*Each autumn brings another election which means campaign season which means candidates putting on the best religious façade they can muster.
But the curious thing is that politicians still feel the need to officially announce their religious affiliation.
This country would be a better place if we could all agree to live by Christian ethics but the country was founded on the principle of religious freedom. And the bottom line is that we all need to live by an ethical code more than we need to agree that the code be based in Christianity.
Nevertheless each year every new candidate, as well as many incumbents, schedule photo opportunities at churches and reference their belief in God – predominantly the Christian God. Unfortunately these affirmations, like many of their other campaign season statements, are all false.
Firstly all of these politicians are trying to secure resources for their district, city, state, or country to the exclusion of all others. And we the voters are seeking people for elective office that will hoard resources on our behalf. Most ethical codes frown on hoarding resources. Christianity specifically states that being rich is not a methodology for gaining eternal life.
Secondly to secure these resources requires duplicitousness. And we the voters are seeking people for elective office that can convince others to do things on our behalf even if those things only serve our interests. Most ethical codes forbid lying. In the Christian tradition, the admonishment to forgo lying is one of the Ten Commandments.
In summary, politicians are nominally identifying themselves as part of a religious community because we as voters pretend that the ethical ideologies of religion are important. It is an annual song and dance that is unnecessary.
Would society really crumble if we were honest with ourselves about our greed? About our desire to have people representing us pledging to feed that greed? No it would not be very Christian. But such a self reflection as a country would be a start toward understanding that change is needed.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War and he maintains a blog called This Seems Familiar. You can reach him at [email protected].