What’s new in the neighborhood?

April 27, 2007, 6:47 pm | Posted by

Over at TPM media, Dan Gilgoff notes a fresh trend in conservative American politics, what he calls the New New Right.

A growing observation, it is increasingly borne out in Pew polls and on the campuses of evangelical colleges. To wit it is the broadening base of the conservative base. As the old leadership of the religious right ages and kids grow up beyond their mega church, their interest moves away from the usual issues and toward a new alignment of faith-informed issues. These include Darfur, creation care, and even health care.

Gilgoff places the origins of this shift as emerging in 1998 with the movement for freedom from religious persecution. He writes:

“The expansion of the evangelical political agenda beyond hot-button domestic issues is owed largely to the work of a Washington insider named Michael Horowitz, who happens to be Jewish. A White House lawyer under Ronald Reagan, Horowitz continued to be an influential Beltway legal thinker into the 1990s. From his perch at the conservative Hudson Institute, a think tank, Horowitz’s work revolved mainly around promoting tort reform. It wasn’t until 1995, when he and his wife hired a live-in housekeeper who was an Ethiopian-born Christian evangelist, that he began to pay attention to the issue of international religious persecution.”

This led to the International Religious Freedom Act which was signed into law by President Clinton. Noting how this shifted the some religio-political alignments, Gilgoff adds:

The religious freedom coalition that emerged around the law has reconstituted itself to lobby successfully for a flurry of other human rights laws, often in areas that have received scant attention from secular human rights organizations. These include 2000′s Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which imposed sanctions on countries that failed to crack down on human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor, and 2002′s Sudan Peace Act, which established a framework for negotiating the end of the twenty-year civil war between the Sudanese government and southern rebels (though it has obviously fallen short of achieving that goal). “Clearly, the driving political force that got these bills through Republican-dominated Congresses and the administration,” said [David] Saperstein, “was the strong, assertive voice of the fundamentalist Christian community.”

Here’s more on the Jesus Machine and the New New Right.

Playing with shifting identity, Union Theological Seminary PhD candidate Rev. Gabriel Salguero explores generous orthodoxy and seeks to define himself over at God’s Politics. He writes: “I grew up as a Pentecostal pastor’s kid, serve as a Nazarene pastor, have an M.Div. from a Reformed seminary, and am doing doctoral work at Union Theological Seminary in New York.”

Mainstream Baptist notes that a vice-president in the Southern Baptist Convention signed a declaration of support for a convicted abortion doctor killer.

Buddhist chaplain Danny Fisher interviews the venerable Dr. Yifa.

At Talk to Action, Reagan’s Assistant General Counsel speaks out on separation of church and state.

Over at Street Prophets, winter rabbit says ‘bury my heart in mother earth.”

JSpot writes on Disclaiming and Reclaiming; Gay Rights in Leviticus: “On April 24, 1999, six months after the murder of Matthew Shepard, I was in synagogue, about to chant the infamous verse from this week’s Torah portion, Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination.” I suddenly realized that in good conscience, I could not simply chant the words without making any comment.”

The Beatitudes Blog notes the Global Daze of Darfur.

Jesus Politics quotes from Religion and Ethics Daily showing that the American public expects their presidents to have a faith-friendly disposition and to use moral language.

Provoke Radio has a show out on “Homeboy Industries: Gang Intervention, Personal Redemption.”

City of Brass writes about inerrancy between Christians and Muslims.

WoodMore Village posts on Dharma Posters.

Even the Devil’s Believe remembers the Armenian Holocaust.

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Weekend Funny Pages

April 27, 2007, 5:05 pm | Posted by

Hat tip to Chuck Currie for getting us into the weekend spirit right. Ready to kick back with the funny pages?

James Dobson vs Doonesbury: Is James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, afraid of cartoons or just the truth?

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VIDEO: Rabbi Saperstein and Rev. Cizik on Darfur

April 26, 2007, 6:55 pm | Posted by

On the genocide in Darfur PoliticsTV provides exclusive interviews with Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism and Rev. Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals. In addition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls “it outside the circle of civilized human behavior.”

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Pew Poll on Latinos and American Religion

April 25, 2007, 5:47 pm | Posted by

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is always an interesting source of information on, well, religion and public life both in America and abroad. They’ve released a new poll and analysis piece that focuses on the impact that America’s growing Latino community will have on religion and American politics.

There are a few very interesting findings, especially in the attitude of Hispanics to government social services. Whether Catholic, Evangelical, or Secular, Hispanics by wide margins favor government guaranteed health insurance, and are willing to pay higher taxes for government services. Check out this and more in the report at the Pew Forum’s website.

More than two-thirds (69%) of Latinos support publicly funded health insurance for all citizens, for instance,

even if this results in higher taxes. On this issue, there is virtually no difference between Latino Catholics and

evangelicals. By contrast, Catholics in the general population are somewhat more likely than evangelicals to

endorse publicly funded health care. Similarly, almost two-thirds (64%) of all Hispanics, including similar

numbers of Catholics and evangelicals, say they would opt for higher taxes if the result were more government


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Get to know: Global Days for Darfur

April 24, 2007, 6:32 pm | Posted by

Over at God’s Politics, Adam Taylor titles his Friday Darfur post: For God’s Sake, Save Darfur! End the Politics of Delay. And he lists some growing numbers of folks of faith who are acting out, “273 events in 175 cities and 42 states (and D.C.) across the country, as well as events in 20 countries, and the number is growing daily.”

The blog: Darfur: An Unforgivable Hell on Earth heralds a die in and divestment rally in Boston Common.

“The Save Darfur Coalition is a non-profit organization and advocacy group dedicated to ending the genocide in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. It is a coalition of over 160 faith-based, humanitarian, and human rights organizations designed to raise public awareness and to mobilize an effective united response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of some two million people in Darfur.”

According to their wikipedia entry:

The Save Darfur Coalition began on July 14, 2004 when the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and American Jewish World Service organized a Darfur Emergency Summit at the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan featuring Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel. Mr. Wiesel inspired the group with his impassioned remarks about the suffering being inflicted on Darfurians: “How can I hope to move people from indifference if I remain indifferent to the plight of others? I cannot stand idly by or all my endeavors will be unworthy.”

You’ve got to check out Johnny Ramirez’s flash graphic for Global Days for Darfur.

And Amnesty International has a great new site up devoted to Darfur, called Instant Karma.

As you know time is running out for the people of Darfur. Four years of genocidal violence has left over 400,000 dead, 2.5 million innocent civilians displaced, and 4 million men, women, and children completely reliant on international aid for survival. Not since the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has the world seen such a calculated campaign of displacement, starvation, rape, and mass slaughter.

Here’s Sojourners’ Global Days for Darfur toolkit as well as other resources.

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