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When Republicans Run Jesus Christ Up The Flag Pole

February 4, 2016

There is no way to miss the use of Jesus in the Republican presidential campaign.  During the campaign in Iowa where a large number of caucus goers on the GOP side are evangelical types it was not hard to understand why  some would resort to making it seem Christ was the very center of a candidate’s life.  But do not look too closely as in the same breath where someone is blessing himself they are also making it clear in harsh language no Syrian refugees are to arrive on our shores.  So much for living the faith.

The struggle to find a way to place religion in a context that allows for civil society to not wish to turn their head or utterly reject the comments seems to be lost on those such as Senator Marco Rubio.

This week he stated, “And I thank my lord and savior Jesus Christ and I thank God for allowing me the opportunity to come this far with each of you”. 
In no way am I denigrating or wish to undermine Rubio’s faith.    But his comments are not in line with a nation which has a wide and rich diversity of faiths.   While Rubio felt a strong political need to connect with evangelical voters it also sent a continuing and false message that somehow Jesus is a Republican and that the GOP runs a religious operation on the side.  This of course runs counter to the high hopes and hard work of the Founding Fathers who sought ways to limit the intrusions of religion into the affairs of state.

Rubio might wish to consider that the Founders could very well have placed Christian words and images into the Declaration of Independence, as an example. But they wisely chose not to do so.   They wanted to create a nation where the exercise of private religion would be without constraints but at the same time the public display of religion would be one where unity could prevail.

We should be mindful there have been attempts to place Jesus’ name into the constitution. That would be an affront to who we are as Americans.   By not making such a change in that document does not in any way mean we, as a people, are not religious.  As an example we all can feel the public tone of religion when we sing “God shed his grace on thee’.

I fully understand that candidates will say and do many a thing to attempt a connection with voters. But I also wish that more of them would add a dose of care to statements about religion which reflect poorly not only on themselves but on the history of our country.

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