Democrats & the God thing

kerry_in_pulpitMichael Paulson of The Boston Globe has been all over the God-and-politics beat during the Democrats’ convention, and in his story “Party refuses to cede the religious vote” he reaches a sublime point of irony.

Paulson opens with a dramatic image of Ron Sparks, Alabama’s commissioner of agriculture and industries, addressing his fellow Democrats:

“Let me say this one thing: It really aggravates me every time one of those Republicans tell me that I don’t know anything about Jesus Christ,” Sparks said, prompting a round of “That’s right!” from other delegates.

Later, though, comes this crucial paragraph:

Since the 1980s, the Republican Party has increasingly embraced the language of religion, as the GOP has successfully courted, and become influenced by, conservative white evangelical Protestants. By contrast, Democratic leaders have often shied away from explicit talk of religion, in part because such language had become associated with conservative politics, and in part because some Democrats view public expressions of faith as contradicting the separation of church and state.

The Democratic Party has chosen to hire the Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, to help strengthen ties with faith groups. If she can help bury the ridiculous notion that expressing one’s faith publicly contradicts church-state separation, she will have earned her salary.

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  • Joshua Cordell

    Do you think the fact that the person they hired is named “Rev. Brenda” might be telling of where the Democrats religious views stand?

  • http://onedumbbrit.blogspot.com/ Mike

    What I’d like to know is, what the hell is an ‘interfaith worship service’?

  • http://www.philocrites.com Philocrites

    Douglas says, “If she can help bury the ridiculous notion that expressing one’s faith publicly contradicts church-state separation, she will have earned her salary.” This liberal Christian says, Amen to that!

    Now, who is going to help conservatives learn not to mock: a) ordained women; b) people from different faiths praying together? Fair’s fair, guys.

  • Marion R.

    “By contrast, Democratic leaders have often shied away from explicit talk of religion, in part because such language had become associated with conservative politics, and in part because some Democrats view public expressions of faith as contradicting the separation of church and state.”

    But mostly because they are hedonists, gnostics, and secular materialists.

  • Harris

    Do you think the fact that the person they hired is named “Rev. Brenda” might be telling of where the Democrats religious views stand?

    – a pretty dismissive point, confusing casual address with title and all. In the article cited, the real reason lies in her husband’s title — communications director of the Interfaith Alliance.

    While there are unquestionably those among the politically liberal who would want to cut out religion (separation of church and state, etc.), nonetheless, there remain a significant portion (20%? ) of evangelicals who also stand in the left or center traditions. These tensions, these implications can be found in the posts by Amy Sullivan at Washington Monthly, and in the comment section

  • http://onedumbbrit.blogspot.com/ Mike

    Praying together for what possible purpose? At best it’s a bad PR exercise, at worst it’s a gnostic/spiritualist Ecumenist exercise, a VERY bad idea.

  • http://www.flyovernation.com Kedron Bardwell

    Pulling this conversation toward some common ground, can we all agree that both parties have their flaws? I don’t think the Democrats OR the Republicans “represent” Christ-like values. Why should they? It’s not their role…all parties inevitably compromise for consensus; otherwise they’d splinter (see the church…pendulum swinging in the other direction mostly).

    Given that it’s not obvious God is a Democrat or Republican (or for that matter an American who wants us to “reclaim” the state for Him), we as individuals do our best, combining faith and reason, to figure out a fit politically.

    Honestly, I don’t think that the kind of change many Christians in politics seem to want to bring about is even acheivable by those means. I’ve written a couple of posts with provocative links on this (just to start you thinking) at http://www.flyovernation.com/flyover_nation/2004/07/are_christian_a.html

    and

    http://www.flyovernation.com/flyover_nation/2004/07/christians_and_.html

    I’d love to hear more of this debate fleshed out.

    All the best…


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