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As some of you may have seen at Pastordan's recommended diary, the first official Daily Kos spinoff site is up and running. Pastordan and I have timed up on Street Prophets, an exploration religion and politics from the perspective of the Left.

Politics can make odd bedfellows. I'm an atheist, and can be fairly militant about it at times (especially when religion encroaches unwanted into my personal space). But, there's no denying the importance of faith to millions of people's personal lives and to the political process itself.

In early January, I spoke at a gathering of DC Democrats, where I had been invited to try and explain this blog thingamajig to them (some got it, most looked at me funny). Also invited to this meeting was Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics, and was blown away by his presentation.

Wallis urged his Democratic audience to speak of values when on the campaign trail. And not "values" as the word has been hijacked by the Right. Rather, to explain to voters the moral foundation upon which their decision making was based. This didn't mean inserting religion into government, but giving voters a sense of how they personally arrived at their decisions.

Voters don't want a spreadsheet with a candidate's position on every single possible issue. They simply want to know what powers the candidate. If it's the Bible, then great (the Bible, as Jim Wallis' book vividly illustrates, is actually an extremely liberal document). If it's another religious text, wonderful. If it's something else, then they should talk about that something else. My moral compass is not based on religion, but on utilitarianism (all action should be directed at generating the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people).

Fact is, we are all Democrats for a reason. It is just as important to talk about why we are Democrats as it is to talk about what it means to be a Democrat. People hunger for that knowledge. It's why Obama's DNC speech was such a hit. And whether that ethical foundation comes from religion or somewhere else doesn't matter. Either way, we need to feel more comfortable talking about it.

When I decided it was time to start extending the Daily Kos brand, I looked for 1) subject areas that might support a whole new community and 2) someone with the skills and credibility to manage it.

Faith was a no-brainer, not just for the reasons I outline above, but also because the religious left needs to become more politically active lest the Christian Fundamentalists on the Right destroy everything they believe and stand for. And I scored big in getting Pastordan to run this new communtiy. I couldn't have gotten a better guy.

Street Prophets won't be for everyone. No site is. But I have no doubt it'll grow to be a vital little corner of the blogosphere.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Way to go (3.85)
    Everytime when I hear Randi Rhodes talk about the Religious Left, I wonder why I can't ever seem to see it.  Then I started getting involved with the Unitarians, and realized where its at.  Thanks for starting up the spinoff...I know I'll be over there regularly.
    •  Not just for Unitarians any more! (4.00)
      I've met quite a number of serious and in many ways socially conservative Lutherans who still have strong left-leaning tendencies when it comes to helping the poor, caring for the weak, etc.  People who walk the talk when it comes to some of those pesky things that Jesus guy said, like "What you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me."

      I'm not a religous person.  I'm not quite an athiest, because if a real miracle occured (like the plane burning for eight days, as Jon Stewart put it) I'd be open to revising my "we're all work food" hypothesis.  But I have met more people whose Christianity leads them to social liberalism than the other way (although obviously I'm hanging out with the "right kind."  I know there are lots of the other kind as well...)

    •  I'll be there also (none)
      This is a great effort pastordan and kos, thank you.

      kos one comment about your being a utilitarian. Jesus was the premier utilitarian. I often say to people who disagree with established Christian religions, "it's not Jesus you despise but people who claim to be followers of his".

      ps- It takes as much faith to believe in God as it takes to NOT believe in God. Nobody knows for sure so it is a leap of faith for all of us.

      I don't care that they take all the money, it's the hypocrisy I despise

      •  Well said (none)
        "it's not Jesus you despise but people who claim to be followers of his"

        I like that kos sets this up and introduces it by mentioning he's an atheist, though. I think religion freaks a lot of people out. Since Pat Robertson generally makes more headlines than Jim Wallis, I can see why.

      •  Utilitarianism isn't quite enough... (none) can't do bad, unjust things even if they'd make a lot of people very happy indeed.

        But everybody here knows that, whether or not they call themselves utilitarians.

        •  Very interesting point (none)
          one that kos made below.

          Is it possible to do what is "good" for everybody? Is that an attainable goal?

          Example: The recent case on Eminent Domain in Conn. How could we have done what is best for everybody involved in that case.


  •  Spinoff (4.00)
    So is "Street Prophets" going to be the "Rhoda" to Kos' "Mary Tyler Moore" show? Or something like that?

    Ari Mistral

    "As soon as New Orleans gets back to normal, I plan on volunteering to go down there and help drink their economy back on its feet." - Will Durst

    by Ari Mistral on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:14:51 AM PDT

  •  Better Off (2.17)
    We'd all be better off without religion.

    If corporations are "people" under amendment 14, then they should pay taxes like the rest of us !!

    by Stink Tank on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:15:00 AM PDT

    •  I hate statements like this (4.00)
      they seem as silly to me as statements like "we'd all be better off without abortion".

      Religion is too damn personal a thing to be able to make blanket statements about it. It's an individual thing.

      Now, if you want to criticize Religion as a national thing, then you'll find no disagreement from me. But who are you to say that someone who has just lost a loved one, or a job, or is going through any sort of tough time in their life, would be absolutely better off without religion? I've seen it provide too much comfort to too many people to believe that your statement has any validity. If you don't want to be religious, fine. That's your choice, and I've made the same one you have. But let others make their own choice too, without saying they'd be better off without it.

      you WISH I was female

      by AnnArborBlue on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:20:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Religion may be a crutch, but . . . (4.00)
        I got into some pretty heated arguments with a friend after 9/11. He was telling people that the attacks were just another incidence of proof that there is no God, and on and on and on. I finally told him point blank to shut up.

        "Look," I told him, "you may think religion is a crutch, and you may be right. But if someone is in need of a crutch, what sort of person are you if you try to kick the crutch out from under them?"

        You are spot on. There are times when people need religion in their lives. Not everyone, and not all the time perhaps, but when they need it, to try to deny them their comfort is no kindness.

    •  That is a valid belief for you to have (4.00)
      but doesn't negate the positive good generated by the spiritual imperatives others feel. I don't want to hear about the crusades. Look at the Berrigans, look at Martin Luther King.

      -7.88, -7.74 all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye

      by melvin on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:20:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (3.25)
      We should all be vested in a system with no moral underpinnings, guided by the principle of every man for himself, no protections for the underprivileged, no concern for poverty, no care for the environment, and where arrogance and selfishness are valued above humility and service.

      Your RNC card is in the mail.

      •  C'mon (3.90)
        Religion is like any other of mankind's endeavors. Writing, science, etc., it's a double-edged sword which can provide both comfort and pain, freedom or tyranny. It can be used for great good or for great evil. PastorDan I linked you up on the premier Atheist Scoop Blog, good luck! For Odin's sake good luck!

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:25:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your post really is just as nutty as the (none)
          Wingnut Right wingers that claim to be of the evangelic faith.

          For every non religous person of good I can show
          you ones just as great that do believe in organized

          The sad fact is that it is often remarks like those
          in your post, as well as a few others here, that
          help to drive many would be converts away from
          Progressive Democrats.

          Like it or not this country has a majority of
          believers over non believers. It is also a fact that
          the believers who do not follow the wingnutters
          are a greater number than those who do.

          The problem is that the whole damn country was
          asleep at the wheel all the past 20 to 30 years
          that the extreme right was steady building it's
          base and it's political agendas. Yes that includes
          you as well as the rest of the Christian faith
          that was asleep also.

          There is no one except the extreme far right
          wingnuts is trying to infringe on your rights
          to believe the way you do. So your comments
          certainly do not help the situation.

          If you want to solve the situation in this country
          that we have now you would do well to stop spewing
          such comments and start being inclusive of those
          who can and would believe in our political goals
          even if they do profess to be religous.

          Think about it the next time you start to offer
          such a stupid and confrontational comment.

          Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

          by eaglecries on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:43:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry my previous post went to the wrong comment (none)
          I actually meant it to go to the one by peacemonger.

          I apologize to you as I rather think your post was
          on the mark.

          Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

          by eaglecries on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 02:12:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What an ignorant post. (3.33)
        Religion is often just prefab morals for those too scared or lazy to think about how to interface with the universe on their own terms.

        Show me a person who has thoughtfully rejected religion, and I'll show you someone quite likely to care deeply for the underprivileged and the environment.

        The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
        --Lila Garrett

        by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:27:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen (none)
          Show me a person who has thoughtfully rejected religion, and I'll show you someone quite likely to care deeply for the underprivileged and the environment.

          Beautiful and thoughtful.

        •  well (4.00)
          This is too simplistic, although I agree that many people hide behind religion and are too lazy to truly understand their selected belief system - those are the morons like Pat Robertson. But, there are very thoughtful people who get it - I continue to say spiritual for the "good guys" rather than religious, because organized religion has always been a political and social tool that often is more about control and less about spirituality.

          George Bush is an unnatural disaster.

          by michele2 on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:46:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  often true, (none)
          many atheists are people who appreciate the religious moral perspective, and are repelled by the hypocrisy they see in how religion is often practiced. For some, rejection of religious practice and identity is their way of affirming the core values of religion. Of course, some really do reject the values (as do some religious people).
        •  Agreed (none)
          Because I think there's a huge difference between religion and spirituality.

          We have plenty of evidence with the Religious Wrong and Dubya himself that saying you're religious certainly doesn't mean you practice any principles of said religion.

          It is more than possible to be a spiritual, connected, compassionate being without subscribing to a particular church or dogma.

          •  And it's possible (none)
            to be a connected, compassionate being without believing in the spirit world.

            The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
            --Lila Garrett

            by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:11:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I absolutely agree with you (none)
              I just did a bad job in my prior post of trying to explain that being "religious" does not necessarily make one spiritual, and that you can certainly be spiritual without subscribing to any particular religious dogma.
              •  What I tried to say in the above post (none)
                is that I do not consider myself a "spiritual" person either. I don't believe in a spiritual realm, or ghosts, or souls, or dieties, or anything else that has no measurable impact on the physical realm. But I still consider myself a moral, compassionate, enlightened human being.

                The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
                --Lila Garrett

                by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:27:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Truly you are not saying (none)
          that only those who have thoughtfully rejected religion are the ONLY ones to care deeply?

          "Show me a person who has thoughtfully rejected religion, and I'll show you someone quite likely to care deeply for the underprivileged and the environment."

          In a statement such as this you ignore those that accept religion thoughtfully and care deeply for the underprivilaged etc.

          "If you're going through hell, keep going". -Winston Churchill

          by One bite at a time on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:52:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  0 for originality (none)
          Your statment is one of the most courageous statements of the 16th century.
        •  I was on your side (none)
          but I think this is unfair.  As someone pointed out, some use religion to wall in their ignorance, but many use it to explore specifically "how to interface with the universe on their own terms."  I think that's what most honest people of faith do.  I wouldn't deny that journey is part of the atheist's experience; why deny it could be part of the religious experience?

          I honestly think I have traveled the whole spectrum of belief and unbelief, and it changes constantly based on my life experiences, etc.  To me that is a part of living for ANYONE except for the profoundly incurious.

          You sound defensive.  You have every right to be; I hate when the mainstream equates atheistic with no morals or no world view.  That's ridiculous.  But I think you sound reactive to that.

          I don't even know if I call myself "religious" - that word makes me uncomfortable, as does "God" frequently.  But I would never question your values on the environment, etc.  I've known many scientists, both religious and non-religious, who had a profound moral depth that probably more the rule than the exception.

          I just found your blanket condemnation a little cold.

          "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

          by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:39:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Don't be fanatical about your unbelief. (4.00)
        Religion can be both good and bad, but it doesn't mean all who choose to practice are bad. I became a Freethinker a few years ago, but before that I had been very deeply religious. I continue to understand the good role religion can play in people's lives, so I do not try to push my Belief System upon anyone else. I just wish religious fundamentalists would realize the personal nature of religion and stay out of other people's business.

        Dick Cheney to Teacher: "W. ate my homework."

        by Cleveland Dem on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:45:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not fanatical about my unbelief. (none)
          I'm fanatical about my beliefs. Which have nothing to do with religion or the lack of it.

          The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
          --Lila Garrett

          by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:06:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wasn't suggesting... (none)
            that you are a fanatic. One of the reasons I became a Freethinker/Agnostic is because I purposely and consciously decided to accept clear, scientific logic over religious dogma which requires you to suspend reason most of the time in place of faith.

            Nonetheless, religion does provide some"comfort" to some people; it did for me in the past. It is this perception of comfort that nakes most peole remain religious, aside from societal expectations. Having been raised a religious person myself, I can sometimes identify with those who choose to practice their religion.

            But I know that banning religion altogether wouldn't accomplish any good. If all people could come to the "light" by themselves, to borrow a biblical metaphor, then the world would be a better place. Until then, we have to live side by side.

            Dick Cheney to Teacher: "W. ate my homework."

            by Cleveland Dem on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:19:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have gotten comfort from religion in the past. (none)
              And from tequila, and denial, and network television. But that doesn't make them beneficial.

              The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
              --Lila Garrett

              by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:21:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If comfort is beneficial (none)
                then logically the tequila was beneficial.

                Just out of curiosity, when, where, why and how did you get comfort from religion?

                •  I grew up in a conservative, fundamentalist (none)
                  (though not evangelical) religion. My father was a preacher. All of my family and most of my friends were religious. I went to religious schools from Day One through college.

                  So for much of my childhood, religion was many things, including a comfort.

                  Overall, though, I found it to be an impediment to my development as a thinking, caring person.

                  I still have some good memories about my past, and many friends and family members who are religious.

                  The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
                  --Lila Garrett

                  by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:45:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  peacemonger (none)
                    thank you for the reply.

                    Well that just stoked my curiosity. I hope you don't mind a couple more questions, as you hit on something I have contemplated for many years now.

                    What do you attribute as the impediments to your development? i.e. What do you think in the religion specifically impeded your development?

                    thank you.

                    •  Every religion I've studied (none)
                      has to deal with a fundamental conflict between what our senses and reason can tell us about the universe, and what the religion tells us about the universe.

                      One has three choices:

                      1. Reject a rational view of the universe (the conservative/fundamentalist choice)
                      2. Reject a religious view of the universe (the non-religious, or rational choice)
                      3. Try to negotiate a ceasefire between the two (the liberal/new age choice)

                      I chose door number 2. Most people I know who choose door number 3 spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to fuse the two into something that is meaningful and logical.

                      The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
                      --Lila Garrett

                      by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:06:44 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ok (none)
                        it is your logic which impedes you?

                        For instance-

                        God created the earth
                        Dinosaurs lived on earth 60 million years ago
                        The earth was created 6,000 years ago

                        this is not a logically valid statement which causes an impediment.

                        Is this an accurate account of your view of this issue?

                        thanks again.

                      •  I guess I'm a number 3 (none)
                        but I spend progressively less energy doing that dance.  I allow them to co-exist.  mostly they leave each other alone.

                        I think it fosters in me a capacity to be open and yet unattached.

                        "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

                        by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:28:43 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  There is no door (none)
                        Believe your senses. Really believe them and see where it leads you.

                        -7.88, -7.74 all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye

                        by melvin on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:41:13 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  When I decided to do that, 15 years ago, (none)
                          I walked away from religion, and it was one of the most beautiful, meaningful moments of my life.

                          The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
                          --Lila Garrett

                          by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:52:50 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  To your defense, Peacemonger (none)
                            I felt the same exhilaration when I finally decided to free myself from religion. It was such a liberating feeling, one that I look back on with fond memories. Freeing up your mind from the shackles of dogma is truly refreshing. You acquire a new, more vibrant and logical view of the world, the universe we live in, and the human being.

                            Dick Cheney to Teacher: "W. ate my homework."

                            by Cleveland Dem on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 04:18:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Sounds like you got the bad side of religion. (none)
                    There is also a good side.

                    One can use one's beliefs to grow in understanding of the world, and try to make it a better place. Or one can use one's beliefs to fortify his ignorance. The belief may be religion, or atheism, or hedonism, or nihilism.

                    Maybe the key is not what *ism you believe in, but how your beliefs cause you to interact with the world.

                    •  A-theism is not a belief. (none)
                      It is a rejection of a particular belief system, which is theism.

                      When you learn that I am an a-thiest, you have learned one thing about me -- that I reject theism. That tells you nothing of my world view, and whether or not it involves "belief."

                      The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
                      --Lila Garrett

                      by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:13:41 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My apology. (none)
                        I was thinking of the common definitions of the word:
                        1. Disbelief in or denial of the existence of God or gods.
                        2. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

                        From a linguistic perspective, it sounds like maybe you should identify as an "anti-theist." It would more accurately represent your position, and it would help to avoid confusion on the part of people who are used to the standard definition.

                        In any case, please re-read my post and just take out the word "atheism." I think it works just as well.

                        •  In your definitions, (none)
                          number one would be about the same as my definition. Number two is internally illogical. There is no athiest church that would establish doctrine.

                          The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
                          --Lila Garrett

                          by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:30:43 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Whatever. You win. (n/t) (none)
                          •  Actually... (none)
                            ...the atheist doctrine is that they know FOR CERTAIN that there are no gods, no otherworldly beings, nothing that is not "mundane".  Just as the theist knows FOR CERTAIN that there are gods, otherworldly beings, etc.

                            I prefer the agnostic view, which is that the jury's still out.  And for which I have been slagged by both atheists and theists, who want the absolute certainty of things being one way or the other.  It's actually quite common for atheists to become born-agains, and vice versa:  It's just a matter, in many cases, of flipping back and forth between polarities.  Either way, they get to have CERTAINTY, which people crave above all else.

        •  Concerning the religious right, (none)
          and the rest of us, it was said long ago: by their fruits you shall know them.

          -7.88, -7.74 all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye

          by melvin on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:10:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I agree! (4.00)
      Take that stupid Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., for example ...

      Let there be sharks - TracieLynn

      by GussieFN on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:23:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We's all be better off (4.00)
      if people lived a "religious" life with or without a religion.

      • Blessed are the poor in spirit.
      • Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.
      • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
      • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
      • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
      • Blessed are the clean of heart.
      • Blessed are the peacemakers.
      • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake.

      "One man with courage makes a majority." -Andrew Jackson


      by chuckles1 on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:34:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not surprising (4.00)
      The thinkers of the enlightenment, which was the foundations of the thinking put into the United States by way of Jefferson, Adams, etc. etc.... they struggled with the question of what good was religion.

      That is, at the time, religion was a great evil, far moreso than today.  Governments did horrendous things in the name of religion, much akin to say the Taliban.  Writers such as David Hume were afraid to explore the whole question because at the time the government was executing people for blasphemy.

      Religion had failed.

      Today... We are in a new time.  We have an opportunity to rethink religion, and to use it appropriately.  I think that if we abandon religion, or ignore it, we only encourage those who pervert it to succeed.  That is, their success will be our failure as a nation.

      Thus it is imperative to not allow that to occur.  To stand up and fight for true Christianity in the face of these heathens.  At least for those of us who profess to be Christian.

      I still fundamentally believe in the seperation of church and state.  However I do believe religion has a place in the private community.  It is something private to the individual and family, and influences their lives.  That influence should be encouraged, but not through government intervention, but rather through the free market of ideas.

      •  As... (4.00)
        the preacher in the church where I grew up said (paraphrasing)--"The right response to bad theology is not to reject theology, but to do better theology."
      •  Religion today (none)
        is just as evil. Look at the Jewish/Islamic conflict which drives the anger, poverty, oppression and violence in the Middle East. Look at the horror of AIDS and orphans in Africa, driven in part by Catholic action against birth control. Look at the Neocon agenda, successful for so long this decade due to backing by the American religious right, which is openly hoping to bring about Armageddon in the Middle East.

        The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
        --Lila Garrett

        by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:15:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see your point, (none)
          but your title seems to me almost as broad as "People today are just as evil."

          Some are, some aren't. It's wrong to classify "people" as evil because some are; and it's wrong to classify "religion" as evil because some use religion for evil purposes.

          •  Last thoughts... (4.00)
            I dislike religion for the same reason that I dislike guns. I understand their power, and the attraction they hold for people, and I understand the argument that good people need them because evil people use them. But I don't celebrate the use of a gun by a good person, because it is a tragedy.

            I want to apologize for all of my posts in this thread that should be a celebration of a new blog. I was not intending to spoil the introduction.

            The neocons will not give us our country back. If we want it back, we'll have to take it.
            --Lila Garrett

            by peacemonger on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:28:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Religion is a crutch (none)
          Those events you mention, are not the fault of religion.  They are the fault of men who walk away from what is right and just.  Religious is used as an excuse for their actions, or even inaction as the case might be.

          But religion in and of itself does not have to be used that way.  If you read the teachings of Christ, he does not at all promote these actions, rather I think just the opposite.  Why then do people do things in the name of Christ that Christ would not support?

          That is the ultimate question, and my point was that by rejecting religion entirely... you allow these blasphemers to subvert the word of the Lord in ways which are contrary to the teachings.  You allow them to win, for there are people in this world who simply do not think for themselves and they will listen to the person professing to speak for the Lord because all the Good men remain silent.

    •  11 years ago this month, (4.00)
      as my father's body was just about done eating itself, I got to see one of the true values of religion.

      My father was not much of a religious man. He didn't even want to have a church funeral. Yet a friend of his, a devout Catholic, sent a priest in to give my father his Last Rites. This upset me a great del. What gave this man the right to force his religion on my father. So I told my father how I felt.

      He smiled and said he had never been at peace before as he was after the Last Rites. He was neither afraid nor hesitant of his impending death. As a matter of fact he was welcoming of it.

      To deny the value of religion is to deny the value of peace in ones final days. Or the value of comfort someone gains after the loss of a dearly loved one, as my step father has received after the loss of his only son.

      I do not believe in any organized religion. But I do believe that they can be, and mostly are, a very positive force for those that do believe in them.

    •  I don't know (4.00)
      I think some of the claims that religion "makes you a better person" can be a bit much. But my view is that religion is good for good people; it drives them towards justice and compassion. Of course, the flipside is that religion can be a shield for inherently bad people too.
    •  If you believe that without religion (4.00)
      we wouldn't have another group staking out the ground occupied by the religious right, you're deluded. If it wasn't one power structure, it would have been another. The problem isn't religion, it is those who seek to usurp it for their own selfish ends.
    •  be that as it may... (none)'s not going away anytime soon, so what does making a statement like that do, really?

      I'm a fire-breathing atheist. I know exactly where I stand, and I'm as sure as I can be, barring the time I actually buy the farm, that there is no god of any kind. If it turns out there is, I'll face him and I'll say "oops, guess I was wrong." Being omnipotent, I'm sure he'll understand. :)

      That said, my views are obviously not shared by a lot of people here or in society at large, but I share many other goals and motivations with them. We all want to see this country lifted up, we all want to see tolerance and freedom and joy again. We want to be able to listen to the news without getting an ulcer. And as long as me and mine are as free not to worship as they are to worship, we're on the same page.

      The right has done a remarkable job of taking ownership of the idea of Christianity, and while it's merely one in an ocean of offenses to morality and decency that they have done so, it's also a tremendously effective tool for framing and for manipulating public perception and response. Better to organize a response to that, to stand up for what people like Jesus of Nazareth and Gandhi and King taught and reclaim that moral high ground, reclaim religion's purpose, than to sit there mumbling about how it'd be better if we didn't have religion. Yeah, I agree with you...but I also think it'd be better if we didn't have nuclear or biochemical weapons, and that shit ain't going away either. Now, more than ever, people who preach tolerance need to stand together and walk what they talk instead of making useless wishes.

    •  Your comment might (none)
      be stronger if you explained why we'd be better off.

      I don't agree with your point, but I don't see why it was rated so low either.

      "I have no country to fight for: my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world." - Eugene V. Debs

      by NeilDB on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:00:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Spirituality is to Religion as... (none)
      "Video" is to "Television."

      And, yes, I think "we'd all be better off without religion" just as "we'd all be better off without television."

      Say what?

      "Video" is an electronic medium, used to convey pictures and audio that can be used in a multitude of ways, good and bad. It's overall purpose is good in that allows messages and ideas to be transmitted between people, nations, worlds. "Television" is video that has been coopted by product, sales, control, content, and so on. It's video taken over by the Dark Side.  It's that box in your living room that sells you things.

      "Spirituality" is a communion (for lack of a better word) with a mystical power or being. It too can be used in a multitude of ways, good and bad. It's overall purpose is good becasue it explain the unexplainable, gives comfort to the frightened, and keeps back the darkness. "Religion" is the hardening of that communicaiton into dogma and oppression. Religion is spirituality that has been taken over by the Dark Side. It's that building on the corner that sells you things.

      So yes, we'd all be better off without "religion" AND "television."

      "Step by step the longest march can be won.
      Many stones can form an arch, singly none."
      --United Mine Workers

      •  I don't define spirituality as merely (none)
        belief in the supernatural, ghosts, etc.

        Maybe I am being inaccurate or imprecise, but when I use the word spirituality, I think of all the intangible qualities that make us aware of our mortality and our capacity to leave legacy.  I don't think you have to believe in an afterlife or other world per se to believe that we have another dimension, (philosophical?) a depth of experience, an awareness of ourselves and our potential, that carries us beyond the mere physical biological reality of our bodies.

        I would characterize any search for meaning or impulse to assign significance as a "spiritual" (for lack of a better word?) enterprise.

        My belief in the spiritual tells me (and I accept the possibility that I am way off on this) that our actions matter in the big picture.

        I suppose even if you think your body is simply temporarily animated compost, you can still have a "spiritual" appreciation that your organic material will someday contribute to the nutrients in soil...?  That's just me.  For me, the human impulse to discover his/her place in the universe is a spiritual impulse, whether or not the result of that search is a belief in ghosties.

        "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

        by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:57:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Probably true (none)
      I really couldn't make a decent argument against that statement, esp. if "religion" is defined as organized institutionalized dogma.  The non-organized, non-instutionalized kind may not be much better.

      However I believe the human psychology is wired, for good or ill, to believe in something, even (as someone pointed out) it is a belief in No-God.  That's a belief, too.

      Stripped down of all it's artificial components, hubris, judgments, etc., faith is, in essence, acceptance that there is more to us, more to life, than what we can see-touch-hear-taste-feel.  It means we have a greater dimension than the physical.  Whether this is "spirit" or "memory" or "love" or "legacy" -- it's the recognition (or at least the fervent hope) that we are capable of being more than we seem.

      Too often, in fact with astonishing regularity, we fall horribly short of our ideals.  

      But the mere fact that humans continue to entertain impossible ideals is, in itself, cause for hope.  that's enough for me.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:19:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  btw I really like this thread you started (none)
      which would seem to indicate that Street Prophets could be quite a hoppin' place for discussion.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 02:00:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is wonderful news, and (4.00)
    I welcome it.

    I'm Jewish, and coming back to my "values" as a Jew after many years of staying away from synagogue, out of protest for organized Judaism's rejection of homosexuality.

    Well, many reformed Jewish rabbis and working groups have been addressing GLBT issues in the faith, and I feel as though I can start coming back "home".  We have joined a synagogue.  It was a huge step for us.  And we will be raising our son as a Jew.  This thrills me and also fills me with trepidation.  I am not sure I know very well, after so many years of staying away, "how to be a Jew."

    But I do know that I have a very strong spiritual trust and that I love God.  And I do know that my moral values have so much to do with the decisions and learning experiences I had during all those years of not attending any official religious service, and of being without a religious or faith community.  So I do know that my left-wing, liberal moral values are rooted in my searching, learning, growing HUMANITY.  

    I can't tell you and Pastor Dan how happy I am that this new site will be up and running-- I will read it regularly!

  •  this niche is long overdue to rise up (4.00)
    The religious left needs to get organized and get loud. People need to know that there's an entire group of people who are liberals because they are religious, not in spite of it. Also, that they are religious people who are still comfortable with science, and skepticism, and cultural pluralism.

    republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

    by danthrax on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:16:43 AM PDT

    •  uh there always has been a religious left (none)
      they're called the black church.
      •  Yes, but (4.00)
        admirable as the black churches' work has been, thay're a little behind the curve on gay rights, for instance.

        -7.88, -7.74 all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye

        by melvin on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:07:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh jesus (4.00)
          homophobia and the black community have deep and complicated roots (just as in the African world as well, where the clergy are all vehemently homophobic). to condemn the institution that has helped black folks survive slavery and segregation just because they aren't fitting some litmus test for white liberals is quite foolhardy. last time i looked, i didn't see the HRC or any other gay rights group attempt to address the very real issue of gentrification and displacement of poor african americans by wealthier gays in urban communities.

          then there are the folks who ARE trying to foster change within the church, but who don't get front-page headlines.

          btw, Louis Farrakhan just held a landmark conference call with black gay and lesbian activist in regards to the Millions More March. he welcomed their presence, even though he said he would not have a gay speaker at the event. but at least that dialogue is there!

          •  oh jesus yourself (none)
            Louis Farrakhan is not a Christian. Do you have a better example of folks who are trying to foster change within the "black church"? Or are we supposed to just take your word for it?

            In God we trust. All others must pay cash.

            by yet another liberal on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 04:41:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Farrakhan (none)
              IS a leader of a black church. A very large black church.  And a very active black church.

              Your comment, like many of the positions articulated here at dKos about the left, churches, the black community and social movement politics in general just serves to illustrate the kind of tunnel vision that the political analysts at dKos are operating with.  Its a very narrow definition of politics and a rather rigid one that is rather oblivious of the histories and actual organizing and activist work that precedes MarKos and his blog and has been invisible to most of white, middle class America over the last 40 years. For most folks here if white professional Americans don't know about it, then it doesn't matter-- not a particularly productive (or progressive) position for the so-called "netroots" to take, it seems to me.

              In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

              by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 06:29:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Its also called (none)
        the peace movement.

        Anyone who has been involved in the peace movement can tell you that the religious left is VERY active.

        Thanks for reminding the people here that there is more to politics than just the people they have heard of.

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 06:22:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  good example (none)
          i appreciate your analysis A Gilas Girl. i work in the anti-globalization movement (plenty of religious folks there too!) so i get what you are saying about the limits of the politics model in which DKos works (the magazines i subscribe to aren't the Atlantic Monthly or the American Prospect. they're the New Internationalist, NACLA-types.)
  •  Right on, Kos (4.00)
    I am excited about the new site.  I have recently been confirmed as an Episcopalian (no we are not all white, martini drinking, limo liberals).  I had bailed on religion as a teenager but my faith in "something higher" (whether it be God or Mother Nature, etc.) remained.
    I am not a prosteltizer but I think its important for people to remember that Jesus (whether or not you believe him to be the son of God) was a social revolutionary.  He was crucified more for upsetting the Roman applecart that for anything else.
    Values matter because they guide our decision making process.  We can not allow the wingnuts to hijack the word any longer.
    •  Yay! (4.00)
      I totally agree -- received into the Episcopal Church in March '04 -- recovering Methodist.

      Religion is important, regardless of whether you see it as a social construct and frame used to control large masses of people or if you see it as a deeply important way of understanding yourself, the universe, and the divine.  Those who ignore it in the political arena do so at their peril.  

      Bravo Pastor Dan for providing a liberal internet think tank on the subject!

      Also, I didn't see this link on the blog:

      Might be a useful group in the future.

      •  I just got confirmed on Sunday (4.00)
        after having been a lurker for years (off and on) I finally decided to take the confirmation classes and become a card carrying WASP.  I was raised in a strict Mormon household and I have been recovering from the LDS experience since I was 15.I bailed on the Mormons when I told my Dad that "I would no longer condone nor participate in an organization that treats women like second class citizens."  Jesus, only a 15 year old would say something like that.  Kudos to Pops, however, all he said was "fair enough".
      •  I'll add one. (none)

        Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

        by pastordan on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:58:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  cheers to Episcopalians (none)
      I was reared Episcopalian and still have a strong loyalty for that denomination because it is honest about its struggles for truth, it's rational about faith, and it has managed to continue to move incrementally forward on women's and gay rights.  We/they are the halfway house for recovering and kicked out Catholics like theological Matthew Fox.  I feel some of my most meaningful accomplishments have been within the Episcopal church, trying to foster understanding and liberalism.

      Now I'm a mix of Episcopalian, Wiccan, Buddhist, and agnostic.  I think being at DailyKos has made me more secular because faith isn't really respected here, and (as Stuart Smalley would say) that's OK, because obviously we need a rational, reality-based government, and the so-called Christian right has tainted so much of what passes for religion these days.  It has made me want to distance myself from those lying hypocrites and also to provoke them.

      But my spiritual side needs care and feeding after a few years of neglect, cynicism and busted outrage meter.  I'm looking forward to haunting the new site for that purpose.  Hey, I've still got about 2% of my "free" time NOT consumed by DailyKos, so why not?

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:11:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Definite snaps... (4.00)
    as a card carrying member (figuratively) of both the Democratic Party and the Presbyterian Church (USA), I'm delighted to see this, and see people realizing that religion is not, by its nature, a tool for evil, as it often is condemned as around here.
  •  This is (4.00)
    wonderful news. Why don't you transfer the entire database of users to that blog? If some don't want to be there, that's fine, nothing is lost. But for the rest, it will be easier - avoids new registration.
    •  Size concerns I would suspect (4.00)
      Part of what drives the one diary a day, no duplicates thing here is largely database performance and size I'm sure.

      I suspect Kos's user table is quite large, no sense copying something so large over there and reducing performance so people can avoid a 5 second registration process (it only asks for name/password/email after all).

    •  I suspect some people would see that (4.00)
      like the Mormons' involuntary baptizing of the dead. ;-)
    •  Agreed. (none)
      I need to wait a week to post a diary there. A week!

      Not that I'm prolific here, but who knows. I think I may have found a new home.

      •  What's even worse (none)
        is having to wait 24 hours to post a comment -- the spouse could tell you that I can't be quiet for 24 seconds, much less 24 hours...

        "It's an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously." -- Bill Bryson

        by Cali Scribe on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:01:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great idea (4.00)
    Glad to see it added to the blogosphere, and particularly glad to see the coordination between this site and creating others officially. Much can be done in the future with further sanctioned and non-sanctioned spin-offs, I think.
    •  This act on Markos' part (none)
      also adds an interesting and ironic chapter to the Melanie fiasco in the early days of dKos.  I would hope that pastordan would seek Melanie and her blog out and that MarKos would invite her to be a part of that project.  

      It also makes me wonder how gender plays a subtle role in these things, even when we claim it doesn't.

      In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 06:32:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Namaste n/t (4.00)

    The concept of war is outdated. Dalai Lama

    by x on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:20:41 AM PDT

  •  I'm furious (4.00)
    You've just destroyed my marriage.

    My wife is already unhealthily addicted to DailyKos and now you're putting together a spiritual site?

    The poor woman was a double major, and Religious Studies was one of those majors, for Pete's sake!  I'm NEVER going to peel her away from the computer now.

    I just hope you're happy.  I know she will be :)

    Seriously, Good luck and I look forward to reading and participating in the site.

  •  Dem Values (4.00)
    Democrats are so value driven that think it's obvious to everyone. Of course, it isn't because of the contemporary media.

    People are willing to take pols at their word (for reasons I can't entirely fathom). The right tells us they're FOR morality and Dems aren't, and a  certain segment takes that for granted. Even people who identify as Democrats sometimes think that.

    Actions speak louder than words but a huge amount of the American electorate pays little attention to actions. We like the details of policy - they don't. They like the emotion, and they want the Cliff Notes version. Having an active and visible religious left will satisfy at least some of their concerns.

    Good move.

  •  wow (4.00)
    Very very impressed, Markos and Pastor Dan. More than that, I'm moved by it, especially given your reticence on religion, Kos. Really well done, and a good team, to boot.
    •  Impressed - me too (none)
      I love the banner - who did that? I love the intro by Markos, maybe that should be on the about page.

      Also, is there going to be a religion for dummies theme there? I truly am interested in the differences between all these faiths, but am afraid to ask questions for fear I'll offend somebody.

      •  I felt the same way (none)
        about my own ignorance and not wanting to offend. Then I found Chock full of nuts and bolts and you can even take a quiz that will match your beliefs and outlook with religions with similar  values. Includes everything from strict fundalmentalist dogma religions to more liberal "new age" and unitarian beliefs.

        "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

        by Kestrel on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:48:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  interesting. (4.00)
    although I'm guessing you & pastordan have teamed up rather than timed up ??

    Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little. - Edmund Burke

    by ukrich on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:21:53 AM PDT

  •  Utilitarianism? (4.00)
    You gotta be kidding me. How 19th century. Check out John Rawls books: A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism for a 20th century update.

    For every complex problem there is a simple solution that is completely wrong.

    by MarkInSanFran on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:22:47 AM PDT

    •  Yeah -- (none)
      Weren't the original Utilitarians discredited for being anti-labor?

      Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

      by Abou Ben Adhem on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:31:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe so. (none)
        Utilitarianism has been used to validate all manner of evil. The basic claim is that the distribution of utility is irrelevant, only the total amount is considered. So that a system in which all are destitute save one person who is vastly wealthy due to the labor of the destitute is a good system, as long as the total amount of wealth is greater under the evil system than a more-egalitarian system. Nice, huh?

        Giving Kos the benefit of the doubt, maybe he didn't really mean classical Utilitarianism - although I don't know of another kind. Any comment Kos, or are the masses to be ignored again?

        For every complex problem there is a simple solution that is completely wrong.

        by MarkInSanFran on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:10:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  everything (none)
          has been used to justify anything.

          Look, it's obvious to me that a system in which one fabulously wealthy individual opresses the masses isn't "the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people". If that's not self-evident, then I don't know what is.

          I don't care about how some dumbasses interpreted utiilitarianism. I care about how I do.

          •  Thanks for the response (none)
            You might want to read up on Rawls (the two books I suggested would be fine, except that Rawls himself is a shitty writer). What he is saying is what you are really talking about, or at least one version of it. The fact that he is widely considered to be the most important philosopher of the latter half of the 20th century, having saved philosophy from the utilitarians, is an added bonus. The importance attributed to him may be indicative that not only dumbasses interpreted utilitarianism in the manner I indicated.

            For every complex problem there is a simple solution that is completely wrong.

            by MarkInSanFran on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:36:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Utilitarianism: Inoperable Doctrine, ... (none)
            Deadly Practice.

            So says Raymond Baker in "Capitalism's Achilles Heel" that I just finished.

            Problems of utilitarianism "...include ends justifying the means, lack of guidance for making complex choices, discounting of motive and intent, inadequate weight given to promisses and committments, little room for rights, and selective sacrifice of the interests of some to the greater interests of others", says Baker.

            Give me Adam Smith and the Bill of Rights any day.

            Maybe it's my good Jesuit training that got this atheist this far.

            Keep thinking, Kos.

            The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est  Pro patria mori.

            by andreww on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:55:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I hear you (none)
            and the republicans are going to hear you

            Let our object be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. Daniel Webster

            by Luetta on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:03:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yes! (none)
      John Stuart Mill's 'Utilitarianism' was fine, but then I read 'A Theory of Justice' right after it and it struck me as exactly what reasonable people would do when starting up a new constitution/society.  Not that you actually get to start from scratch like that, and Rawls conceded as much, but it's still a really good basis to use when thinking about policy.  It's that thing you go back to, much like a political (as distinguished from moral) version of, "What Would Jesus Do?"  It's, "What would people in the original position (not knowing what their randomly handed out place in society would be once it formed) do?"

      I'm actually reading 'Political Liberalism' right now, and I'm eagerly awaiting the answer to the question: "How can an overlapping political consensus be reached among people who have reasonable comprehensive doctrines that fundamentally disagree?"  And how might Americans of today be motivated to attempt to understand the necessity of that and try to do it?

  •  Have you called any (none)
    of the grassroot organizers on this yet.

    Particularly, Reverend Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary's Episcopal Church and Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou of United for Peace and Justice organizing Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq (and author of UrbanSouls) are good places to start.  They're very much into the cause.

    •  What's Spong doing these days? (none)
      How about someone like Bishop Spong in NJ or Rev. Thandeka of the UUA?

      Ari Mistral

      "As soon as New Orleans gets back to normal, I plan on volunteering to go down there and help drink their economy back on its feet." - Will Durst

      by Ari Mistral on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:25:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is important (4.00)
    Wonderful idea. I think religious people need to have a choice and I hope the religious that do not judge will realize that ethics is what should drive politics, not religious dogma.

    The Democrats need to take charge of these people, and maybe this website can help. My only concern is that I hope the "Religious Left" will always embrace the separation of church of state. I gather that is their stance (I hope).

    "I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating." -George W. Bush

    by Dunbar on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:23:08 AM PDT

  •  Love it! (4.00)
    This was a great idea, Kos. The Religious Left definitely needs to be organized and more vocal in the future. We need to show people that most religious values ARE Democratic values. The Religious Right needs a firm opposition to their plans to monopolize religion.

    We can do this. We need to attract new voters throug this blog.

  •  Congratulations! (4.00)
    As the child of hippies, I've had very, very little exposure to organized religion, and Christianity in particular. But I resoundingly applaud any attempt to dis-equate Spirituality with the Right-wing agenda. Which is exactly what Street Prophets does.

    Thanks, Kos, for stepping out of your personal comfort zone on this one.


    ---- George Bush. Just not up to the job, is he? ----

    by JasonRoberts on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:24:39 AM PDT

  •  I look forward to (4.00)
    another forum to let left blogisphere know that there are MANY of us lefty activists in the religious world. There are also religious organizations that do promote the issues we liberals care about.

    Personally, I am involved with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, an organization that needs to be lots larger than we are, but needs more and more exposure for that to happen.

    We need dialogue

    We need engagement

    We need to keep promoting faith as a force for good.

    Wallis is one among many who have been doing this work for a long long time. A warm welcome to all Kossacks who include on their journey, a journey into progressive faith and values.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

    by RevDeb on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:25:33 AM PDT

  •  LOVE the design layout -- and colors! (4.00)
    It is very easy to read.

    I am sick to death of being told about "values" from "The Religious Wrong.

    I'll be a visitor.  Good luck with the site.

  •  Hallelujah and Praise the Lord! (4.00)
    There are millions of good people of faith that can join us in the righteous cause of making the world a better place.

    The Anti-War Movement, The Civil Rights Movement, and earlier The Abolitionist Movement, were all inspired from our pulpits.

    My great grandfather came to this country and founded a synagogue, even though he was an agnostic (as am I).

    People of faith, people who believe in charity, mercy, justice, who see us as all God's children, belong not with a cadre of plutocrats and the hypocritical televangelists who enable them, but with us, the people of this country.

    I will be going to an Appeal of Conscience Awards dinner tomorrow night.  It is an ecumenical organization that addresses the many social ills of the world.

    You go, pastordan!   An Interfaith Coalition to bring hope and inspiration to the many downtrodden , especially in the Red States, is what is called for.

    In this moral vacuum, it is time we claim the moral high ground with our church going brethren at our sides.

    "All of us are smarter than any of us."

    by organize on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:26:59 AM PDT

  •  Kidos, Kos (4.00)
    Given your atheism this is a testament to your Big Tent-edness.  Bravo!
    •  I meant Kudos... (4.00)
    •  Kos and the Big Tent (none)
      I gotta admit there's something a bit odd about someone who's neither religious nor a leftist running a site that claims to be for (or is it merely about?) the religous left.

      But while kos has always shown plenty of respect for the religious, he has almost ritually attacked the actual left on any number of occasions.

      Here's to hoping that he becomes as tolerant of those who disagree with him on, e.g., war and peace issues and patriarchy, as he is of those who disagree with him on the existence of a deity!

      "This war is an ex-parrot." - The Editors

      by GreenSooner on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:10:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Respek (4.00)
    Props for the idea--an exceptionally good subject for your first offshoot, Kos. The strident right-wingism of American Christianity is deeply overrated--check out Malcolm Gladwell's piece on Rick Warren in the NY'er as a jumping-off point--and this seems to be a good step towards coalescing an already active left-leaning Christian blogosphere.

    I've alerted my div school blogger friends to Street Prophets. Congrats on the new project.

  •  Brilliant addition! (4.00)
    My only comment would be that I don't see that the new site is only attractive to Christians. Most of us feel that we are on a spiritual journey of some sort. Where it takes us may be different one from another but the seeking out of the paths is similar for us all. Much of our politics is an expression of values that require a faith, from whatever source that faith is derived.

    The great thing about Pastordan is that he makes no demands but recognises the very personal journey each person is on and, if it is sincere, quiet and thoughtful he welcomes us all - even damn Welshmen!

    Genuine congratulations to you Markos on thinking "out of the box" and extending the reach by the Democratic Party of everyone on the internet.

    New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

    by Welshman on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:30:15 AM PDT

    •  My Christianity meter goes down (none)
      the longer that the so-called Christian Right is dominating the stage.

      I think part of it is stubborn contrariness.  Like, "ok, you want to monopolize Jesus, go ahead, TAKE HIM."  Those idiots have ruined it for me, frankly.  Their slash and burn Christianity has left me to search for greener fields.

      So I'm sporadically Christian but it's heavily diluted by Wicca and Buddhism and a rather spasmotic agnosticism.  

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:20:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm also an agnostic (4.00)
    and I forget just how important religion is.

    But when you think about the date, Sept 20, 2005 (my birthday, btw, thankyouverymuch) the date is ya know... A.D. after the death of Christ! So we measure time in B.C. and A.D. Now to measure time by the birth and death of Christ, puts him right in the middle of many things that by now are mostly subconscious. But that Christ, religious factor, has an abundance of power in all our psyches.

  •  usernames (4.00)
    Oh c'mon Kos.  You should make the sites share a common user DB so folks here at dKos can maintain their identities over at street prophets.  although i'm sure most will be able to grab the same user name.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Benjamin Franklin

    by jdeliaNYC on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

  •  Organized religion (4.00)
    The spiritual connection one has with their God, a higher power or just the unknown is pure. Organized religion, flawed by the hand of man and too often preverted for hypocritical intent and misunderstood in its most fundamental tenets, has typically become archaic and counter-productive.

    When at it's best, organized religion can be as helpful and effective as the Red Cross and as inspiring and reassuring as the Dalai Lama or an insightful psychologist. However, at its worst it becomes George W. Bush or extremism and yeilds far too much unnecessary blood shed under a banner of righteousness.

    Maybe the meek shall not inherit the earth... although one can still hope.

    We're gonna rise from these ashes like a bird aflame...

    by August West on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:32:53 AM PDT

  •  great news. (4.00)
    I'm excited about the new site.  Can't wait for my one-week probation to "wear off", so I can start crackin' on something interesting -- Rauschenbusch and Bonhoeffer are as applicable, and perhaps quite important, as they were in the late 19th/early 20th cens., but they aren't much paid attention to, esp. the former, in today's faith.

    Although the masters make the rules / For the wise men and the fools / I got nothing, Ma, to live up to. (Dylan)

    by teedz on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:35:06 AM PDT

  •  Productivity down, Deep thinking, up (4.00)
    Yin & yang strike again.  On the one hand, this will further detract from the productivity I'm supposed to display at work.  On the other, this is a subject on which I have a lot to say and that brings out some of my better thought processes and writing abilities.

    For the Kos community, I'm hopeful this may provide some insight into how "values" have been hijacked by the Right and transformed into attitudes and policies that would make their Messiah spin in his grave (if he were still there.)

    I can see discussions ranging from "Is there a dog?" to debates on "Life of Brian."  Sounds like fun.

  •  Wow ! This is great. (4.00)
    The concept is a no-brainer, sure.

    But, alas faith is not.

    Also, I would take issue with the concept that the Bible is a "liberal" document :

    It is and it isn't.

    The New Testament - very liberal, to be sure and even considered by some to be verging on Socialist sentiment - happens to be dragging along along a document called the Old Testament.

    In that document, God sends - on behalf of one of his taunted prophets - a she bear to tear children from limb to limb.

    In that document, God commands the Jews to go into the land of Canaan and slay every man, woman, and child there.

    The litany goes on and on : genocide, murder, brutal execution, incest, slavery....  

    No, the Bible is not exactly a "liberal" document, though it does show, as Wallis notes, far more concern for the poor than the reigning American political class.

    Because of the mating of the Old Testament to the New,just about any sort of behavior and political ideology imagineable.

    The Judaic tradition has a thousands of years old tradition for interpreting and mediating the mayhem and savagery of the Old Testament: The Talmud.   Christianity has no such deep interpetative tradition.

    So, proclaiming Christianity as a liberal tradition is good, to be sure.

    But declaring the Bible itself to be liberal will not convince many who need to be convinced, for such pronouncements gloss over the darker aspects of the Bible and of Christian history.    

    •  A typo there : (none)
      That should have read :

      "Because of the mating of the Old Testament to the New, those who call themselves Christian can justify nearly any sort of behavior and political ideology imagineable."

    •  aeou (none)
      You're right if you take the Bible literally, and I agree that the OT is not a liberal "book" on its face. Understanding context and the motivations of the many responsible for the writing of which it is comprised provides a different and more balanced view. That applies to new and old testaments. Let's not even get into the numerous texts that are not included in the KJV or not included in the Biblical canon for whatever reasons and what they might say (over 15 texts referenced within the OT).

      George Bush is an unnatural disaster.

      by michele2 on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:57:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  actually the Bible (none)
      isn't all its cracked up to me, imho.

      kind of like the NYT.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:25:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am not religious (4.00)
    but instead, find myself being agnostic. I believe there are higher powers, but not in the sense of mainstream religion. I'll believe in aliens and other forms of intelligent life before I believe in "God."

    That said, I think this is a wonderful idea and it's something Dems need to grasp very tightly. Our country is a religious country, comprised of many different faiths. Those faiths we need to bear in mind when we talk to the people about how we do our jobs, why we do our jobs, and what motivates our decisions, whether it be personal faith or not.

    That said, I checked out the new site. Looks pretty cool. Needs some work on the left sidebar. I was hoping my dKos login would work, but alas...

    How is the site oriented? Is it simply Christian, multi-religion or what? Going with that question, and seeing how Booman Tribune has categories for posts - be it world, east, etc - could Street Prophets have sections for various religions?

    I dunno...that's it...thanks...blah, blah, blah.

  •  Thank you so much Kos... (none)
    for expanding this type of commentary and allowing PD his voice... I myself don't believe in God per se, but I look at things like PlameCrazy's story, among others, and really really wonder... the power of thoughts.

    And yes, democrats need to allow this kind of speech...

  •  Thank you...Great Idea! (none)

    I'm not going anywhere. I'm standing up, which is how one speaks in opposition in a civilized world. - Ainsley Hayes

    by jillian on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:44:06 AM PDT

  •  Thanks so much! (4.00)
    Jim Wallis has done much to set the record straight about Christ's teachings which foster tolerance and unity. Ironically our "godly" president derides those attributes and favors lying, killing and stealing for greed - all in the name of God and patriotism.  And he absolutely loves leading a polarized nation for his "divide and conquer" goals.

    Cheney died a natural death - on the phone with Halliburton.

    by annefrank on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:44:10 AM PDT

  •  Our politics is reflection of our spiritual values (4.00)
    I cannot imagine one without the other. Even denouncing one will tell you a lot about a person's views on the other. This is good news!

    Cake or death? Cake please.

  •  Freakin' awesome Kos. (none)
    I'm stunned with respect and admiration over this new venture.

    May this provide the bridge(s) that has been needed on the left for so long now!

  •  Thank you (none)
    Markos and Pastor Dan! I am really looking forward to it. Only my mom and you guys know I'm an Atheist. The rest of my family and friends don't. The A word might as well be a 4 letter word these days. Many thanks, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one out there. I was raised and confirmed Roman Catholic, but after a lot of thinking over the past 2 years I decided to leave.

    Not all who wander are lost.

    by petal on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:55:47 AM PDT

  •  i am not part of the faith based left (4.00)
    personally i am encouraged by the sometimes liberal streak of the religous, but i am afraid i have some views that i think the majority of them would disagree with.

    • under god should be removed from coins, the pledge, anything official.  

    • there should never be a national day of prayer.  

    • there should not be a prayers in congress.  

    • no tax dollars should go to faith-based groups or religous schools.  

    some great liberals were religous leaders like dr. king, but i do not want my government promoting christianity, monotheism or prayer.  does the current religous left want this?  

    should i take a pragmatic approach and abandon my true goals about seperation of church and state for the greater good of the democrats/progressives?

    •  Not at all... (none)
      I think the religious left (mostly) stands for the proposition that religion and government are both better off separated.  The federal government giving money to a religious institution stands to "corrupt" the religious institution at least as much as it stands to "corrupt" the federal government.  

      That said, we're simultaneously for religious individuals taking those ideals and putting them into governmental practice--ideals of social justice and equality, ideals of care for the poor, ideals of recognizing the least of these.

      As Stephen Carter characterized it, we're for a wall of separation, but with doors in it and with people able to go between both sides, if that's what they choose.

    •  You ask should you abandon your goals? (4.00)
      No.   I don't think so.    But there's a lot of things as a religious liberal that bother me and there are other things that do not.   In your list, for example:
      • I don't give a hoot about "under God" and "In God We Trust" because I think they have become platitudes and are without meaning.
      • I don't know of anyone who observes a National Day of Prayer.   And I'm pretty sure that the Pharisees in Congress who declare one, do not observe it.
      • The prayers held at the beginning and end of civic meetings do bother me.    If they are of a particular faith (even if it is mine), I am self-conscious of the language used and how people have to skirt things to not offend others.  I don't like 'em, and I wish we insist on them, they should be a silent prayer or a moment of silent reflection.
      • No tax dollars should go to any religious organization.

      I would add:

      • The tax exemptions we give to churches is a subsidy, and a problem imho.   There are conflicts of interest in zoning and building regulations.
      • I am frightened by the right wing's "Rat out a Pastor" campaign- or whatever it was called, where the right would complain to the IRS about liberal ministers.    I have never heard of the IRS clamping down on a conservative minister's political statements or actions.
      • Thanksgiving is really a religious holiday-  but we forget that.   I think its cool.   So many in our country are ungrateful and spoiled rotten.   It would be nice if we had Thanksgiving more often  and have it be a day of fasting rather than a day of feasting.
      •  thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (none)
        seriously i love the feast.  i think originally it may have a religous overtone and everything but its has evolved.  you remember in school you used to draw turkeys and dress like pilgrims and indians.  giving thanks for friendship and a new land.  if i remember correctly the indians werent christians.  
    •  actually... (none)
      I agree with you on all points.  

      Well, I don't mind a national day of prayer, I guess, but only because a day of reflection or meditation could be part of that, and carry as much weight of law as, say, the International Talk Like a Pirate Day.  (I have a preference for holidays, religious and otherwise.  I would celebrate all holidays of all religions if I could, esp. because then I wouldn't have to go to work at all.)

      But I find any reference to God in an official way somewhat discomfitting.  

      I like the idea of "prayer/meditation/silence" better than any reference to God.

      I don't want any atheistic or agnostic kid to feel pressured in school.  But on the other hand I can't think of anyone who couldn't benefit from sitting still with their mouth shut for a few minutes, esp. kids.  It's because I value having an inner as well as an outer life.

      otherwise, I'm 100% with you.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:42:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Smart Venture, Kos and PD, (none)
    you are walking the walk here by giving the nod to we liberals of all beliefs and faith/faithlessness!

    "If you're going through hell, keep going". -Winston Churchill

    by One bite at a time on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:58:03 AM PDT

  •  Sign me up! (none)
    Excellent. See you on the 'street!

    Blog this! Visit me at K Street Blues. It will change your life.

    by AggieDemocrat on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:03:14 AM PDT

  •  Love it (none)
    As a liberal Democrat and practicing Christian, I love this site. Great idea.
  •  Jesus and liberalism (none)
    I guess I am agnostic as to the existence of God and Jesus' divinity, but I find Jesus' example presented in the Bible to be highly inspirational and filled with sound moral guidance.

    I hope that the new site will provide a lot of information (complete with scripture where appropriate) about the similarities between the teachings of Jesus Christ and liberalism.

    It would be very useful for admirers of Jesus such as myself and more traditional Christians to learn more about how the New Testament relates to public policy.

    We need to counter the voices of the wackjobs like Robertson, Dobson, and Falwell.

    Like many here, I'm often skeptical of churches and organized religion. But we should remember that faith and religion can be forces for enormous good. There is nothing inherently wrong with using faith to fill in the many gaps in human knowledge, finding peace in the belief that there is a God and an afterlife, or turning to religious teachings for moral advice that recognizes the humanity and dignity of every individual.

    •  agreed. but... (none)
      I hope the site won't be only Christian.  My faith, such as it is, is a constantly moving target.  I think it's healthier that way.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:32:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  scoop sites, i tell ya (none)
    should have used soapblox :P

    SoapBlox Colorado - The Daily Kos of the Centennial State. Join today!

    by pacified on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:11:37 AM PDT

  •  Rhandi Rhodes (none)
    what do Rhandi Rhodes and organized religion have in common? More harm than good.

    you know you're in trouble when your dreams are interrupted by commercials

    by the basque on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:23:13 AM PDT

  •  I'm an atheist (none)
    also, since I was 17, all things considered if you look at all the vicious and horrible things done or excused in the name of religion, it is easy for me at least to claim that the world would be better off without it.

    Religion is a crutch for some to excuse unsatisfactory behavior, and those that don't necessarily take part in that behavior none the less don't hold those that do responsibile, why, because they are religious and the devil made them do it. When you can do something unethical or illegal and have your religious surrogate forgive you in the name of god (only if your dues are up to date) I call that unacceptable on both ends.

    If you need religion to separate right from wrong for you, you are diluting yourself and irresponsible. I being an atheist don't believe in the hereafter, you would think that religious people would be more concerned about what they do while alive if they are so concerned about after death consequences, but then again everyone thinks god is their personal savior and protector.

    Obviously there are individuals that are genuinely religious in their life and practice what they preach, but they are so few and far between that its impossible for them to make up for all the hypocrites that use religion as a smokescreen for illegal, unethical, and hateful behavior.

    My apologies to those that are actually compassionate and caring and do live the supposed enlightened life of the religious, there aren't many out there so this probably doesn't apply to you, although you surely will believe it does, after all you are religious and believe in god, doesn't everyone!
    Have a great day and here's hoping (not praying) that Rita stays away from all land masses, especially the Gulf Coast.
    PS- No I'm not the devil, but if that makes you feel better go ahead and indulge yourself, thats what you do isn't it!  

    •  well the communists (none)
      tried to get rid of religion. that didn't work out so well either.
      •  Do you see where all this is headed? (none)
        Soon, we will have DKosies calling each other commie, anti-christ, jew-hater, islamic jihadi, hindu fanatic,... It's a bad idea to mix religion and politics!

        Such evil deeds could religion prompt.
        --- Lucretius (96 BC - 55 BC), De Rerum Natura

        •  tell that (none)
          to minority folks and immigrant voters. our faith is the foundation of our politics and what has allowed us to triumph over slavery, segregation, continuing on to today... politics has never been separate from religion for us...
          •  Signs of bigotry! (none)
            So, "minority and immigrant voters" are not "us"? I rest my case.
          •  With all due respect (none)
            mixing politics and religion is just what I'm talking about and one of the main reasons we elected GWB, although he is incompetent, and unethical, the right and very religious people feel more comfortable with him rather then a secular although religious in his own private way John Ferry, mixing politics and religion is not smart or  in the best interests of America or any country, and the people in power and their anti-democratic agenda are proof of that.

            Religion obviously blinds people to the real truth at least in the short term, watch what they do and not what they say, when a politician or anyone wears their religion on their sleeve for all to see, BEWARE, and I think history proves that time and time again.
            Thanks for the input and have a great weekend and be safe.

    •  as an atheist, (none)
      I take exception to your comment. People will find some banner under which to do the things they want to do. In a religious world, those banners will be religious. In our age, what has not been done under the banners of various perversions of Marx's ideals? What is being done now in the name of the a-religious market? Listen to the marketeers and tell me it is not the equivalent of a religion for them. A perfect one, in fact, in that it does not, can not, address human values.

      I am reminded of the Buddha's remark that since it cannot be known whether there is a go or not, it is fruitless to discuss the matter.

      -7.88, -7.74 all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye

      by melvin on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:18:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish you had identity management (none)
    so we could share logins across all your sites...nothing stopping me from signing up to Street Prophets as any noted DKos personality and start defaming them...

    Furthermore, I think utilitarianism needs to be flipped. How about an ideology which generates the least _un_happiness for the most people?

    Good luck on your new site. Its purpose will probably end up being explaining religion to atheists and explaining atheists to the religious.

    The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

    by peeder on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 11:35:10 AM PDT

    •  In fact (none)
      I just signed up on SP as Armando (no, really).

      I wrote Kos/PastorDan (through the Contact us form) with the logon info and password (as proof) and encouraged them to pre-register at least the highest profile Kos users to prevent sabotage from the nefarious elements.

      Even if Armando et al. are not going to post to the new site, it's a good idea to protect the good name of the front pagers so the posts at SP aren't used to discredit our star posters.

  •  Brilliant and relevant... (none)
    I think it is great to have separate forums for the two subjects we all burn to discuss (but dare not  in polite society -- not if we listened to our mothers and/or Emily Post).  Religion and politics.

    Each affect us intimately where we live.  And now, sin of sins, religion is being used as a bludgeon in government.  The two were never supposed to mix in this country.  So now we need to talk about it.  We really, really do.

    Deep spiritual beliefs (or the deeply-held lack thereof) are part and parcel of American culture, right from the get go.  This place was peopled from the beginning by a great variety of individual thinkers and spiritual seekers.  We do not have a homogenous spiritual, cultural, or even physical landscape -- it is our very lack of homogeneity that makes America rich and keeps us free.

    I look forward with pleasure to participating in the community discussion at Street Prophets.

  •  an interesting exercise (none)
    for Christian apologists: try to pinpoint Jesus on the political compass. I haven't tried, for lack of expertise (recovering catholic).

    Maybe place a few other religious leaders, real ones that is. Would a pattern emerge?

    -7.88, -7.74 all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye

    by melvin on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:09:33 PM PDT

    •  who's apologizing? (none)
      for that matter, who's Christian?

      my personal religious role model is the Dalai Lama.  not that I could come anywhere close...but to me, he's the face of genuine compassion.  That's enough for me.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:30:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Christ was the liberal of his day (none)
      -He emphasized charity
      -He attacked the money changers (big business) at the temple.
      -He said "he who is without sin shall cast the first stone (clearly anti capital punishment)
      -He hung out with the prostitutes, homeless and "deadbeats"
      -He didn't accept money from the widow who needed it more than he did.
      -When Peter (or Paul) cut off the ear of the Roman guard, Christ picked it up and put it back on (no violence, please).
      -Forgave the thief on Calvary as they were both dying.

      Progressive action from the man the right wingers love to highjack.

      "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang seperately." - Ben Franklin

      by RandyMI on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:35:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Faith in Action (none)
    People like Pat Robertson have been getting a lot of TV time talking about God's wrath, but I was inspired by others. The other night on CNN, they were in Houston talking to what I think was a local preacher whose regular job was owner of a barbershop. He volunteered his time giving men harcuts. And trust me, it really does restore some dignaty to a guy who has been nearly drowed in filthy water, frying on rooftops and bridges and shipped like cattle from place to place.

    Then, another network talked to a group voluteers from the Midwest who brought goods. One man said was simply a part of serving Christ.

    Over and over, you hear voluteers talking about service to God, Christ, Allah and the teachings of Buddah and putting it in action.

    THIS is the true portrait of the religious community in America.

    "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang seperately." - Ben Franklin

    by RandyMI on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:25:14 PM PDT

  •  Idea (none)
    How about we organize progressives of faith to demonstrate outside the megachurches of those ministers who support the war in Iraq, or who go around saying that "NOLA had it coming".

    "We must all hang together or assuredly we will all hang seperately." - Ben Franklin

    by RandyMI on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:29:50 PM PDT

  •  Mixing religion and politics is a bad idea! (none)
    I am an atheist, and since reading J.Scalia's dissent on the recent Ten Commandments case, have become an "evangelical atheist" (is it an oxymoron?). I joined Daily Kos believing that it is a community that beieved in the separation of church and state and a strong defender of the Establishment Clause. Now, it has a spinoff site that claims in its manifesto:'s the manifesto: Street Prophets is a place to talk about faith and politics...

    Should I look forward to Daily Kos spinning off sites for all of those on the left who have faith in the "theory of intelligent design", creationism, and that the sun revolves around the earth (20% of Americans believe so according to a recent NSF survey, so that's a sizable vote bank!), to discuss politics?

    I feel cheated, especially so when the "Street Prophets", calls itself in its logo  a "Daily Kos Community". Well, I voluntarily signed myself into the Daily Kos Community, but I do not belong to the community of the "religious left" or whatever you call it. Is there a way to unsubscribe or unregister myself from DailyKos, before you integrate your user database to enable single signon to Street Prophets and your other forthcoming sites? Thank you.    

    •  give me a break (none)
      This is still a free country.

      I'm only sporadically religious.  I have enjoyed DailyKos for its emphasis on rationality, science, and reality.  As a result, I have grown and deepened in these areas.

      And yes, all the religious talk in the mainstream makes me sick because it is on average hypocritical and intellectually lazy.

      But I have a spiritual dimension also.  Frankly, one that has languished because I am being reactive against the nuts out there.  Faith and spirituality are still important to me.

      I defend the rights of atheists 100% but that doesn't mean I don't want to think and talk about issues of faith and religion, just as, similarly, I  defend the rights of gays 100% but that doesn't mean I am gay myself.  It's the diversity of humanity that I value, and that diversity includes a wealth of culture, orientation, psychology, ethnicity, and yes, religion.  Like it or not, it is part of this world, and for good or evil, part of the psychological bent of humans to choose it or reject it for themselves.

      I'm not going to claim that (Christian) religious people are discriminated against -- I find that ludicrous. Christians (esp. the fundamentalist right) have dominated the conversation ad nauseum.  That doesn't mean the conversation shouldn't continue.

      Obviously atheists are beseiged with religion against their will, and I sympathize with that.  I believe the plurality of opinion on faith matters necessitates a laisses-faire (hands-off) approach from gov't on those matters.  But you can't wish away the environment we have to live in; to its detriment, I think, the U.S. is one of the most religious nations and we're not going to change that any time soon.  The best we can do imo is to deepen the quality of the debate.

      The DailyKos has a secular site already.  It's called DailyKos.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:04:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is Daily Kos secular? (none)
        The DailyKos has a secular site already.  It's called DailyKos.

        What exctly do you mean by labeling Daily Kos as a secular site? Does the site prohibit any discussion of religious topics as they relate to politics?

        I am not objecting to the discussions of religion as it affects the society in which we live. In fact, there have been several such discussions in DailyKos, I recall.  Nor am I complaining about atheists being besieged with religion in this admittedly religious country, even world (I read somewhere that we, the atheists, account for about 4% of the world population). I am beyond such attemts at redemption! What I am objecting to is Daily Kos spinning off a site exclusively for discussing religion and politics. That in my mind is giving special recognition to religion in the discussion of politics, the latter being what the Daily Kos community is for. Is this not sponsoring of religion by Daily Kos?  If it were true that Daily Kos is secular, how could a secular site be justified in sponsoring and establishing a non-secular site? If the U.S. were mostly a religious country, and possibly by implication most of the members of the Daily Kos community were also religious, does that justify this special recognition to religion in politics?

        There is a reason why I quoted J. Scalia's dissent!

        •  If it's a bad idea (none)
          it will fail. If kos, FSM bless him, decided he wanted to make a spinoff for intelligent design, he could do that. We could then decide, en masse, that he is a moron and stop visiting his site.

          I'm not sure that a Supreme Court decision about government is applicable to a blog. The Constitution and the First Amendment have no opinion on the mixing of religion and politics. It is the mixing of religion and government that is prohibited. Big difference.

          If you want to cede the large number of people who identify with some religion to other, non-kos-affiliated blogs, that's an opinion I don't share. I think religious people can add a lot to our discussions.

          •  Government, Poltics, and Religion (none)
            Certainly, the Establishment Clause does not say anything about mixing religion and politics, leave alone what goes on in the blogs. I hope you'll agree with me, though, that the Government is the result of politics, at least in a democracy such as ours. Just look at the Bush Administration' record or the discussions on many of its policies (and nominations/appointments) in this forum. It's obvious how much influence religion has on this Government. Can you separate governance from religion, if you could not separate politics from religion? Not in a democracy, I don't think, just as it's almost impossible to not let a judge's personal views from influencing his/her opinions from the bench. Witness, the parallels between J. Scalia's speech at the University of Chicago Divinity School and his dissent in the Ten Commandments case. It's a very slippery slope from arguing against ceding "the large number of people who identify with some religion to other, non-kos-affiliated blogs", to arguing for parity between creationism and the theory of evolution in public school curricula, because a large number of your constituents are for it. Of course, I recognize that navigating that slope is a must for the politicians, and that the Constitution, unfortunately, does not explicity prohibit it. The GOP is a past master at this, and the Democrats, it seems, are learning quickly. I just didn't exepect DailyKos too to be opportunistic on this matter. Obviously, I was wrong.
            •  re: mixing religion and politics (none)
              Yes, I think it's a mistake to institutionalize religion into politics by legislating it or enforcing it in a formal, artificial and exploitive way.

              But from the perspective of people's value systems (whether "religious" per se or non-religious), the ONLY kind of value system worth anything is one which influences one's actions in the world.  So internally one cannot separate one's value system from one's politics; and while you shouldn't legislate morality, how can you reasonably ban free discussion of those areas of overlap and yes, areas of disagreement/agreement in a community that is not afraid of such exchange?

              Seems to me it would be more disingenuous to pretend that overlap does not exist or to relegate it to whispered undercurrent.  

              "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

              by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 04:31:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  On the off chance you're still reading... (none)
              (I don't have a connection at home, thus my blogging time is limited to work. Don't tell my boss.)

              Oh, I absolutely agree that government is a result of politics. May I suggest: Individual -> Beliefs -> Politics -> Government.  That is, an individual has beliefs, which inform his politics, which creates government.

              I agree, it is a slippery slope. I would readily call someone whose religion leads him to support teaching of intelligent design a fool. But I wouldn't call someone a fool if his religion leads him to support the peace movement. Subjective and arbitrary? Hell, yeah. And if I give a pass to the peace-movement people, why not the ID people?

              I suppose the answer is, because I tend to agree with the peace-movement people and not the ID people. To me, it's not as important how you arrive at your politics, but rather, what your politics are. If the toaster in your kitchen talks to you and tells you Bush is evil, well, you're probably a nut, but we can work together.

              I welcome religious views here at DKos. I also am glad we have people like you around, to help keep us from sliding down that slippery slope to the point that we begin to think ID in schools is OK.

              OK, enough rambling. This thread jumped the shark last night anyhow. ;)

        •  It's not forbidden, of course not (none)
          but there is a bias against it, I feel.  The site is secular by tradition, by ambience, not by formal dictum.  It's subtle; maybe it's simply Kos' views filtered through layers.  I certainly don't feel hindered from discussing religion here, but rationality is definitely playing major notes while anything more speculative risks a bit of judgment.  I guess I'm feeling it more from a New Age perspective than from a Christian perspective.  There is a judgment against, for example, the soft sciences vs. the hard sciences; less quantum, more mechanical physics.

          By the same token I get the impression that the spin-off is nominally Kos but mostly Pastor Dan.  The new site I assume has no dogma, no regulatory function, no creed or pledge, no titheing required; it's a forum for discussion.  It's as if (I'm guessing) Kos is saying well, there's certainly a place for lefties to discuss moral values and religion, just don't do it around me; let's keep DailyKos free of excessive religiousity.  Separate but equal.

          Kos isn't a public agency, it's a discussion place for the percolating of liberal ideas.  And one can argue that just as the spaces available for liberal conversation have been limited, the spaces for liberal religious conversation are even more so -- so much so that the MSM doesn't seem to acknowledge that lefties of faith even exist, or if they do, they're automatically wacko.  

          Liberals allow diversity.  Kos, I believe, is encouraging diversity to flourish just to see what develops.  imho

          "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

          by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 04:24:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Sometimes, (none)
      and this happens in all religions, participants break away and/or offshoots occur because they want to remain 'pure'.
      Unfortunately, they usually intellectualize themselves so far into the corner that they actually become divorced from their original intent.
      Kos and Pastor Dan's place? Don't see it as "The Body of Christ" - wait and watch it develop as "The Body of Kos".
      The early Christian churches were self-determining - it's only the later popes and other church leaders who either broke away and lost the central mission, or attempted (and are still initiating) coups to centralize power.
      The central concept of a healthy religious group is that it remains open to all; all voices are welcome. Ecumenism reigns, all remembering the central issue: we are a group of people called to serve the world and not condemn it.
  •  Spiritual Path (none)
    For many us on a spiritual path, though not necessarily on a religious path, here is an opportunity to share and grow. I do believe that values are the most important discussion and KOS has given us a forum where that values discussion can happen. Special thanks to KOS.
  •  A New Blog Focusing On Class, Race, Poverty... (none)
    My associates and I have started publishing a new blog that directly addresses issues of class, race and poverty. We're hoping it will make a contribution to the progressive blogospere. Here is a copy of a news release we put out today:

    The Katrina Memo
    Publisher: Ed Deevy & Associates

    Ed Deevy, a veteran of  LBJ's Great Society program has launched a blog advocating a New Deal that includes those who are now not part of the American Dream. "I'm sick of right-wingers promoting their philosophy of greed and demonizing the poor in our society," says Deevy. "It's time for patriotic Americans to stand up for the people who are getting screwed." Deevy added that responsible government shouldn't be about creating billionaires but about looking out for the interests of all citizens.

    The new advocacy-based blog, called The Katrina Memo, will be a valuable source of information for all interested in responsible government. It will actively promote the election of politicians committed to creating a fair and just society.

    A major purpose of this on-line publication is to help keep the focus on issues of class, race and poverty long after the mainstream has moved on to other preoccupations. Deevy noted that Fox Cable News has already returned to the Natalie Holloway story. "We want to keep the public outrage going," said Deevy.

    A native of Ireland, Ed Deevy supervised a team of VISTA volunteers working in the poorest neighborhoods on Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the late 1969s and early 1970s. In recent years he has worked as a management psychologist promoting the idea of employee empowerment. He lives in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

    THE KATRINA MEMO will not accept advertising. It will be supported by voluntary contributions from readers.

    Blog Name: The Katrina Memo
    Email: or
    Publisher: Ed Deevy and Associates
    Phone: 978-688-4900 (Cell: 857-389-2113)

    Come and visit...and wish us luck!

  •  We are the Unitarian Jihad (none)
    gotta read this...pretty funny stuff.

    get your own name here:

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 12:47:21 PM PDT

  •  What do you call it when (none)
    your philosophy is:

    "all action should be directed at generating the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, as long as they are me and mine ?"  .

    Out of my cold dead hands

    by bluelaser2 on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:01:46 PM PDT

  •  Another idea... (none)
    "When I decided it was time to start extending the Daily Kos brand..."
    If you are looking to expand further, I would like to suggest a community theme that is dynamic, expansive, and vitally important to our culture and society.

    T H E  M E D I A

    This subject covers so much ground that it deserves its own space. We're talking TV, radio, print, cable, satellite, music, film, advertising. And within all of those areas, the divide between content and the business and governmental institutions that envelope them.

    If there is one message I want to convey to the world, it's that no problem in our society will be solved until we solve the problem of the media first.

    p.s. is available.

  •  Great idea, Kos--I'll be there (none)
  •  Thanks for Doing This (none)
    I don't support organized religion and believe it does much more harm than good in this world, so I won't be using this new site.  But I'm still glad to see you tackling this topic.
  •  Hurray! (none)
    I know that if those of us who regularly discuss this stuff here make the jump, I'll be able to count on this new site for some in-depth, (mostly) thoughtful discussion of some pretty darn important issues.  Marking it as a favorite right now.  Thanks kos & PD!

    "Dear God: Do you draw the lines around the countries? If you don't, who does?" Nathan -- Letters to God from Children, The Anglican Digest

    by md jeffersonian on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 01:41:11 PM PDT

  •  The core philosophy of the neo-cons (none)
     Many many Americans have been led to believe that the "new right" embodies thier belief system.  They have been told that the new conservatives are driven by christian values. They were told by Bush himself that his idol is Jesus Christ. GWB might have even believed that Christ was the most influential in his life but his actions say something else. More than anyone else the conservatives are influenced by Leo Strauss and his post modern deconstructive view of the world.
      This is the view that tells us the indivual is the driving force in today's world. That the triumph of the indivual will is the more important than the collective good of all. This is the view that rejects the idea of all for one and one for all. This is the view that would send an "Army of One" into battle. This is the view that would scrap a social saftey net and replace it with indivual accounts. This is the view that seeks to destroy all things built on the ideals we learn in christian churches.
      I learned through bitter experience that of myself I am nothing, that I had to surrender my will to a higher power of my understanding in order to be happy and productive in life. I learned that only in surrender can I win; in giving I can expect to receive; in loving I can be loved. This is the paradox of my life, which is directly opposite of "new conservative" promotion of indivualism.
  •  Alright! (none)
    (or should I say "Amen, brothers!" -just kidding-)

    Can't wait to jump in. Now I can dust off all of my old Charlie Peacock CDs and play 'em really loud while I'm online.

    Actually, my life today revolves around spirituality, not religion. Most people don't understand the difference. It was explained to me that religion is for people afraid of going to hell, spirituality is those who have already been there.

    I'm surprised in a way, that this project has come about. But on the other hand, the need is obvivous. I'll be a regular.

    [To which some reply <groan.>}

  •  Morality is a Democratic value (none)
    Although I don't always agree with Dr. Dean, he stated it concisely when he said (from "Howard's Beginning", The American Prospect, Aug. 2005), "The Democratic Party is essentially a party based on morality. From a biblical point of view, if you ran a checklist of moral values, I think we'd be on firmer ground than the Republicans are. They have successfully painted us as a party that doesn't have morals, and nothing could be further from the truth." Dean has a checklist: Possessing moral values means not letting kids go to bed hungry, providing a decent education, taking care of the environment, looking after senior citizens, not building up the debt, and loving your neighbors.

    Until the Democrats can develop a short, national message building on these values, we are swimming upstream. The media only carries that which is repeated over and over again. If we say it enough, it will get on the air.

  •  yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (none)
    somewhere I can "hang my hat"....


    I heart Jim Wallis.

    and now I heart Pastor Dan!

    I'm there dude!

    Just remember...people are always more important than ideas.

    by circuithead on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 02:16:03 PM PDT

  •  RSS feed? (none)
    Where is the rss feed for Street Phophets?
  •  Sojourners (none)

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 03:02:44 PM PDT

  •  Wah! (none)
    I want to be able to post NOW!!!

    Okay...sorry for that tantrum. Sometimes I think it is good to act like a 5 year old....just occasionally.

  •  I'm curious... (none)
    How does religion intrude on you?
  •  Watch this movie (none)
    It's one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.
    The God Who Wasn't There
    You can download it HERE for free with BitTorrent.
  •  Thanks (none)
    I've been looking for an online community to discuss issues of religion and politics. I too am an atheist, but am drawn to issues of faith and society. I hope the spin-off site is all that it hopes to be.

    "In all of life's journey, so little time is spent in meaningful moments."

  •  Great idea! (none)
    Just went there my self. I look forward to reading about the various viewpoints on religion and all that lies in between.

    So... when does SciencKos start up? blink, blink...

    What? I'm a science minded philosopher... sorry!

    Seriously, I'd join that too if it was created.

    Sorry Karl, your plan to destroy the Republican party has been rescheduled for... now. You took too long, God wanted to help.

    by RElland on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 08:04:14 PM PDT

  •  hope kos/pastordan are still reading (none)
    I signed up at street prophets 12 hours ago and still can't post.

    I'm happy to wait the 24 hours but if you think you've reduced the posting wait time to 8 hours, it didn't work.

  •  What gives? (none)
    I've served my 8 hours in Purgatory, and still can't comment.  Someone wanna check with the Big Guy and see if my name is on the roll (as it were).  (Signed in as Mike in MI.)

    [The Administration] has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water. ~Olberman

    by GOTV on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 03:21:27 AM PDT

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