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Where have the mainstream churches of America disappeared to? I grew up in a mainly judeo-christian nation that was focused on the basic rules of how to live a good life. It was a flawed society but one that was trying to do the right thing and was repeating the kinds of lessons that could be appealed to make change. There were many wrongs to be righted but the scriptures were used to move in the right direction for the most part.

Foremost of these teachings were many lessons that perfectly match what we espouse as Liberals and Progressives: tolerance, caring for each other,love for one's neighbor despite the differences that naturally exist among us including those from practicing other religions, making sure that those that need to be cared for are:  feed the hungry and shelter the homeless, be honest in all dealings and many, many more.

How did these Neochristians suddenly silence the moderate churches that are still leading their flocks to do the righ thing? It really is a mystery.

In many ways it follows the great changes in our society that has allowed us to fragment not just into marketing targets but into real communities seperated by geography that can gather quickly and powerfully in national terms. The internet is part of this but there is more.

As intolearant as many of these new fundamentalist churches are in terms of biblical interpretation relative to each other, their collective leadership has been able to unify nationally mainly to fight gay marriage, women's right to chose and the role of the church within the state. These basic ideas have driven marginal and major new churches into a force that now controls the Republican party and cowers the Democratic Party into trying to figure out how to be true to its precepts and win elections.

We actually stand for the fundamental judeo-christian principles that built western society and allowed the development of liberal democracy that the President uses to such effect to cover the errors of his adminsitration. We need to change the discussion. Stop playing Defense! Our leaders need address the gap that exists at present not be responding on their favorite topics (because their minds can't be changed and they are not our voters) but by going back to the well that truly feeds what is great in our society we can gather those with still open minds on how we can be greater as a people not because of our military but by the force of our human values.
Our judeo-christian values stress caring not only for other humans but for our world. The indictment of Republican policies was put no better than by Ansel Adams after meeting President Reagan.I agree with Mr. Adams because the battle is one to preserve and enhance all the great things that make this country worth defending.

In 1983, Adams met with President Reagan, and not to deliver a photograph. He was a vocal critic of Reagan's rollbacks on environmental protection and preservation of wild areas. He said Reagan's land policies were ones of ''rape, ruin, and run!" According to Adams, had the nation been under the vision in the 1930s of Reagan's infamous Interior Secretary James Watt, Kings Canyon National Park would today ''look like part of the outskirts of Las Vegas."

After Adams told Playboy magazine in 1983, ''I hate Reagan," an embarrassed White House had the beloved photographer sit with Reagan for nearly an hour. Adams left unimpressed, borrowing from Oscar Wilde to say, ''They know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

One can only guess what sparks would fly if Adams, who died in 1984, could witness President Bush's resurrection of Reagan's rape, ruin, and run.

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Originally posted to What were you thinking on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 10:27 PM PDT.

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