Kevin Winge

Kevin Winge is a native of Minnesota. He lives in San Francisco, California where he is is the executive director of Project Open Hand, a nonprofit organization that provides nutritious meals to people living with disease. Read more about Kevin Winge.

Enough with Religion in Political Campaigns

Posted by: Kevin Winge Updated: January 8, 2012 - 12:03 PM

I don’t care that Mitt Romney is Mormon. Nor do I care that Newt Gingrich was Lutheran, then Southern Baptist and is now Catholic. I don’t care that Al Franken is Jewish and that Keith Ellison is Muslim. I don’t care which church Barack Obama attended and who his pastor might have been at one time. I don’t care what religion a politician or candidate believes in as long as they keep it to themselves, don’t try to use their faith to win election and certainly don’t try to cram their individual beliefs down the throats of Americans.

I do believe in an absolute separation of church and state.
 
Faith, religion, spirituality – call it what you will – plays a vital role in the lives of the majority of Americans. Let’s just keep it out of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
 
The mainstream religion in which I was raised believed that one’s faith was a personal matter. It could be expressed within the congregation where our family worshipped and within our home. Aside from that, it was no one’s business.
 
We were instructed, by our parents and leaders in our church, to be suspect of those who wore their religion on their sleeves. The more pious and devout one claimed to be in public, the more hypocritical they would often turn out to be. Time and time again, in the town where I grew up, those who proudly took their seats in the first pew on days of worship were the ones whose lives would often be racked with scandal. We’ve seen that same scenario played out on the national stage.
 
What I would love to hear in the upcoming campaigns is a candidate who would refuse to answer questions about religion. A candidate who believes faith is a personal matter. A candidate who would remind voters that politicians are elected to lead on civic matters – not matters of faith. A candidate like that would get my vote – even if they had no religion whatsoever.
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