Culture War Watch: Dispatches from the Field

October 17, 2007, 2:19 pm | Posted by

Welcome to a brand-new weekly feature over here at Faith In Public Life. In our work, we constantly hear about the death of the culture wars and the embrace of a common good agenda. But is this really true? FPL will keep you in the know on the epic battle between the culture warriors and the common do-gooders, who’s up, who’s down, who’s in and who’s just out of touch.

Full disclosure: We’re rooting for the common do-gooders.

With no further ado, this week’s dispatch:

Support life! Oppose universal health care!

One might be easily tricked into thinking supporting the expansion of S-CHIP, a health insurance program for low-income children would be a good, even Christian, thing to do. Luckily, the Family Research Council stepped in to clarify things in an email to supporters. (p.s. did you catch the part that says Catholics United “promotes global warming”? Geeze, I thought these people were progressive. Somebody get them a carbon offset!)

Millions Convert to Christianity following Coulter’s sensitive, humble articulation of the faith

Last week presented a classic Coulter conundrum: to comment or not to comment? In then end, we decided we couldn’t ignore Coulter’s statements that Christians are “perfected” Jews and that the world would be better off if everybody was a Christian. Just please, don’t buy her new book.

Like an encore of “Imagine,” minus the “no religion” part…

Last week’s release of the report “Come, Let Us Reason Together” detailing common ground between progressives and evangelicals was a coup for common do-gooders. As was the release of “Pursuing the Global Common Good” a collection of essays pairing religious voices with policy makers on crucial issues such as just war and torture. Culture war Armistice Day? Not quite, but a significant step in the right direction.

This Week’s Scorecard:

Due to the one-two punch of the Third Way report (with with FPL had an advisory role) and “Pursuing the Global Common Good” we’re giving this one to the common do-gooders. But of course, the culture warriors won’t give up easily, and if experience is any clue, they have a lot of fight left in them.

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There’s the third way and then there’s the thirty pieces way

October 17, 2007, 3:46 am | Posted by

Americans United notes that measuring money reveals a Religious Right media situation:

* James Dobson’s Focus on the Family took in $142.2 million in 2006, a $4.4 million increase over the previous year. (In addition, Dobson’s Focus on the Family Action took in $14.6 million in 2006.)

* Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council took in $10.3 million in 2006, an increase of over $900,000 over the previous year. (FRC Action, an affiliated group, took in $1.1 million in 2006.)

* Don Wildmon’s American Family Association took in $16.9 million in 2006.

* Alan Sears’ Alliance Defense Fund took in $26.1 million in 2006, an increase of $4.1 million over last year.

* TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network took in $236.3 million in 2005, a $49.8 million increase over the previous year.

Perhaps at some point those donors will want to know what all that support is accomplishing?

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An Interview with Rev. Glenn Palmberg of the Evangelical Covenant Church on SCHIP

October 17, 2007, 3:36 am | Posted by

It is interesting to see who in the the faith community is speaking out publicly on SCHIP funding. With the “pro-family” religious Right not only silent on helping working families afford more than a prayer, they are also very silent on the blog attacks on the Frost family.

On a more hopeful note here’s a Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy interview with Glenn Palmberg of the Evangelical Covenant Church on SCHIP

The Roundtable:

What are the moral implications of SCHIP?

Rev. Palmberg:

This legislation means health care, or a lack thereof, for an additional 4 to 6 million children. About 4 million children are covered by SCHIP, and it’s been a pretty successful program. This legislation would add 6 million more children who don’t have, can’t afford, and can’t get health insurance. That’s a moral issue. We have a responsibility for caring for the poor. It makes a huge difference if they get preventive care and prenatal care. That will affect them for a lifetime.

The Roundtable:

The Senate passed SCHIP with enough votes to override the President’s veto. The House also passed the bill, but was 15 votes short of overriding a veto without another vote on Oct. 18. What are you doing to persuade House members to change their previous vote?

Rev. Palmberg:

We have a list of people who have shown some openness to the possibility of changing their vote. We will be approaching them and urging them to vote for an override. There will be pressure put on people to change their minds. We’re going to keep track of how people vote. This is not without controversy and opposition within the denomination, so it will be more voluntary on ECC members’ part.

More modeling of the evangelical future here.

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Looking for love in all the wrong places?

October 16, 2007, 12:48 pm | Posted by

I’m not one to poke fun at people, but this ad for Family Research Council’s upcoming values voters summit is too clever by half:

If this month’s religion and politics news is anything near accurate, the religious right might find itself all dressed up with no place to go.

I will be live-blogging from FRC’s values voters summit this Friday! Stop by for my reports on the political courtship.

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On SCHIP: The Frost family speaking out

October 16, 2007, 3:21 am | Posted by

As you know, the right has been attacking the Frost family for both being too rich to receive and too poor to pay for health insurance and support their children in school. As others have noted, the bizarre logic lost on many is that making what used to be called a decent wage no longer allows a large family to protect a family from the exigencies of life. Here’s middle class Americana are in their own words:

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