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28 July 2004

Religion and the Democrats

So I spent a decent amount of today at the “People of Faith” caucus
luncheon, talking with a number of delegates and party people about how
the Democrats are attempting to make a renewed connection with faith

The speakers outlined in a variety of ways how the Democratic party
could try to make a connection with “communities of faith.”  (N.B.
“Community” has got to be the most overused word in modern civic
culture discourse.  It’s so overused as to have lost
meaning.)  Although the caucus luncheon was meant to include
people of all the monotheistic faiths (well, at least Jews and Muslims
were the only ones mentioned besides the obvious), the focus was
overwhelmingly upon the Christian side of the problem.  At least
in our contemporary political discourse, the significant divide over
religion occurs with the Christians.  There’s the right and
there’s the rest of us.

Jim Wallis
, the editor of Sojourners magazine, noted in his speech, “We
need to take back the idea that faith and God are a province of the
religious right.”

He continued, “The media is filled with stories of the divided
church.  Others say that religion doesn’t have a place in
politics.  We think that it does.  Some of us feel that our
voice of faith has been stolen.”

Sojourners is a magazine and an
organization dedicated “to proclaim and practice the
biblical call to integrate spiritual renewal and social justice.” 
Wallis focused a lot on his comments on the poor in this country and
abroad, and that seems to be at the heart of much of what he’s worked
on in his life.  He also encouraged the people present to remember
that the care of the environment, prejudice and discrimination, and war
are all issues that faith can inform, and not just in the way portrayed
by the right.  “My evangelical tradition has been distorted such
that it
seems the faith of Jesus has become pro-rich, pro-war,

He finished, “‘We are the ones we have been waiting for.'”  The
country is terrified by fear; we need the healing of the nation that is
deeper than politics.  The most frequent words of Jesus are ‘Be
not afraid.’  if your political commitments are rooted in your
moral values, in your faith, you need to let your values, your faith
shine through.”

More later.

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