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Candidates probed on the power of prayer at debate

August 21, 2007, 4:02 pm | Posted by Dan Nejfelt

On Sunday’s edition of ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos the Democratic candidates answered a viewer’s emailed question about their faith: “My question is to understand each candidate’s view of a personal God. Do they believe that, through the power of prayer, disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the Minnesota bridge collapse could have been prevented or lessened?”

Interesting that the viewer — and the moderator — chose to ask this question. It’s not about how faith informs policy or civic values. Instead it concerns what I would consider a more private aspect of faith (I am not an evangelical). This was not the first time the Democratic candidates have been asked such a personal, audience-submitted question. It reflects a desire to know not just what the candidates would do in trying situations, but also who they are.

Notice how all the candidates (well, at least the ones who actually answered the question) essentially answered “no.” I’d like to think the American people want a president who will make sure the levees are manned instead of only praying while a hurricane is bearing down.

But even if the questioner wanted to hear otherwise, I’m glad sure he asked the question. Are you? Do questions like this help give you a better idea of WHO these candidates who are bidding to be your president ARE? Or is this kind of information irrelevant to your vote?


One Response to “Candidates probed on the power of prayer at debate”

  1. Katie Barge says:

    I have been getting this question from reporters lately here at FPL– “What is is that religious voters need to hear from candidates re: faith? Is is that they want to know what their religion and their religious background is because they don’t want to vote for people of ‘certain’ religions? Or it is that they want to know where a candidate’s values come from, how they make decisions?” I both hope and think it’s the latter. My sense is that most people of faith would agree with Martin Luther (as Joe Loconte noted on NPR last week), who said, “It’s better to be ruled by a just and honest Muslim, than by a stupid or corrupt Christian.” At the same time, people need to trust their president and trust comes in large part from understanding where someone is coming from. For that reason, I welcome questions like these. Helps me understand what role they see it playing in their life as well as the life of the nation.

    Anybody have thoughts on who answered the question best? Worst??