To the editor:
A trend in American voting suggests that, in the approaching 2004 presidential race, the candidate who succeeds in convincing voters that he or she is "strongly religious and righteous" may have an advantage in winning. We can expect to see candidates of all political parties claiming they will be guided in office by religious principles: "I, too, am religious. Listen as I make frequent references to God and tell you that I regularly attend religious services."
One should always be skeptical of politicians who use religion as an endorsement of themselves. We don't need to look very deep to find glaring contradictions in the personal character of some of our current most prominent leaders, from the halls of Congress to the inner circles of the White House, as seen in some of their ethical and moral practices that are not grounded in any recognized religion. Serious personal shortcomings have been revealed in their misleading of the American public by distortion of facts or outright lies, personal greed, arrogance, lack of humility, insensitivity to the needs of ordinary people, unwarranted military attacks against perceived enemies and intimidation of others, etc.
As Americans, we have the right to demand that our government officials be honest, straight-talking and fair-dealing, not persons who wave banners of religious self-righteousness in public appearances and then conduct themselves in grotesquely disingenuous and self-serving ways. We must realize that public figures claiming to be religious may not necessarily be honest, ethical or compassionate in their political lives.