Dallas Morning News,
Dallas Morning News,
Each two weeks we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.So many people are running for president this year that it’s hard to get your voice heard unless you do something outrageous. Donald Trump got the party started by suggesting that the U.S. deport every unauthorized immigrant, then let the “good ones” back.Republican Ben Carson amped up the insanity with his comment that a Muslim shouldn’t be president, and he reportedly raised more than $500,000 after making that remark. Carson has since backtracked, saying that he could support a Muslim if he or she would swear to uphold the Constitution over Shariah law. (Carson, by the way, is a Seventh Day Adventist, a denomination that has faced criticism from people who believe it’s a cult.)How important to you is the religion of a presidential candidate?The Constitution states that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any government office. Are you more likely to vote for someone who is the same religion or denomination as you? Or is a presidential candidate’s faith a secondary issue or no issue at all to you?
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
Religious affiliation is unimportant in relation to how spiritually enlightened an individual may be. A highly spiritually enlightened individual may be found in any bona fide tradition, whereas a spiritual ignoramus may be found steeped in religious belief and ritual. However, religion and metaphysics should not be outside of the political dialogue. One’s metaphysical outlook informs and drives one’s decisions. For example, President George W. Bush stated after being out of office, that his campaign in the Middle East was motivated by his religious convictions. He even used the word crusade.
By nature, if a politician must not speak about his religious beliefs then he/she must be in that sense, dishonest rather than giving a full view of his political outlook.