Dean finds religion

Dean finds religion
: Two days ago, in the words of the NY Times, Joe Lieberman called “for strengthening the role of religion in public life and took a veiled swipe at Howard Dean, who has run a steadfastly secular campaign.”

“I know that some people believe that faith has no place in the so-called public square,” said Mr. Lieberman, an observant Jew. “They forget that the constitutional separation of church and state, which I strongly support, promises freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Some people forget that faith was central to our founding and remains central to our national purpose and our individual lives.”

And today, Dean finds religion in the Boston Globe:

Presidential contender Howard B. Dean, who has said little about religion while campaigning except to emphasize the separation of church and state, described himself in an interview with the Globe as a committed believer in Jesus Christ and said he expects to increasingly include references to Jesus and God in his speeches as he stumps in the South.

Dean, 55, who practices Congregationalism but does not often attend church and whose wife and children are Jewish, explained the move as a desire to share his beliefs with audiences willing to listen….

He acknowledged that he was raised in the ”Northeast” tradition of not discussing religious beliefs in public, and said he held back in New Hampshire, where that is the practice. But in other areas, such as the South, he said, he would discuss his beliefs more openly.

The “Northeast” tradition? I’d say it’s more the reform or liberal tradition. There are those who evangelize and those who don’t. I don’t. So I don’t talk about religion easily; I’ve done so here when it has been relevant to another discussion. So I respect Dean’s reluctance to talk God.

But saying that he’s going to talk Jesus just because he’s going into the South smacks of religious pandering. It’s likely to insult Southerners — and fundamentalists — that he’s willing to acknowledge religion only because he’s trying to get votes south of the Mason-Dixon line.

This may be the religious equivalent of his Confederate-flag-on-the-back-of-pickups remark.

He may as well have said he wants to appeal to the voters who have have fish stickers on the back of their Chevys.