Video above by Max Blumenthal
As a person of faith, I get incensed when Democratic elders start talking about
how so many of us are afraid of religion and that we are reticent to address spiritual issues. I
get equally peeved when they push religion, because there are plenty of secularists
in America that deserve equal respect, because there is simply no evidence that
the deeply religious are or act more moral. For evidence see the Catholic Church
pedophiles and the secrets the elders kept, Hannity’s lies, Bill O’Reilly’s
hate, George W. Bush’s preemption and torture (and lies), Tom Delay’s thuggery,
Ann Coulter’s bigotry, etc. etc., not to mention the way most organized religions treat modern women, which is basically to ignore that we are living in the 21st century. Our Founders knew what they were doing when
they set religion free in the Constitution. Balance is the way our Founders
“But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.”
“Notes on the State of Virginia” – Thomas Jefferson
To put a finer point on it, our country wasn’t even founded as a Christian religion. I’ll let conservative Richard Brookhiser take it from here.
… The United States was not founded on the Christian religion. The First Amendment, forbidding a national religious establishment, had been ratified in 1791. The year before, President Washington wrote the congregation of Touro Synagogue in Newport that America did not practice “toleration”: it was not “by indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. … All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” In 1793, he wrote the Swedenborgian New Church in Baltimore “that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart.” That amendment and these statements are a better guide to the founders’ views than a treaty with pirates. …
What Would the Founders Do?, by Richard Brookhiser (selected sections between pages 63-73)
So when Obama gave a speech saying something pretty close to Democrats
need to embrace religion and not be afraid to do so it was maddening,
especially considering how many faithful their are in the Democratic Party.
When Howard Dean
kow towed to Robertson’s group and had to apologize
for misstating where the Democratic Party stands on gay issues, it was infuriating.
There’s a big difference in opening a dialogue with all religious leaders, including
conservative Christians, and pandering to them, as we sell our souls for votes. Because if we think the pro
life crowd is going to vote Democratic and we craft our message to seduce them
we’re just wasting time. Being honest and engaging these groups with our policy
initiatives, which are far more humane than the Republican plank, is the way
to reach out, which we absolutely should do. They’ll have to decide if being
pro life should take precedence, say, over our poverty agenda, especially when
John Edwards is doing the talking. As a side note, Republican hypocrisy is forever on parade, because poverty is not even on their agenda, any more than the importance of protecting God’s planet. I thought CNN’s
faith hour (with video), for lack of a better thing to call it, was quite
interesting. Who couldn’t relate to Clinton when she said she wouldn’t have gotten through impeachment without her faith? I’d be dead without mine.
But today we get something that should be repeated by every candidate, with a crescendo on how Democratic policies are in actuality and implementation far more Christian, humane, godly — insert your favorite term here — than the Republican agenda, which leaves whole groups of people way behind, including poor kids. In an email exchange, Barack Obama’s in your face response to CBN’s Brody (h/t
TPM) is a thing of real beauty.
Brody Question: As you seek or preach unity during your
campaign, you recently gave a speech to your church body where you said, “Faith
got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right,
all too eager to exploit what divides us.” Some Evangelicals were taken
aback at what they considered the harsh rhetoric. What was your intention
when you said that and why did you feel it needed to be said?
Senator Obama: My intention was to contrast the heated partisan
rhetoric of a distinct minority of Christian leaders with the vast majority
of Evangelical Christians – conservatives included – who believe that hate
has no place in our politics. When you have pastors and television
pundits who appear to explicitly coordinate with one political party; when
you’re implying that your fellow Americans are traitors, terrorist sympathizers
or akin to the devil himself; then I think you’re attempting to hijack the
faith of those who follow you for your own personal or political ends.
But as I said in my speech, it’s critically important to understand that
these are the “so-called” leaders, not the real leaders. The real
leaders are clergy and lay folks who are living out their faith every day
in ways large and small, trying their best to determine how best to serve
God and their fellow man. They may not agree with me on every issue, they
may not even support me in an election (heaven forbid), but they know that
hate has no place in the hearts of believers.
Barack Obama E-mails The
Brody File (emphasis added)
Add in a little ideology and how much better Democratic polices are for people and you’ve got a real winner.
For far too long Republicans have gotten away with political murder on all
things religious. After all, these are the pro preemption, pro torture, pro
spying, pro rich at the expense of the poor crowd. You can talk about being
religious all you want. Pray to the highest heaven. But there’s nothing Christian,
religious, humane or moral about their policies, which in the end is all that
matters. Obama told some truth to power in this interview with CBN’s Brody.
More, please, with ideology added next time, because Democratic policies matter. They put the moral in our politics.