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Progressive religious voices not irrelevant, just ignored

Progressive religious voices not irrelevant, just ignored August 2, 2012

So yesterday, more than 60 Christian leaders released a statement “expressing their strong opposition to any legislative proposal that fails to extend the 2009 improvements made to refundable tax credits such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.”

I’m quoting there from Nick Sementelli of the progressive Christian group Faith in Public Life. Pretty much have to quote from a group like that because statements like this are mostly otherwise ignored by cable news and the rest of the media — the same media who eagerly report and repeat every utterance from the religious right.

At some level that’s just weird.

I understand the perceptions and the tropes that shape this coverage and inattention. I get that, for example, the “mainline” Protestant denominations that belong to the National Council of Churches are perceived as declining and irrelevant. But those denominations still represent about 45 million members.

Who decided that 45 million people were irrelevant? How is it possible that 45 million people could be irrelevant?

Today’s statement was also endorsed by Catholics, Mormons, and leaders from evangelical and African American Protestant churches. These folks represent more people than any of the infamous spokespeople of the religious right. They represent the faith and the ethics and the values of more people than the religious right does.

Oh, and they’re not just speaking on their own behalf, either. They’re also speaking on behalf of tens of millions of other people — poor families and the children of poor families. That multiplies the number of people being disregarded when this statement is ignored as irrelevant. It also suggests that this statement is deserving of greater attention than most, because it’s not an expression of self-interest by a faction speaking on its own behalf.

Again, who decided that the faith and ethics and values of tens of millions of people, plus the interests and well-being of tens of millions of additional people, do not matter?

What is the rationale for dismissing these folks as irrelevant while hanging on every outrageous word from right-wing evangelicals? Why isn’t this “newsworthy”?


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