This is why I tell my friends I don’t vote for political candidates based on their religious beliefs: Politicians are shapeshifters who say what you want to hear. So Sunday’s story in the Chicago Tribune—“Democrats find religion on the campaign trail”—came as no surprise. Three years ago, George Bush got a second term as president by using the Jedi force of evangelical activists. Well, it looks like some Republicans have lost religion—with sins like those of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, it’s difficult to talk pious without being hypocritical—but the Democrats are now talking about their spirituality.
Reversing recent political history, it’s the leading Republican candidates who for various reasons have so far been reluctant to speak too much about matters of faith.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a divorced Catholic, holds liberal views on abortion and gay rights. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a divorced Episcopalian, has a tense relationship with leaders of the Religious Right. And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a devout Mormon whose religion arouses suspicion among many evangelicals.
“Give the advantage to the Democrats at this point,” said Rich Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. “You would have to conclude that the Democrats have a lot more interest in faith than the Republicans based on what they’ve had to say.”
To sort through the campaign noise for those who want to know what the candidates believe, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life created this website.