5 Questions for Candidates
ENGAGING CANDIDATES ON THE ROLE OF RELIGION IN AMERICAN POLITICS
EVALUATE WHAT YOU HEAR. SHARE WHAT YOU LEARN.
WHY IT MATTERS. As religion plays an increasingly prominent role in American politics, preserving the boundary between religion and government is more vital than ever. America’s political process can be divisive, and never more so than when candidates use the language of faith to advance their own partisan interests, or when they seek to marginalize religious minorities and emphasize their beliefs as the only truth. Rhetoric like that is unhealthy for politics and for religion.
Many candidates and elected officials have long-standing views on faith and politics and issues related to religious freedom. But in the modern era of campaigns, the news media and the public often overlook or disregard these issues altogether. Religion in public schools, proselytization in the military, government funding of faith-based programs, Islamophobia. These are just a few of the issues that place our religious freedom at stake every day. When you cast your votes this Election Day, we want you to know where the candidates stand on these important issues.
WHAT TO ASK...
1. What role will your faith or values play in creating public policy or making appointments?
2. What are your views on the boundaries between religion and government?
3. What steps will you take to protect the rights of your constituents regardless of their faith or beliefs?
4. How will you speak about your beliefs without making them just another political tool?
5. How will you balance the principles of your faith and your obligation to defend the Constitution, particularly if the two come into conflict?
WHAT TO LISTEN FOR...
1. Does the candidate pledge to make laws that respect all faiths and protect religious liberty for everyone?
2. Does the candidate feel the same way you do about the importance of keeping personal religious beliefs out of our codified laws?
3. Does the candidate promise to respect and represent all the citizens equally, no matter what they believe or don’t believe?
4. Does the candidate use religious language for political gain?
5. Does the candidate envision a scenario where religious and legal duties would conflict, and what the plan of action would be?