I knew I always liked Arnold’s movies (a guilty pleasure, but my own), but I was distressed that he would be elected governor of my own ex-home-state. But as it turns out, he’s really not so bad in a lot of ways.

A good example…how many other elected Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter…but especially Republicans) would be willing to stand up quite so strongly, and clearly, and unequivocally, for the separation of church and state as this. The Wall of Separation blog at Americans United for Separation of Church and State reports this interview between Schwarzenegger and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

The ABC anchor then moved to religion noting that Schwarzenegger is a Catholic and asking, “How do you reconcile your political positions on abortion, on gay rights, on the death penalty? They’re opposed to the positions of the Catholic Church, the pronouncements of the pope. How do you reconcile that?”

Schwarzenegger said it was “easy” and that he never experienced a “sleepless night” over supposed conflicts between religious dogma he professes to and his political actions.

“I’m representing the people of California,” Schwarzenegger explained. “The people of California, all of them are not Catholics so, therefore, I do not bring in my religion into this whole thing. As a matter of fact, religion should have no effect on politics.”

No effect at all, Stephanopoulos asked.

“I think it should not,” the governor continued. “I mean, if you make a decision, it should not be based on your religious beliefs. It should be based on what is it how can you represent the people of California the best possible way? And we have a combination. We have Jews, we have Christians and we have Hindus. We have Buddhists. We have all kinds of different religions here and there’s 140 some religions in this state.”

Seemingly surprised or somewhat dubious, Stephanopoulos continued, “So your faith plays no role in the forming of your political philosophy?”

“Not for me,” Schwarzenegger said.

Good for you, Arnold!