Freedom of religion in election year 2016

I write this not because I feel persecuted, I don’t. I write this not because I think that the professions of faith of so many of the republican candidates mean they Jews.(Clearly, I’m Jewish). I write this as a reflection as to why so many of us, who in other circumstances might vote republican, and may support certain some if not even many fundamental issues of the Republican party. I write this as someone who is having trouble separating the professions of faith from the policies. And who wonders that if professing your allegiance to not just God and religion and a higher power, but to Jesus Christ, and that your central value system and beliefs are those tenants can you represent me when your advertisements advertise that that is who you are?
When JFK “came out” as a roman catholic, admittedly five years before my time, people were concerned. But the central difference between the two is he never made his religion the central and defining part of either his campaign or his presidency. It may have been central to his beliefs, central to his character(some of the commandments notwithstanding), he made it clear that he would govern for all. That each of us would get an equal billing in his administration. I don’t see that today.
Religion can ground people. As a reform Jew, I see that, especially in times of trouble(Thanks Paul Simon). But one thing that cannot happen, when you are wanting to govern 300 plus million people, is say that your central tenants of belief and governing are guided by a god that so many of us either do not believe in or do not follow. At no point have I heard any of those candidates, after their professions of faith and allegiance, which is what they were, then come out and say, they would look objectively at issues where faith and law, or faith and policy may contradict. How can any of the candidates who follow and are strictly guided by Jesus Christof their own admission, truly look objectively at the middle east. Or truly take guidance and advice from someone who not only opposes them but makes their advice from policy and law and not from the bible, which will often contradict each other.
I again, do not think these candidates hate people of other faiths well, except the ones they all but say they do and having run for office I understand pandering as much as anyone. But when you are running to become president of a United States that prides itself on diversity and tolerance, following strictly the rules of your church and telling people that your election means that is how you will govern, simply are incompatible with those ideals. Religion should be personal, I know it is for me, my family and friends. Let it advise, let it comfort, but don’t let it rule. In our society, it can’t.

Scott Sitner

Birmingham MI 48009

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