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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Answering the NYT questions

I'm not a candidate, but Bill Keller's questions are interesting and it would be informative if the candidates would actually answer them:

1. Is it fair to question presidential candidates about details of their faith?

Absolutely.

2. Is it fair to question candidates about controversial remarks made by their pastors, mentors, close associates or thinkers whose books they recommend?

It's fair, but don't be surprised when the candidates don't agree. I respected my pastors, but I never completely agreed with any of them. No one who has ever been to a Bible Study believes that Christians don't think for themselves.

3. (a) Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a “Christian nation” or “Judeo-Christian nation?” (b) What does that mean in practice?

Of course America is a Christian nation. It was founded by Christians on predominantly Christian concepts and most of its citizens are Christians. No other nation is described by virtue of what its constitution says about religion or anything else, so why would we describe America that way?

4. If you encounter a conflict between your faith and the Constitution and laws of the United States, how would you resolve it? Has that happened, in your experience?

Work towards changing the Constitution and the laws. Isn't that what elected leaders do? Isn't passing new laws pretty much all that Congress does?

5. (a) Would you have any hesitation about appointing a Muslim to the federal bench? (b) What about an atheist?

Yes. Sharia is intrinsically incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. Depends on the atheist.

6. Are Mormons Christians, in your view? Should the fact that Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons influence how we think of them as candidates?

They can be, but being a Mormon doesn't make one a Christian any more than being a Catholic does. Group identity is not a perfectly reliable guide to religious faith. That being said, I do think their Mormonism should influence how we think of Captain and Lieutenant Underoos.

7. What do you think of the evangelical Christian movement known as Dominionism and the idea that Christians, and only Christians, should hold dominion over the secular institutions of the earth?

Nothing. It's more fringe than the Mormons or the atheists and it's inept theology. Satan holds dominion over the Earth until Jesus comes back. And nobody gets a vote on that.

8. (a) What is your attitude toward the theory of evolution? (b) Do you believe it should be taught in public schools?

Skeptical. Of course it shouldn't be taught in public schools. Worry about teaching an minor aspect of biological science AFTER you are able to successfully teach reading, personal economics, and math, which is not presently the case.

9. Do you believe it is proper for teachers to lead students in prayer in public schools?

Of course. A public school isn't Congress and a prayer isn't a law. Even under the mostly fictional "separation of church and state" doctrine, this is perfectly permissible. If either the kids or the parents don't like it, let them pull their kids out and homeschool them.

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