Sunday, August 05, 2007
John Edwards on the proper relationship between religion and government
This Q&A took place in the YouTube debate among Democratic Presidential candidates on July 23, 2007—
QUESTION: I'm Reverend Reggie Longcrier. I'm the pastor of Exodus Mission and Outreach Church in Hickory, North Carolina.
Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation, and denying women the right to vote.
So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?
EDWARDS: I think Reverend Longcrier asks a very important question ... whether it's right for any of our faith beliefs to be imposed on the American people when we're president of the United States. I do not believe that's right.
COOPER: I should also point out that the reverend is actually in the audience tonight....
Reverend, do you feel he answered your question?
QUESTION: Not like I would like to have heard it...
COOPER: All right, there's 30 seconds more. Why is it OK to quote religious beliefs when talking about why you don't support something? That's essentially what's his question.
EDWARDS: It's not. I mean, I've been asked a personal question which is, I think, what Reverend Longcrier is raising, and that personal question is, do I believe and do I personally support gay marriage?
The honest answer to that is I don't. But I think it is absolutely wrong, as president of the United States, for me to have used that faith basis as a basis for denying anybody their rights, and I will not do that when I'm president of the United States.
Edwards is a "mainstream" Methodist and, unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office, seems to be a believer somewhat in the mold of Jimmy Carter. I was pleased to read—
Nor has Edwards won over conservative Christian evangelicals. His record in support of abortion rights and gay rights -- he supports civil unions but opposes same-sex marriages -- makes him unacceptable to some on the religious right. After analyzing Edwards' record and statements, Faith and Action, a conservative Washington-based Christian group, concluded on its Web site that Edwards might have been sustained by his faith but he was not "an Evangelical nor any kind of traditionalist."
If the Religious Right won't count him among the flock, that's good enough for me. Praise Jesus!