Last night — for reasons that make little sense to my family and friends — I agreed to appear on Rev. Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show. Our conversation (if you can call it that) ultimately metastasized into a somewhat heated debate over Texas Governor Rick Perry and the separation of church and state.
Watch the clip–and I will discuss below:
A few points:
1. I found it more than a little ironic that Reverend Al Sharpton would object to someone mixing faith and politics. After all, unlike Rick Perry (who has yet to officially declare) Rev. Sharpton actually ran for president, himself, and now (presumably) is the host of a daily MSNBC show. (Personally, I have no reservations about appearing on TV with a Christian preacher, nor do I have a problem with a governor choosing to call citizens together to pray for our nation.)
2. As I noted last night, past U.S. presidents — not just potential candidates for president — have sought to inject faith into the public sphere. There are many examples, but one obvious example is FDR’s D-Day prayer. I found it hypocritical that Rev. Sharpton and the other guests argued it was okay when presidents they liked chose to blur the lines between separation of church and state.
3. As you might have noticed, this discussion was more than a little rigged. It was three-against-one. This is actually a step in the right direction; most of Rev. Sharpton’s segments feature no dissenting viewpoint.