Obama, McCain, Palin and Religious (In)Tolerance

By Sally Quinn

Ignorance and intolerance of the faiths or lack of faith of others is a huge problem in a world where religion is the main motivating force for most people. As Americans we must try to understand and respect beliefs we do not share as long as they are not imposed on us and do not infringe on our own lives in any way.

How do the candidates, all Christians, feel about religious tolerance? Do they honor and respect non-believers, atheists, agnostics and humanists as Americans of decency and morals and values? Do they consider them good Americans, too?

Let’s look at the evidence, at what they have said and done. Barack Obama and Joe Biden seem to understand and appreciate and celebrate religious diversity and tolerance. John McCain and Sarah Palin seem to embrace intolerance.

Read Obama’s 2006 “Call to Renewal” address. While affirming his own Christianity as well as his belief in separation of church and state, he called on secularists to respect religion. He also said this: “In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality , I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they’re some one they’re not . . . Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism. Have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

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