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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Religion and politics, an exchange ...

First, me:

Civil society replaces religion — By George Pyle

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... A Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey puts the number of Americans who follow no organized religion at nearly 20 percent of the adult population, and growing. For the first time in American history, mainline Protestant churches claim the loyalty of less than half of us.

Following no organized religion does not mean that individuals do not believe in God, or a higher power. It just means they are compelled to define and follow that power on their own, being responsible for their own decisions, not outsourcing their thinking to any Earthly leader. And that should make democracy easier, not harder. ...

Then him:

Secular disdain for religion — By Paul Mero

... Pyle’s "common language" of life cannot be incomplete and still be held in common. The questions of human excellence, inspired by religion, are what all reasonable people have in common. ...

Then her:

Your truth and mine — By Kelli Lundgren

The greatest cop-out I can imagine in a verbal disagreement is when someone accuses another of persecution. A good example is in Paul Mero’s op-ed, "Secular disdain for religion" (Opinion, Oct. 20), which was a response to a column the week before by the Tribune’s George Pyle, which argued that a free society does not require religious belief in order to function. ...

Then me again:

Living in a flurry of ideas — By George Pyle

... The intelligent response of the nonbeliever to public expressions of individual faith should be no more negative than it would be to the sight of folks decorating their schools or their license plates with images of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. ...

Then, even though he probably didn’t intend to get involved in this, Sen. Bennett, in the Deseret News

Why Europe supports President Obama, not Mitt Romney — By Robert Bennett

This is being written in Paris, where I have been attending an academic conference dedicated to an analysis of the 2012 presidential election. If they could vote, Europeans would solidly support President Obama, with France leading the way. Some polls show that Obama would draw more than 90 percent of the vote here; across the entire continent, he runs above 70 percent. ...

... Some months ago, I wrote that the Mormon issue has gone away in America. I could have said "the religion issue." A strong religious commitment to a faith that is not considered "mainstream" is no longer a handicap for an American candidate. The two presidential tickets this year contain an African-American Protestant, a Mormon and two devout Roman Catholics. Such a line up would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

The reason the religion issue has not gone away in Europe is that all religions are now considered suspect here. The European conviction that Romney’s beliefs must be an issue stems as much from the fact that he holds them as from their specifics. No European politician can afford to be seen as devout; the panelist’s statements suggested that religious devotion in a candidate demonstrates that he is not a serious person. That is one of the reasons why Europeans were as dubious as they were about George W. Bush. ...

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