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July 05, 2006

Religion and politics....

Down in the hills of Southwest Missouri, where I grew up, a commonly imparted bit of wisdom was "don't mix religion and politics." Sound advice, on several levels.

The Everyone Loves Hillary discussion on campaign finances has drifted off topic, onto religion and politics. So, ignoring that good advice from Missouri, let's mix them, and try to be civil as we stir. The discussion so far:

Posted by: NMP at June 28, 2006 09:26 PM: Since Clinton and Obama both just came out touting the need to woo back people who celebrate religion and faith where does that take the Party that has unleashed the attack dogs on those of Christian faith over the last several decades? Can either of the two find someone in the party that can woo the Christian voters in the multitudes they seek?


Will they soften their positions on many issues that Christians consider important or will they do as I have heard expressed so far in that they are just rewording the same pitches with Christian happy talk? I do not think happy talk that just pays lip service to issues will get them the voters they are looking for. And what will they do with the ravenous attack dogs that use the Internet and media as a Coliseum for their sacrificial entertainment of the religious faithful. Can or will the rabid in the Party withdraw their fangs when talking on religious points and issues? It is obvious Hillary (who looks like a good candidate) unlike the far left God haters of the party, realizes that advantage and need to draw back the voters lost in the 80’s and 90’s during the Democrat systematic suppression and purge of believers in God. It is evident both her and Obama see the move as crucial to future Presidential elections.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at June 29, 2006 07:45 AM: The article in the D/A seemed to be the standard 'trying to appease the Christian vote' but as suggested, it seems difficult to remain faithful to the Democrat base (which is needed to proceed) and appease the faith community.
Let's face it, the Democrat Party (as Lane Evans showed, by his votes) is the party that is for abortion, taking 'under God' out of the Pledge and gay-marriage (not exactly issues that will give a Christian a warm-fuzzy).
It is one thing to talk faith, it is another to govern in a manner that is consistent with faith (and that will bridge the gap that the Democrat Party seems to have with the faith community).


Posted by: Values Matter at June 29, 2006 11:09 AM: I am a Democrat of faith, a former Little League coach, heavily involved with my kids' education & lives, who resents the constant attempt by right-wingers to paint us as lacking in faith. Every Democrat I know in the Quad Cities adheres to his or her faith. Our very politics -- education, health care, environment -- is guided by our faith.
The last thing I need from conservatives is a lecture on faith.
Posted by: Jim Mowen at June 29, 2006 09:30 PM:
Of course, the question becomes...faith in what? I am talking about being a Christian (which means 'Christ-follower). I do not intend on insulting anyone, but I do not understand how one supports the issues that I mentioned (pro-abortion, taking 'under God' out of the pledge and gay marriage) and can reconcile that with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
You use the same old, "education, healthcare, environment, (and you forgot...war, poverty, etc)" as though Conservatives do not believe in those issues. The fact is that conservative believe in these issues every bit as much as liberals, we just disagree on the route in which our government should be involved - and conservatives tend to believe more in empowering the individual to deal with these issues, rather than relying on government to solve all of our problems.

Posted by: values matter at July 5, 2006 12:58 PM: To Jim Mowen ... I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ by my quiet adherence to faith and values and attending church. I don't need that language in the public dialogue, but nor do I oppose that. That's a false issue. Every Sunday and every day of the week you can follow Christ.
Christ believed in tolerance and diversity and so, therefore, the issue of gay marriage or gay unions should not be so earth shattering.
The real issue of faith is that faith guides the actions of both political parties. Better education, better health care, more tolerance and diversity, stopping child abuse, ending poverty -- those are goals tied directly to faith.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 5, 2006 06:10 PM: 1. Jesus taught many things but nowhere did He teach 'quiet adherence.' He was anything but 'quiet' in what He did.

2. "Christ believed in tolerance and diversity" - He did? Please show me a scripture or two that might lead one to that conclusion (I believe that you will look for a long time). Jesus loved all, as any Christ-follower should do as well, but He did not condone behavior that He found sinful.

3. I have absolutely nothing but agreement with your last statement - every one of the issues that you identify should be addressed by our political leaders (whether they are people of faith or not).


Posted by jcb at July 5, 2006 09:01 PM

Comments


Senator Obama is right on target. The Democratic Party, whose policies are guided by faith, need not run away from professing faith.
Catholics like John Kerry tried to downplay his religion, even though he is devoutly Catholic, and I think he hurt himself in the process. He is a very quiet but devout Catholic -- not one to hang his religion on a lantern for all to see.
Sometimes, as we have seen with folks like Jimmy Swaggert, that kind of hypocrisy is little more than a show.

I find it ironic that in 1960 JFK nearly lost the election because of an anti-Catholic bias in the electorate. But now with the more fervent evangelical/etc. movement we have some politicians rewarded for wearing their religion on their sleeves, with hypocrisy and all. Ralph Reed comes to mind. Most "Christians" would have already withdrawn from a political race, now that he has been found guilty of sleazy and unethical lobbying tactics alongside Jack Abramoff. But apparently Reed feels he's on the right side of Jesus and he will stay in the race,
touting with full hypocrisy his holier than thou
attitude.

As you can tell, I believe the sin of hypocrisy runs rampant with many conservative political activists. And it's all become very nauseating to me.

Posted by: grillmaster deluxe II at July 5, 2006 09:55 PM

Please allow me to quote the Reverend Robin Meyers in her article, "The Sin of Religious Hypocrisy": "Acting religious, looking religious and sounding religious are not the same thing as being religious ... (religious hypocrites) are walking, talking forgeries ... During the frantic and furious impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, a great cry went up in the land from the most powerful religious leaders of the day ... the man who led the charge, Newt Gingrich, was discovered to have been having his own affair with a woman many years younger that had stretched for years (Robert Livingston, Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Baker, Rush Limbaugh, too) ... Oh, the sound and fury of those godly men! It was deafening, and in the end, it was sheer hypocrisy."

Posted by: values matter at July 5, 2006 10:03 PM

Values Matter -- The Rev. Meyers is hardly the first to spot hypocrisy in the public profession of religion.

Quoting Jesus, from St. Matthew: "And when thou prayest, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men...

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to the Father which is in secret ..."

Having read that early in life, I have tended ever since to view politicians who wear their religion on their sleeves as likely hypcrites, and events have more often than not proved that view to be correct.

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, then religion is the next-to-last.



Posted by: jcb at July 5, 2006 11:06 PM

As long as Christians (Christ-followers) exist, there will always be 'hypocrits.' People, each and every one of us, has flaws. This fact should not diminish the reality of Jesus Christ, His teachings, nor His Church.

Of course it would be a wonderful Country if politicians and each one of us (1) understood the faith that we profess (let's face it, a majority of people who attend church each week (or periodically for that matter and call themselves 'people of faith' have never, or rarely, opened a Bible)and (2) lived by the teachings that WE SAY that we believe in.

Our Country needs to look to our Creator for leadership, for a guiding light. We need leadership that is not affraid to do this. However, we need to appreciate that as the stakes get higher, and one puts themselves in the spotlight, one had better be up to the task as the fall is great.

Let's be honest, most of us say we believe in God. Many of us attend church. How many of us bring those beliefs to our day-to-day life or to the polls? We can stop pointing fingers at the hypocrits who lead us and just look in the mirror. When WE start supporting and voting for people who walk the talk, then our leaders will respond.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 6, 2006 07:24 AM

Jim Mowen, you asked for a passage which shows Christ as tolerant and diverse. Here you go. It is from Acts Chapter 10 Verse 28. 'He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.' This is a story in which Peter travels to meet a Roman Centurion.

It's a good story that I read when looking through some passages about homosexuality. The connection between the issues is that while Leviticus prohibits homosexuality, it also prohibits eating anything in water that doesn't have scales and fins (i.e. shrimp, lobster, etc...). This particular story in Acts helps to make eating that stuff a little more tolerable because God tells Peter to eat 'dirty' food.

Anywho, its a nice tie in between a compassionate God and hating homosexuals... Though I am sure that would be a whole new topic.

Posted by: Robbie at July 6, 2006 11:06 AM

Cut to the chase in all of this and it's the Mowens and others of the world who simply want to impose THEIR particular morality and version of "faith" on all others.

There is certainly no dictate saying that a woman having the choice of what to do with her life and to make reproductive choices is immoral or even wrong. That's simply a moral or religious judgement by individuals.

Clearly, a majority does not agree with making it illegal, so the Mowens of the world want to gain office and impose their will on all.

This is where the problems and the danger appears.

And to bring up the utterly ridiculous issue of supposedly removing "under God" from the pledge, a pledge, I might add, which got along just fine for about 70 years WITHOUT the words "under God" in it. (That phrase was inserted in the 30's I believe) as some illustration of how Democrats lack faith is ... well, ridiculous.

Democrats don't lack faith or religious values, period, end of story. To even suggest otherwise is to be willfully ignorant and is nothing but a political ploy.

Mowen says that Republicans value the rights of the individual.

No they don't.

The Democrats value the right of the individual to make their own choices in matters of religion, morality, and ethics. The majority of the country supports preserving that vital freedom.

But not the right.

This is where the trouble begins.

Those who were regarded as "kooks" a few decades ago have now hijacked the government and are attempting to convince all of us that what was plainly a bad idea for hundreds of years is somehow now imperitive.

Legislating moral issues where there is clearly no consensus has never worked, and to think it will now is folly.

Posted by: TID at July 6, 2006 04:45 PM

Mr. Mowen, is publishing libel something a "Christ follower" does?

Posted by: Injured party at July 6, 2006 04:51 PM

How in the world can anyone talk rationally with a so-called "Christian" when they use such phrases as "the Party that has unleashed the attack dogs on those of Christian faith over the last several decades" (pure fantasy)

"the ravenous attack dogs that use the Internet and media as a Coliseum for their sacrificial entertainment of the religious faithful." (they entertain the faithful??? "sacrificial entertainment"? What's that?)

"rabid in the Party withdraw their fangs" (they've dehumanized anyone who doesn't believe as they do.)

"Democrat systematic suppression and purge of believers in God." (again, pure ignorance)

and my personal favorite, accusing the left as being "God haters".

There can't be anything short of absolute theocracy to satisfy someone who's slipped so far away from reality as to be safely labeled irrational.

Posted by: TID at July 6, 2006 04:58 PM

If we are talking about God's compassion, then there is no disagreement.

If we are talking about Jesus' tolerance, then we have a whole different issue. Your scripture reference is just off base, all that was being discussed here (and it was Peter speaking, not Jesus) was that he was told by God that no animal that He made should be considered unclean and that all people are welcome into His kingdom (as until then only Jews were considered worthy). And all people are welcomed, alcoholics, homosexuals, thieves, even murderers (David Berkowitz has been a Christian for some time).

However, to assume that this means that Jesus, or God, is tolerant towards sin - well that is just way off base.

Read Matthew 5 - 7 (Sermon on the Mount), Jesus is quite clear his tollerance level.

For further reading, please go to - http://christian-perspective.blogspot.com

Thank you

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 6, 2006 05:14 PM

TID, I just don't have the desire to argue with you - please believe what you want.

Injured party - I don't have a clue as to what you are refering to - 'libel' - who, what, where?

Other than that, arguing religion, faith, bible is indeed a losing proposition, especially when one has no idea who they are arguing with or what that persons agenda is. I have no problem discussing facts of the bible, however, if you want to lump every Christian into a group and throw an issue out, well, I really do not have an interest in arguing with anyone who only wants to push a specific (ultra-liberal) position. Thanksm but no thanks.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 6, 2006 09:23 PM

Jim Mowen, I felt much more at ease having read your blog. My passage was not intended to be a cure-all for this issue. I am sorry you do not like it. To me the story is about Peter accepting the roman regardless of his faults. I actually think the 35th verse backs it up But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. There at the end of the chapter Peter says as long as the Roman has received the holy spirit that he deserves to be baptized. Is that not a pretty definitive example of someone who doesn't technically fit into the mold of 'christian' being accepted as one? I would argue the same could be said of the issue with homosexuals. That as long as they have received christ or the holy spirit that they should have a rightful place in 'gods kingdom.'

You also play some semantics about who is talking in the story and whether its god or jesus being compassionate and I feel they really are nothing more than semantics. If you assume the value in the writing of Matthew that you quoted then shouldn't you also assume that acts is also valid as the word of god? Peter had just been spoken to by god but I didn't feel like quoting the whole chapter. So I only quoted the verse that happened to be from Peters perspective.

Posted by: Robbie at July 7, 2006 08:54 AM

Why does religious faith have any place in campaigns? Issues, problems, solutions. That's what I am interested in. I don't care if my elected officials pray or not. Just get the job done and don't bash the other guys because they pray to some other god, or don't pray at all.
I am impressed with ability, honesty, energy, experience, and willingness to learn and listen. A candidate who spends time telling me about his or her religion instead is a complete no-go.

Posted by: Vita at July 7, 2006 04:32 PM

Vita, the reason religion has an important factor in politics is because many of the issues, problems, and solutions you refer to deal with religion. Many have differing opinions based on religious views. Many times solutions differ based on religious background. Religion is a pillar that most people build their opinions about issues on. It is almsot impossible to seperate the 2 things in my opinion.

Not to mention the whole slant of people liking to vote for candidates that share their religious faith and views. As grillmaster noted previously, it is very interesting that 40 years ago being religious almost cost JFK an election but not being ultra religious is a pre-requisite for running for office.

Posted by: Robbie at July 7, 2006 06:31 PM

Jim,
You can't argue with me. That's plain.

Secondly, if you want to have essentially a bible study class and have any discussion premised on the fact that not only is the Bible the word of God and infallable, but that your particular interpretation of it is also the only "truth", then of course, there's no discussion to be had.

This proves the point that religion and politics have been, are, and always will be a very bad mix in as much as it's used specifically as a way to judge others.

When you have your head stuck in the religious sand, so to speak, then you're truly and well stuck. There's no talking to a person like that.

I'd defend your right to believe as you choose to the end. But likewise, under no circumstances should a person be so arrogant as to assume that they possess the only real 'truth' in matters of morality, and use that as a basis from which to impose those beliefs on the rest of the country by legal and other means.

For instance, you can feel that homosexuality is a sin. That's fine. If you can hold those beliefs and live your life without harming anyone else, that's perfectly fine.

Some people think flouridated water is a commie plot. That's their right.

But for you to assume that Dems lack religious faith because they choose to let others live their lives as they choose, and that two people who are in a loving and committed relationship should have the same right to be miserable as the rest of us heterosexuals is simply wrong.

What is clear is that you base your agruments on your religious beliefs. But you seem to willfully disregard the fact that not everyone holds your particular beliefs. And not only that, on several of your pet issues, the majority disagrees.

So what are you and others arguing for in suggesting that Dems are "God haters" and the rest? That they stand in the way of imposing fundementalist Christian dictates on the country, and indeed the world?

The attempt to do so carrys with it real harm done to millions, as in the case of food and medical aid to millions of needy people in Africa being withheld because the use of condoms was part of the program.

In many instances, it's crossed the line into insanity without even a passing resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. (and again, what those teachings are is subject to infinite debate)

While millions may have their own personal religious faith, there simply is no absolute religious truth in the world. To try to pursue political goals as if there is is a doomed and ultimately destructive effort and the nation as well as the entire world would be well rid of it.

It's a shame you have no interest in arguing these matters, as I'd like to hear more about the vengeful Jesus you suggest.

Posted by: TID at July 8, 2006 05:05 AM

Actually TID it was my post that used the "God Haters" - "attack dogs" and blunt Party criticism terminology, not Mowens. And though the analysis may be harsh, it has been well earned over the last several decades. Though the Democratic Party does have many members with strong faith connections, the Party itself has over the last several decades alienated much of the religious faithful and caused many to leave the Party. A large section of my family was among those who left the Party during the Reagan Democrats exodus; many had been Party members and loyalists longer than half of a century dating back to before the FDR legacy. They left because they felt disregarded by the Party and its extreme left platforms. And something I have observed about those who have stayed is that they are treated like the black sheep of the Democrat Party family. It is all right for them to have faith in their chosen religion, but not for them to express their faith especially in concerns that defy any of the Party Platforms. In that concern they are expected to keep their mouths closed or expect to have the Party Attack Dogs to rip them to shreds, verbally. Even now you will find many on the Internet in the Party ripping on Obama over his expression that the Party needs to reach out to the religious faithful.

Now I have never officially left the Party as most of my family has, not because of any undying loyalty, but because I see few differences in either Party's work ethics or morality. And thank you for intimating I am a Christian for my observations, though I am not sure your assessment of my persona or my general lifestyle would qualify me as a Christian in the eyes of the church. I do believe in God and Christ but I am not a big supporter of many organized religions institutions. But then again I have become even more disillusioned with either political party and their disingenuous approaches to politics. But I also realize you were just trying to use the word "Christian" as an insult as has become the practice of many in the Democrat Party; something I was commenting on in the Hillary discussion and the reason for my original post. But in truth at this point in my life I am more of an outsider looking in at the current conflict between the Party and the religious faithful. And my observations are quite correct and supported by many statements made by those in the Party. I have witnessed on local and national boards many of the local Democratic supporters literally trash anyone who expresses concerns of faith then turn around and imply "we" don't need you in "our" Party or our Government. And the first words out of the mouth of the Posters often imply that they must be Republican if they have faith in God. Yet many of them were probably part of "our" Party long before many of the "we" were even born. So don't try and ignore the current purge of the Christians from the Party, it is real and I have witnessed it through my family and through personal attacks on Christians on Democratic boards. For your viewing enjoyment I will post a few of the unfettered and often board supported "Democratic God Hating" personal attacks on Christians and religion in general that I have read, actually most of them come from sites I have linked to from your board. Enjoy:
*************************************************************************************************

Need your help in destroying Christianity

Christianity as it stands needs to go.
The church is an abomination, and would be an offense to Jesus.

I meditate on the utter destruction of Christianity every moment of the day... I have always felt that organized religion is a way to steal money from simpletons, and I will do everything I can to utterly kill the movement.

But I for one, as a former forced brainwashed victim of "Xtian" values, will never stop wanting, desiring and hoping to destroy the Christian church.

Christianity is evil, and no one who observes it deserves any respect. It's a terrible, evil, fundamentalist religion.

May the organized, criminal, suck-money-out-of-fools Christian religious scam be destroyed.
*************************************************************************************************

(on obamas speech)

In this country 70% of the people beleive in the devil. Some 70% or more beleive that that Bible is largely accurate and the divine word of God. 10% think Jews have too much power and somewhere around 30% believes that an apocalypse will happen in their life time. Do we really want to pull ourselves closer to these people?

I do hate religion.

Religion is an inherently un democratic system ruled over by an autocratic monarch. It's existence polutes the nauture of our supposed democracy and inevitably empowers our conservative enemy.
************************************************************************************************
(and one I agree with unfortunately for that person no one else in the forum really seemed to care about their expression)
I am Christian. I don't expect everyone to be a Christian. I don't make fun of those who aren't Christians. I don't mock them, I don't belittle them, and I don't believe that they are any less intelligent than myself. What I ask in return is the same. I don't want to be mocked for being a Christian, I don't want to be belittled, and I don't want people to tell me that they are more intelligent than I because I have faith and they don't.


Posted by: NMP at July 8, 2006 01:56 PM

TID, you are exactly correct, there are many religions and many beliefs. However, you were quoting the Christian Bible and I only wanted to help with the right Christian interpretation (one can find any one of 100 different 'bible commentaries' to identify this, the bible 'interpretation' that I stated is not my own, but the agreed upon understanding of the verse that you sited).

In my opinion, there are two primary problems with the organized Christian faith, (1) most people do not take the time to investigate and study the scriptures, and (2) people allow the Church itself to be irrelevent as they mistakenly think that they are God.

TID, you are correct, God welcomes all into His Kingdom, the drunk, the murderer, the pedaphile, the theif, the liar, the homosexual, the...however, do not think for a moment that by doing so He condones sin - these are two entirely different issues.

--------------------------------------------------

Vita, as all but one of the signers of the Declaration of Independance was a Christian (of some denomination) and as this Country was founded with the specific and direct intent on being a Christian nation (please do not argue this, just read the documents) and as most of the problems of this Country are of a more moral nature, religion has an incredibly large place in politics. I do agree with you though, when a politician is using religion, is hypocritical with his/ her faith, this is incredibly ugly.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 9, 2006 06:56 AM

I can only say that pulling a few misguided posts off of some discussion board is hardly a basis for assuming that they represent the Democratic party, the left wing of the party, or anything other than the few people who wrote them.

To suggest otherwise is to be dishonest and tar an entire group with the views of a few.

I can assure you that those views you quote are not representative of anyone that I've ever talked with, nor have I read such things in thousands of comments on popular liberal blogs.

Posted by: TID at July 9, 2006 09:06 AM

Jim -- yes, most all the founders believed in the almighty, but I don't see a single word anywhere in the constitution that says anything about Christianity; that is, when all those god-fearing men agreed on a plan for civil government they left religion out of it beyond saying that people could practice it however they pleased. That's because they all believed that the state has no part meddling in religion.

Robbie -- The ideals of most religions and the ideals of civil government are very close to the same, but they're hardly a perfect match.

One aspect of American history is the never-ending attempt by this denomination or that combination of denominations to impose the tenets of their religion on everyone through the use of the civil power. From Sunday blue laws through choice, and everywhere in between, the righteous would impose their beliefs on the rest of us.

The fear that Kennedy would impose Catholic doctrine explains much of the opposition to him. Some of the parishioners at the Protestat church I attended were completely convinced that Kennedy would do on any matter whatever the pope ordered him to do.

I'm with Vita -- I'm not much interested in a candidates religion, unless they start talking about it too much.

Posted by: jcb at July 9, 2006 11:15 PM

John, of course the Constitution did not mention Christianity, because the issue was not 'seperation of Church and State' which is an invented phrase found no where in any 18th-Century document - it was FREEDOM OF RELIGION, not freedom FROM religion.

And, I would suggest that you re-read the Constitution, they certainly did not leave religion (faith) out of it (although they did leave out denominations, which, I agree, they were correct in doing so).

As for leaving faith out of the public discourse, well, I believe that by doing so over the last 40+/- years, we certainly have not improved our (national) condition.

Our schools are worse off over the last 40-years.
Our crime is worse ove rthe last 40-years.
Our poor are worse off over the last 40-years.
Our country is indeed going the wrong direction...maybe it is time to be a little more interested in a candidates religion.

Not being interested certainly is not solving our problems.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 10, 2006 08:42 AM


Jim,

It's the policies public officials pursue, not their religion. Some of our best public officials over time have been excellent at what they do and practiced their faith quietly and out of the public eye. This kind of hanging a lantern on one's religion makes me very uncomfortable as it opens the door to the hypocrites and opportunists. I share you concern about our need to do better in education, health care, crime, deficit reform, etc. I just think we need smart and effective public policymakers to get the job done.

Posted by: values matter at July 10, 2006 11:07 AM

Sorry TID but the posts I put forth were not off some small obscure blog. And though I think that most members in the Democratic Party are fair and reasonable people, I also think the same of most members of the Republican Party. But the Problem with both Parties is that they are filled with attack dogs that rip apart individual dissenting from Party Platform and Ranks. Several of the pasted posts were off a Democrat forum that has more members than some towns have population. And that forum is so large that it has multiple moderators that delete and curb topics gone over the edge. Several of the harsher were out of one topic with over 80 posts. And all but 3 or 4 of those 80 plus posts were either taking the time to backslap the poster for a good job done or join in the chorus of Christian bashing. And at least one of the posts, which tried to bring temperance to the Christian bashing, asked the moderators to step in. They either ignored the request or agreed with the direction of the posts as they neither deleted any of the posts nor made a comment asking for restraint. And in my travels around the Internet it has become common for me to come across such posts. One popular way of bashing on the Christians is to slur the name by calling them “xtians” in which the “x” is used as a play on the definition of Christos. That is nothing less than bigotry, similar to a phrase many in this country transformed from the word Hispanic into a slur. And though I do not recall running across any such usage locally, many national posters now use the word freely in some of the larger Democratic forums as a name for Christians and it is rare that I have seen any on the blogs or forums chastise those who use the term. Actually I see many Democrat posters rush to the support of those that use the slur in an attempt to justify the terms usage. And if a poster does make a statement against the bigotry, often they are attacked and maligned themselves. Right after Obama made his speech on reaching out to Christians, a fairly busy blog site which I normally find very professional in their approach to the problem, had members professing the need for all Progressive Liberals to split from the Democrat Party if a movement of Christian recognition revived in the Party. They could not allow themselves to brush shoulders with active Christians. Perhaps part of the problem comes from the need for many in both Parties to remove their own blinders when it comes to bigotry. Here is a post by and from “The Inside Dope” which I found very bigoted in its condemnation of a young individual that the media ran a fluff piece about:


[[Ugh! (name deleted by NMP), a "devoted Christian", is apparently following the "What would Jesus do?" credo and planning to major in economics and financial management.
Apparently Jesus has also taught him that he should be a leader in the party of anti-gay, anti-imigrant, anti-minority bigots, and lead the charge for ever increasing spending on endless war, the elimination or starvation of social programs for the poor and needy, accelerated decimation of the environment, and the rapid expansion of the already enormous gulf between rich and poor in the U.S. and the world. No doubt Jesus is tickled pink with this fine young footsoldier for Christ.]]


Not only does it attempt to make the statement (by highlighting passages) that, he, as a Christian and a Republican is evil, it uses circular logic to attempt to trash the individual and blame him for the world’s trials and tribulations. And it goes on to trash the Republican Party as if they were the only party that has a stronghold on bigotry and hate. As someone with strong ties to Democratic members and individuals in Democratic leadership I can assure you that the Republicans are not the only Party rift with bigotry, racial or otherwise. As a WASP with many ethnic acquaintances an observation I have found extremely disturbing the last few years is that most of my family and associates in the Democratic Party are more immediate to outbursts of bigotry in my presence than those in the Republican Party. Sadly both Parties allow and ignore bigotry within their respective Social Gatherings. As far as my observations have seen, both parties lack the ability to see past their own arrogance, greed and hate for anyone or anything that doesn’t fit the mold of what they see through Party blinders. Both Parties need a huge spanking as too many members just spout party rhetoric when it comes to issues and overlook and discount bigotry when it suits their agenda.

Posted by: NMP at July 10, 2006 02:45 PM

As I said, we had be get back to what worked before, because if we hang around and wait for "smart and effective public policy" we are doomed!

Let's face reality, "public policy" is what has these issues messed up. I know that it is difficult for a (partisan) Democrat to agree with this, but I do believe that a faith-based, personal responsibility perspective to government, with an eye on the overall public good and 'assisting' our fellow man, rather than government having the ultimate responsibility and 'enabling' the individual - is much needed.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 10, 2006 03:10 PM


NMP, you make some sense in terms of the extreme wings of both parties that practice the politics of incivility and name calling and ideological purity.

In Connecticut right now an incumbent U.S. Senator who has been liberal on a ful range of issues, from the environment to civil rights to women's rights to pro-choice to gun control to you name it, is being targeted for defeat on one issue -- the war. Now, I'm not hear to belittle the importance of the war in judging candidates.
That is one important screen through which to judge candidates, but it is one screen only.

Lieberman has a long and strong tradition of being on the progressive side of a full range of social, economic and foreign policy issues. My opposition is to the tone of his opposition. Run against Joe, fine, but don't try to play this purity game, I'm a better Democrat game, because of one position. It's offensive, quite frankly, and will lead to a disintegration of the Democratic party ala 1972 and the McGovern wing. We should be a big tent party. Shame on us if we aren't.

Posted by: values matter at July 10, 2006 03:39 PM


Jim,

Couldn't disagree with you more. In government, in the public arena, it's smart and effective public policies that constitute good government.
What you're talking about is faith-based initiatives, which may be part of smart and effective public policies. You're talking about more responsible parenting which should help smart and effective policymakers because good policy alone can't solve all our problems.

But we know what happens when folks who don't know how to govern are in charge. Take a look at Washington right now. FEMA. Largest deficits in American history. Etc.

You can't just run against government and then expect to be able to govern. Doesn't work that way.

I want smart and effective policymakers at every level of government. That's how to get the best bang for my buck as a taxpayer, and that's hopefully how best to solve our problems.

Posted by: values matter at July 10, 2006 04:28 PM

Barak Obama has another article about how his faith affects his politics in USA Today.

so I have to ask values matter, robbie, injured party, TID and jcb, specifically because he said that he was not interested in a candidates' religion "unless they start talking about it too much."

So, I'm asking the left-wingers here, is Obama talking about religion "too much"? Please give us a metric at to what is "too much" religion.

Posted by: paladin at July 10, 2006 05:09 PM


Hi Paladin.

Good question.

I am in favor of Senator Obama establishing the fact that for most Democrats personal faith helps guide our policies and our politics. That's a good point to make. And, politically, that's a good point to make because Rove and Co. have helped persuade some Americans Democrats are ye of little faith. Democrats I know let faith guide their policies. Obama is right on target.

Now, as for the metric scale of comfort on this issue ... if Obama gets up every day and talks this 24-7 I will start wondering what's up.

Posted by: values matter at July 10, 2006 05:40 PM

Ok, 'Values Matter' let's fill in the obvious blank...please provide a little backbone to what you feel has been "smart and effective public policies" over the past 20-years - I certainly can't think of any in the past 20-years. And, as I believe that you would agree, IF you can think of even one or two, these are becoming non-existant in today's political climate. I see no reason that these will be possible in our world of self-centered, get-me-reelected, politicians. Our only hope is politicians that understand 'servant-leadership', integrity and sacrafice - these are qualities that, I believe, are impossible for politicians outside of faith (and history would be on my side here).

All we have had (specific to recent 'public policy') is public handouts with little, if anything, expected in return. Our 'smart and effective government' has done absolutely nothing to promote self-reliance, self-respect and personal responsibility.

I am in no way speaking of faith-based initiatives (although they seemed to carry this country quite well for 150+/- years until we decided that we needed 'big-brother' to pay people for doing nothing), I am talking about government working towards reasonable reasonable policies that promote self-reliance, self-respect and personal responsibility.

Unfortunately, as faith has been quietly dismissed from our national agenda, so have these much needed qualities.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 10, 2006 09:51 PM

Jim Mowen -- Whenever the phrase 'separation of Church and State' was first used, that was precisely the goal of the First Amendment, which concerning religion says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

State-established religions, and their accompanying persecutions of those who adhered to some other faith had long proved their evil; avoiding that evil was, again, precisely the intent of the first phrase of the First Amendment.

The phrase "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion" is a bumper-sticker slogan that gains no coherency with repetition.

Unless you're willing to argue that "freedom of religion" commands adherence to some religion then the phrase does provide freedom from religion to those who prefer no church.

Paladin -- If politicians want to write articles and conduct seminars about the need to be more sensitive to religious sentiment, they can talk about it all they want.

But when they come around asking for my vote, anything more than "I'm a Lutheran...Baptist" or whatever is talking too much about religion.

There isn't a Baptist way or a Catholic way to solve the healthcare cunundrum; there isn't a Pentacostal way or a Lutheran way to deciding how much should be spent on defense; there isn't a Methodist way or an athiest way to decide whether to drill in the Artic.

Religion is irrelevant to the issues that must be dealt with by civil government.


Posted by: jcb at July 10, 2006 10:59 PM

I do agree there is a fine line between enforcing one's religious doctrines and allowing your faith to guide you in making decisions. But too many people spend too much time trying to classify the difference in decision-making policies or personal beliefs. I will give an example of encountered problems that have come up over the couple of years that I have been posting on forums. I am an Anti-Abortion believer except in the case of a danger to the mother's life. That is a very unpopular stance with both Abortion rights camp. I do make any claim otherwise or shell out obfuscating terms like Pro-Life of Pro-Choice. Never once in any of my forum posts on any board, including multinational boards, have I intentionally used religious overtones to describe my stand against abortion or any other social issue. I always choose generic and/or scientific terms to describe my stand and proofread to remove questionable wording. Yet every time I have posted an assessment of my thoughts on the subject of abortion on any board or forum, someone and/or often several individuals would vilify me as a fanatic Christian attempting to force my religion and its beliefs down the throats of non-believers. Now this always angers and humors me because all though I do take conservative views on many issues I always attempt to use the same lack of religious overtones rationale and general terminology to support my more liberal observations concerning the need for this country to have a stronger national infrastructure to assist the homeless, hungry, poor and our children who wish to seek advanced educations. Those same people who see and vilify me a Christian fanatic in my generic Anti-Abortion stance often slap me on the back and talk of progressive liberal brotherhood when I take a stance for better government policy for the poor and middle class. This is a name I chose to talk politics in because politics talk often gets down and dirty and I do not like to have my political beliefs label my social commentary as a liberal, moderate or conservative. Like most people I am one and all of the before mentioned. The is a difference in my use of wording for my social stances and that is I post under other names when I post on my conservative leaning issues and my liberal leaning issues. I purposely attempt to keep my wording generic and religion free when talking on social issues I consider divisive along the lines of Conservatism and Liberalism. Yet both political parties still categorize me in one fashion or another. The Democrat leaning forums will often vilify me as a Nazi, a right wing fanatic, or Christian fanatic. The Republican leaning forums will often call me a leftwing socialist and bleeding heart. So much hate in all out Political Problems and issues, you would think that hate could be put to better use in solving our Country's problems. But my feelin is that too often the hate for Political Opposition cheats us from the ability to solve issues.

Posted by: NMP at July 11, 2006 05:26 AM

John,

I agree with you 100% on the fact that the Constitution states that the "Congress shall make no law..."

However, as not only our founding fathers, but our entire government, placed Christianity ('Creator', Moses, the 10-Commandments) in the fundamental documents of this Country and on the buildings throughout our Nations Capitol, I believe that your perspective is a little tainted by a personal agenda. Clearly, the Constitution states "make no law" with the understanding that they were discussing a national denomination (such as the 'Church of England') and is not speaking about the United States being a 'faith-free zone' - as the courts apparently would like to see.

Yes, the phrase that I used is a nice bumper sticker, but it is also an accurate representation of what is taking place in this country through the courts.

In reality, I do not care if there is prayer in school. Let's face it, if we are not praying with our kids at home, them praying in school is not an issue. In addition, any child (or adult) can pray anywher ethat they desire.

I do not care if there is a nativity scene at City Hall. If everyone who calls themselves a Christian placed a nativity scene (or lighted Cross) in their front yard during the Christmas holiday, then the City Hall issue is mute.

I feel for you if you truely believe that religion is irrelevant to the issues of this country. At the same time, I do appreciate the fact that this mis-guided thinking is brought about by a church that is more concerned with homosexuality than it is with issues that are far more relevant to the man on the street.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 11, 2006 07:55 AM


NMP, you make some good points. There is too much hate and vitriol expressed in our political debate. That helps polarize and divide people which undermines our ability to work toward the common good and toward the implementation of smart and effective public policies which serve our civil society.

We see that on blogs, we see that in campaigns, we see that in Congress and, regretfully, we see that tone generated by leaders of faith who seek to divide and polarize.

The wings of both parties -- on the left, on the right -- rarely help us work toward the common good. They tear at the fabric of our attempt at a civil discussion. I think this site achieves something positive in that regard.

Posted by: values matter at July 11, 2006 10:06 AM

I wish to echo values matter's comments (on NMP comment). We all can get too positional and fan the flames of disagreement, rather than searching for common ground from which to build from.

Posted by: Jim Mowen at July 11, 2006 10:15 AM