In recent debates between tea party-endorsed Senate candidates and their Democratic opponents, faith has emerged as a campaign issue.
Calling himself “a pro-life Christian” in opening remarks, Kentucky candidate Rand Paul said, “I’m disheartened that my opponent has chosen to attack my religious beliefs,” referring to Jack Conway’s campaign ad that questioned Paul’s beliefs on the bible, faith-based initiatives and ‘Aqua Buddha.’ (For more on ‘Aqua Buddha’ click here.)
In the Delaware debate between Senate candidates, Christine O’Donnell said, “I would argue there are more people who support my Catholic faith than his Marxist beliefs,” alluding to a column written by Chris Coons two decades ago which he characterizes as ‘a joke.’
With polls showing that voters rank the economy as a top issue, why are the faith lives of candidates up for debate?
The reason why right-wing conservative politicians prefer to talk about faith rather than the economy is because they know they cannot do any better than President Obama has done. Clearly, no one has a fool-proof answer to the economic malaise that has affected this country in recent years. I strongly feel that the situation has been exacerbated by big business deliberately going slow with reviving the economy and creating jobs because they are unhappy with their liberties being curtailed. All the previous administrations had given big business a free licence to do as they pleased and we fell in a hole as a nation. I have a feeling the economy will suddenly grow with a spurt if President Obama is defeated in 2012 and a Republican President comes into power. This will not be because the Republicans have an answer to the present problem but because once again they will allow big business the freedom to do as they please without any checks and balances and big business will pay back with investments that create jobs. It seems to me that we, the people of this country, are only interested in economic benefits with no concern for the moral issues involved.
Morality and materialism, Gandhi said almost a century ago, have an inverse relationship. When one increases the other decreases. When morality declines faith suddenly becomes a very important way to camouflage the decaying standards.