In a sit-down interview for Odyssey Networks’ special series “Faith in the 2012 Election,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) discussed the intermingling of religion and politics. Among his more unusual comments, he said that Democrats more fervently adhere to the U.S. Constitution than their Republican counterparts. He also took aim at conservatives’ purported lack of generosity, claiming that they think “there’s something wrong with feeding people when they’re hungry.”
“No campaign should be built upon faith,” Clyburn explained at the beginning of the interview, maintaining his strict adherence to the separation of church and state.
The congressman also tackled the main reason why he believes Democrats and Republicans appear to be so different when it comes to their engagement with faith and religion. What he meant here, of course, is that many people view conservatives as more religious than those who find themselves on the left side of the aisle.
“Democrats, by and large, have always been pretty strict adherents to the Constitution,” he said. “We believe in the separation of church and state.”
While Republicans would likely find this assessment offensive, seeing as they, too, see themselves as acting in compliance with the Constitution, Clyburn wasn’t done there. He continued, claiming that those on the right, despite touting God, don’t act in a Christian manner.
“What we’ve gotten from a lot of my Republican friends has been a lot of recitations of their faith, but when it comes time to fulfill what we find in Matthew 25 — do ‘unto the least of these’ — to them there’s something wrong with feeding people when they’re hungry,” he said. “This is not the Christian way that you do things.”
At the end of the video, the congressman circles back to the misuse of faith and claims that it is “abused a whole lot.” But, Clyburn believes this is nothing new, as he reports seeing people take to “the floor of legislatures” to use Bible scriptures to justify slavery.
Watch the controversial comments, below:
These comments come as the Democratic Party is catching negative press for first removing, then reinstating, a reference to “God” in its 2012 platform.