Religious ‘Progressives’ Mobilize for Political Action

Note how the self-professed Christian liberals are mobilizing support for abortion, gay marriage, and other planks in the secularist platform.
Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2004
The Christian Post

“Round up the usual suspects, ” ordered Captain Louis Renaud, the Vichy police chief played by Claude Rains in the movie classic, Casablanca. Those famous words apply to the “Faith and Progressive Policy” conference held June 9 by the Center for American Progress. When it comes to religious liberals, most of the usual suspects seemed to gather for this major event in Washington–and they all had plenty to say.

Participants included, among others, James Forbes, senior minister of the Riverside Church in New York City; Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches USA; C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance; Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, president of Chicago Theological Seminary; Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Jim Wallis, founder of the Sojourners Community and Sojourners magazine. Actually, this conference was a reunion of sorts for the theological left, and it must have been fascinating to observe.

The Center for American Progress is a relatively new liberal think tank established by John D. Podesta, a key Democratic strategist who served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff during the impeachment crisis. Podesta, a Roman Catholic, organized his think tank as an alternative to the conservative Heritage Foundation, also located in Washington.

As expected, the Center for American Progress is filled with policy wonks and political operatives, and it takes a predictably liberal stance on the critical issues of public concern. The Center’s web site features articles celebrating the “March for Women’s Lives” and others arguing for reproductive “rights” as basic human rights. Eager support for abortion on demand is coupled with support for same-sex marriage and opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. The Center also targets conservative media and offers policy proposals for liberal candidates. There are few surprises to be found in its arguments.

Read the entire article on The Christian Post website.

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3 thoughts on “Religious ‘Progressives’ Mobilize for Political Action”

  1. This article shares some issues also infered in the article about Michael Moore. The message is in essence, “Isn’t it terrible that liberals are starting to do the same things that we conservatives have been doing for years: developing loud obnoxious propaganda megaphones and politicizing religion.

    I have to admit I watched Michael Moore’s last movie “Bowling for Columbine” and found it tedious. His logic was weak and superficial, his presentation of the facts was fast and loose, and his approach was aggressively propagandistic. But what are conservatives complaining about? Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter and Matt Drudge have been sprewing out garbage like this for a decade and I didn’t hear one peep of complaint from the right.

    I’m a faithful husband and father, a dues paying member of my church, a volunteer for my community food bank, and a hard working, valued employee for my company. Yet because I am also a registered Democrat, I get to hear myself slandered as an immoral, unpatriotic, traitor who hates America on an almost daily basis from the right-wing media. So my conservative friends, how does it feel to be on the other end of such tactics?

    It’s always disturbing when people try to exploit religion and make it a vehicle of partisan political agendas, regardless of the ideology. While its laudable that some liberals are waking up to the fact that people of faith are not their enemy, it would be unfortunate indeed if their objective was only short-term political gain.

    Likewise, stories like this, from today’s NT Times, about the exploitation of people of faith by the political right are equally disturbing: http://nytimes.com/2004/07/02/politics/campaign/02church.html

    “Party Appeal to Churches for Help Raises Doubts
    By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

    Published: July 2, 2004

    The Bush-Cheney campaign has laid out a brisk schedule for legions of Christian supporters to help enlist “conservative churches” and their members, including sending church directories to the campaign, according to a Bush campaign document.

    .. The campaign is asking conservative churches and churchgoers to do everything they can to turn their churches into bases of support without violating campaign finance laws or jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

    .. More theological conservatives also questioned the plan. Richard J. Mouw, president of the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., one of the largest evangelical Protestant seminaries, said: “Theologically speaking, churches are really in a position to speak truth to power. But this smacks of too close an alliance of church and Caesar.”

  2. How does it feel to be on the other end of such tactics? I consider the source, and since Mr. Moore is a bloviating, anti-American moron, who wouldn’t know the truth if bit him in his oversize behind, it doesn’t bother me one bit.

    If you, and other liberal Dems who may be reading this, really hear yourself being described as “an immoral, unpatriotic, traitor who hates America”, my only response is: If the shoe fits …

  3. One cannot ever divorce religion and politics. Religion makes foundational statements about the nature of man and how we should act towards others and in concert with others. Politics is the worldly expression of people acting in concert to accomplish a goal or provide organization and structure to an enterprise.

    When politics is about governing a people or a nation, religion has always been central to political thought. We should be concerned if churches become defacto arms of the government or of a particular political party. The Democrat use of largely black churches and the Republican use of Evangelical churches should be a concern. We should be far more concerned about government’s effect on religion that the other way around. For that reason, I am against the School Prayer movement and have profound questions about the wisdom of Bush’s “Faith Based Initiative.” If the plans of the Bush administration to campaign through churches are described correctly, I am against it, but I am equally against the, often cynical, use of black churches by Democrats. If one is ethically, morally, and legally incorrect, so is the other.

    In the United States right now, there seems to be a great deal of concern about religion’s effect on government rather than government’s effect on religion. That is a bad sign. Both clauses of the 1st Amendment have the same force of law under our Constitution (“The government shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, nor restrict the free exercise thereof”). The idea that any religious (read Christian) statement by any governmental employee or institution amounts to establishment is absurd. Such an idea has and does lead to a direct violation of the second clause denying citizens the free exercise of their faith simply because of their status as a government employee. That denial is a further violation of the Constitution, which specifically prohibits a religion test as a qualification for public office. In addition, once it is impermissible for government employees to express their faith, members of the public are also restricted in the exercise of their faith. The ACLU and others are using a false and incomplete legal interpretation of the 1st Amendment as a bludgeon in an attempt to drive the Christian faith from public life.

    We should be wary of allowing our political views and preferences to overwhelm the authentic teaching of our faith. Both Jesse Jackson and Al Gore used to be against abortion, that is until they entertained national political aspirations within the Democrat party. I am sure one can find the opposite occurring within the Republican ranks–not out of conscience, but out of political expediency.

    Christians should never be uncritical of government. Our witness is to call everyone to repentance. Even the best government tends to act in amoral and pragmatic ways that are frequently at odds with the Christian moral vision. As Orthodox, we pray for our rulers so that they will be uplifted and inspired by the Holy Spirit to govern justly. We have a responsibility to be prophetic in the public square on matters of human life, value, and dignity, for such matters determine the nature of the culture in which we live. Constitutionally, we are free to express our understanding in civil and legal ways. Right now, many are being denied that fundamental right.

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