Monday, January 24, 2005

Religion & Politics

Jeanne has a list of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are set to vote on Alberto Gonzalez' nomination to the AG on Wednesday. Let 'em know how you feel, particularly if you're from a big state like California, Pennsylvannia, or New York, all of which are represented on the committee. You also use this link to Sojourners.net.


Chuck Currie has an interesting run-in with Operation Save America, and Pam Spaulding reports on their activities in Charlotte. Between this crew and Repent America in Philly, FF may need to start a new "God-Fearing Thugs" section. A worrisome trend.


We noticed last week Hillary Clinton's attempt to highlight her religious conviction by hanging out with some politically dubious characters. Turns out Gary Bauer's not convinced by her conversion, either. From his "End of Day" report:

Read these few quotes, taken from a story in the Boston Globe, and try to guess who the speaker was:


"There is no contradiction between support for faith-based initiatives and upholding our constitutional principles."


"I've always been a praying person."


Religious people should be free to "...live out their faith in the public square."


They may have sounded like lines from President Bush's inaugural speech, but they're not. If you guessed that the speaker was Dr. James Dobson, you're wrong. Those words were spoken Wednesday night, just hours before President Bush's second inauguration, by New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. According to the Globe, Hillary's speech "invoked God more than half a dozen times..." It's easy to be cynical in this town, but wouldn't it be wonderful if both parties were seriously interested in addressing the concerns of "values voters?


Another worrisome trend: FF agrees with Gary Bauer. Almost.


Speaking of the inauguration and its attendant speech, though, there's plenty of links to go around. Slactivist and Mark Daniels have their takes, (both via Talking Donkeys). The WaPo (via the Boston Globe) samples overseas reactions, and Peggy Noonan surprises everyone by not caring for it all that much. But then, when Poppy has to come out of retirement to defend the damn thing, you know something's amiss. More links here, and for our money, the best reactions here and here. The first is from a black inner-city pastor wondering about Bush's commitment to freedom overseas while the needs of social and economic justice are so pressing in our own country. The second is from movable theoblogical, taking out and examining some of the rather dubious theological claims of the speech.


Believe it or not, there is other news, however. This kind of crap drives us nuts, though we have to admit that the Democratic leadership does bring some of it on itself. For crying in the night, Dems getting in touch with religious roots and language isn't stunt politics! It's recognizing what is already there, letting the light shine from under the bushel, so to speak. If anyone's use of religion is shallow and cynical, it's this damn administration.


Harrumpf.


One more harrumpf: Pam picks up (with numerous links) a report on a survey from these folks that purportedly shows that Americans are growing less tolerant on religious issues. We'll have more to say on the topic later, but the short version is that the survey doesn't really support those conclusions, at least not in our humble opinion.


And from the Department of Shameless Plugs, our good friend Fredrick Clarkson has been invited to speak at a conference on "Challeging the Christian Far-Right." Sounds good, and RNR is hoping to attend. (And notice for freepers listening in: the conference is aimed at extremists, not the run-of-the-mill Southern Baptist Republican.)

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