Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I'm struggling with my reaction to last night's 2 hour forum on CNN -- first with the leading Democratic contenders, then with five others -- to discuss faith and politics.

My hats are off to Sojourners and their public relations folks for this media coup to have CNN cover their conference in this way. I'm all for anything that helps the American public see that the Religious Right does not have a monopoly on faith practice. And it was great to see each of the top three contenders have 15 uninterrupted minutes to talk about moral issues.

But, parts of this were troubling. Was it really appropriate for Soledad O'Brien to ask Mr. Edwards what his greatest sin was? Or Mrs. Clinton how her faith helped her deal with her husband's infidelity? And how many times could the CNN pundits and personalities state that abortion and gay issues are not the only moral issues, yet try to focus on them? (And with Mr. Edwards "no" on marriage equality and Ms. Clinton's softball answer on abortion, I'm beginning to feel like the conservative Republicans who don't think they have a candidate who supports their issues.)

But, more troubling to me is that secular CNN gave two hours to covering a program primarily aimed at evangelical Christians and implicitly promoting the idea that personal faith practices are criteria for judging candidates. Does it matter that Joe Biden prays the rosary each day or that Hilary Clinton and John Edwards have turned to faith in their times of great personal trial? Would it matter to our voting if they did not? Surely I trust that George Bush means it when he says he prays to God for advice and that Jesus is his favorite philosopher -- but that doesn't mean that I think his decisions and actions are moral or right for America.

Read the transcript here at www.cnn.com and tell me what YOU think.

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