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Buddy Roemer And The Church Secrets Of The Republican Party

When former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer declared his intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, he told his audience, “I’ve always been a churchgoing Methodist boy from a cotton field in north Louisiana.”

against roemer for president 2012What was Roemer trying to prove with that statement? Surely, no one thinks that Roemer has switched from being a boy from a cotton field in north Louisiana to being a boy from a corn field in southwestern Iowa.

Geography and crop locality aren’t the important parts of the statement. Roemer’s religious identity is the information he wants to convey. He describes himself as a consistently churchgoing Christian as if it’s a qualification for the presidency. The Constitution gives a different perspective. The Constitution declares that no religious tests for political office will be allowed.

But, perhaps Buddy Roemer thinks that active church membership should be a requirement for the Republican presidential nomination. If that’s the case, he ought to look at the attitudes expressed by the key founding member of the Republican Party: Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln often avoided going to church for long periods of time because he felt uncomfortable in the religious services. In 1837, writing from Springfield to a love interest back in his home district, Lincoln explained, “I’ve never been to church yet, and probably shall not soon. I stay away because i am conscious I should not know how to behave myself.”

Church attendance wasn’t a requirement for the Republican presidential nomination 150 years ago. It ought not to be a requirement now.

6 comments to Buddy Roemer And The Church Secrets Of The Republican Party

  • Tom

    Way back, when i was a college kid, i got into an argument with my family about going to church (i didn’t like it either when people acted one way in some building but then reverted to form when everywhere else). i declared that church is either the whole planet (if not the entire universe) or there was no such place. Either its all sacred or nothing is sacred – and i’ve stuck to it ever since (even though my “all or nothing” stance has changed).

  • Tom

    “Get used to it. Food, weather, upheaval, and war. Those are likely to be in the headlines not only for decades to come, but tied together in all sorts of complicated and unsettling ways. Extreme weather and increasingly severe droughts, whether in Texas, China, or Somalia; crops burned to a frizzle or obliterated in some other fashion; starving people desperately on the move; incipient resource wars; and a world in which the basics of everyday life are increasingly beyond the buying power of tens of millions, if not billions of the poor — that’s a recipe for our future. Unfortunately, it’s also increasingly the present, as grain crops fail in various global breadbaskets and food prices soar. Already the poorest on this planet spend 80% of what incomes they have on food staples and those prices are expected to double in the next two decades.

    Reporter Christian Parenti is just back from the global borderlands where soaring food and oil prices, climate chaos, other kinds of chaos, and resource scarcity add up to a challenging brew of trouble (as world leaders have begun to notice). His new book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, catches just how extreme weather, militarism, and free-market economics are creating failed states on what could someday be a failed planet — and the essence of this onrushing story can be told in terms of a single loaf of bread.”

    http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175419/tomgram%3A_christian_parenti%2C_staff_of_life%2C_bread_of_death/

  • In 1838, when discussing liberty before the Young Men’s Lyceum, Lincoln called the Christian church the only institution greater than freedom, by quoting Christ in Matthew 16:18: “… as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’”

    • I’ve read that speech, Loretta, and what you say is an inaccurate representation of what Lincoln said. What Lincoln was referring to was not any church, but ” the proud fabric of freedom”.

  • Will

    He only said that because Christians are unlikely to vote for a candidate who is not also Christian. I’m a “new” atheist, but if I were running for president right now I would lie and say I am Christian.

  • Brian

    Buddy has said that he will not use his religious beliefs to tell people how to run their lives. He stated that Rick Perry’s day of prayer should have been a private issue for Rick Perry, not a campaign moment. Watch some of Roemer’s youtube interviews and you’ll clearly see that while in office he will put rule of law and the Constitution before personal beliefs.

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