Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cross(ed) Signals

First Mike Huckabee and now John McCain have used the image of a cross in their Christmas ad. Huckabee actually denied the use of a cross many claim appears floating in the background – McCain’s use is explicit and admitted. Whatever the use, I have two reactions: who cares and so what?

Who cares if a candidate who is Christian uses a cross in their Christmas message? You’d prefer Santa Claus? There is nothing inherently offensive about the cross, just as there is nothing inherently offensive about the Star of David or the Muslim crescent or a Ganesh statuette. Anyone who thinks the use of a cross signifies a candidate’s desire to impose theocracy is either willfully stupid or a partisan looking for any advantage, however disingenuous.

Then again, so what if a candidate uses a cross? Personally, I have no need for my elected officials to share my religion or have any religion at all, so long as they share my basic values. Sure, my values are based on Christianity but so are the values of a lot of people with whom I vehemently disagree. Being a fellow Christian doesn’t mean we share the same values. I realize that and I’m sure the evangelicals realize that. If either Huckabee or McCain think the image of a cross will win them any extra support, they are almost certainly mistaken.

If it’s pandering, it’s bad pandering. If it’s a sincere show of faith, there’s nothing much to criticize. Either way, it’s not a big deal and doesn’t require hand-wringing on either side.

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