March 13, 2007

Edwards, the Public Square, adn the Inescapable Worldview

Edwards, the Public Square, and the Inescapable Worldview
By Sarah Flashing

(Originally posted at WOMANTalk)

In a recent interview with David Kuo of Beliefnet, democratic presidential candidate John Edwards spoke openly about his views of Jesus, Christianity, and his own faith. He shared about his Southern Baptist background and his drifting away from God later in life. Edwards also recounted how trials in his life including his wife Elizabeth’s bout with cancer altered the nature of his faith, how his “faith came roaring back” to him as the title of the article denotes. A deacon’s son who was baptized in the church, Edwards’ experience does not sound all that different from that of many Christians.

What I was most fascinated by in this interview was not so much that he tried to talk the talk of evangelical faith, but that he conceded an important element to the church/state debate. Reminded of how John Kerry said in 2004 that he would not allow his faith to affect his decisions, Edwards was asked if faith affects his decisions. His response is quite unexpected.

“Yes, it does.”

I’m not sure he understands the impact of this response, but it is truly the most intellectually honest position to take because no one is able to make decisions outside or independent of what they believe, i.e. their worldview. Actions that seek to sanitize the public square from elements of faith are an expression of a certain set of beliefs about God, faith, life, reality, etc., that are disguised as secular, the so-called “neutral” position. But there is no possibility for neutrality; our actions are an outward manifestation of the beliefs we hold dear.

Edwards continues, “My faith informs everything I think and do. It's part of my value system. And to suggest that I can somehow separate and divorce that from the rest of me is not possible.” We can agree with Edwards about this, but don’t get too excited about his words because they are empty, and perhaps they then provide better insight into his worldview. Edwards backpedals. He continues saying that he “would not, under any circumstances, try to impose my personal faith and belief on the rest of the country. I don't think that's right. I don't think that's appropriate.”

Christians are consistently accused of trying to impose their beliefs on others in seeking to establish and protect certain values in our society. Edwards states clearly that his own faith informs his decisions, that they cannot be divorced from each other. So as he continues to support a woman’s right to have an abortion and promotes embryo-destructive research, you can be sure that these decisions are a clear expression of the worldview from which he cannot divorce himself and an imposition of his “faith” on the faithful.

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