Faith in the Campaign

February 3, 2000

One of the surprises for me in this year's presidential campaign has been the prominent place of Christian faith. Many of the candidates have made a big issue of their faith and linked many of their policies to those religious commitments.

Wesley Pruden, writing in the Washington Times, says that religious faith may be frightening in the nation's newsrooms and faculty lounges, but it doesn't scare most Americans at all. And that may explain why there hasn't been any backlash from the electorate about some fairly blunt comments about religion.

Of course there is the celebrated statement by George W. Bush when asked about a political philosopher. He replied Jesus Christ was the author of his guiding philosophy. The answer baffled most political minds and media pundits, but it appears to have played well in America.

Al Gore has also linked his faith to politics. In a speech he gave to officers of the Salvation Army he said, "If you elect me president, the voices of faith-based organizations will be integral to the policies set forth in my administration. Faith is the center of my life. I don't wear it on my sleeve." And when talking about how he puts his faith in action he said: "WWJD." This is Sunday-school shorthand for trying to figure out "what would Jesus do."

Wesley Pruden concludes his comments by telling a story about interviewing Martin Luther King about civil rights. As the interview was drawing to a close, Pruden asked, "Can we talk about Jesus Christ, and your theology?" A smile creased his somber face. "I thought nobody would ever ask," King said.

And so it is today. When it comes to religion, the media will never ask. Fortunately, many of the candidates are talking about their faith anyway.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.