Nowadays, more so than ever before, religion plays a significant role in American presidential elections. As citizens, our job is to examine that role and decide how it will affect our vote. The Bush/Gore campaign has been very much influenced by religion. Joseph Lieberman, Gore’s running mate and the first Orthodox Jew to run for vice president on a major party ticket, has been extremely vocal about his faith. Both George W. Bush and Al Gore, a Methodist and Baptist, respectively, have also referred to their religious beliefs during this presidential campaign ("Anti-Defamation League Criticizes"), raising several questions about the part religious faith plays in presidential elections.
First, what role does religion play in the campaigning process? A new poll reveals that while seven in 10 Americans prefer a president with a sound religious beliefs, they say they don’t want to hear candidates vocalize their faith (Lester). This majority belief doesn’t seem to effect the opinions expressed by the current presidential and vice-presidential hopefuls, especially by Lieberman. At a speech at the Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, Lieberman expressed his desire to find "a place for faith in America’s public life.
The current Connecticut senator went on to say "As a people, we need to reaffirm our faith and renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to God and God’s purposes" ("Anti-Defamation League Criticizes").
The Anti-Defamation League, who already criticized both Gore and Bush in the
spring, issued a warning to Lieberman after his comments in the Detroit church. Gore, who called himself a born-again Christian; and Bush, who referred to Jesus as his favorite philosopher, have both shi...
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...ress. 20 September 2000. 5 October 2000. . Offers findings from a poll that show Americans don’t want politicians to talk about their faith.
Lopatto, Paul. Religion and the Presidential Election: American Political Parties and
Elections. New York: Praeger, 1985. Offers extensive statistics about religion and political choices, focusing on who people of different religions specifically voted for.
Pellegrini, Frank. "Politics and Religion still and Uneasy Mix. Time. 29 August 2000.
Explains how politics and religion don’t mix well in the 2000 election, and expands on Lieberman’s warning from the Anti-Defamation League.
Simon, Paul. "Vote Not for the Best Faith, but Faith in the Best." Chicago Sun-Times
15 August 2000. 12 September 2000. A brief persuasive essay encouraging people to vote for the best man for the job, regardless of his faith.
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