Posts by Beth Dahlman

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We have a winner!

July 6, 2011, 4:04 pm | By Beth Dahlman

Over the last week Nick has been posting about our fantastic finalists for America’s Next Top Faith Voice.

Today, we are thrilled to announce our winner is Rev. Nicole Lamarche!

Ordained in the United Church of Christ, Nicole is currently starting a congregation in Silicon Valley. She’s a former Miss California who is now an advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD and for a more just economy and now she’ll be an advocate for progressive people of faith in the media.

Here’s Nicole’s application video:

Faithful America’s bringing Nicole to Washington, DC, for extensive media and politics training, and our top-notch media team stands ready to amplify her voice. If you’d like to support Nicole and Faithful America in their efforts you can make a donation here.

Thanks to all who voted!

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Rick Scott’s Anti-Life Budget Cuts

June 1, 2011, 4:43 pm | By Beth Dahlman

rick scott.jpgWhatever your definition of “pro-life” is, cutting funding for programs aimed at reducing infant mortality certainly doesn’t fit.

But that didn’t seem to stop Gov. Rick Scott (who campaigned on his pro-life credentials) from cutting nearly $2 million in health services for at-risk women and children, in addition to vetoing life-saving tests for newborns.

Ironically, some of the main referrers to the Healthy Start program are crisis pregnancy centers beloved by the traditional anti-abortion movement (and whose funding Scott preserved).

Because Healthy Start Coalitions service at-risk mothers, they receive a lot of referrals from crisis pregnancy centers in Florida. These pregnancy centers aim to dissuade women from receiving abortions (and they have been found to use medically inaccurate information to do so). Once a crisis pregnancy center convinces at-risk women to keep their pregnancy, they can only receive care from a place such as Healthy Start.

Family planning and aid for women that would reduce unintended pregnancies in the state were also slashed in this year’s budget.

While these priorities might please the ideologues, it’s unlikely to advance the goal of what most pro-lifers say they really want: more healthy babies and families.

As Marianne Mollman, women’s rights advocacy director at Human Rights Watch notes in her thoughtful piece on abortion policy:

If policymakers want to make policy that has some impact on how frequently abortion is used, they should look to research on the social, economic, and health factors that affect a woman’s ability to plan her pregnancy in the first place. That is what makes the difference.

Unfortunately, Gov. Scott chose to do the opposite. And the women, children and families of Florida will suffer for it.

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Paul Ryan Needs New Reading Material

May 25, 2011, 4:01 pm | By Beth Dahlman

bibles.jpgPaul Ryan is a huge Ayn Rand fan. He credits her with inspiring him to become a politician. He said she did a “fantastic” job explaining “the morality of individualism” and, it seems, she inspired his budget proposal, which guts key programs that help struggling families (Rand believed everybody should fend for themselves – altruism is actually “evil” in her philosophy.)

Puzzlingly, Ryan is actually defending his budget in terms of his Roman Catholic faith – even trying to claim the Catholic bishops support his plan to take away assistance to poor children and the elderly when they have, in fact, criticized it.

Ryan’s claims just don’t hold water. As Rand herself pointed out many times, her worldview is entirely at odds with Christianity and all other faiths that teach concern for others.

Since Ryan clearly needs to brush up on his theology, Faithful America is asking Ryan to put down Ayn Rand and pick up the Bible. For every 1,000 petition signatures we collect we’ll hand-deliver one Bible to Ryan’s DC office and maybe toss in a Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church for good measure.

Ryan is entitled to his own political philosophy and theology, but he’s not entitled to pass off Randian, cruel budget cuts as examples of Christian charity without somebody calling him on the contradiction.

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Bin Laden’s Death and the American Muslim Community

May 3, 2011, 6:17 pm | By Beth Dahlman

muslims protest terrorism.jpgSince news of Osama bin Laden’s death, American Muslims have expressed relief and hope for the post-bin Laden world:

“It’s the best thing that has happened. Everyone is celebrating,” said Sam Elhaf, 44, capturing the mood in Dearborn, Michigan, the largest U.S. Muslim community.

“This is a good day for Muslims everywhere,” said Mahmood Rahman, a New York City cab driver.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council said the democratic protests that have shaken the Middle East in recent months have exposed bin Laden’s violent message as bankrupt.

“We hope this is a turning point away from the dark period of the last decade, in which bin Laden symbolized the evil face of global terrorism,” said its president, Salam Al-Marayati.

Comments like these reflect the unique impact bin Laden’s terrorism had on the American Muslim community. As the always insightful Ta-Nehisi Coates puts it:

Stories like this strike me, all at once, as necessary and insulting… Muslims must show their joy at Bin Laden’s death to be official. The problem isn’t the joy, but that the joy isn’t assumed. The “enemy within” narrative lurks beneath the need to point out that Bin Laden was a killer of Muslims, or that Bin Laden doesn’t represent “true” Islam.

Since the 9/11 attacks, American Muslims (and other groups such as Sikhs) have lived under a cloud of suspicion driven by misplaced fear and anger, and even after his death we are still seeing the effects:

On Monday in Portland, ME the walls of the largest mosque in town were spray-painted with “Osama today, Islam tomorow [sic]” and other phrases, sometime following morning prayers on the day after American forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

It remains to be seen whether bin Laden’s death will help alleviate the climate of Islamophobia that spiked after 9/11, but hopefully we can to seize this opportunity to heal some of the enduring wounds he inflicted on our society.

Photo credit: (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

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Franklin Graham’s Double Standards

April 26, 2011, 6:02 pm | By Beth Dahlman

In a Christianity Today interview the controversial pastor tries to wiggle out of claims that he’s questioning President Obama’s faith by saying “nobody knows” another’s heart so he can only “take him at his word” that he’s a Christian:

The point is, nobody knows. I don’t know if you’re a Christian. God knows your heart. I’m not your judge.

Reasonable enough position. Except apparently Graham feels perfectly capable to judge former governor and potential Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and he comes out a-okay:

Mike Huckabee is a great man. He is a preacher. No question this man is saved. I like Mike Huckabee a lot.

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