Susan Jacoby has a nice article on the Iowa debate last Saturday that turned into a faith fest, where many of the candidates competed to demonstrate their personal sufferings. She asks, rightly, why we should care about their personal tribulations in selecting a president.
Boo-hoo, gentlemen. Having endured the ordinary vicissitudes or the extraordinary and unfathomable tragedies of life and having sought the help of whatever God in whom you believe has absolutely nothing to do with your suitability for the nation’s highest office. An atheist would face the same tragedies without invoking God’s help and that, too, would have nothing to do with his or her fitness for the presidency.
The Iowa forum was a triumph of the union of psychobabble and public religiosity that has come to dominate American politics.
Honest candidates, men and women of genuine virtue, do not present their own suffering as a qualification for public office.
Christians have this bizarre notion that suffering is somehow a good thing, that we are better for it, rather than as something unfortunate to be overcome as best as one can. These people are steeped in the Christian mythology of sin and suffering followed by redemption as the way to become a better person and they want to impose that form theocratic thinking on the country.