The 2016 election season began in March when Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced his candidacy for president of the United States at Liberty University’s convocation in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The rollout was carefully orchestrated to appeal to conservative Christians: Liberty is the largest Christian university in the world, it’s in a critical purple state —Virginia, and it guaranteed a large audience — convocations are mandatory at Liberty.
Much of the relatively short speech was biographical and testimonial. Religious themes were pervasive. Sen. Cruz mentioned God five times and Jesus Christ twice. This was not improper; candidates for office do not check their faith at the door when they run for or serve in public office. When properly done, candidates’ talk about their faith can help us know who they are, learn what makes them tick and examine their moral core…
Although religion is at home in the American public square and is certainly relevant to the political conversation, it’s wrong to impose a rigorous religious litmus test in how we conduct our politics and the way we decide whom to trust to lead our nation.
Several years ago my friend — and now Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom —Rabbi David Saperstein put forth “Ten Commandments for a Proper Relationship between Religion & Politics.” We would do well to heed this decalogue (slightly modified by me) over the upcoming 18 months:
Read more at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.