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Cary Brunswick

June 21, 2008

In politics, don't put faith in facts

It amazes me that we have heard or seen so much bull about pastors and churches and religion in this year's races for president.

We've had a so-called and self-proclaimed religious man in the White House for eight years and look where that's taken us.

Ideally, candidates' religious beliefs or lack thereof should have little or no bearing on how their credentials as a presidential contender are evaluated. In the real world, however, that's not the case.

And it seems we've sunken to new lows this year, in part because our obsession with information has overtaken our insistence on relevance and factuality.

While the Internet has opened new worlds to millions of people, far too many are not skeptical enough about the validity of the information they encounter there.

Hardly a day passes without e-mails circulating about bloggers or websites that question whether Barack Obama is really a Christian and hint that he was raised as a Muslim. And, naturally, they gleefully warn that his middle name is Hussein.

Controversial statements by Obama's former longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, led Obama to resign his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ. Now a priest guest-speaking at the same church has been relieved of his duties for criticizing Hillary Clinton.

How did people learn of Wright's remarks after 9/11? They saw it on a video-posting website,, and before long knowledge of it was all over the country. Who cares what somebody's pastor said more than six years ago?

Besides, saying that with 9/11 America's chickens had come home to roost is no different than positing that our foreign policy and interventions in the Middle East were factors in the attacks.

John McCain, figuring he needed the fundamentalist backing that carried Bush to victory four years ago, signed on last winter for endorsements from a couple of evangelical pastors. Then, out of nowhere, sermons from years ago surfaced that showed the Rev. John Hagee and the Rev. Rod Parsley to be racist and sicko ministers who disgraced Christianity.

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Cary Brunswick

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