We haven’t written much about South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford primarily because, outside of talk that he might be the sort of presidential candidate that the Religious Right could rally around, he hasn’t really done much that would cause him to show up in our monitoring.
And now that he has admitted to having an affair, it seems like our one reason for paying attention to him is gone.
In fact, in what has to be the fasted website update in the Family Research Council’s history, Sanford has already been removed from its list of “confirmed and invited speakers” to its 2009 Values Voter Summit:
But, back when his name was being bandied as a potential presidential contender, we tried to keep an eye out for things about him … things like this recent interview he conducted with the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in which he explained that it was incumbent for people of faith, such as himself, to lead by example:
R&L: The religious views of candidates and their support among various faith traditions played a big role in the 2008 presidential race. Is this a good thing?
MS: It is. But I don’t know if it was more window dressing than not. Obama had Rick Warren speak at the inauguration, and then got some guy of another persuasion to give the benediction. I don’t think you want it as an accoutrement. I think that you want it to show up in policy. In other words, conversation is certainly an important starting point. It can’t be the ending point.
R&L: 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?
MS: 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 everything 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 before 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 some thing’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.