Recently, Bernie Sanders was asked whether he is religious. He said, “Yes, I am religious. When a child is hungry, it really bothers me. When a child can’t get the medication he needs because his parents don’t have insurance, it bothers me. When people are oppressed and discriminated against, it bothers me.”

Years ago, when I decided to become a physician, I was asked by a medical school interviewer why I wanted to become a doctor. I answered, “I want to help people.” The interviewer, a research chemist, then spent the next hour telling me how research chemists also help people. One month later, one of the most important, happiest experiences in my life (ranking up there with marriage and the births of my children) occurred. I was accepted to medical school.

Helping others is really what religion and being a good person is all about. It’s not about pandering to the religious right who HATE everyone who doesn’t agree with them and donates huge amounts of money to the candidates who can hate along with them.

Wouldn’t it be a relief to truly separate church and state, as our constitution espouses, and focus on making our country a place where we once again can spend our energy taking care of each other?

23 thoughts on “I LOVE THAT BERNIE SANDERS IS NOT A PUPPET TO ORGANIZED RELIGION, by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

  1. Art, my comment wasn’t “barbed” it was asking whether you were aware of something. <>
    Seems to me, the original point of your post was to praise Bernie Sanders for not pandering to those who question his religion. I’m fine with that. And I like Bernie, too. But to imply that everyone in the “helping” professions is some kind of saint is, in my opinion, extremely dangerous.

    Some drugs do “good.” Others, not so much. Everything is not clear cut and simple when it comes to “good” and “doing good.”


    1. Hi Susan; Everyone in the helping professions a saint? I don’t think so; not for a second. I fully agree that some drugs are good and some horrible. Sorry you found my post somewhat offensive. Anyway, best wishes.


  2. Art, you have revised the old left wing propaganda that the religious right hates and only the liberals (Progressives and Socialists) care about widows, children and the down trodden. There are a lot of reasons why this just isn’t true. There are two great documents that have been written based on the human experience and have been tested over time by the greatest minds, the Bible and the Constitution. You make a mistake in putting all religious people into the “hate” category knowing, of course, that there are secular (non religious) people who hate those who don’t believe the same things as they do as well. Regarding the Constitution and the separation of church and state you have again bit into the apple of propaganda. Religion has nothing to do with the question of Bernie Sanders’ or anyone’s qualifications to be president.


    1. Bing, you have made a mistake in labeling the Bible and the Constitution as “two great documents.” Perhaps you should say, “two great documents written by men, one of which forcefully attempts to blame women for the ills of the world.” See “Eve tempted Adam”. What the male dominated religious folks hate the most is uppity women, who believe their talents and intelligence and capabilities should be valued as much as a man’s and their place in the world should NOT be below men but rather equal to them.


  3. Let’s leave religion out of it altogether. Being a good person involves helping others, when you can. Sometimes it just involves taking care of yourself the best way you can (without hurting others, of course, that goes without saying.) Art, I hope that your definition of “helping others” includes creative work, not just work in the “helping professions.” Not all of us grew up wanting to be a doctor. Just my 2 cents worth.


      1. True, Art, but what I’d like to see is an acknowledgment that there are many ways to do “good” in the world. Reading a book might take a person’s mind off a difficulty, if only for a few hours. This is an interesting and provocative post, but perhaps you could better define what you mean by “taking care of each other.”


      2. Just to add another provocative “something to think about.” Art, were you aware that in the late 19th century, many medical doctors believed women should not attend college because this would have an adverse impact on their reproductive organs and their ability to have children. Were those doctors being “helpful” to women? Or to the men who wanted the women to stay home and have babies?


      3. Not sure why your comment is so barbed, but to answer your question, I think anyone who takes away a woman’s power and strength is horrible. Any doctor, lawyer, politician or anyone who does that should be ashamed and punished.


  4. Art,

    Usually I have something else to add but you’ve nailed it on the head with this one. I’m usually not at a loss for words.



  5. What so many don’t realize is that you do not have to be religious to want to help people. You only have to realize that you are human and open your heart to love your fellow human beings. Placing labels of types of religion/political affiliation/corporate affiliation/town or city means nothing compared to being human and understanding what it means to be human. Bernie is the closest to that in today’s political field.


  6. It is nice that Sanders feels for people… but saying or implying that all ‘religious right’ hate all others is bs. A true Christian (and I say Christian because that is what is implied again by the religious right comment) does not hate anyone; the bible says to hate the sin, not the sinner.

    It also says to feed the poor, cloth the children, etc, as is implied in the article. But, it says for the individual to do that from his own want / need, not to give to ‘Caesar’ and expect the government to do it. If they were efficient at anything they would not be paying $500 for hammers and toilet seats.

    I do believe there needs to be a ‘floor’ where government programs are available to help people, but traditional socialism and current government programs take the human desire to better themselves out of the equation and produce people that can’t get off of the helpful programs because they end up being in a worse financial situation.


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