Experiencing an ethical dilemma? Need advice from a humanist perspective?
Send your questions to The Ethical Dilemma at email@example.com (subject line: Ethical Dilemma).
All inquiries are kept confidential.
Helping a Friend Run on a Christian Ticket: A friend is running for a local office and has asked me for help editing his campaign materials (flyers, speeches, etc.) because I have been a professional writer/editor.
I was appalled to see his number one “qualification” is that if elected, he would institute Christian values. He is aware that I’m not Christian but unaware that I’m also not religious.
I am not a voter in his district, so I can’t vote for or against him, nor would his being elected have any direct impact on me where I live. But I really wouldn’t want him to win, whether his Christian mission were overt or covert. Either way, it’s his overriding agenda.
My thoughts are to just go over his materials for spelling, punctuation, and grammar and leave the ideas up to him. I also believe that where he’s running, his Christian stance will lose him more votes than it will gain. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t stand a chance no matter what he says or doesn’t say.
Is it ethical for me not to advise him to exorcise the Christian stuff from his campaign?
—With Friends Like Me…
What you propose seems exactly on target to me. He asked you for your advice as an editor and writer, not as a political strategist. He clearly identifies with his Christian values, and that’s what he intends to lead with, so why dissuade him from expressing that? It’s preferable for him to win or lose votes based on what he actually stands for, rather than by hiding his true agenda.
If he does win despite or because of his Christian position, however, you might have a new writing job—sending letters to church/state watchdog organizations if he starts instituting prayers and other religious encroachments in the public square or excusing court clerks and pharmacists and bakers from fulfilling their duties due to “religious freedom.” Let’s hope a better candidate wins.