The 2008 Candidates

Historical Candidates

Is it wrong for presidential candidates to use religious talk?

Some candidates for president announce their religious beliefs, or discuss them when asked; others remain silent or refuse to answer. Some candidates for president use religious language in their speeches and advertisements--for example, echoing the Bible. Others do not do so. Who is right? Should religious talk be avoided? Should it be embraced? Or is this an entirely personal choice for each candidate?

Note that religoius talk is not illegal--candidates are free to speak religiously any way they like. But not all legal talk is helpful, reasonable, or admirable. Candidates are free to use racist talk, for example. They won't go to jail, but they will and should be criticized. Is religious talk like that--something worthy of criticism?

This is a highly contested issue. This website is not meant to persuade you either way. It is intended to help you formulate your view more clearly, understand other views more deeply, and develop your arguments more forcefully. The arguments presented here are largely taken from a survey of ISU students in Spring, 2008. Can you do better?