As part of this week’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination, committee members have invited various witnesses to give expert testimony.
Republicans have already been embarrassed into retracting one of their witnesses, Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, who was forced to retire from the Pentagon during the Bush administration for framing the war on terrorism as a holy war between Christians and Muslims.
But still on the list is another witness of questionable credibility readers of this blog will know well: Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. Perkins will presumably be testifying about his view that Kagan is anti-military “because they have not yet bowed to the demands of the militant homosexual movement.”
Only a handful of people turned out for the signing of Gingrich’s latest book, “To Save America,” at the downtown Borders bookstore on Friday…Before Gingrich’s event got under way, only six people stood in line in hopes of seeing Gingrich, with the rest of the crowd made up of Gingrich’s staff, Borders staffers and journalists.
Looks like the free market Newt holds so dear has spoken…
During the health care debate, opponents of reform often cited polls showing a majority of Americans opposed to the bill as an argument against passing it. Supporters pointed out that the same polls showed Americans were confused over what exactly was in the bill, and became much more supportive once they learned what was actually in the legislation. Commentatorsposited that as aspects of reform kicked in (like barring discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26), public support for the legislation would continue to grow.
In the months since the bill passed, that analysis is being borne out. Two recent polls report that support for the legislation is at its highest point in over a year, the first signs of positive movement in national opinion since the beginning of the debate. As predicted, beginning implementation of the reform legislation and positively impacting Americans’ lives drives up support for reform, especially since opponent’s doomsday predictions have failed to materialize. The chart below from Pollster.com more clearly shows this trend.
Key to this process is the work of grassroots faith leaders acting as educational resources for their communities. A great example: last week the Micah Project, a faith-based community organizing network in New Orleans, affiliated with PICO National Network held a forum for members of the community where experts fielded questions on the new law and explained how community members can access both new and existing benefits and programs.
Events like these demonstrate the important role churches and faith groups play not only in urging passage of legislation, but also in implementing it. Faith-based organizations play a vital role in the lives of their community, often providing critical social services and empowering people to advocate for their community’s needs. Given how integral their existence is to the health of communities, it’s easy to forget another role they play– reminding Americans at the grassroots level of the real-world implications of public policy and driving a national conversation that’s reflected in polling like we’re seeing now.
Last week, Faithful America – FPL’s online community of people of faith – launched a contest to create a slogan for our summer campaign to stand up for our values and denounce the hateful rhetoric that’s received disproportionate media attention and poisoned our public debates in recent months. After submitting hundreds of nominees, the Faithful America community voted for their favorite among the five finalists, selecting “Driven by Faith, Not by Fear” as the winner. We’ve turned this winning slogan into a bumper sticker and are sending it to everyone who joins the campaign and pledges to “Drive Out” hate.
Texas governor Rick Perry has expressed some dubious views when it comes to religion, politics and current events and his speech last night to the Texas Eagle forum was no different. Proclaiming that his gubernatorial campaign against former mayor of Houston Bill White is a “struggle for the heart and soul of our nation,” Perry trotted out a faith-based straw man:
“That’s the question: Who do you worship? Do you believe in the primacy of unrestrained federal government? Or do you worship the God of the universe, placing our trust in him?”
Perry here isn’t attempting to engage with the values of the faith community, or even drawing a link between a particular religious belief and a political position. Rather, he’s boiling down the race to a tried and true narrative — the Godless communist vs the free-market Christian. Less of this, please.