On Monday, the Democratic Presidential hopefuls reached out to the “Religious Right” by holding a forum with the head of the Sojourners Social Justice Ministry. Some of the attempts to connect with the faithful through biblical references were fairly amusing like Sen. Obama’s statement that “I am my brother’s keeper”.
Now while I’m sure Obama was proud that he remembered something from those Sunday school lessons long ago, he probably should have checked his reference. The only time the phrase “my brother’s keeper” is used in the bible is in Genesis 4:8-9. And its use is Cain attempting to change the subject when God asks about his brother Abel (recently killed by Cain). Probably not the imagery the Senator was hoping to conjure up.
Aside from the amusing allusions, there was on statement that I found to be quite shocking. Though no one else seemed to pick up on it. When John Edwards was asked “If you think something is morally wrong, though, you morally disagree with it, as president of the United States, don’t you have a duty to go with your moral belief?”
His response? “No.” No? NO! John Edwards -at a forum that was supposedly faith based- wanted to make it clear that any morals that were held by him would not effect how he ran his Presidency. Now his response was actually quite longer than just no, here is the transcript for his full response:
O’BRIEN: If you think something is morally wrong, though, you morally disagree with it, as president of the United States, don’t you have a duty to go with your moral belief?
EDWARDS: No, I think that, first of all, my faith, my belief in Christ plays an enormous role in the way I view the world. But I think I also understand the distinction between my job as president of the United States, my responsibility to be respectful of and to embrace all faith beliefs in this country because we have many faith beliefs in America. And for that matter we have many faith beliefs in the world. And I think one of the problems that we’ve gotten into is some identification of the president of the United States with a particular faith belief as opposed to showing great respect for all faith beliefs.
John Edwards beyond the normal political rhetoric points to the fact that there a many moral structures out there, and who would he be -as President of the United States- to think that his was any better than anyone else’s. The KEY point to take away from this exchange is this:
If you think something is wrong – you should act on that belief. Now we could argue all day over right and wrong but that is not the point here. He was asked if you think something is morally wrong (whatever John defines as wrong) don’t you have a duty to [act]? “NO” was John’s response. Scary.
Now this won’t be noticed by many because there is a ridiculous belief on the Left and in the Media that it is perfectly fine to have morals, just as long as they DON’T EFFECT YOUR DECISIONS. Look again at Edwards’ statement. That’s exactly what he is saying here.