Acton Institute blog posted this interview with Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Sanford is my runner-up for the 2012 Republican nomination. The Acton Institute is the think tank that best expresses my deepest concern – the concern for freedom of religious expression. And they believe that certain public policies, such as fiscal conservatism, protect that freedom.
The interview with Sanford is enlightening and encouraging, because it talks about ideas and ideals, in detail. I was particularly interested to see if he would make the connection between free market capitalism and liberty. Here is a relevant excerpt:
I would say that we got to go back to the basics. And the vision would be for a prosperous, competitive America in what has become a very, very competitive global world. It needs to be based on an advance and adherence to free market capitalistic principles, and on maximizing the sphere of individual freedom.
And that includes religious freedom. And I was also interested to see how Sanford connected his faith to the public policies that he advocates. The interviewer asks him: “When it’s convenient, many politicians say they can’t bring their own religious views to bear on important issues because they represent all the people. What’s your view?”
Here is his reply to the question, in full:
I don’t agree with that. What people are sick of is that no one will make a stand. The bottom line in politics is, I think, at the end of the day to be effective in standing for both the convictions that drove you into office and the principles that you outlined in running. And that is not restrained to simply the world of Caesar, it applies to what you think is right and wrong and every thing in between.
Now we all get nervous about the people who simply wear it on their arm sleeve to sort of prove that they’ve got that merit badge. But I think the Bible says, “Let your light so shine be fore men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father that’s in heaven.” Hopefully, by the way in which you act. The way in which you make decisions. They’re going to see that something’s there.
I would also say the Bible says in Revelation, “Be hot. Be cold. But don’t be lukewarm” [Rev. 3:15]. And there’s too many political candidates who walk around completely in the middle—completely in neutral. With regard not only to faith, but with regard to policy. And that’s what people are sick of. Everything’s gotten so watered down. So I have people come to me frequently saying, “Look, I voted for you. In fact, I completely disagree with you on these different stands over here. But at least I know where you stand.”
And so I would say it’s a mistake to confine one’s belief to only matters of government. If you have a religious view, it’s incumbent upon you and it’s real to have that. The Bible talks about the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. There ought to be certain things that are clearly observable by your actions.
I remember when I first gave a Christmas address, a candle lighting event on the state house capitol. And people were freaking because they said, “You can’t say Jesus.” I said, “Look, I’m not trying to offend anybody. But if that’s my personal faith, I can say what I want to say. I’m going to say what I want to say.” I’m not going to be rubbing anybody’s face in it. But I say you can’t dance around that which you really believe. And so I’d say we need people who are more bold in taking stands on all kinds of different things.
Now, you know what to do: read the whole thing!