to the real power of faith.”

Do you think Leonard is right in his analysis?

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