Friday, April 25, 2008

"Somebody please pinch me....": a response

Disclaimer: In the interest of helping GWblogspot to represent as many student viewpoints as possible I figured I would write a response to Max's blog decrying the appearance of an "influx" of religious activity on campus 2 weeks ago. I am not trying to convince anyone to claim a particular faith through this post. Rather, I wanted to present what I think is a valid perspective on some of the complaints of the post.

I understand that the Pope's visit inconvenienced a lot of students and some could care less about whether he was here or not. That's a fine and valid opinion to hold. If you do not consider the Pope your spiritual leader it is indeed okay to have negative feelings about his visit. While some people from all faiths and walks of life were intrigued and excited about his visit, there is no problem with other people being unhappy with it. That is not an disagreement I had with this post.

I wanted to respond to the disatifaction with the GW Forum on Faith and Politics hosted by the GW College Democrats and College Republicans. I do not think that this event gives anymore credibility to those who consider themselves religious over those who do not. First of all, one of the organizers of the event was touting the appearance of the
"first-ever self-declared atheist Congressmen"
Pete Stark as one of the highlights of the evening. The guest list took into account those who held many different beliefs from both sides of the aisle.

The fact is that many people on either side of the aisle are motivated by their faith politically. I am a Democrat because I am a Christian not in spite of it. Granted being religious does not always lead people to the same political conclusions. However faith and politics need to be discussed together in the manner that the forum allowed for. It is important to understand how faith fits into politics in this country, to help us understand how to separate the positive effects of faith in politics from the negative.

For that matter, I do not think this event, judging from the list of panelists, was necessarily intended to show that faith does have a place in all politics. It was a discussion of the question of whether faith and politics should be connected, and it what manner they should be. If thats not coming from an educational perspective, I don' t know what is.

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