Sunday, September 4, 2011

Questioning Faith

It is election season again (and yes, I plan to break down the Republican candidates again soon like I did last time, so look forward to that).

But right now, I want to bring a TIME magazine article to your attention.

It is called Articles of Faith: What Journalists Should Be Asking Politicians About Religion. In the article Amy Sullivan lists her Ten Commandments for what kind of questions journalists should ask people running for office.

Here is a quick glimpse:

  1. Be relevant. You can ask: "1) Would your religious beliefs have any bearing on the actions you would take in office? and 2) if so, how?
  2. Focus on policy questions. That's what matters.
  3. Personal belief questions don't matter unless it will impact their policies.
  4. Don't try to make them accountable to everything that anyone around them (or who supports them) says. Allow for degrees of separation.
  5. But, ask about the Jeremiah Wrights. Those who have clearly impacted the candidate are fair for questioning.
  6. But, even though it is fair game, make sure you understand the context. i.e. is it normal in the context of church or theological community.
  7. Know what the language means. i.e. If they feel called to do something that doesn't mean that they have had a direct message from God to take over America.
  8. Know the difference between their cultural language and code words that they may use to win supporters.
  9. Stop using the word "devout" it doesn't mean anything. Be more specific.
  10. Be consistent and don't discriminate.*
*Note: all of this is my trying to distill it down, if you want more clarification, read what she wrote.

So, what do you think of these rules? Do you agree? What would you add?
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