There’s a long-simmering debate going on in progressive political circles about the legitimacy of faith-based political appeals, as reflected in a recent TRB column by Jonathan Chait in The New Republic.
But concerns about the religious motivations of politicians aren’t limited to the Left. For one thing, there’s the drumbeat of conservative criticism of Mike Huckabee for espousing views on domestic issues characteristic of the Christian Left (sic!).
Huckabee’s not, it seems, the only major GOP figure that has been led astray into socialism and do-gooderism by Christianity. Check out this uintentionally hilarious post from Andy McCarthy at National Review‘s The Corner blog
When a politician who wants to be president of the United States adheres to them, I don’t see why we should hesitate to ask about what those beliefs are and why he thinks they are sensible. And when a politician holds himself out to be a person of deep religious belief, again I don’t see why we should not probe. I don’t think that’s hostility to religion; I think it’s common sense.
President Bush, for example, is a man of deep religious faith. Faith may be able to move mountains; but it can also substitute hope and blind conviction for experience and hard inquiry. In my observation, the president believes in democracy with a religious zeal that ignores the real limitations of democracy; he sincerely believes in the oneness and dignity of all human beings to a degree that makes him insensitive to the downsides of his proposed comprehensive immigration reform; he sincerely believes in our duty to help our fellow human beings in need with an ardor that makes him insensitive to the limitations of government (and, indeed, to the negative effects of public welfare on the individual). I could be wrong about this, but I perceive a connection between his religious convictions and the things I don’t like about his policies.