Candidates' Religious Rhetoric May Not Resonate with Non-Christian Voters

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rick Santorum celebrates Super Tuesday wins in Oklahoma, North Dakota and Tennessee, while Ohio remains too close to call. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2012, religion is on the ballot like never before. Three of the four remaining GOP candidates often invoke their faith on the campaign trail, and say it’s their belief in God and Christianity that inspire their policy choices. Rick Santorum has gone even further, saying he’s guided by his Catholic faith — and his decision-making in the White House would be too. But what if you’re a Republican not of the Christian faith? Is this rhetoric on the campaign trail isolating?

We talk with two Republican voters who are not members of the Christian faith. Mohamed Elibiary is a Muslim Republican and Evan Oxman is a Jewish Republican.


Mohamed Elibiary and Evan Oxman

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja

Comments [4]


The relevant issue here is the failure of politicians to connect their religious beliefs with how it has informed them in determining their positions and policies. Saying it what they believe in is a meaningless answer or statement. While I don't expect politicians to actually believe in what they say, they are after all politicians; I would expect them to be able to justify why whatever they are saying is a sound and reasoned position consistent with the nature of our democratic principles, laws and societal precepts.

Unfortunately, this is not what politicians do. They just say those meaningless words that like sugar substitutes give the taste sensation that you want without any substance.

Mar. 08 2012 06:19 PM
lmatax from Arlington, VA

There is a tremendoust difference between the faith that Presidient Obama refers to and Rick Santorum. The Pesident does not hide the fact that he considers Jesus Christ his personal saviour, but he also believes strongly in the separation of church and state. Rick Santorum does not believe in a separation. It's darn right scary when such a religious zealot sch as him has even a possibility of becomeing president. Don't accuse public radio of polical bias. There is a big difference betweenh the two men when they consider the role of religion and government.

Mar. 08 2012 03:18 PM

I have a long enough memory to recall how another presidential candidate was treated on public radio, when he gave an important speech outlining how his life and work was informed by his Christian faith. The candidate was Barack Obama, and the speech was treated as something that was serious, reflective, honest, revealing and inspiring.

Republicans, saying mostly the same thing, are treated (you can just hear it, in the tone of Celeste Headlee's and John Hockenberry's respective voices) with suspicion, fear, incredulity and opposition.

And that was the emotional theme of this story. Republican Christian faith = ignorance and divisiveness. Democrat Christian faith = intelligence and nuance.

So let's face it, people. It's all just politics. It doesn't matter too much what words anybody uses. Public radio has chosen sides, and it isn't at all hard to tell what the choice has been.

Mar. 08 2012 10:39 AM
C-ya from Boston

Mohamed Elibiary you sound conflicted and you look a bit pathetic from your support of the republicans. Why would you support those that dont respect you or see you as an equal?

Mar. 08 2012 09:15 AM

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