Religion and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

My favorite topic of discussion is religion, followed closely by politics. Today’s post will be the start of a theme that will be present in many places on this blog. That theme is character; and we will include both a political and a religious perspective in today’s discussion.

Our starting point will be the recent announcement by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, that he will not seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2008 Presidential election. Rather, Kerry wants to focus on bringing American troops home from Iraq as quickly as possible. I applaud that decision and the reason for it!

For those of you who do not know anything about Senator Kerry, he is, among other things, a decorated Navy veteran of the Vietnam War. However, upon his return home after his service in Vietnam, he sought an end to that war. He felt that the Vietnam War was wrong, just as he feels that the Iraq war is wrong. I totally agree with him on both counts.\r\n

\r\nKerry was the Democratic candidate in the 2004 Presidential election. He lost to George H.W. Bush, mainly because of negative attacks on his character, a favorite tactic of Republicans these last twenty years or so. Whether there is any truth to the allegations in these attacks is totally irrelevant to the Republicans. They know that the media is like a school of piranhas on a feeding frenzy. More on that subject soon.

If one compares the resumes and the public records of both Kerry and Bush, it becomes blatantly clear who has good character and who does not. Kerry served in Vietnam because, at that time, he believed in the goals of that war. Bush avoided active military service during Vietnam. Not because he was opposed to the war, but. IMHO, he lacked the courage of his convictions, assuming he had any.\r\n

\r\nKerry, to the best of my knowledge, has never misled the American people to the tune of trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives. We certainly cannot say that of Bush. To this day, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. Yet, it was the claims that these weapons existed that gained the support of the American people for the invasion of Iraq.

The Republicans, and especially the religious conservatives in the party, have supported Bush, both on his foreign policy as well as on domestic issues. They see him as one of their own, and he probably is a fundamentalist, although he has avoided taking that stand publicly. However, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

These religious conservatives have made a big deal of family values and of character. Yet, this group includes Congressmen who have been convicted of sex crimes and ethical misbehavior. Compared to some of these men, Clinton’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky seems like a church picnic. At least his sexual activities were heterosexual. The peccadillos of some of these good, God-fearing Christian Republicans, a notoriously homophobic group, involved homosexual activities. The most despicable activities involved young boys. This is family values? This is honorable character? This is what Jesus would do?\

I challenged the owners in the NFL to clean house of the players that have serious character issues. I now challenge the American people to clean house in our government. We got rid of some of the worst cases in the 2006 election, but not all of them. I urge all Americans to scrutinize their candidates thoroughly. Irregardless of race, religion or any other irrelevant issue. Rather, look at the real character of each candidate and vote for those who have real character.

Finally, I would urge the media to exercise restraint and caution in how they handle allegations of wrongdoing made against anyone. The mediais too quick to act as judge and jury and executioner. American justice is based on the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. But, as the recent news stories about Michale Vick’s water bottle and the claim made by a proven criminal about Reggie Bush and his family accepting money and/or gifts while Reggie was still in college show, the media acts as if the allegations are true. Michael Vick was cleared of any wrongdoing and it appears unlikely that he will be either traded or released by the Atlanta Falcons. Contrary to the stories in the media prior to his exoneration. And it would not surprise me if it turns out that the alleged tape damning Reggie Bush turns out to not exist or to be a fraud, like the man claiming its existence. Besmirching the character of Reggie Bush and the USC football program without hard evidence of wrongdoing is, IMHO, poor journalism and shows a lack of character as well as a lack of responsibility on the part of the media. I heard only one reporter actually urge restraint on this story, given the poor character of the accuser. We need more journalists like him and fewer piranhas.

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