Monday, March 8, 2010

City Council Candidates Offended by Free Press/Speech of Citizen

From the

Religious Questionnaire To City Candidates Draws Criticism

In Farmington, New Mexico's recent municipal elections, the campaign manager for one of the losing City Council candidates secretly designed a scorecard to rank local candidates on their religious and social values. Yesterday's Farmington Daily Times says that candidate Bob Moon did not know that his campaign manager, Drew Degner, had designed the questionnaire that asked closed-end questions about issues such as church attendance, abortion rights and gay marriage. Some candidates refused to answer the questions and are critical of it. Degner said he designed the survey in order to help fellow Emmanuel Baptist Church members determine candidates' values. He did not distribute the scorecard beyond his church. Moon, a pastor, only posted a copy on the bulletin board at his church, My Father's House.


First of all, it's legal for a church or a private citizen to educate or seek education about candidates, their positions and values. He had every right to ask the candidates anything he wanted to know pertaining to their world-view and values.

It's not OK with the IRS if the church officially says in print or pulpit, "Vote for this guy." Though several churches reportedly challenged this ruling last year. I haven't heard what happened as a result.

I do wish candidates would not be stealth candidates but would tell us of their church affiliations and their views on contentious issues. Some do --all used to --it looked good on their publicity to show their various affiliations --but now it has become contentious and alienating for some to be identified as Catholic or pro-life, pro traditional values, etc. --or the opposite.

We especially can't find out anything about candidates for judge. I want to know their world view --because it does make a world of difference in how people view justice and rights.

The whole idea of freedom of the press is the people's right to know. I think the campaign manager had every right to ask the candidates to disclose such info. I hope they aren't saying it was a secretive maneuver in order to protect the manager's candidate after he lost the election. I find it odd that the candidate wouldn't know what his manager was doing.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible


steve said...

Be careful for what you wish for. The demographics of the US are changing, and the idea of cleaving religion and politics as you seem to want, could be used against you in the future.

Say for example you live in a majority Muslim community like Dearborn. A Christian runs for city council. Would you be comfortable with the majority followers of Islam in that community asking this Christian candidate about her views on the prophet? Does she eat unclean meat? Is she an idolater because she believes in the trinity? Does she think crime should be punished with Sharia?

This is why religion should be completely a-political, even when choosing a candidate.

Jesus said it best: Render unto ceaser that which is ceaser's, render unto God that which is God's.

What's wrong with that wisdom?

Barb said...

In rendering to Caesar, Jesus wasn't saying that a basically Judeo-Christian nation, by tradition, should pay no attention to laws or judges or elections in a democratic society. I the religious are to be a-political, why not the irreligious? Why won't they vote against any pro-lifer? They will. They do. This is a cultural/political "war." And common sense about right and wrong should prevail.

I have often noted the problem with our view of majority rule and the constitution if Sharia law is believed in by the majority.

That's why free speech and freedom of religion and religious expression are SO important to guard. We must protest loudly that a woman photographer was fined 7000 by a court because she refused to participate in a gay wedding on religious grounds. We must protest loudly that GLSEN would give our kids books justifying gay sex between boys and men. (Yes, I'll be posting the facts.)

steve said...

I didn't say that the religious should be a-political. I'm saying that personal religious beliefs should not be a benchmark for public office - which is what you are implying with your blog post.

steve said...

I said it, but what I meant to say was religion shouldn't be used as a political benchmark.

Barb said...

I think we are all entitled to vote for people for any criteria that appeal to us. I like voting for genuine pro-life evangelicals --who are rare in politics. So I settle for people of any religion who share many of my values --like pro-life and traditional marriage definition. I would vote for Romney, e.g. I've vote for pro-life Catholics.

I think I'm entitled to know a candidate's world view and his moral strength. I could never vote for a bill Clinton or a Newt gingerich. Too weak-willed when tempted. I always said Clinton was a national security risk if a foreigner would threaten to expose his scandals, who knows what deals he'd make to protect his career from scandal?

Andrew said...

@ Steve

Interesting that you mentioned render unto Caesars what is Caesars. That was the crux of a recent article I wrote titled, "in the world but not of the world".

@ Barb

I completely agree here. Their worldview is everything. We will find out their belief system eventually, or very close to it. What is wrong with knowing it beforehand?

steve said...

Think about this. If you enter into the debate for choosing a candidate - his or her religious affiliation, beliefs, ect.. and make those issues your major benchmark for choosing this or that candidate, what prevents these candidates from just telling you what you want to hear? This has become a major issue and disapointment in US politics. You have all these "family values" politicians pandering to religious fundementalism, when they actually practice and believe in something quite the opposite. Just about weekly there's some new scandal involving a "family values / anti gay / pro life" politician.. usually a republican. How long are you going to continue to be pandered too? Let's face it.. religion and politics just do not mix. It makes quite a toxic brew. The more religioun you infuse into the mix, the more you open yourself up to manipulation by chalitans.

Fundementalist Citizen: Mr Jones, can you tell me how you feel about gay marriage?

Candidate Jones: Naturally maam, I believe marriage is ONLY between a man and a woman. My voting record clearly shows that.

----Later that evening at the local gay bar----

Candidate Jones: Well Raule, can you whip me up a daquari? I need to chill out from mixing with these silly hartland rubes. Oh that is a lovely outfit you are wearing Raule, are you doing anything tonight? My dealer is in town and I have scored the best weed and meth you've ever had!

Barb said...

Your illustration, Steve, is exactly why we should KNOW our candidates, their families their "context," their HISTORY, their local reputation, their beliefs and worldview--starting at the local levels.

This was one of the good things about GW Bush--that even dems in Texas vouched for his character, post his alcohol years. This is why we should pray for them also--as congressmen in particular are expected to maintain a residence and leave spouses at home --which was no doubt one of the reasons for the C house --or whatever it was called --the Christian place to live--a good idea, but not everyone lived up to the ideals of the place.

Attractive groupies and young interns are trying to attract attention from the influential and good-looking politicians--like the Monica Lewinskis --and so political life has inherent sexual temptation for people who are prone to such weakness--as middle-aged men are often said to be.

And I've always said it could be used as blackmail in policy making or deal-making when a politician falls and has skeletons in his closet. We sold a lot of secret hi-technology to China in the Clinton years --maybe he did something on trip to china that they threatened to expose! VERY possible, given stories out about Clinton. Same way with JFK --at the time of their presidency, both men had damaging secrets and couldn't control their over-active libidos.

The interesting thing is that the Dems aren't excoriated as badly for marital infidelity--or so it has seemed. Had the dems made Clinton step down, Gore would probably have been elected president. Until John Edwards; his wife was too well known to let him come out smelling like a rose. But Barney Franks' boyfriend was running a gay brothel out of their basement floor --he's still in power! And which dem. guy had corrupt bribe money in his freezer? he stayed in office for awhile, didn't he? Democrats don't get accused of being hypocrites and don't make their own egregious sinners resign --don't even vote them out -- because their party doesn't champion any traditional moral virtues. So their people will elect them even if they live like the devil--as long as they are willing to champion the union, abortion, socialistic policies and gay marriage.

My husband has noted how many Catholics he knows will vote their union politics before their church --i.e. their wallets (they think) before life. Sad commentary.