Faith, Values, and Politics

fox-debateA recent survey that was conducted by the Pew Research Center involved a national sample of 2,009 adults. The results of this survey, that was take earlier this month, offer some interesting findings:

  • Being an atheist is a big liability for anyone who pursues the office of president.
  • 51% of adults indicate they’d be less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who is an atheist.
  • 37% of the respondents say they would be less likely to support a candidate who has been involved in an extramarital affair.
  • 41% of the participants say they would be less likely to support a candidate who has a history of financial struggles.

The chart below looks at the public’s perception of seven of the the people who have tossed their hat into the ring in an effort to become the next President of the United States.

reltableIs it important to you that the President of the United States is a person of strong faith and high moral character?    Do verses like Psalm 33:12 hint that our leaders should be people of faith, and do they influence how you would vote?

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

While the hope of the United States is found in Christ and not the President, the actions and decisions of those we elect to office will either help or hinder the health of our nation.  This is why we should heed Paul’s instructions to Timothy:

I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior  

~2 Timothy 2:1-3

A Christmas Riddle

images (1)Is the myth of Santa a riddle or a taradiddle?  The contrasting stories I saw yesterday certainly paint different pictures of old St. Nick:

  • Story #1: Georgia Church Posts Message Saying ‘Santa Is Satan’
  • Story #2: Secret Santas in Massachusetts Pay Thousands of Dollars to Close Out All Layaway Orders at Three Toys ‘R’ Us Stores
  • Story #3: Ho Ho No: School bans Santa from winter concert
  • Story #4: Santa and his elves wash windows at Mission Hospital

It seems that people have different opinions of the red-suited giver of gifts.  Is he the demon or the delight of December?  Is he charming or harming to our children.  Is he innocent folklore or a fatuous troll?

A Pew Research survey released in December of 2013 found that Santa is not just a childhood fixation:

  • 69% of parents with at least one child under age 18 said they planned to pretend that old St. Nick would visit their house on Christmas Eve.
  • 22% of parents who don’t have kids that believe in Santa still expected to participate by gift-giving in Santa’s name.
  • 11% of people who don’t celebrate Christmas still planned to get a visit from Santa.

Frank Riga, emeritus professor of English at Canisius College, says the myth of Santa Claus can enhance creativity and imagination in children.

Our focus needs to be on more than Santa and enhancing creativity and imagination.  A new survey (Pew Research) suggests that most Americans report a belief in the biblical Christmas story as historical events that actually occurred. Nearly 75% of Americans believe:

  • Jesus Christ was born of a virgin
  • Angels appeared to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus
  • Wise men were guided by a star and brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Jesus
  • 80% of the adults in the USA believe the newborn baby Jesus was laid in a manger.

What will be your main focus this Christmas season?  Will it be the red-suited Claus or the angelic clause?

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”         Luke 2:10-12