Melissa Rogers, founder and director of Wake Forest’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs, has a very interesting post on her blog about Fred Thompson's response to questions about his faith. Unlike virtually every other candidate asked that question, Thompson honestly responded that he isn't a regular churchgoer and doesn't plan to speak about his religion on the stump. (Although he did state that he gained his values from ``sitting around the kitchen table'' with his parents and ``the good Church of Christ.'')
Here is Melissa's take:
Good for Thompson for being so honest and forthright about these things. I hope we will work toward a day when we expect political candidates to discuss their values and vision (among other things) on the campaign trail, but we do not penalize candidates simply because they don't want to talk about their personal faith or lack thereof.
May the people who support Thompson and say that it is fine for him not to talk about his faith on the stump say the exact same thing publicly the next time a Democrat takes that position. And may the eventual Democratic nominee refuse to make the eventual Republican nominee's religiosity or lack thereof an issue in the general presidential campaign (and vice versa). Let's have the debate about ethics and public policy, but let's not make people toe a religious line when doing so.
Read it here.