Some readers of The Way of Improvement Leads Home are probably glad that religion was not brought into the CBS GOP debate last night. Christianity, they argue, does not belong in the political process. I understand this criticism. I am even, to an extent, sympathetic to it.
But I did find it surprising that the CBS moderators did not ask a single question about Christianity or moral issues last night. It is surprising because the press and media have been talking endlessly all week about the so-called “evangelical vote” in South Carolina.
Maybe there was not enough time. Maybe the Supreme Court issue took prominence over these question.
Before last night’s GOP debate I posted some questions on religion and politics that I wanted the candidates to answer. I offer them again below. Perhaps these might work for the debate on February 25.
- Do you believe that America was founded as a Christian nation? What does that mean and how will it shape the way you govern as president?
- Marco Rubio (or Ted Cruz), you have said that the United States was founded on “Judeo Christian” principles that need to be restored. How do you propose to do that?
- Marco Rubio, you have said that God has blessed the United States, making it an “exceptional” nation. If this is true, is it fair to say that the United States is more exceptional than other nations?
- Ted Cruz, a politician named David Barton runs your super-PAC. What do you think about his views of American history?
- Ted Cruz, why are you such a strong advocate of the nation of Israel and why is it important to put the American embassy in Jerusalem?
- Ted Cruz, your father Rafael Cruz is one of several Christian leaders connected to the “dominionist” or “Seven Mountains” movement who have said that you are anointed by God to reclaim Christian culture in America. Is this true?
- Donald Trump, you have opposed Pope Francis on immigration. Convince Catholic voters why they should vote for you.
- Ted Cruz, is the Catholic Church a false religion?
- Marco Rubio, you have given a clear personal testimony to your faith in Christ. Can you offer three specific ways in which your faith in Christ will shape your policies as president of the United States?
- John Kasich, you have been trying to rise about the attack ads and run a positive campaign. Does this have anything to do with your Christian faith?
- Ted Cruz, how do you balance the Christian requirement to “love your enemies” with the attack ads you have been using against Donald Trump and Marco Rubio?
- Jeb Bush, as a Catholic, in what ways does Catholic social teaching, and particularly the message of Pope Francis, resonate with your campaign? Is there anything about the Pope’s message that does not resonate?
- Ted Cruz, how does your interest in carpet-bombing ISIS square with the Christian belief that all men and women are created with dignity and thus have value and worth?
- All candidates: To what extent does your pro-life position extend beyond abortion to issues such as war or the death penalty?
- All candidates: Many people are talking about the “evangelical” vote. What, in your opinion, is an “evangelical?”
- All candidates: Are human beings sinful? If they are, how does this influence the way you will govern?