This election year, religion is playing a very important role in how people will vote. Many of the debates are all about taxes, regulations, health care, education, foreign policy, and the like--all very important issues--but around the dinner table, people talk about the religious styles and commitments of the candidates. It's as if the topic has been tabooed in public life even as its importance is sustained in private life.
We would be foolish not to think that religion plays an important part in the way people conduct themselves as public officials. We turn to faith to provide guidance in the big questions, and we should in the small questions as well.
This is why it is such a mistake for religious people to neglect topics such as taxes, regulations, health care, and the like. I don't mean that people should merely emote about these issues or dream about the utopias they would like to create--which is the usual model that takes shape when religious people speak about these issues. I mean that people of faith have an obligation to become seriously informed about these issues, studying them from the broadest possible perspective and making judgments informed by doctrine, morality, and science.
There is really no excuse for the media to so seriously neglect the role that religion plays in public life. But neither is there an excuse for religious people to neglect their own education in the issues that politics deal with day in and day out. We can begin to heal the disconnect between our public life and our prayer life by taking our responsibilities in both areas more seriously. The city of God and the city of man are distinct realms, but there is enough overlap to prompt serious examination and reflection.
At the Acton Institute, we seek to create a forum for serious discussion of economic issues in light of religious concerns. It's my view that the work of the Acton Institute has made a huge contribution in this respect. Thank you so much for making this possible with your support of our work.
Rev. Robert A. Sirico, President