Barack Obama is being inaugurated today. What? You already knew that? Dang, so much for my blog being a source of late-breaking news. It is of course significant because he is black. Just as JFK’s election was significant because he was Roman Catholic.
I know it seems silly now to think that Catholicism vs. Protestantism would be an issue in selecting a President, but 50 years ago, it was. (Maybe in another 50 years, skin colour won’t matter either.)
But back to religion. I have a friend who is a practicing Wiccan, and who ran for office in the last federal election. I don’t for a moment believe her religion affected any of the voters, but what if she had been on a bigger stage? What if she had been running for the leadership of her party or even Prime Minister? Even if you believe that Canadians are tolerant enough to handle that, imagine a devout muslim or sikh running for the US presidency.
Why should it matter which invisible friend you believe in? I personally don’t believe in any supreme being. But then I don’t believe in acupuncture or meditation either – and that doesn’t lessen my regard for those who do.
So why is it that people can get over an obvious physical difference like race or gender, but not a subtle variance in belief systems?