Dallas Morning News,
Each week 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.Religious historian Randall Balmer's written a new book, "God in the White House
," in which the Columbia University professor suggests we've moved too far away from John Kennedy's line that his faith would not have the final say in his political decisions. Balmer, who considers himself a liberal evangelical, worries that candidates in both parties are trying too hard to persuade voters that they are people of faith.
We don't need to go into the details of Balmer's book to know that the connection between religion and politics is one of the hottest topics around in American elections. Whether it's Barack Obama and Bill Clinton or George W. Bush and John McCain, candidates regularly trot out their religious credentials.
With that as the new reality, here's this week's question of the week for our panelists:
Has the connection between religion and political candidates gone too far? Or is it appropriate given that most major religions have a strong social component?
NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas
Religion, dharma, means to develop love for God. However a semblance of religion is often portrayed as religion. Such a semblance carries the agendas of various groups; politicians, businesses, political parties, and various churches and other institution.
As the saying goes one can judge a tree by its fruits. The fruit of love of God produces peace, compassion, non-enviousness for all beings, and tolerance, to name but a few of by-products. All these qualities are very important for an individual to have, especially a politician.
When these qualities are lacking we can understand that such a practitioner is not pursuing the fruits of the tree but rather the reflections of such fruits on the water.
Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here