The Christmas season is a time to reflect on the many blessings we are fortunate enough to enjoy in this great country. Like millions of Americans, I count my faith in God, my family and my country as blessings.
Faith is a comfort as well as a source of strength, a stabilizing force in our lives – especially during these hard economic times when anxiety, debt, high rates of poverty [most tragically among children] and unemployment abound.
According to a survey on religion published by Baylor University in September of this year, a clear majority of Americans, 73 percent, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “God has a plan for me.” Of those who agreed that God has a plan for them, 88 percent also agreed with the statement “anything is possible for those who work hard” and 96 percent said they felt that government was doing too much to interfere in people’s lives.
The personal faith that God has a plan and, no matter how bad things get it will all work out, is undoubtedly helping to sustain millions of Americans this Christmas. With so many people feeling vulnerable and relying on their faith here’s a question: Why don’t politicians treat personal faith as more than just another hot button to be pushed to get out votes and bring in money.
As a political reporter I have seen politicians take advantage of people of faith by confusing personal faith with a religious group’s political agenda. History is full of American politicians who profess personal faith but run ads full of lies about their opponents, make racist appeals, cheat on their wives, handout public money to their political allies [including some church leaders] and make holding power into a false god.
They take to the pulpit with cynical appeals to stop abortion, end gay rights, and even claims to be running because of a message from God.
But that cynical, manipulative behavior by politicians has never caused me to lose faith. I am not embarrassed to say I believe in God. I believe in Jesus as God’s son. I also believe in the Holy Spirit. And Christmas, Passover or July 4th, I believe God loves the world and is watching over us.
If I am a sucker to be so full of faith in God at least I am not alone. According to the most recent Gallup poll on faith – published in 2010 – 80 percent of Americans say their religion is either very important or fairly important in their own life. The same survey found that 30 percent of Americans reported going to religious services at least once a week.
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