Last week, TIME published the article “How the Democrats Got Religion.” I debated whether or not to blog about it. I had so many issues with the article that I figured it might not be deserving of the time it would take to articulate a nice, long rant. But it touches on something I think is very important. Do I think it is disheartening that certain Democrats “got religion”? Do I know the inner workings of the candidates’ hearts and their personal relationships with God? Nope. Not going there. But what I will comment on is the fact that I find it distressing that religion is becoming nothing more than a buzzword, a trend. Convictions should be, dare I say, convicting – not just fluffy words tossed around to make people feel better. Case in point:
The Democrats are so fired up, you could call them the new Moral Majority. This time, however, the emphasis is as much on the majority as on the morality as they try to frame a message in terms of broadly shared values that don’t alarm members of minority religions or secular voters.
Ahh…so you could call Democrats the new Moral Majority…if your definition of “moral” is not the same as Merriam-Websters (which is “expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior.” Sadly, not as all-encompassing as “broadly shared values.”).
The article continues on to stereotype all Republicans as hating nature, having no candidates to care about (not that it matters, because they’re all terribly underqualified, according to TIME), and being among the rare few with archaic pro-life beliefs. But who hasn’t heard that before?
Religion is “in” and, luckily, the Democratic candidates are “all fluent in the language of faith.” Is that all America needs? Someone who can speak the “language of faith” (whatever that is)? Faith is not something you do to impress. Are we so simple-minded that we will mistake the “language of faith” for the real thing?
What I found most revealing was the following:
[Nancy Pelosi] put South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the son of a fundamentalist minister, in charge, along with help from David Price, a 10-term North Carolina Democrat with a Yale Divinity degree and a desire to remaster the Democratic message with a stronger faith-based bass line. It’s hard to convince voters you care about their values, he argued, if you’re not even comfortable discussing them. (emphasis mine)
How much do you care about said values, I would ask, if you’re not even comfortable discussing them?
Values, morals, faith, religion – they aren’t things to take lightly, to pep up speeches, to pull the wool over voters’ eyes. Inherently they are so much more than that. We’ve said time and time again that we’re not electing a pastor-in-chief, and I still stand by that. If these candidates truly have the desire to share their faith and convictions, good for them. But religion isn’t just a bandwagon to be jumped on. The decisions, actions, and consequences are what make the candidate, and voters will not be fooled.