Tag Archives: religious faith

A man of deep faith is ‘at peace’ with death

Jimmy Carter’s abiding faith in God is well-known and has been chronicled extensively since the moment he burst onto the national political scene more than four decades ago.

So, when he tells a Sunday school audience that he is “at peace” with the prospect of death, should the rest of us be surprised? Of course not! Those are the words of a man committed to his deep Christian faith.

Christianity tells us that faith and belief in Jesus’s teaching and his existence as the son of God means we pass from worldly life to eternal life. That has been President Carter’s credo. It has sustained him through an amazing life of service to his country and then, through his faith, to his fellow humans.

This former president has set at least three remarkable records.

  • President Carter is the oldest living man who has held the nation’s highest office.
  • He has lived longer in his post-presidency than any other former president.
  • Oh, and his marriage of 73 years to his beloved Rosalynn is the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history.

Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, has lived an exemplary life. He has committed himself to others, choosing to forgo a life of personal enrichment.

It is totally in keeping with this man’s good life that he would be “at peace” with knowing that his time on Earth will end.

You may count me as one American who wants him to remain among us for as long as is humanly possible.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your glorious service to the nation — and to the world.

Hillary: Proud of her Christian heritage

clinton trump

Donald J. Trump said the following today to a group of evangelical Christian leaders. Pay attention. It’s a doozy.

“She’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no, nothing out there. There’s like nothing out there. It’s going to be an extension of Obama, but it’s going to be worse, because with Obama you had to have your guard up. With Hillary you don’t and it’s going to be worse.”

“Hillary” is Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s foe in this year’s presidential campaign.


I want to focus briefly on two critical points here.

One is that Hillary Clinton’s political history is well-known. Her entire life has been exposed to the public. It’s an open book. She has spoken repeatedly about her Methodist upbringing. Her husband, the 42nd president, Bill Clinton, has told us about his Baptist background.

“Nothing out there”? There most certainly is.

The second point is a constitutional one.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution spells it out: “… but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office o public Trust under the United States.”

That tells me that a candidate’s religious faith is irrelevant; it has no bearing on the candidate’s qualifications to serve in a public office.

That’s not the reality, quite clearly. Voters care about these things.

Trump, though, has become the latest incarnation of how the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas once described Bill Clinton as they fought for the 1992 Democratic Party presidential nomination.

He’s become a “pander bear.”

Why the attention to Tim Tebow?

Tim Tebow seems like a fine young man.

He put together a stellar career as a quarterback at the University of Florida. He won the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate player. Then he became a pro and has, well, had a not-so-stellar career playing football for a living.

He’s tried out for various teams, been cut, come back for more, been cut some more.

He’s been hired by TV networks to provide soft features and so forth.


And oh yes, he’s also demonstrated his religious faith, which many Americans — me included — find appealing.

Therein might be the reason — his devout faith — for the continuing interest in a young man who probably never will become a full-time starting quarterback in the NFL.

The Philadelphia Eagles have signed him to a one-year contract. He’s the No. 4 QB in the Eagles’ depth chart.

Will he succeed, ever? Likely not, according to USA Today: “The sad truth is that success in college is rarely a guarantee of success in the pros — quite the opposite in many cases. With the exception of Cam Newton, quarterbacks who won the Heisman have generally been a bust in the NFL.”

Tebow’s vocal fan base will keep the interest high as this young man keeps trying to find a place on some team’s roster. But as the essay attached to this post notes, the interest in Tebow has more to do with his faith than it does in football.

Thus, as today’s media culture will allow it, the drama will continue to play out.


Let's abstain from this sex education idea

We all were teenagers once. Those who aren’t yet teenagers will get there in due course.

Those of you who are teenagers right now, well, you know everything there is to know, correct?

You know, for example, that abstaining from sex is the most fool-proof way to avoid (a) pregnancy or (b) sexually transmitted diseases.

Do you always follow the advice of your elders and abstain from sexual activity?

You can stop laughing now, and pay attention.


Texas state Rep. Stuart Spitzer, R-Kaufman, is arguing that you should abstain from sex. He wants Texas public schools to teach abstinence-only sex education. “My goal is for everyone to be abstinent until they are married,” Spitzer said during a Texas House committee hearing.

Well, Rep. Spitzer, good with that.

Here is where I should add that Rep. Spitzer also is a medical doctor. Also, as R.G. Ratliffe of Texas Monthly writes, he’s a deacon at a Baptist church in his hometown. He’s a man of deep religious faith — and I most certainly honor that commitment.

However …

Reality needs to take hold here as the state continues this debate over the best way to teach sex education in its public schools.

And the reality is that teenagers will have sex. No matter how many times you tell them not to engage in sex before they get married, they’re going to defy you. That’s what teenagers do. It’s in their DNA.

Believe it or not, teen rebellion against parental/school/legislative authority is all part of God’s plan. Honest. It is.

Dr. Spitzer persuaded his House colleagues to move $3 billion in AIDS prevention toward abstinence education in public schools.

I happen to agree with Ratliffe on a key point: Using religious faith to shape public policy constitutes a significant gamble. And when it involves the behavior of teenagers — those individuals who take pleasure in defying authority — then you’re asking for trouble.

Abstinence is one of those issues that needs to be taught at home and church. Parents shape their own children into who they hope they will become. I know from experience — both as a parent and as a former teenager — that as often as not you get mixed results.

It’s best to understand the inevitable. Teenagers are going to rebel and, by golly, they’re going to do things they shouldn’t do.

Having sex is one of them. How about teaching them about the risk of premarital sex — and then let them know how to avoid pregnancy and disease if they choose to ignore what they’re being taught?


'No religious test' ends this discussion

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

— Article VI, Paragraph 3, U.S. Constitution

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has had a tough time of it in recent days.

He sat in the room when former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani questioned whether President Obama loved America. Walker didn’t refute the ex-mayor’s nonsense.

Then came a question about whether President Obama is a Christian — as if that even is relevant to any discussion about anyone on Earth, let alone the president of the United States. Walker said he didn’t know, offering some lame notion that he’s never discussed Obama’s faith with him.

I hereby refer to the U.S. Constitution’s Article VI. See the above text.

Right there is all the evidence I need that this discussion has no place in today’s political discourse.


But yet it keeps coming back, particularly as we reference the current president. Why is that?

Has anyone ever wondered aloud whether any of the men who preceded Obama were Christian? Why didn’t Walker swat that idiotic question aside by saying something like:

“That question is irrelevant. You’ve never asked such a thing of George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy … none of them. Barack Obama’s faith is his personal business and the fact that he’s had to speak about it all — and he’s declared his belief in Jesus Christ as his Savior — is because the media and the president’s foes keep bringing it up.

“Next question.”

A president’s faith — or the faith of anyone seeking public office — according to the nation’s founders, is of zero consequence. Does that mean a candidate should necessarily hide his faith from public view? Of course not. Candidates are free to proclaim whatever they wish to proclaim and if their religious faith informs how they set public policy, that should be a factor that voters should consider.

However, the Constitution expressly declares that there should be “no religious test” that candidates for public office must pass.

Let’s focus fully instead on policies that affect people’s lives.