A former three-term Republican U.S. senator from Missouri and an ordained Episcopal priest, Danforth brings exceptional insight to the debate about the political use of religion and the separation of church and state.
He worries that Republican courting of the Christian Right is distorting notions of public and private morality. He laments that when Republicans voted to have federal courts overrule the state court in the Terri Schiavo case, violating long-held principles, it allowed the Christian Right to take over the party.
Danforth urges more liberal and moderate Christians to challenge the presumptiveness of the Christian Right to speak for all Christians.
Click on the side bar to listen to the conversation. From State of Belief radio.
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A regular feature here at Faith Public Life, here’s what’s happening around the neighborhood thus far this week.
Chuck Currie posts on a bunch of bloggers from Chicago Theological Seminary. Be sure to drop by their blogs and welcome them to the neighborhood.
Chicago Theoligical Seminary student Faithfully Liberal posts on the Foley scandel and Bob Woodward’s book: State of Denial.
At Progressive Christian, Geoffrey, provides more on the Foley fall out.
Sickened by the scandel? Spirit Blog posts a mediation called the Prosecutor.
Now, bring your sense of history over to Islamicate. He writes: “The October 2006 issue of Vanity Fair contains two important articles, which are worth reading: Empire Falls, by Niall Ferguson, and Under Egypt’s Volcano, by Scott Anderson.
In Empire Falls, Fergusson uses historian Edward Gibbon’s theories on the decline and fall of Rome to make an interesting, if not convincing, case for the same state of conditions currently in play in the West. Gibbon’s blamed Rome’s decline on external military overreach, internal corruption, social decadence, religious transformation, and barbarian invasion. Fergusson counters with the War on Terror, the cult of personality, superficiality, reality TV, cultural decline, immigration, and the rise of political Islam.”
Save yourselves from this corrupt generation writes: I Understand Opposing Abortion, but . . .. . . opposing contraception in general is going too far. Rethinking traditional religion, Johnny writes about Amish abuse. For Yom Kippur, Velvateen Rabbi writes about Philo and how Jews like to eat.
And Xpatriated Texan wonders if he is still living in America.
Definitely in AmericaJspot has a great Air America clip about the connection between religious communities and worker’s rights.
A skeptical AmericanMainstream Baptist wonders about the new moderate Christian Coalition.
And finally, Bruce over at Talk to Action provides a bit o’ “truthiness” humor about the Family Research Council.
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The abuse and cover-up scandal of Rep. Foley has shown once again that leaders of the Religious Right are out of step with the values of mainstream Americans. While Tony Perkins rationalizes the cover-up of Rep. Foley’s predatory behavior by saying members of Congress and their staffs were simply “fearful of acting because they would be seen as homophobic or gay bashing,” (see a similar explanation here from the “pro-family” Arlington Group) faith leaders around the country are speaking the truth that Perkins’ partisan loyalties prevent him from saying. Protecting vulnerable children can never be subordinated to the quest for political power. A group of diverse faith leaders made this points strongly in a letter to House leaders. African American Ministers in Action and the African American Ministers Leadership Council issues a joint statement pointing out that the scandal reveals the hypocrisy of politicians and religious leaders who claim to have a monopoly on ‘values.’
Click on the photos below for audio responses to the Foley scandal and cover-up from expert faith leaders around the country.
||Rev. Jennifer Butler is the Executive Director of Faith in Public Life
“The failure of Congressional leadership to take swift action in response to Mark Foley’s behavior exemplifies placing personal power and greed above moral behavior.”
||Rev. Joseph Darby is Senior Pastor at Morris Brown AME Church, Charleston, SC
“The Foley incident and the resultant fallout should be a cautionary tale for those who take a narrow view of faith and morality, with exclusionary moral absolutes which do not allow for what those of the Christian tradition call ‘grace.’ Those on the so-called “religious right” have been vocal, judgmental and mean spirited on issues of gender and have drawn a strict “us versus them” line in the sand.”
||Rev. Debra Haffner is the Director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, & Healing
“How ironic that Rep. Foley was chair of the Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children and that the bill he championed in July concentrated on registering treated sex offenders rather than the prevention methods we know keep children safe from abuse.”
||Sr. Simone Campbell is National Coordinator of NETWORK: A Catholic Social Justice Lobby
What the Foley cover-up brings to mind is that the use of power to protect self-interest is inevitably corrupting….Congress must face its sins to come to redemption as an institution.
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Focus on the Family’s James Dobson last night told Laura Ingraham about the frustration coming from the Religious Right base. He’s still on the GOP bandwagon, but clearly thinks there are significant chunks of his faith community who are leaving him behind…
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According to PRNewswire:
The event, called “Spotlight on Global Warming” is being organized by Interfaith Power & Light a nationwide movement to engage people of faith in the urgency to address global warming.
“Global warming is harming God’s creation: first the poor of the world and eventually all of us and all life,” said the Reverend Sally G. Bingham, founder of IPL and an Episcopal priest at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA.
Over 4000 congregations – Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu – will show An Inconvenient Truth, HBO’s Too Hot Not to Handle and the independent documentary Lighten Up.
I’d call that very good news – American congregations finding common ground for the common good. And the members get a free film. That’s progress.
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