When the Interfaith Alliance sent these five questions, to submit to the candidates, I was suddenly aware of our political climate of today. We are not talking about the Iraq War or the Economy, we are talking about our Constitution; one of the most fundamental amendments is the separation of church and state. When the pilgrims came to this country, it was not for exploration or riches, but for the freedom of religion. Our founding fathers believed it was so important that it became part of our Constitution. Maybe you do not consider important some of the small changes and attitudes by our legislators, but remember one small pebble thrown into the water may make a small splash, but the ripples reach out farther and farther. All of us need the assurance, no matter what our faith, the Constitution is being upheld, or someday we may be looking for our own freedom.
It is very important, no matter your belief, to ask your legislators these five questions.
1. What role should, and does, your faith and values play in creating public policy?
2. What are your views on the Constitutional guarantee of the separation of church and state?
3. What active steps have you taken, and will continue to take, to show respect for the variety of religious beliefs among your constituents?
4. Should political leader's use of religious language reflect the language of his/her religious tradition, or be broadly inclusive?
5. How do you balance the principles of your faith and your pledge to defend the Constitution, particularly when the two come in conflict?
I hope you find this useful. Together we will continue to promote the healing role of religion in public life, ensuring that our elected leaders respect the integrity of religious institutions of all people of faith and good will.