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.