A Post Labor Day Round Up

September 8, 2006, 1:45 pm | Posted by

While Labor Day found most people savoring the last hours of summer, bloggers were keeping busy with their own takes on the true meaning of the holiday. Jspot looks at immigrant workers from a Jewish perspective while Chuck Currie speaks out about unions and the labor movement and CrossLeft ranted about the state of the American economy. The Peace Blog ranges farther afield with a call for action and solidarity in dealing with the conflicts in the Middle East.

Progressive Christian tries to spread the good news with posts about recent articles from Christianity Today and the Associated Press.

Cristo Lumen revamps a classic Bible story with “The Parable of the Good Homosexual.”

With former Clinton officials butting heads with ABC about their forthcoming docu-drama about 9/11, everyone has something to add to the growing tirade against the film. Faithful Progressive claims the airing of the film would be a “new low in public discourse.” The Vanity Press agrees: “Soon, thanks to ABC, everyone in the United States will know this story: Clinton could have killed Bin Laden but he was too obsessed with Monica,” and Street Prophets chimes in with a call for action. Meanwhile, Danny Fisher announces the opening of the somewhat less controversial Saint of 9/11.

Political views held by ministers and their congregations are “widely divergent,” according to Blog from the Capitol. At the same time Mainstream Baptist worries that Democrats are coming “dangerously close to blurring the line between left-wing religion and the state” with the launch of the new website “Faithful Democrats.”

For an argument against the “Jewifying” of political positions, check out Radical Torah.

Corrupt Generation pokes fun at Karl Rove.

With 24 comments so far, Debra Haffner sparks controversy over the benefits of Natural Family Planning.

And finally, Philocrites mourns the demotion of Pluto to a dwarf planet.

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All the Faith News Fit to Print

September 7, 2006, 9:38 am | Posted by

As some of our readers likely know, Faith in Public Life’s communications team offers a free, daily electronic news reel featuring highlights from the world of faith and politics. It’s a totally unique resource, covering interfaith issues of interest at the local, national, and international levels. To subscribe now, click here. To get this cool button for your site to spread the word about the service, click here.

The news gets delivered by noon, Monday-Friday. Our tireless news hounds scrounge the web for the best coverage of faith and politics. Articles include direct faith-related news, and featured stories on policy topics of interest to our partner organizations. Sign-up to make sure you never miss the stories that impact your work and our world!

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Amy Sullivan in Slate

August 30, 2006, 1:07 pm | Posted by

Amy Sullivan, the editor of Washington Monthly and fabulous inaugural alumna of Faith in Public Live, has a piece posted on Slate that’s worth a read. “Not God’s Party: A new poll shows Democrats are losing (more) religious voters.” As always, she provides sharp analysis of the religion and politics scene, with a sense of perspective that’s always appreciated.

The piece has a great ending, quoted below, but the tone of the poll analysis seems off. From the headline, Sullivan focuses on continued Democratic weakness (which is actually just a leveling that remained within the margin of error from earlier polls), and doesn’t give nearly enough attention to the fact that the Republican party suffered an even bigger hit. This Republican slippage combined with steady numbers for Dems is the real story of the poll. It just may be that the unholy alliances between Religious Right leaders and GOP officials who have no real interest in delivering victories for the Religious Right is finally being unravelled by years of broken promises. It’s not even mentioned that the percentage of the population that sees the Dems as unfriendly to religion is totally level at 20% since 2005. The headline writers at Slate must have missed that.

A great quote below. Note her emphasis on state and local campaigns. That’s exactly what we’ve found through our work with groups across the country. Check our Best Practices page and Mapping Faith resource to see just how many of these groups there are in your community.

The DNC should ramp up that search. But the party’s leaders also should remain calm. The Democrats’ most productive activities on the religion front have taken place at the state level and in local campaigns. This work may not bear fruit nationally for a few years, but it’s important to hang in there and keep funding it. Democrats also need to avoid the temptation to play preacher: One cringe-inducing “Praise Jeeeeezus!” from Howard Dean spoils the quiet faith of Democrats like Tim Kaine and Jennifer Granholm and Barack Obama. And they should shout from the mountaintops about Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid’s plan to reduce abortion rates, talk to every evangelical who will listen about tackling global warming, and re-embrace the concept of the common good that once united religious and political progressives. Democrats, take those lights out from under your bushels.

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I Guess Cleopatra Isn’t the Only Queen of Denial…

August 28, 2006, 5:35 pm | Posted by

Katherine Harris, that paragon of upright-judgment, is at it again, as many of you likely know. There’s been much good written about her statement that the Seperation of Church and State is a lie. Check out Vince Isner of Faithful America for a particularly well-put response. Crossposted from Faithful America

First it was Oral Roberts… then Robert Tilton…then Pat Robertson… Now it seems Florida Representative and candidate for Senate Katherine Harris(remember the hanging chad?)is now claiming to speak for God. Now listen up all you Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Unitarians, and other non-Christian U.S. citizens: If you are not electing Christians to represent you, you are simply legislating sin… according to Ms. Harris, that is.

I suppose her most bizarre, off-the-wall comment is that GOD chooses our leaders… If this is true, then why did HER party go to such lengths to impeach one of “God’s leaders?” If God chooses our leaders, then why vote? Why debate? Why question anything? Why not just close our eyes and let the bombs fall where they may, let poverty fester where it will, let AIDS run it course, let innocent detainees rot in Cuban prisons, let the poor in our land starve in the streets, let the earth choke to death, and everybody just sing Kum-ba-ya until Jesus comes to take the faithful few back home for a job well done?

Normally I find such cocksure ignorance amusing – But ignorance of this magnitude and at her level of influence is not funny. If the separation of church and state is, as Harris declares, a “lie” – then why not rejoice, ignore the constitution of the United States, and simply elect only Harris-like fundatmentalist Christians? That would prove to the world we are no longer a free nation, and all of those people “over there” whom President Bush says “hate us for our freedom” can stop hating us and start loving us as brothers and sisters in Christ… We could even teach them Kum-ba-ya…

Thankfully, Harris does not speak for the vast majority of Christians who honor and celebrate persons of other faiths and beliefs, and who believe that our nation is enriched by diversity. Gratefully, the average four-year old has more horse sense than Harris displayed in her remarks.

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Faith in Public Live: Prescott Wraps The Discussion

August 25, 2006, 4:26 pm | Posted by

Dear Randall and David,

This has been a very enjoyable exchange. I think Randall is right about hitting a raw nerve with the mention of theocracy. As Shakespeare had a character say, “Me thinks they doth protest too much!”

Steinfels’ response to the recent spate of books about theocracy is fairly typical for people who lack full comprehension of the mindset of many of the evangelicals influencing the Religious Right. I witnessed the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention by Christian Nationalists and I observed well organized bands of Christian Reconstructionists takeover the local GOP precincts around the churches that I pastored. In both instances, when I raised a hue and cry about these takeovers, I met the same kind of naïve faith and “It can’t happen here” attitude exhibited by Steinfels remarks.

Henry Kissinger had a good grasp of the way that people typically respond to revolutionary powers that do not accept the legitimacy of the existing order. Here’s his analysis:

Lulled by a period of stability which had seemed permanent, they find it nearly impossible to take at face value the assertion of the revolutionary power that it means to smash the existing framework. The defenders of the status quo therefore tend to begin by treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical; as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes; as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions. Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists; those who counsel adaptation to circumstances are considered balanced and sane. . . . But it is the essence of revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion.

We’ve seen a process like this slowly working its way out in American politics for about a quarter century now. We are dealing with patient revolutionaries. Reconstructionist goals have been advanced and implemented so methodically and incrementally that most of them no longer appear revolutionary. Here is an outline of the blueprint for civil society that R. J. Rushdoony laid out in his Institutes of Biblical Law:

1) Acknowledge the ten commandments as the foundation for civil law (Could that have anything to do with Roy ‘s Rock?).

2) Strengthen patriarchically ordered families (Could that have anything to do with opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and with new Baptist creeds that insist that wives must “graciously submit” to their husbands?).

3) Close the public schools and make parents totally responsible for the education of their children (Could that have anything to do with the incessant push for vouchers and the explosion of home-schooling — especially among Baptists?).

4) Require “tithes” to ecclesiastical agencies to provide welfare services (Could that have anything to do with ‘Charitable Choice’ and Faith-based initiatives?).

5) Reduce the role of government to defense of the nation and the defense of property rights (Could that have anything to do with the rhetoric about ‘starving the beast’ of government and policies that bankrupt the government with expensive wars while cutting taxes?).

6) Close the prisons — reinstitute slavery as a form of punishment and require capital punishment for all of ancient Israel’s capital offenses — including apostacy, blasphemy, incorrigibility in children, murder, rape, Sabbath breaking, sodomy, and witchcraft.

The only thing that still looks revolutionary in this list is the last one. All of them were considered extreme in 1973 when Rushdoony wrote his Institutes.

How sure can we be that this last goal will remain outside the realm of possibility?

All the best,

Bruce

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