As the Republican presidential candidates scramble to get evangelicals in their respective corners, Bernie Sanders is taking a different approach.
Sanders has consistently defied religious categorization. When asked by comedian Jimmy Kimmel about how he expresses his faith, Bernie Sanders replied, “I am who I am.” Earlier this year, he told The Washington Post that he does not consider himself to be actively involved with any form of organized religion.
A few nights ago during a televised Town Hall meeting on CNN, Sanders gave host Chris Cuomo an incredibly humanistic and thoughtful answer, in regards to what he believes.
“… Every great religion in the world — Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — essentially comes down to: “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” What I have believed in my whole life — I believed it when I was a 22-year-old kid getting arrested in Chicago fighting segregation — I’ve believed it in my whole life.
That we are in this together — not just, not words. The truth is at some level when you hurt, when your children hurt, I hurt. I hurt. And when my kids hurt, you hurt. And it’s very easy to turn our backs on kids who are hungry, or veterans who are sleeping out on the street, and we can develop a psyche, a psychology which is “I don’t have to worry about them; all I’m gonna worry about is myself; I need to make another 5 billion dollars.”
But I believe that what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can’t even understand. It’s beyond intellect. It’s a spiritual, emotional thing. So I believe that when we do the right thing, when we try to treat people with respect and dignity, when we say that that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that, than when we say “hey, this whole world is me, I need more and more, I don’t care about anyone else.” That’s my religion. That’s what I believe in.
And I think most people around the world — whatever their religion, their color — share that belief. That we are in it together as human beings. And it becomes more and more practical. If we destroy the planet because we don’t deal with climate change. Trust me, we are all in it together… and that is what my spirituality is about.”
Rather than using the easy tactic of pandering to religious voters, Sanders has chosen to distinguish himself as perhaps the first electable non-religious candidate in American history.