Electing a person of competence over a “person of faith”

February 18, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More

Mitt Romney proudly stood up for himself today. He boldly told a large Florida crowd what kind of president we need to elect in 2008:

“One of the great things about this land is that we have people of different faiths and different religions, but we need to have a person of faith lead the country,” he said, as the audience gave him a standing ovation.

Romney’s statement really makes me wonder because, by all accounts, we already have a “person of faith” serving as president.  And our current “person of faith” is an unmitigated disaster.  In fact, Bush has qualities that remind me of most of those other swaggering shallow-minded Muslim and Christian “persons of faith” who are busy leveling the Middle East in an attempt to save it.  If they keep at it, these “persons of faith” will eventually pull the entire world order into a war that will so obviously be a religious war that we will no longer be able to pretend it’s something else.

That a person is a “person of faith” means nothing to me.  That one should be a “person of faith” to be president is certainly not a prerequisite found in the U.S. Constitution.

When someone brags to me that he or she is a “person of faith,” I hold onto my wallet.  People of true and deep reverence don’t go around bragging that they are people “of faith.”  They are silent about their beliefs.  They show who they are, rather than telling.

For the upcoming presidential election, how about replacing the current “person of faith” with a good-hearted person of competence?  Someone who doesn’t start needless wars. Someone who will preserve the environment for future generations and also manage the economy.  How about electing someone, whether or not a “person of faith,” who is not a dry drunk? 

How about electing a president who doesn’t wear his religious bigotry on his sleeve?  How about electing a president who shows respect for all of the good-hearted people of the world, regardless of whether those people honor his God or whether they have joined an ossified bureaucratic religion–a county club with a steeple?

I can think of many qualities we desperately need in our next president.  Striving to elect another “person of faith” to replace W doesn’t guarantee that our next leader will have any of those qualities.


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Category: Politics, Religion, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. Jason Rayl says:

    What Romney is doing–and any politician who makes these sorts of pronouncements does–is playing to the audience's prejudice. What he's actually saying is "What this country needs at the lead is someone like YOU!" He's claiming that they can trust him because he shares their basic worldview, they basic attitude toward what is or is not valuable. To my mind, he might as well be saying to them "What you need to vote for is someone who shares all your idiosyncracies, flaws, and peculiarities." It is functionally the equivalent of a politician of a different era declaring to a gathering of KKK members "What this country needs as president is a white man!"

    Now, interestingly, what such people then do once they get into office is another matter, and the record is very mixed. Yes, Bush is arguably a "person of faith". but it has emerged that he's stiffed the faith based initiative crowd as much as anyone else. He actually hasn't ordered his party (as head of the Republican Party, he can do this) to draft legislation for the repeal of Roe v Wade. No Child Left Behind, for all its faults, is still not the wholesale abandonment of public education the more vocal of his supporters want.

    Do I like this kind of crap shoot? Seeing someone who claims something in campaign and then acts differently in office? No, not at all. I don't think anyone does. But they continue the practice because they understand that the Public likely as not will withhold their vote from someone who declares something they may on some level agree with but cannot bring themselves to support publicly. The voters won't vote for an "honest" candidate–at least, that's the way it appears. So it becomes a vicious feedback loop wherein people really want competence over ideology, but mistrust anyone who actually runs that way.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    The "person of faith" lingo is the politically-correct way to pander to Christians who are too lazy to educate themselves about important issues and who, instead, simply vote for whomever they consider the most pious. Many Christians seem to fall for this nonsense, which is undoubtedly why so many politicians play this game, and why so many incompetent idiots (yes, I'm talking about you, George) get elected.

  3. grumpypilgrim says:

    Speaking of pandering…it seems the buzzword for 2008 will be "transformational" leadership:

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