Friday, January 6, 2012
What Kind of Christian is Ron Paul?
Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has made it very clear that, while he is a born-again Christian, he does not like to discuss his religious views publicly:
I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do.
The other day, Dr. Paul took a bold risk and appeared for a long interview by the fundamentalist, constitution-party-flag-waving The American View to discuss his personal faith and how it would translate into his actions as president. Paul was not granted any clemency and was even grilled a bit by the interviewer on subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, the infallibility of scripture and the role of government in morality. To wit:
Q: Do you believe homosexuality is a sin?
Dr. Paul: I’m not as judgmental about that probably because of my medical background. I don’t see it in [such] simplistic terms. I think it’s a complex issue to think it’s a sin or other problems with the way people are born. It’s too complex to give an answer as simple as that [that homosexuality is a sin.]”
Q: Do you believe God says homosexuality is a sin?
Dr. Paul: Well, I believe a lot of people understand it that way but I think everybody is God’s child, too, so, you know, I have trouble with that.
Dr. Paul would not come out and say that homosexuality was a sin or whether he though God considers it sin. His answer basically boils down to one thought: it’s complicated. For many who take the view that the Bible is the Word of God (Dr. Paul made this claim on the show), it is not very complicated – homosexual behavior is a sin, and like any sin, God does not approve. At the same time, the interviewer spent considerable time on homosexuality, seeming to speak of it as though it was a more “sinful” sin and was the root of many of the problems in the country. Perhaps Paul was shrewdly considering that by affirming a positive answer on the matter, the interviewer would attempt to solicit Paul’s sanction on some of his own ideas.
You can see this is a sticking point with the host as over half his write-up discusses this matter, concluding with:
I tell him I believe God will not bless any military that’s full of unrepentant homosexuals, adulterers and fornicators. He does not reply to this observation.
On Avoiding Hypocrisy
Clearly Dr. Paul is unashamed to proclaim that he’s a Christian, however most American politicians make this claim (see John Edwards take a good twenty seconds before he figures this out). Dr. Paul makes a strong statement about this matter, one that qualifies his statements as avoiding hypocrisy rather than timidity in faith:
I’d rather my views and my convictions and my faith be shown by my actions rather than [by] what I say… also, the part in the bible about not showing off… we’re instructed to pray quietly …[and] not to play big fanfare. I’m trying to strike something in between there; where I’m not bashful and ashamed of it, at the same time I don’t want to look like others who …look to get votes because they were willing to say and do something in public.
On the Role of Religion in Government and Society
As opposed to his host on The American View, Dr. Paul sees the role of religion in government just as he sees the role of anything in government – best applied by individuals. While a Christian cannot legislate Christianity into the law, the Christian will be personally governed by God’s law and thus his administration in civil society must be consistent. This is spelled out by Dr. Paul in clear terms:
Ultimately what has to change is the morality of the society that we have, then the law will change. So I don’t think we can solve the problem by the law.
Somehow, Dr. Paul made it out of this interview on decent terms with the host, yet he did not make himself sound like a Constitution Party acolyte. Clearly Paul is a gifted politician in that respect. At the same time, it demonstrates his ability to communicate his views clearly, with an open-mind, and preserve peace in any interchange: even one with such volatile fundamental issues.