I donâ€™t know about you, but I find it reassuring if my airline pilot has faith. I donâ€™t really need to know what my pilot has faith in. Thatâ€™s not necessary. Faith is a virtue that made our country great.
I find it reassuring that my President has faith. I donâ€™t actually know where he goes to church, or how often, but he says heâ€™s a Christian and thatâ€™s good enough for me. I have faith in him. When he is occasionally wrong, like when he launched an invasion of Iraq because they were about to send weapons of mass destruction to fall on American cities, or at least Israel, but it turned out there were none –well, anyone can make a mistake. The important thing is that he is a man of faith, not some heretical Anabaptist or something.
Faith is a lovely uplifting word. Say it out loud, donâ€™t you feel exalted? Not like the word â€˜religionâ€™ which is such a downer. The Anabaptists claim to be a religion, and you know how they are.
If we admit that Faith-based means exactly the same thing as Religion-based we have to worry about exactly which religions our tax dollars are supporting. We might be uneasy about religions getting the government seal of approval. Or wonder exactly what those religions are doing with our tax dollars.
It was a stroke of genius to claim the word â€˜faithâ€™ as a political tool. Now when we use that word we are singing from the Republican Sanctified Hymnal. In Sundayâ€™s New York Time a front page headline readsâ€“â€˜A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clashâ€™. The story is about how difficult it is to teach evolution in a high school science class without getting burned at the stake. The problem isnâ€™t faith.
No one knows what anyone elseâ€™s faith is. Thatâ€™s between them and their conscience. The problem is religion — religion that organizes politically to impose its rules on everyone else because a majority can throw its weight around, religion that wants to make itself the official American creed. And if science is a problem, just censor science to fit religion. Itâ€™s been done before.