5 Questions for Candidates on Morality

R. Gustav Niebhur, in today’s On Faith section from WashPost/ Newsweek:

Based on the experience of having lived through the past seven years, I think I can boil down to five the questions I consider important in trying to assess a presidential candidate’s moral grounding. Sure, these overlap with broad religious principles, but they work from a secular standpoint, as well.

First, are you able to admit a mistake and, as a chief executive, take responsibility for it and work humbly to undo any damage resulting from it?

Second, will you listen to others and give thoughtful weight to reasonable arguments with which you may be inclined to disagree?

Third, will you show sufficient curiosity about the world to believe that you can learn from and respond with care to changing global circumstances that affect your fellow citizens?

Fourth, will you demonstrate enough respect to other human beings to be truthful with them, even if that costs you politically?

And finally, will you state categorically that you will not start a war?

I find these questions too suggestive to actually ask or be useful. They also seemed overly based on the GWB years. Here’s a rephrasing from one of the commenters.

Related Post: Presidential Criteria

  1. Could be rephrased to: what major mistakes have you made professionally and what did you do to undo them?
  2. What positions that you felt strongly about did you change after listening to the advice given by others?
  3. What ideas and plans have you implemented based on observations of solutions to problems in other countries?
  4. When have you been completely candid with people at your own personal expense?
  5. What circumstances justify going to war with other countries?

One Response to “5 Questions for Candidates on Morality”

  1. Jason Says:

    Obviously a jab at the Prez. Not helpful. Although I don’t want to see any more President’s start wars; finish them maybe, but not start them. That is unless, you believe Iraq was/is a front on the global war on terror that began on 9/11. I’m still not sure about that one.

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