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Over at the American Prospect, Adele Stan is feeling a bit defensive. She wrote an article two weeks back urging progressives to give up on the idea of having a religious left to counteract the Moral Majority types.

I, among others, was critical of this piece. Stan herself picks out a snippet from The Green Knight:

The reaction of people like these folks and these and many others has been to get organized, tell the story of what's happening, and start to push back. We're having an effect, too; even the media's beginning to find out about it now. And just at that moment -- Stan tells us not to bother. Nice.

Stan wants to clear things up, in part by admitting that she should have mentioned Fred Clarkson's work on the IRD, and her own from Mother Jones. Which is gracious, though it overlooks that the right-wing hardly needs to rely on the IRD anymore; they have their own hack journalists to do a  hatchet job for them.

But okay, give Stan some credit. She does have some good points, among them that if the progressive faithful ever were to attempt a challenge of the religious right, we'd need our own media empire to push things along. Personally, I think that's a smashing idea. I would happily elbow aside Chuck Currie to get in front the cameras. So that's a good idea.

Cheese and crackers, though. At some points, Stan comes across like one of those clueless dKos diarists who demand that issue X not be ignored any longer, never mind the fifteen posts on that very subject immediately before their own:

It was a modest and, I thought, obvious proposal that I put forward two weeks ago on this page: That liberals give up the notion of creating a cohesive religious left movement that could act as an effective counterforce to the animus of the religious right. Instead, I argued, liberals would do well to claim our own moral agency by virtue of our own humanity and the essential values of liberalism, which encompass the most admirable tenets of the world's great religions.

Great idea, great. Except who exactly is arguing that the religious left mirror the religious right? I've only ever heard the opposite, usually when somebody suspects me of starting to look too much like them conservative Christians. In fact, about the only people who think progressive believers are trying to be the mirror of the Religious Right are media types, who can't quite grasp what it is we're up to. That and secular leftists, who don't really understand how the whole religion thing works. The few, the proud, the prog religion bloggers, we've all drunk deep of the netroots Kool-Aid. I don't know any progressive faithful types who don't think that this is going to be a people-powered revolution. (Oddly enough, it's the clergy who most want to empower the laity. We've got enough on our plates, thank you.)

As for "claiming our own moral agency," what does Stan think has been the point of Protestantism in the past, oh, 500 years or so? Growing disciples who don't need me to tell them how to live their faith is my freaking job.

I think I know what Stan's up to, though. She seems to want progressives to "transcend" religion in favor of universal values:

[A]ccording to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) some 40 percent of people who identified themselves as belonging to a particular denomination or religion did not attend religious services in houses of worship -- nor did anyone in their households. (Because of the way the question was worded, we do not know how many non-churchgoers live in households where others attend religious services.)

That's a lot of people -- people who likely derive their ethics from a particular faith tradition, but who may not respond any better to the words of a religious liberal than they do to a religious righty. But they most likely will respond to ideas of right and wrong, and to language that sets these ideas in grand prose. (See: King James Bible.) If secular liberal politicians would simply engage the better angels of a broad, and often unchurched, electorate, they just might win.

"Grand prose." So people are only involved in the moral life to the extent that the language is purty? This is just absurdly shallow, as is the notion that by speaking on a high, general plain, pols will suddenly capture the "moral values" agenda. Christ! Haven't we had enough of mealy-mouthed politicians trying to speak to everyone, only to end up speaking for no one?

Let me tell you something: morals are a triumph of the specific over the general. The word is derived from the Latin moralis, the ways or customs of a place, after all. To try to rip one's morality out of the context in which it is grown is to strip it of any kind of pungency it might have once had. But locate it in a particular time and location, and it becomes explosive, as with the Cotton Patch Gospel:

"The spiritually humble are God's people,
    for they are citizens of his new order.
"They who are deeply concerned are God's people,
    for they will see their ideas become reality.
"They who are gentle are his people,
    for they will he his partners across the laud.
"They who have an unsatisfied appetite for the right are God's people,
    for they will be given plenty to chew on.
"The generous are God's people,
    for they will be treated generously.
 "Those whose motives are pure are God's people,
    for they will have spiritual insight.
 "Men of peace and good will are God's people,
    for they will be known throughout the land as his children.
"Those who have endured much for what's right are God's people;
    they are citizens of his new order.
"You all are God's people when others call you names, and harass you and tell all kinds of false tales on you just because you follow me. Be cheerful and good-humored, because your spiritual advantage is great. For that's the way they treated men of conscience in the past.

Why, when I have something this rich to chew on, would I want bland, tasteless, utterly inoffensive pabulum? I agree that religious language has a tendency to become jargonautic fairly quickly, but the answer to that is not to stop using the language, but to reclaim it. That sort of project doesn't require me to deny who I am, for one thing. For another, it answers this challenge fair and square:

"You all are the earth's salt. But now if you just sit there and don't salt, how will the world ever get salted? You'll be so worthless that you'll be thrown out and trampled on by the rest of society. You all are the world's light; you are a city on a hill that cannot be hid. Have you ever heard of anybody turning on a light and then covering it up? Don't you fix it so that it will light up the whole room? Well then, since you are Gods light which be has turned on, go ahead and shine so clearly that when your conduct is observed it will plainly be the work of your spiritual Father.

There is nothing modest or obvious about trying to take back God talk by being salty - or as I like to think of it, a piss-and-vinegar Christian. Some people don't like it, in fact. They might find it offensive, or scandalous, or stupid, and that's their right. They may not want to make common cause because of it, they might even vote against me should I ever be idiot enough to run for public office. Fine. Their loss. I'm not going to let it slow me down, though. What Stan doesn't get, at heart, is that the renascent progressive faith movement is not about out-organizing the Religious Right. It's not about influence, or lobbying, or effectiveness at the inside game. It's about standing up for what's right, and helping others to do the same, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof. But to do that, we have to know what we think is right, name and claim it in all its glorious, troubling specificity - we have be ourselves before we can welcome the other.

So I long for the day when all Americans - atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans - can be themselves. I long for the day when we can all drop the pretense that we have to be the same to be together. I long for the day when we finally figure out that the melting pot sucks, but the hot, fresh gumbo of a thousand flavors is mighty tasty.

I long, above all, for the day when we can be known by what we stood for, specific and spicy and more than anything salty.

Lots more piss and vinegar salt where this came from.

Originally posted to pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Liberals need to identify themselves with God... (9+ / 0-)

    ...but at the same time stay as far as humanly possible away from any particular religion.

    Our message as it pertains to God should be...

    God is Great!
         +
    Religion has absoultely no place in government.

    If we can articulate that...

    we will win.
    •  It's difficult (8+ / 0-)

      The evangelicals will feel that they are betraying their religion if they do not attempt to convince/convert all comers. This is an essential part of their religions, and what makes evangelical religions unsuitable in public office, except in the special cases of those who can separate personal religious belief from their public service.

      •  They will have to learn (8+ / 0-)

        that they don't have to betray our religion.  We just have to use a different approach: Lead by example.  Forget passing all these idiotic laws.  Show tolerance.  Don't pass judgement.  And when we get attacked for not being like the religious right, just point out that we are living what the Bible preaches, and not just talking about it.  

        Whoomp, there it is.

        "What is really what if I can't even get comfortable 'cause the Supreme Court is like, all in my uterus?"

        by cowgirl on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:32:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  All Christians are by definition Evangelical (4+ / 0-)

        since most of the people in this country and certainly most of the people who are in political office or ever were are Christian I am not sure how you can make a case for determining that Christians are not suitable for elected office.  I just don't see how you plan to accomplish only electing the 15 percent of people in this country who are not some form of Christian (self identified regardless of the amount of lapse in their practicing).

        The difference is how we share the good news.  It's not all about converting people.

        •  Basically, what I was saying (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, TiaRachel, gkn

          is that to perform well in public office as an evangelical - and no, not all Christians that I know/have known are evangelical in their outlook - they need to be able to keep from exercising that aspect of their religion in conjunction with the exercise of their civic duties. I do not propose electing only non-Christians; I think that would be silly. However, I do not believe that all Christians will enslave our government to their particular code as the current crew appears to be trying to do.

          It's kinda like pharmacists, religion, and birth control, or practicing Jews working in a supermarket. You do not have the right to sublimate your job's requirements to your religious ideals, or, in the case of public service, to insert your religion into your job in violation of the Constitution, etc.

          •  you don't understand the term (0+ / 0-)

            Evangelical is what I am saying.  Yes, all Christians are evangelical.  How we share the good news is the only difference in outlook.
            What I am trying to tell you is that you are making the common mistake of saying Evangelical when you mean  dominionist.

            •  I'd really rather you (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TiaRachel, gkn, Dugius

              keep the news, good or otherwise, to yourself. I don't come into your church, please don't come into my life.

              •  An impossible request. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musing85

                There is an interesting story, possibly from the Zen tradition, that made its way into a Catholic sermon though it sounds Unitarian.  Here goes.

                In Japan, a monk begged for money for twenty years in order to publish a book about Zen.  Then a flood struck, and the monk spent the money he accumulated to bring relief to the victims.  

                After the flood, he went up and down the country begging again for nineteen years to get funds to publish his book.  An epidemic hit the country, and again he spent his funds to cure the sick.  

                Finally, he managed to beg enough money to publish his book before he died.  The Japanese believe that this book that he published on paper is the inferior of the three that he wrote.  

                Like it or not, in the small-c Catholic tradition we preach the gospel by what we do more than by what we say.  To ask us not to preach the gospel around you is to ask us to treat you worse than we would have you treat us.  Politically, it is to ask us to vote for Republican wingnuts at every opportunity.  Please understand if we refuse to do this.  

                •  Your logic in that reply (0+ / 0-)

                  is probablly untenable. But it's late and I can't address. I'll just say this, and I honestly don't mean to be offensive but I have to lay my cards on the table, I think you are out of your goddamn mind. I think virtually all religious people are out of their god damn minds. I think belief in the invisible is silly and I think adherence to a book written by con artists is weak willed and weak minded. I find religion to be base and immoral and those sucked into it to be rather pathetic. I can't say I understand exactly why they find religion neccessary, but I see what it does. It courrupts the "soul" and weakens your will. Whatever morality you have or claim to have is diluted by the possibility that you only act in moral ways to avoid punishment. Religious people are easily lead and commanded by people who rarely even believe in the same things you do (Priests are often less strident believers than the layity) but seek to either make a profit or simply dominate others in the only way they can. Religion is the only form of voluntary subservience I can think of. Religion is not democratic, it is the very antithesis of democratic and it's rise can only weaken our already tennuous nation. I view you the same way I would view a believer in alien abduction. They're unstable and I don't want them controlling the public discourse and bringing their belief in little green men into the public square. The same goes for you. I'm tired and I'm rambling and putting up a horribly structued argument. But I'm not just tired in body today, I'm tired in my "soul". Right now, at this moment I can't handle being in this tiny minority and at the whim of what I believe is a crazed majority.

                  •  Well, I don't think... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mary Julia

                    this particular approach will help us win any votes.  So, I suggest that we don't use this in any of our campaign speeches.  But, that's just me.

                    "What is really what if I can't even get comfortable 'cause the Supreme Court is like, all in my uterus?"

                    by cowgirl on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:35:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, as long as (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    musing85

                    we're laying our cards out on the table: I find what you have to say terribly judgmental, especially since you don't seem to have a good grasp on what religion is and does for many people.

                    Now, dig: I'm not angry at you, nor am I trying to slam you. Rather, I'm trying to help you understand how your words seem to a believer. I can appreciate that you're utterly baffled by religion and religious people, but I think you'd have an easier time of it if you found a way to listen - really listen - to what people have to say.

                    You can get your back up about that, and I'd understand. It's not easy having someone challenge your worldview so directly. But please, don't misunderstand me. I'm inviting you into conversation, not putting you down.

                    Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                    by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:25:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Show, don't tell. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ourprez08, cowgirl, emeraldmaiden
                  (Like in good writing.)
                  You seem to be arguing that you live your faith by demonstration. That's fine. I think what those of us who aren't christian see as a problem is the insistence that some christians have in telling us all about their faith (and why it's the right way, and the only right way, etc.) I wouldn't call (for example) running a soup kitchen preaching, and wouldn't have any problem with that being done by a church. However, if it was a requirement to listen to a sermon, a bible reading, or to pray in order to get a meal-- or  to admit that the only reason you've got something to eat is because of the superior benevolence of this particular church  -- that is what I'd call preaching, and that is something that would bother me.

                  And I'm sorry to post & run, but it's nearly 1:30 am here.

              •  yes, you don't get it (0+ / 0-)

                I would rather non christians not talk about what they don't understand.  But this is a free country and here is part of your free education:

                Evangelist doesn't have to mean trying to convert or preach to people in anyway.  It can be as simple as feeding the poor (no sermon attached).  Do you want us to stop sponsoring soup kitchens too?

            •  Then let's say (0+ / 0-)

              evangelistic, for the sake of accuracy.

              I checked definitions, to make sure. :)

              •  your definition (0+ / 0-)

                is wrong or you misunderstand it.  Please ask questions and learn rather than make the common mistake of using the term evangelical or evangelist incorrectly.  I know you mean fundamentalist dominionist and the mixing of the two ideas is just incorrect.  Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, MLK, Al Sharpton and Bill Clinton are all members of what would be termed evangelical denominations by anyone's definition and in fact all Christian denominations are by definition evangelical. It simply means we must share the good news..which could mean sponsoring a college scholarship without a word about Christ ever being shared.  It could mean sending a check to the women's shelter and I don't even have to say I do it as part of my spiritual life.  

                All I am asking is that if you are going to talk about my relgion you know what you are talking about or listen and correct yourself. Using the term evangelist paints with way too broad a brush.  We are all evangelists.

          •  Agreed. (4+ / 0-)

            Christian and NOT "Evangelical."  Believe in praying in private and practicing my faith through advocating the teachings of Christ (mercy, compassion) in every aspect of my life without mentioning the relgious beliefs that drive my advocacy.

            1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

            by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:47:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was using the word (0+ / 0-)

              "evangelical" as a noun - an evangelical being an evangelistic Christian, one who zealously seeks to spread his/her version of his/her religion. TeresainPA is calling me on incorrect usage of the term, so I am adapting.

              I agree with your interpretation, and that is what I was trying to express.

      •  Yes, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emeraldmaiden

        such a large portion of the country self-identifies as evangelical.  Of course, their votes may permanently be the property of the Repubs, but otherwise, are we shooting ourselves in the foot if we say this?  Can you think of a good way to articulate the sentiment "evangelism has no place in government"?

        Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. -- TrueBlueMajority

        by gkn on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:53:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, HippyWitch, hhex65

      "Religion has no place in government" really translates into "religious people have no place in government" in most people's ears. And that is a losing formulation.

      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

      by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:30:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pastor Dan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85

        interested in your thoughts about articulating this difference, which I agree is an important one.  I am a devout Episcopalian (although not the best churchgoer, I admit) and a devout Christian.  The Sunday prayers on DailyKos are lifeblood to me.  I am confused and so angry, and would like to be neither.  Please advise.  Thank you so much.  I really appreciate your posts!

        1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

        by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:38:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it doesn't mean that at all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tigercourse

        Religious people are allowed and encouraged to be a part of the government.  But their religious views belong in their churches, not in the discussions of laws and governance.

        Suggesting any religious involvement will just grant the evangelicals an opening within which they can start the debate as to which religion is right for the country.

        The separation of church and state is absolute.  Your diary reeks of proselytization.

        (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

        by john07801 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:55:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Only (10+ / 0-)

          The separation of church and state is absolute.  Your diary reeks of proselytization.

          It only reeks if you're already looking for some proselytization to decry. And point, please, to the place where Dan suggested that the separation of church and state was a bad idea.

          But that isn't actually the point you appear to want to make, which is, in fact, just as Dan said, that it isn't just church and state that have to be separated one from another, but also the churched and the state. And that is, as he said, a lose-lose proposition.

          I can be a faithful person and believe (as I in fact do) that Congress has no business telling me how to worship, or anybody else, either. I want both clauses of the religion portion of the First Amendment enforced and strengthened: both the Establishment Clause (i.e., Congress--and, I would argue, my fellow citizens as well) cannot vote to make any one church, or even any one faith tradition "official"--and the Free Exercise Clause (i.e., Congress--and again, I would like it if the ban applied to my fellow citizens, too--can't stop me from practicing my faith as I see fit.

          I want the people in our government to be people of principles. If those principles are secular humanist in nature (as long as they are not intrinsically opposed to our founding principles as expressed in the Declaration, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights), well and good. And if they are religious principles (again with the same caveat), that's good, too.

          •  Umm, what he said. (3+ / 0-)

            Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

            by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:05:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I'm tired of all all religions injecting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TiaRachel, tigercourse

            themselves into government.  Oversensitive?  Perhaps.  Frankly, I'm finding it difficult to think of a world conflict that isn't based on a difference of religious beliefs.  Pretty silly, no?

            I don't need to know about your fidelity to your religion or your opposing views to the wingnuts any more than I need to know other personal facts about your life.  They just don't have any place in a political (or public) arena, IMHO, and a statement to that effect, makes it a platform for a debate on the issue.  

            Yes, I believe in both blades of the First Amendment, too.  But "freedom of religion" also means freedom FROM religion.  If you feel that discussions regarding the running of our country require the mention of "god" or "faith," you're wrong.  These are topics for your private life, in your home, your church, among your co-believers.  Note that I'm not suggesting a limit to your freedom of speech, either.  Just the propriety.

            Why can't you be secure and happy in the arms of your faith without reaching out to others and making that point to them (without their asking)?  I have plenty of religious friends and most, other than certain groups, will never let on as to the power that their faith means to them.

            (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

            by john07801 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:31:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Trade war... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musing85, TiaRachel

              between Canada and the US over softwood timber.  NOT based on religious conflict.

              Hey, you asked for one.  You didn't ask that it be significant.

              Compromise on Personnel - Never on Principle. Street Prophets - "Ani Adonai Eloheichem" He says.

              by mkrell on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:13:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  because one of the central (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              john07801

              tenants of christian love is the whole proselytizing aspect of it. Part of that, during religios revivals in America, has often been rooted in the idea of equating public actions as moral Christian actions. What is being glossed over here is that when one speaks of 'respect' or that they can't be in public life without faith is where in Christianity, this sort of idea is rooted. It's virtually the same dispite the change of phrasing as what motivates the Christian right. I have yet to see them say anything here that suggests the results will be any different other than assurances that it's not from where they are coming.

              Fear is not a winning strategy.

              by bruh1 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:27:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not in my faith tradition, it's not (0+ / 0-)

                Yes, the fundagelical set believe they have a duty to convert everyone to their narrow-minded views, religious and otherwise. But fundagelicals make up less than half of the Christians in the United States (and considerably less than that overall). You might want to spend a little less time concentrating on the irredeemables in the Religious Reich and talk to their more liberal brethren and sistren who, on the whole, are generally far too busy clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and whatnot, to have the time to proselytize.

                •  The 'fundagelicals' bought the same (0+ / 0-)

                  religious carload as you, Michael.  And you call them names?  How Christian is that?

                  And you seek to minimize the problem by saying they're only a percentage of the citizenry?

                  I would want to hear about the plight of the hungry and naked, the needs of the sick and the efforts being made to do our part for those who can't do it for themselves.  Pastordan used none of those words and expressed none of those concerns.  Instead, he made god-statements, promoted religiosity and, yes, proselytized.  “Church first” is the wrong message for everyone except cults.  They heard this same message at Jonestown and Waco and Pat Robertson and Jimmy Swaggart made their fortunes similarly.

                  There are plenty of discussions around dKos which don’t encompass politics but they regularly include welcomed dissent.  My dissent to this diary disturbed a number of Pastordan’s followers (like you) enough to respond with defenses to his and your beliefs which I never questioned.  I was simply stating that I suspected recruitment was at hand (a natural, albeit arrogant, Christian act) and, by unstated extension, I wasn’t buying in.  That’s all.

                  So, why did you feel the need to disapprove of my dissent?  How can my simple dissociation message challenge your faith?  Why didn’t you simply think of me as a "lost soul" and dismiss me?  Is your faith so weak that I can upset it?  That you must verbally banish all those who disagree with you?  Frankly, it sounds like the Taliban saying, “Death to the infidels!”

                  Michael, you’re not spending enough time in church or, conversely, in the real world, however secular.  I suggest the latter.  

                  Pastordan will always be your friend, even if you’re not part of his flock.  Or, at least, you’ll find out.  

                  (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

                  by john07801 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 05:51:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And I'll say to you what I said to bruh1 earlier (0+ / 0-)

                    You don't know me at all--certainly not well enough to leap to those conclusions you tried to reach in your penultimate paragraph.

                    For your information, I'm a practicing Catholic. You'll normally find me at Mass at least once a week. You'll also find me considerably involved in the secular world. I work in the chemistry department of a large state university. At that same university, I'm also starting work on my Ph.D. in modern European history this fall, having just completed my third master's degree in that same field this past May.

                    And the only reason I need to dismiss your "dissent" in this diary is the first sentence of the parent comment to this one. Anyone who describes my beliefs as a "religious carload" doesn't understand enough about them to make an informed comment upon them.

                    And with that, I'll say good night to you, sir, and good luck. We're done here.

              •  But bruh, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musing85

                you've told me that your own morality is based on Christian precepts. What would make me believe that your results would be any different than mine?

                For that matter, what would lead me to believe that any moral position would not ultimately slide toward disaster? From where I'm sitting, there ain't a hell of a lot of guarantees, no matter who's writing them.

                Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:31:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  what prevents it is process (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, john07801

                  in public policy one has to rely on something more than one's beliefs, and bring in facts, historical analysis, stats, understanding of mutliple and conflicting moral principles most important of which is the public good (normally things like fairness) and the weighing of them, etc. One has to also rely on structure and process. The framers along with the constitutinal juris we have sets up a framework such as the Lemon test that says that public policy must be based on somethng more than faith. The thing that gets me about the Christian right is their utter disregard for process. It's solely about their beliefs.

                  Separation doesn't say, if you will notice, that peo of faith can't be involved in the process, but it does say that their faith isn't enough, and when they engage they must engage on more than that faith. This is potentially an additive or reductive point. Where the faith is in accord w/ what all the other evidence, arguments etc , then there is no conflict between faith and public policy and this is addictive. The issue is where there is a conflict and what takes priority. In this way, this is reductive. I am saying that the decision

                  The other key difference between my personal beliefs and what you are talking aobut here, is that I am not trying to accrue a political movement and political power based on it.

                  Fear is not a winning strategy.

                  by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 07:11:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  ps (0+ / 0-)

                  one of the most instructive areas as I have said where one can see a shellgame on the issue is in the area of gay marriage. Becauase peo aren't being asked to mentally separate out the religious from the state function (the religious from the civil marriage), we get the rather bizzare NY and Washington state analysis in those cases. You should read them for just how much contortion of logic that peo will use to reinforce their faith masquerading as policy. We also get the bizzare statements like the state will force churches to perform gay weddings, etc. I am not sure how you can fight this with well religion mixed with politics is okay, when the argument there fore xample is that religion mixed with politics is the problem because it confuses the discussion. in this case 1200 rights afforded as citizens of the US and being favored for civil marriage confused with sacraments from God. I believe turning religion right or left into a political movement produces confusion on both sides.

                  Fear is not a winning strategy.

                  by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 07:17:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Allow me to summarize your argument: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musing85

              A man walks into a bar, looks at all the different varieties on tap, then says "I find it offensive that you all are arguing about which brew is the best. Shouldn't we be drinking on a beer-neutral basis?"

              Shorter short version: nobody's forcing anything on you at the moment. You chose to click on this diary, and you chose to get irritated.

              Like I said, your loss.

              Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

              by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:34:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, you won't create my analogy (0+ / 0-)

                I see a sign and walk into a beer bar.  I order a pitcher of their special.  

                The bartender says, "Five bucks," and I pay.

                Then he serves me a glass of scotch.  When I complain, he says, "You should have known better. This is a scotch bar."  

                I try the drink but find it intolerable.  I won't return to this place; it's deceptive and intolerant.

                (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

                by john07801 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:14:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Pfft. (0+ / 0-)

                  Yeah, you're the only real punk left, man.

                  Good luck.

                  Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                  by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 07:21:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Wow! You're the man, Dan! (0+ / 0-)

                    Screw all that "pastoral" veneer, you want it your way!  

                    I never thought I'd get you to take off the gloves.  Not this easily, anyway.  You’re not interested in "guiding the flock;" you only want to flush out the disbelievers and insult them.

                    OK.  So you love the position of guidance that gives you all that power over the faithful, the rudderless and the at-drift people who are searching for meaning.  And you get to be the “pastor,” the “father,” and they fawn at your feet.  That’s very powerful, Dan.

                    Surely, you understand the control involved, right?  And you know how powerful that is?  You would never mislead anyone based on your power over them, would you, Dan?

                    Now I think I might pay attention to your diaries.  I vowed to ignore your sermonizing but I want to keep us both honest.

                    But don't get up on your religious high-horse.  You insulted me and I'm challenging you.  Just prove that you're not as bad as Bush's religious backers and proselytizers because I’m seeing similarities.

                    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

                    by john07801 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 08:51:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  The problem which pastor dan has ignored (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            moiv, MamasGun, TiaRachel

            and so do you, is not what you think you are doing, but as the Christian right demonstrates who follows you and what people take from your ideas. I will repeat a million times that you are entering a situation with out a history. That history has been in the west (and east) when religion is mixed with politics, it ends badly.

            Rather than respond to that history, I see a lot of platitudes about it won't happen this time. Okay, why not? why won't it happen this time? What makes you so special that you can prevent it? As I have said, I see this as hubris to think you can do it better than the right did it. I say this as someone who just a couple of years ago agreed there should be a christian left until I thought about it in terms of why it's a problem.

            I discussed this with a friend who has a PhD in theology, and with another friend who majored in the subject, they are from extremely different backgrounds, and they basically say that the issue I am bringing up is the core problem w/ what pastor dan and others are really talking about here. They say, "I want to be a person of faith, and just becuase I am a person of faith, doesn't mean I will discriminate." My response back is that you live in a society of which people have tried these sorts of things before, and failed. There are reasons, probably psychologically, which you seem to want to ignore, why they have failed. If I had to guess, I would say that its because of the nature of what faith is, and what faith is not. It's an absolute.

            You say that it definds your being? That's hard to believe. I don't that with any disrespect, but as a practical matter there are sections of your life of which your faith doesn't govern. If you work at a job, you have to follow rules and policies put into place not because of your faith, but because those are the rules and policies set forth by the company. More problematically, for those of us, I happen to be deist, who don't follow your faith, no matter how well meaning, you are essentially arguing that you will only vote your faith. How are we suppose to have a debate on ideas with absolutes like that?

            The difference between secular reasoning and faith is that the later is about an absolute with nothing to back it up other than the belief that God said so. There maybe a lot of theological reasoning behind it, scripture, etc, but ultimately it comes down to that. And, how am I, a non believer, no matter how much you 'respect' me, how am I suppose to be able to have a debate of ideas with that?

            What you say, is in other words, a double edge sword. If you need to be a person of faith in order to be engaged in the polity, then what does that say for those of us who aren't of your faith? Are we suppose to yield to your reasoning on the death penalty because God says its wrong?

            I also find claims that this isn't a political discussion, which is the typical response, unconvincing. You, as I told Pastor Dan, are engaing in a political struggle, which is always at base, below all the flowers and well wishes, about power. Who has it, and who doesn't. In fact power, is one the dictionary definitions of what politics is about. These are all just some of my concerns. there are more.

            Frankly, I don't expect to change any of you or get you to answer my questions because your minds are made up. Let me ask you a question: if you end is not to use your faith in the debate to change policy, then what is its purpose? And if your end is to change policy by using faith, then what's the difference between you and the Christian right under than the section of the Bible that you think the Government should enforce?

            Fear is not a winning strategy.

            by bruh1 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:21:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I feel like you make a good point... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musing85, Mary Julia, Alice Venturi

              But damned if I can make heads or tails of it.

              Maybe I'm dumb, maybe you're obtuse.  But I honestly don't get where you're going with this.  Absolutist faith is anathema to most of the people you're engaging with here.  Are you saying that we should only elect people who never talk about their faith?

              If that's what you're suggesting, all I can say is "should and shall ne'er did meet."  Unfortunately, as wonderful as such a world would be, right now, America is not that place.  So you're welcome to work to change that - forgive me if in the meantime, I try and win some elections while still being true to both my faith AND my liberal principles.

              Compromise on Personnel - Never on Principle. Street Prophets - "Ani Adonai Eloheichem" He says.

              by mkrell on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:16:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  faith in God is by definition is an absolute (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TiaRachel

                Tenets of the faith require it. The rules of that faith are absolute as well because what drives them is that God, or the books of God says they are true. They are tautological or circular in logic. X is true because God says X is true. There maybe theological reasons behind them *(ie, the doctrines of jus bellus or just wars has a lot of political and religious analysis behind them). There maybe analysis, but ultimately there isn't any argument outside of X is true because God says X is true. There aren't exceptions to this. When there are, it's applying something beyond or outside of the faith.

                If someone is telling me they can not act publically without being a good Christian, that says to me they want to enforce their faith because we are talking politics here, right? That's by definition what they have said here if you read some of the posts. A lot of what I talk about isn't obtuse. It requires you to think beyond where we are now, beyond non descriptive words- We are so desperate to counter act the Religious right that we will make their mistakes. However well meaning, its hard to prevent that once faith gets involved

                Later in your post, you set up false premises to win an argument, and then  you proceed to argue from the answer that you, yourself, make up for me without waiting for an actual answer. I have had this conversation multiple times. I am not going to argue against something you are projecting onto me. I will simply say what I actually think.

                Kerry put it best: he said that he was a man of faith, but as a public official his job was the enforce laws without regard to the faith. Every politician, every voter has the right to say that, but they should understand that policy can not simply grow from their faith. Where Pastor Dan is now, isn't where all his followers are going to end up. As I said- history is full of reasons why thats the case. My issue with this diary, and most of the people here, are that they aren't aknowledging the difficulties of what they are talking about creating: The Religious Left. Which is a political rather than spiritual goal. the death penalty is wrong because God says through the Bible thou shalt not kill isn't a public debate, it's a conclusion.

                What the value of faith here beyond the level to which it is already discussed other than to create laws? Why would we need a religious left (as a movement) to counter action another political movement (the religios right)? We aren't simply discussing people expressing their faith. We are talking about , however generous you think they are about their application of their faith, the use of that faith as a means of deciding political issues. Ultimately as I have said what separates the right from the left here are the scriptures and justifications of absolute tenets quoted.

                Fear is not a winning strategy.

                by bruh1 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:45:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Again, no (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TiaRachel, bheuvel67

                  There is really only a very small subset of the tenets of my faith that are not negotiable. Everything else comes with varying degrees of certainty--and, as a good Catholic with a mind, I'm bound to examine those tenets and, if my conscience tells me they're wrong, I'm also bound to ignore them and do what I know within myself to be right. You're painting me and all other liberal Christians with the foulness that is the Religious Reich, with their inerrant Bible and their inflexible interpretations (which aren't, frankly, all that inflexible, considering they probably do more picking and choosing from the Bible than any other sect or denomination I know of).

                  I have had this conversation multiple times. I am not going to argue against something you are projecting onto me. I will simply say what I actually think.

                  Gee, that's funny, because I was just about to say the same thing to you. Before you start telling me what I believe and how that must affect my life, political or otherwise, I would really appreciate it if you'd take the time to get to know me, and listen to what I tell you is going on inside my head--because until you do, there's no point in having this discussion in the first place.

                  Kerry put it best: he said that he was a man of faith, but as a public official his job was the enforce laws without regard to the faith. Every politician, every voter has the right to say that, but they should understand that policy can not simply grow from their faith.

                  No shit, Sherlock. Nobody here would disagree with you on that front. Certainly not me. If my faith tells me something, but I can't find a legitimate, secular reason why it should also be made a law of the land, then that doesn't happen. End of story. But in case you hadn't noticed, much of what we as progressives and Democrats want to make policy priorities sounds an awful lot like the Sermon on the Mount: feeding the hungry, caring for the least fortunate among us, making peace instead of war, making justice available to all without respect for their station in life or anything else that is not relevant to the case. I am a liberal precisely because I am a Christian: my politics are in synch with my faith. And that's not something I can just turn off because it makes you uncomfortable.

                  •  you are talking about creating a political moveme (0+ / 0-)

                    based on your faith. Where in that is there any similarity to what Kerry said?

                    Fear is not a winning strategy.

                    by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:57:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That's news to me (0+ / 0-)

                      Point, please, to the place where I said that.

                      I think you'll find these kinds of conversations a lot more informative if you'll stop projecting and start listening to what people are actually saying.

                      •  what do you think the purpose of discussing (0+ / 0-)

                        a Christian left in terms of what the Chrstian right is means? I have been listening. I have read quite a bit of history. It is you and others who have the hubris thing going on that you are talking about something new or different.

                        Fear is not a winning strategy.

                        by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 08:30:07 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think it's about (0+ / 0-)

                          demonstrating to the world that "Christian" does not equal "Religious Reich." I think it's about reclaiming our faith from a bunch of confused, ignorant, or maybe even evil people who have perverted it, distorted it, and managed to convince a whole lot of people (yourself, apparently, included) that they represent "true" Christianity. I think it's about answering an awful lot of critics on the left who keep wondering, publicly, where the religious left is, and why we're not shouting down those idiots on the right more often. I think it's about saying "We don't care what faith tradition you belong to, or of you belong to one at all, you have a place in this country and your views are important to us." I think it's about demonstrating, again, contra the Religious Reich, that the Democratic Party isn't intrinsically hostile to religion, that we don't want to take people's Bibles away (or, for that matter, to shove Bibles into the hands of people who don't have them and don't want them). I think it's about being true to who we are, standing up and being counted, and saying, "Yes, I'm a Christian and I'm a Democrat precisely because I'm a Christian."

                          But no, I don't believe you've been listening to anything anyone has said here at all. You've been assuming that we're all no better than the Christofascists, and projecting their shit onto us. And at this point, I'm done wasting my time arguing with you, when it's obvious there's no argument I can make that you're going to be willing to listen to.

                          •  the Christofascists you call them (0+ / 0-)

                            weren't always the Christofascists. it was an evolution. I am listening to what you are saying. I am simply adding there is more to the story than where you are at now.

                            Fear is not a winning strategy.

                            by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 09:38:24 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Then you need to read more history (0+ / 0-)

                            Because the Christofascists were always Christofascists. There was never not a time when they weren't convinced that they held all of the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth, and that everybody else had better begin living according to their standards. It's part and parcel of what makes them Christofascists.

                            The only thing that's changed is that they've managed to build themselves a political following, and make a damn good living doing what Jesus Christ said should be given away for free to anyone who wanted it. And that is but one reason why I say that they have perverted the very religion they claim to espouse, and why I continue to believe that if Jesus Christ were to return in person to confront them about it, they would do to him now what the Romans did two thousand years ago.

                          •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

                            we differ in that you think peo are static. In the case of the christofascist you think they were evil little fake christians from the start. whereas I dont either question, as you do, their faith, or that they didn't start as they have beome - that this devolution into the present christian nutcases they have become happened over time. I would also argue that what you saying is different from what Pastor Dan is saying

                            Fear is not a winning strategy.

                            by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 11:22:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You obviously don't know nearly enough about me (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cookiebear

                            to make that claim. I don't happen to believe that people are static--that would be a ridiculous position to take. Conversely, you are apparently arguing that the universe is static, and that anybody who claims to be a Christian is obviously going to do exactly the same thing you say the Christofascists have done. I think you might want to re-examine that premise just a little bit.

                            I am arguing for the position that dominionism (the technical theological term for Christofascism) is inherently, well, dominionist. If you believe in dominionism, you must, by definition, believe that you have a right to rule the world and that your beliefs are superior to all others. I am also arguing for the position that not all (or even a majority) of Christians are dominionists.

                            As this is only about the fifth time I've said as much to you in this thread, I think you should have gotten it by now. Apparently you're too busy projecting your own ideas of what Christianity is and means and does onto those of us who actually are Christian to have paid attention.

                            We're done.

                          •  good luck man- i dont really do this anymore (0+ / 0-)

                            Fear is not a winning strategy.

                            by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 11:58:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  there is a profound difference ... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            musing85

                            ... between the dominionists and most Christians. huge.

                            it's an extremely important distinction, and one i'm glad you and others are trying to clarify.

                •  Yes, we've had this argument before. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  musing85

                  Show me a person who doesn't vote his or her values, and I'll show you a person who doesn't have any values.

                  I won't promise to leave my faith out of my politics because it's impossible, and because I wouldn't expect you to leave your morality out of your politics.

                  Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                  by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:39:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  you keep creating a strawman (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TiaRachel

                    the point isn't whether you keep your faith out of how you think in public life. Name one person of political significance who is saying that. the question is whether you create a political movement based upon it and whether that becomes the determinative of public action. The fact you keep ignoring that element of it bothers me because it suggests the answer is as I suspect it is.  One can think the dealth penalty is wrong for religious reason. One can even say that part of the reason why they are fighting the dealth penalty grows out of their faith. What one can not do is say that public policy (getting rid of t he dealth penalty) can solely be based upon it. When you get into making political movements they are by definition about making political policies based on idealogical grounds.  How are you going to be different than this? that's the central question you keep ignoring with platitudes like "I can't leave my faith out." Okay- and? what does this mean for the rest of us is the question that you keep ignoring.

                    You also have not answered the historical or psychological reality of where such political movements such as the one you want to create leads. What again is the difference between a Christian left movement and a Christian right movement other than scripture? Resorting to answers like- well I am a person of faith, and its impossible to separate out, is a none answer. It doesn't answer these questions. It avoids their difficult nature. Other people like Kerry answered this question as best a person of faith could answer these questions. '

                    We are all people of faith in some form or another. I have deeply held religious beliefs. I however understand that when coming into a political discussion I need to bring more than that to the table. This is an issue, therefore, also of what we expect of people as citizens.

                    Other people trust you and other religious peo to separate these things out. I don't. Mostly because I dont see how you will achieve a different result than the CHristian right did by turning their religious beliefs into a political movement. Again, let's discuss the political movement rather than the generalized, and not very instructive comments like "I am a person of faith."

                    Fear is not a winning strategy.

                    by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:53:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  bruh-- (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      musing85

                      I say this with all due respect, but you have been terribly unclear on this issue. It's only now that I understand what you've been trying to say.

                      But now that I know, please allow me to try to make some distinctions. They may not be the clearest, but let me do my best.

                      I think there is a distinction between advocating for your values, whatever they may be, and trying to make them the norm because of their source. See if this makes any sense: I don't have a problem with a hypothetical Religious Right organization saying, "because of our Christian beliefs, here's what we believe should happen in the US, and we're going to argue for that to happen." Everybody does that, and everybody - including non-believers - should have the opportunity to do that. Black, white, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, whatever - everybody has the right to pitch their case. Part of the "free exercise" clause is that we're all entitled to find ourselves a soapbox and stand on it.

                      That's why I'm arguing for believers to be salty. It's our right, and ceding the public square to the Religious Right only makes their voice that much more prominent.

                      Where things get problemmatic is in two areas. First, when what is articulated as a "moral agenda" isn't so much about the values as it is about the partisan advantage. This is actually by far the most common problem with the Religious Right. I don't have a problem with James Dobson or Tony Perkins saying "here's what we believe, and we're going to push for it," even though I probably disagree with it entirely. What I have a problem with is when they say they have a "Biblical" agenda that looks suspiciously like the Republican party platform. You have to deal in, umm, good faith.

                      Second, moral agendas become problemmatic when it is expected that they will be accepted because of their source. If you tell me you're anti-abortion, hey great. I don't agree, but whatever. But when you tell me that I need to agree with your anti-abortion platform because the US is a Christian nation, then I got a problem. We're not a Christian nation, for one thing.

                      For another, Christianity does not get some kind of trump card over and against any other kind of moral structure, particularly not because the Christianity being preached by people like Dobson, Perkins, Falwell, blah blah blah, can't be said to fairly represent all Christians belief. But the point is that it is government preference for one moral system over another that is problemmatic, not the free exercise of one's moral beliefs.

                      So why would a progressive faith movement turn out different from the Religious Right? Well, for a number of reasons:

                      1. We're not aiming at establishing a particular tradition. The point is not to set up religious belief of any stripe as normative. It is to put our best argument forward for our values in a pluralistic environment. So I think that peace should be at or near the top of the American agenda, but I'm not going to tell you that you should agree because it's the "Christian" thing to do. You agree with me for whatever reason, or you don't. It's all the same.
                      1. Because we realize we exist in a pluralistic society, we have many more avenues of self-correction. I might think you're a total idiot (I don't), but I'll listen to you, regardless of whether or not you're a Christian. Because progressive believers are open to a broader coalition, they're able to evaluate themselves that much better. It's the difference of having three advisors and having fifteen. The diversity matters.
                      1. Ours is a much less partisan agenda. I'm looking forward to a Democratic Congress so I can call a whole new crop of people idiots. By the same token, if someone agrees with me on a particular issue, I'm willing to work with them, regardless of party affiliation. This is why Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum could show up at the Jim Wallis anti-poverty conference where Barack Obama gave his famous speech. Whatever you think about those two individuals (and I wouldn't have invited them), the plain fact is that you wouldn't have seen a bi-partisan affair at, say, a conference aimed at establishing "traditional marriage." It would have been all Republicans all the time.

                      This is getting to be a really lengthy comment, and thank you for wading all the way through it. The short version is: we talk to more people, we're open to more people, and our faith traditions are our starting point, rather than our end.

                      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                      by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 08:28:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  clarifying (0+ / 0-)

                        If I haven't been clear before, it's because I do this while working on my real job (therefore, I apologize for that). Now, on to the issues.

                        The Christian Right were early on probably like you-simply wanting to include their faith in public life. I am not arguing against where you are- I am arguing about where you probably will go, if history is a guide. What we see today in the Christian right is an evolution due to the nature of politics (compromise, wanting to achieve a goal,  personal ambition, constituencies, power, etc) from exactly the same space that you are using to create a religious left movement.

                        That you have built in mechanisms that you believe will prevent this, ie, a belief in pluralism, etc, is good, but it doesn't address my long term concerns because these sorts of mechanisms tend to get left to the way side by politicians wanting to win, the faithful who are not as committed to the ideas as you, etc. Expediency and other realities take over like short hand language, symbolism, narratives start to develop, etc.  Things get left out. People form teams. They balkanize. According to my social psychology professors- this grouping thing is human nature. So, what do we do to prevent that? With something like religion- I think the framers gave us the best mechanism.

                        You can't ignore that a man like Obama has political ambitions. There isn't anything wrong with him having it, in my book, either, except when he pits religious leftists against secular boogiemen. These movements often start off with the best of intentions, but they don't end up that way. Why? I can only postulate it has something to do with mixing faith with politics and the psychology that goes into faith for the faithful.

                        For the politician, I can only say that I believe its in the nature of the beast - if you don't win, you don't get to vote to make a difference,and to win- what will you say and do? Will you follow mechanisms that are meant to prevent the Christian left from becoming the Christian right? Or will you do what is expedient? And now that the door is open, does that mean that some future Ralph Reed of the Christian left can not come into existence because we didn't emphasize enough the value of secularism? Faith will exist in politics anyhow- we are mostly I think talking degrees and what people understand their roles as citizens and the roles of politicians to be. When dealing with the day to day- will they do as y ou say- think of pluralism, or will they resort to their faith alone?

                        You seem certain that you can do this without that occuring. I really don't know. I just know that historically its not been a good idea regardless of who is doing it or what mechanisms they put into place except the one that, however imperfectly, tries to place a wall between the use of faith in public policy making. I am not convinced, given the history of mixing these things without a clear  process for separating them out, you will suceed. I think you will end up with the same long term result that the Christian right has created.

                        Your goal is a political outcome?

                        Fear is not a winning strategy.

                        by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 09:34:01 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  My goal both is and is not a political outcome. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          musing85

                          Yes, I'd like to see the country move politically in a direction consonant with my values. But no, the goal is to stay faithful to the values regardless of the political outcome. In other words, my commitment to peace, for example, does not depend on whether a certain congressman gets elected or not. If you read my interactions with a number of the front-page posters, you'll notice that puts me at odds with them at times.

                          As for wanting to know how it is that things won't devolve, again I can't make any guarantees of that. Here's a piece of history from yesterday's Writer's Almanac that you might find interesting, though:

                          It was on this day in 1793 that Maximilien de Robespierre, became the head the Committee of Public Safety, which led to the Reign of Terror in France.

                          Robespierre had started out as an idealistic lawyer and judge. He was well known for representing poor people in court, and he often spoke out against the absolute authority of the king. Even after he became a public figure in Paris and Versailles, he lived an extremely frugal life. He lived as a lodger in the house of a carpenter. He worked on the first French constitution and fought for universal suffrage. He opposed all forms of religious and racial discrimination, taking the unpopular view that that even Jews and black slaves should be granted full citizenship.

                          After the French Revolution broke out, Robespierre was elected to the new National Convention, where he called for the execution of the king. He then worked to unify the various splinter groups within the revolution. At the time, France was being threatened by war with Austria. There was also a great fear of civil war breaking out between the various revolutionary factions. In his diary, Robespierre wrote, "What is needed is one single will."

                          And so, a man who had fought for constitutional democracy and universal citizenship found himself helping to organize a military dictatorship. On this day in 1793, he took his place on the Committee of Public Safety, which would rule France for the next year. And in order to keep French citizens in line, Robespierre advocated the use of the guillotine, a new machine that was supposed to make all executions efficient and humane. The guillotine was set up in the Place de la Révolution, which later became the Place de la Concorde, and over the next year more than 2,000 people were beheaded for having opposed the Revolution.

                          At first Robespierre executed people who had supported the monarchy. But then he began to execute revolutionaries who were too moderate. And finally, he began to execute people who had merely opposed him on one issue or another. Eventually, members of the National Convention began to realize that no one was safe, and even they could be the next victims. So they turned on Robespierre. Exactly one year, to the day, after he had taken control of the Committee of Public Safety, he was arrested, and the day after his arrest he went to the guillotine himself.

                          For more than a year Robespierre had been executing people in the public square to cheering crowds. When Robespierre went to his own death at the guillotine, onlookers said the crowd cheered just as loudly as ever.

                          Robespierre was hardly a friend to the church, yet he wound up becoming a bloodthirsty tyrant. Which isn't to slam secularists, but only to say - we're all in the same boat. Anyone - and I mean anyone - can start out with good intentions, and yet find themselves working against the values they began with.

                          Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                          by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 10:55:51 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  the question is where in history has it been (0+ / 0-)

                            found more likely to occur. What conditions are most likely to lead to peo following rather than thinking for themselves? I know there can be secular dictatorship (no one can ignore communism and be an honest student of history). But, historically- my concern is I believe more cause for caution. The reaility is that politicians are what politicians are. They will when its necessary use the  good intentions of the faithful for whatever end they are after. the devolutionb normally starts there. obama was to me an example of how it starts.

                            Fear is not a winning strategy.

                            by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 11:16:36 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's simply an impossible question to answer. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            musing85

                            Given that for nearly 6,000 years of human history religion and politics have been thoroughly intertwined, and only in the last two or three has there been anything resembling secular government, you'd have a pretty hard time establishing a baseline, I'd think.

                            What I am suggesting to you is that it's human nature, not religion or lack thereof, that is the cause of these problems.

                            Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                            by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 11:29:48 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But why doesn't that (0+ / 0-)

                            6000 years of history give you pause?  Doesn't the fact that we only have been able to create anything resenbling liberal progress in the last 200 to 300 years have more probative value that the separation process works best? You are postulating a theory: that it's human nature not religion. My question is how do you separate our human nature from how people express their faith? In many ways, you are asking a lot of people. I think its easier for them to not to even go there by aknowledging their limitations. While they maybe influenced by their faith in politics, politics itself shouldn't be defined by it because they know, in terms of their human nature, these things end up badly. I don't see frankly how you avoid the entanglements that others have faced. what's that shakespeare line- to thy onself be true. If progress happens, I believe it does by knowing who we are. I guess you would argue that this isn't who we are? Anyway, I think I understand you better, and I hope you understand me better.

                            Fear is not a winning strategy.

                            by bruh1 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 12:13:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course the history gives me pause. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            musing85

                            I see that all kinds of people have done evil for all kinds of reasons. In terms of whether that's caused by religion, it's a wash. It's sort of like arguing that people would have done better in the past with more bran in their diet. How are you going to prove that?

                            Setting the historical question aside, how do you know that we've made "liberal progress" in the past 2-300 years? How can you possibly define "progress" in a values-neutral way?

                            How do I separate faith and human nature? I don't. Being religious does not make you morally infallible, nor does it mean that you're able to trump human nature. Quite the opposite, in fact - some theologians have argued that religion is a gift precisely because human nature is so miserable.

                            It's really the same thing down the line here - you don't avoid human limitations by not acknowledging them. You're making some big assumptions about politics being defined by faith - first of all, that I've argued that it must be defined by faith, and second, that people can avoid bringing their beliefs into what they do (which is not the same as allowing their beliefs to define their actions). And lastly, you seem to assume that entanglements can be avoided by anyone.

                            I'm a realist. People will screw up, included religious progressives - if they're given too much power. But then, so will anyone else. So unless you have something to indicate that religion is uniquely susceptible to these problems - and I doubt you'll come up with any data that stands up to close inspection - there's really no reason to bar people from being themselves and being honest about why they think they way they do.

                            Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

                            by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 12:47:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  Church and state (6+ / 0-)

          not religion and state.  Learn the difference and I would like to know where Pastor Dan has told anyone they should convert to Christianity or what they should believe.

          •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pastordan, gloriana

            Agree totally.

            1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

            by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:20:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the civics lesson (0+ / 0-)

            And what exactly was PastorDan's purpose in publishing this diary?  To promote constitutional debate on rights and freedoms?  Hmmm?  

            No.  It was to "spread the word."  To teach any readers about his beliefs.  

            Note that most comments are about salt.

            (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

            by john07801 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:40:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  when he says that he and (0+ / 0-)

            other christians can use their faith as a basis for public action, that de facto is forcing others to follow his religios tenets. He not ever say "bruh, you are become a christian or else." he can simply do it by saying, I and other Christians based on our absolute beliefs think the death penalty is wrong. How does one, who is not of a faith, argue against an absolute like that? What would one use to prove factually what is the truth of the matter? Give me an argument for how you would do it? Because, like I keep saying, this has been tried before, and failed. So, I think its up to those of you who support the idea to show how you will do it differently in actual application in politics. How will you prevent your absolutes from becoming the final word any more than the Christian right did?

            Fear is not a winning strategy.

            by bruh1 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:34:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, pastordan, gloriana

          I am a First Amendment absolutist.  But I also believe that public advocacy of basic tenets of various religious tenets -- those of Christianity among them -- is NOT antithetical to that concept, and that such advocacy will not "grant the evangelicals an opening within which they can start the debate as to which religion is right for the country."  I do not see a problem with advocating mercy and compassion as appropriate values, whether one bases these values on religious beliefs or otherwise. I do not see a problem with advocating relief for the poor, comfort for the miserable, health care for the sick as appropriate values, whether one bases these values on religious beliefs or otherwise.  I find the motivation for espousing these virtues far less troubling than any motivation for rejecting them.  Thomas Jefferson was hardly a devout Christian, but the wondrous sentiments he expressed in our Declaration of Independence are not devoid of progressive Christian (or other religion's) values.  I don't think there's a dichotomy here.    

          1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

          by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:17:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have no problem with mercy and compassion. (0+ / 0-)

            I must have missed that part.

            (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

            by john07801 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:33:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We probably do not disagree about much. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musing85

              But I certainly disagree with you about this: Your diary reeks of proselytization.

              I don't see this in Pastor Dan's diary at all. And I certainly do not agree that advocating religious values (as Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists) inevitably leads to evangelicals setting our agenda, or dictating our religious choices.

              1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

              by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:41:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The point is this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel, mkrell

        On abortion, gay marriage, stem cells, and a whole host of other issues, the first words out of the religious crowd's mouths (and out of far too many politicians' mouths) are "Well, the Bible says..." "Well, the Bible says..." is never a legitimate rationale for passing a law, as far as I'm concerned. If "Well, the Bible says..." is the only rationale you can think of for a particular law, it's a bad law.

        "These gravestones don't say 'Democrat' or 'Republican'." --Rep. John Murtha, November 18, 2005 (-7.13, -4.51)

        by PerfectStormer on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:48:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um, Stormer? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85

          That's pretty much the same thing most progressive believers think.

          But you put your finger on a pretty tough question: how do you tell the difference between someone who says, "This is where I'm getting my position from, but you can get it from wherever" and someone says, "The Bible said it, so you have to believe it"?

          One of the challenges progressive believers face is helping secular folks make that distinction. But generally, I'd say that "Well, the Bible says..." isn't enough information. When they start talking about The Bible Is The Moral Foundation Of America, that's when you run for the hills.

          Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

          by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:54:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Then let's start a fund for Q-tips (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel

        so they can clean their ears. Really! What's so hard to understand about the 1st Amendment?

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

        It's written in simple plain English.

        We can make simple visual models too.

        Religion(s) >>>>> BIG HIGH WALL <<<<< State</p>

        Religion (right there in black and white in our Constitution) has no place in American government. Government can't stop people (who by the way government is for, by, and of) from being religious.

        When religion finds a home in Government you have theocracies. Not American government. How would these religious people like living under the Taliban? or the Iranian clerics, or witch-doctors somewhere?

        Their failings in understanding the difference between a noun describing an abstract thing not a person, and an adjective describing a person who believes in said abstract thing is not the basis on which to abandon an exemplary form of government.

      •  I always liked (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noweasels, Dugius

        what this guy said on the subject:

        Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end -- where all men and all churches are treated as equal -- where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice -- where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind -- and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, both the lay and the pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

        That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe -- a great office that must be neither humbled by making it the instrument of any religious group, nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding it, its occupancy from the members of any religious group. I believe in a President whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

        Kennedy's address to the Southern Baptist Leaders during the Presidential race of 1960.

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 11:12:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel

      if liberal politicians are going to identify themselves with god but not with any specific religion by stating things like "God is Great!" then what about the religions where god is in fact indifferent or evil?

      More to the point what evidence do they have that god is great?  Take one more step and ask what evidence there is that god exists to begin with?

      Perhaps the following slogan for 2008?

      "God is great!  But don't worry Atheists, we won't imprison or kill you, just try to silence and marginalize you into slow oblivion with our nebulous theo-political speak."

      Hmmmm...maybe that is too much to put on a lapel button.  Oh well.

      Vote for DLC candidates: Because our oligarchy is bettern than their oligarchy!

      by Puskara on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:41:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is why (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85

        I've always argued that pols should use religion to define themselves, not what government should or should not do.

        Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

        by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 06:56:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but why is it even necessary? (0+ / 0-)

          Is someone a good person who deserves to be elected because they adhere to a religion?

          Or is someone a good person who deserves to be elected because they

          • don't lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead in the world
          • love and support their family
          • do public service
          • are active in their communities
          • etc

          The problem is that people have to get up and say "I'm a Christian" or "I'm a Jew" or (... well can someone get up and say "I'm a Muslim" and get elected?) to get elected. That's wrong. The Constitution says there's no religious test for holding public office.

          Encouraging people to stand up and proclaim their religion is going along with the rightwing nutcases efforts to insert religion into government.

          Please explain why religion shouldn't be a personal matter and why it's good for it to be the basis of public affairs.

          (Note, I'm not saying it shouldn't guide your personal or collective actions, I'm saying it shouldn't be the public frame by which politics is conducted.)

          •  It's not necessary. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musing85

            I'd never want someone for whom religion is not important or not a factor all in their lives to have to get up there and fake it. Nor have I ever said that someone must proclaim their allegiance in one way or another.

            But if it is important to you, why not talk about it? It's on a par with discussing your personal background, or military service. It tells people something about you, and where you come from as you make decisions.

            I'm afraid you and bruh1 make the same mistake, which is to assume that any mention of religion or religious belief is necessarily an argument for its superiority, and advocating for it to be the basis of governance, which it plainly is not. Rather it's a guide for moral decision-making. As I've said a number of times in this thread, we all have values, religious, secular, or something else, and we all act upon those values. We might as well claim them, so that they can talked about honestly.

            Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

            by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 10:44:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  then we agree it shouldn't be necessary (0+ / 0-)

              I can't speak for bruh1 and I'm not sure we have the same concerns from quickly skimming his/her comments again.

              However, you misunderstand my concerns. I don't think mentioning religious belief is an argument for its superiority, nor is it the act of advocating religious belief as the basis for governance.

              It is clear, though, that many (right winger) people who make religious belief statements do mean it as an argument of superiority and are advocating it as the basis for government. If someone must get up and proclaim a religion to be considered qualified, then religion and state are no longer separate. This has been the goal of the right wing nutcases. Going along with their program makes no sense unless one wants to live in a non-secular world.

              You say you don't want people to have to proclaim allegiance to a religion. OK. Then I misunderstood this

              I've always argued that pols should use religion to define themselves

              to mean you did want politicians to proclaim religion as some sort of qualification for office.

              That's cleared up now.

              But if it is important to you, why not talk about it?

              Because we have a secular government and someone's religious beliefs are a personal matter?

              The only thing I ever want to know about a candidate's religion is will it prevent them from acting on behalf of the public good. If they can't function in a secular arena, like politics, without dragging religion into it, then that's an indicator that I need to know if their religion will interfere with their ability to be steward of a secular institution. Otherwise, I wish they would just keep their religion to themselves, along with discussion of their sex life, their medical treatments, etc.

              For citizens proclaim away on your religious beliefs.

              You see the difference? If you're my elected official and can't decide things without talking to Jesus, or Jesus is going to tell you to invade Iraq regardless of the human and monetary costs and consequences that's a problem for me as a citizen. If you're hearing Jesus tell you to stand on the corner and sing gospel verses, or you start closing emails to me with "god's blessings", I can walk away from you, delete etc.

              I don't think we're in as much disagreement as you may think. I'm all for left wing religious people to stand up to the right wingers. I just think it should be done like MLK Jr. did with civil rights. He was OUTSIDE the political institution advocating for a POSITION from a religious point of view. Now if MLK Jr. was the president who signed the Civil Rights Act into law because of a religious point of view, instead of signing it because the people had spoken through the legislature about what they wanted, that's a problem for me as a secular citizen.

              I do find your comments on things interesting, and they remind me of conversations I've had with other clergy. In fact, I hope left wing believers like you can educate people so that, to mangle MLK Jr's famous line, "politicians are judged based on the content of their actions, and not the label of their religions".

              Must get back to other things now.

  •  Thank you pastordan (7+ / 0-)

    As a Baptist, I have had to endure a double dose of frustration over the past two decades.  The same thing has happened to my country and my denomination.  A nation born of separatism and protest and a denomination which was the core of the dissenting tradition have both come to embrace mindless submission.  Both have accepted authoritarian leadership and have enforced conformity.  I continue to resist on both fronts, as a Baptist and an American.  My hero is Will D. Campbell, a great "piss and vinegar Christian."  Read his great books like Brother to a Dragonfly and Forty Acres and a Goat and you will know what one looks like.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:23:10 PM PDT

  •  WASP salt (4+ / 0-)

    on saltines, alas.  Not much of interest to the gumbo, but very thankful for all the other spices that make it so interesting to be in the mix. Thank you, Pastor Dan.  Kiss that beagle for me, willya?

    1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

    by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:24:26 PM PDT

  •  Kosher salt? (5+ / 0-)

    Ick...does not belong in soup.

    But I find myself in a rough situation.  On the one hand, I can't defend the big news story (you know, Israel), because Israel isn't engaging in defensible conduct.

    On the other hand, there's so MANY people here and among my real life friends arguing that side of the equation that I feel the need to defend my cousins just so they have someone to defend them.  I don't like doing it, I don't see why I should, but I do.

    It just seems like there are those for whom an underdog can do no wrong.  

    Until I move past this, I'm afraid I won't be of much use to the progressive movement, and especially the progressive faith movement.

    Compromise on Personnel - Never on Principle. Street Prophets - "Ani Adonai Eloheichem" He says.

    by mkrell on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:24:59 PM PDT

    •  Hey, (0+ / 0-)

      it could be worse. This guy is a Lebanese Baptist with both Muslim and Jewish blood in his family tree.

      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

      by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:33:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whoops. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Palladiate, MamasGun

      Wrong article. Try this one.

      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

      by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:37:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I hate to say it, but... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rustydude, Alice Venturi

      ...Albert Einstein had the right idea in refusing the ceremonial Presidency of Israel. He wanted to see a multi-ethnic secular haven where anti-Semitism wouldn't be tolerated. He had no truck with the Jewish State.

      I've made the comment that a homeland for Ashkenazi Jews should have been carved out of either Germany or Italy by the Victorious Powers. However, the Brits had Palestine left over from WWI, so the decisions were made by the UN and 1948 happened.

      Right now the Kadima-niks, like the Likudniks before them, are making me ashamed to have had two Jewish parents. The whole affair makes me sick. This is why I have stayed away from Kos a lot lately. You have the pro-Arab cheerleaders on one side, the pro-Israeli cheerleaders on the other, and there is no middle ground for people like me who just want to see everyone coexist. You fish on your side of the lake, I fish on mine, nobody fishes in the middle. If you must stay away from each other then that's fine. But at least allow each to live.

      The problem is that both sides in this conflict are eliminationists. The Hezb-i-Allah and Hamas both want to see the Jews driven into the Mediterranean and drowned. The hardliners on the Israeli side still nurse ambitions of a "Greater Israel" from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean, encompassing everything from Syria in the north to Egypt in the Southwest, the whole of Jordan, and a good hefty chunk of Iraq.

      We complain about a polarized America, caught between the Red States and the Blue States. But the Middle East makes the current State of the Union seem like sitting around the fire singing Kumbayah.

      The divisions in the US right now seem pretty vast. A "Grand Canyon" if you will. But the Middle East is Federation Space vs. the Romulans and the Klingons with no neutral zone in between. And we've got Captain "shoot first and ask questions later" Kirk running things on the Federation side, not the reasonable and thoughtful Captain Picard.

      What a mess. What an unholy mess.

      Arnold and Dubya star in "Twins II"
      http://msgeek703.googlepages.com/thearnoldanddubyashow
      Econ: -4.63 Soc: -6.92

      by MamasGun on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:26:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This may be the hard part... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pastordan, emeraldmaiden
    • we have be ourselves before we can welcome the other.

    ...so many of us are still trying to figure ourselves out...

    I for one try to be very open-minded about others' faith and religion (or lack thereof), because I have had an interesting time of it getting to where I am in my journey with God...

    Malt vinegar and sea salt...yum...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:37:20 PM PDT

  •  Just wanted to say Hi Pastor Dan (5+ / 0-)

    and you have a big fan in my husband Barry.

    I do want to comment on something that I read in your diary.  You said something like making people accountable for their faith was your freakin job.  Barry looks at it that way too, and I thought he was the only one.  The people around here thought he was nuts when he first started, then they started listening, and they got it!  You must be a good one too!

    I look forward to reading more of your diaries.

    Sherri Welsh
    •  Madame, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shpilk

      Your husband has a big fan in me, so it's just a mutual admiration society in here!

      I believe firmly that what pastors are all about is building people up to live their faith - in wonder, love, and praise - and service, to ruin that great old Methodist hymn. I don't want a congregation of children, but of adults capable of standing on their own two feet.

      I know that's what Barry wants, too, for his congregants and his constituents. That's why he'll do well as the next Congressman from the great state of Indiana.

      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

      by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:53:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He tries to run away from being a Pastor (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pastordan, Janet Strange

        when talking politics, despite everyone advising him otherwise, he is so dead set on keeping things seperate, but being a pastor is part of who he is, and part of what will make him a great congressman.  If only enough people will be able to see that.  

        He has confided in me that some of his advisors are pushing him to try to be the poster boy of the religious left or something, but he just shakes his head no and says he is running for congress despite being a pastor, not because of it.  He won't play politics with what he does with the church, and he doesn't bring the church up when he is talking politics.  Everybody else seems to, but he doesn't.  

  •  pastordan (7+ / 0-)

    I'm still trying to figure out how estate tax cuts became a "moral" issue for the right wing Christians. At some point, are they going to wake up and realize that a lot of stuff they believe really isn't what Jesus was talking about? At some point, do they realize they were duped by Jerry Falwell and Grover Norquidst or do they just go to church and claim to be Christians for social reasons?

    Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. Sherlock Holmes.

    by Carnacki on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:57:18 PM PDT

    •  That's an easy answer (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pastordan, Carnacki, MamasGun, ChiGirl88

      Idolatry. They don't worship Jesus Christ, they worship Mammon, and his brother Power.

      But seriously, in the really really strict Calvinist groups, having money (or success of any kind) is considered to be a sign of God's favor--both in this life and for the next. So apparently taxing or diminishing that is possibly rationalized as interfering with God's prerogatives. Of course, they don't seem to mind that too much when it comes to killing people through pre-emptive war or capital punishment...

    •  Oh, that actually happened on a conference call: (8+ / 0-)

      God: here's what I think. The agenda should be, ummm, feeding the poor, healing the sick, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned and if we get around to it...

      Jesus: Creating world peace, Dad.

      God: Yeah, I was looking at the review sheet for the Creation. Sorry. So where were we?

      Ralph Reed: Making sure Paris Hilton's inheritance doesn't get taxed!

      God: Right, right, lift the estate tax. Yup. Let's do that.

      Jesus: That's not on my copy!

      God: What? Oh, crap!

      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

      by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:11:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Easy - read Lakoff (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pastordan, Carnacki, Alice Venturi

      The moral rightness of getting rid of the estate tax for Republicans is quite simple, if you've read Lakoff. A major core moral value for Republicans is personal responsibility. You have to be personally responsible to be a good man in their moral system. You're on your own, and if you don't swim all by yourself, you're going to sink. Nobody's going to help you, and lots of people are going to try to hurt you.

      One of the things that a man can do to provide for and protect his family is to leave an inheritance. When the government tries to take that inheritance away, then the govenment is directly attacking the self-responsible man, keeping him from providing for his family. It's contrary to the core moral belief of personal resonsibility, and thus immoral.

  •  I never could abide the R-Right Types (6+ / 0-)

    When I was in a Southern Baptist church ... when I became involved in the "charismatic movement" ... when I attended a "full-gospel" Bible school for one year ... when I was a member of a non-denominational church for many years ... I always seem to run into those who KNEW beyond a shadow of doubt what they believed and what everyone else should believe.  Some of them were so downright sure that they would scream damnation would come to all who disagreed.

    I've studied the Bible a bit, both Old and New Testments (prefer Old and New Covenants).  I LOVE studying the history of the Hebrew nation, from its beginning with Abram forward.  

    I've come to a strange place of comprehension of the New Covenant though ... mainly because in the church, Bible school, studies, I was taught one thing and I read something MORE in the Bible.

    At some point in the last few years, my rational thoughts got involved and now I'm in big trouble.

    So, I've drifted so far away from what I was raised believing and I now know that I can never return to the rigid set of beliefs that says, in so many words, that I'd better not question God or He'll get pissed.  

    Well fact is, I've got tons of questions.  

    AND, the religious won't like my questions and they'll say that I'm bound for hell.  I don't want to end up in hell, but I can't see anywhere in the Old or New Covenants that questions about who and what God is was a bad thing.

    Back to politics, my party choice in inseparably linked to my personal religious beliefs: the teachings to love and help others, especially those who need it the most.  The teachings that God is the head dude, not me, and that He will handle this mess, not me.  The revulsion at the Pharisees of today, walking around with their long faces and their religious beliefs dripping from their mouths, making a large show and when that which is within comes forth from their belly, it hurts others and themselves.  

    They have created a tradition that God founded this country and from that point they proceed forward into a realm of irrational beliefs and fears.  Their words remind me of Mark 7:  "you nullify the word of God by your tradition."

    They had to nullify from the start, from the first murder of a native American Indian, from the permanent enslavement of a certain people and subsequent terrorism to hold them in the chains of fear.  And forward ....

    •  Southern Mouth= (0+ / 0-)

      Love the handle, by the way. What's the story with it? If you have some courage left, and a little bit of filthy lucre on hand, I strongly, strongly recommend you pick up this. It helped me so much, I don't know where to start. And then follow it up with the second and third book in the series.
      Changed my life. Period.

      "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. (they) are so unlike your Christ"- Gandhi

      by bheuvel67 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:39:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  SouthernMouth Meaning (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MamasGun, bheuvel67, Alice Venturi

        I was raised in the South and consequently had the southern accent.  When I moved to Texas and then Oklahoma, I picked up the Okie twang.  Plus, I tried to drop some of the southern accent on purpose because of the ribbing.

        However .... when I'm angry and mouthing off about something, it all comes out in a southern drawl.  I learned all the curse words (well most all) in a southern dialect.

        I used to laugh and say that I was a junior in high school before I knew a cow was a cow, and not a effing cow.

        Since many of comments or diaries are written when I'm angry or disgusted, it seemed appropriate to call myself Southern Mouth.

    •  Amen, amen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MamasGun

      I know exactly how you feel.  I went through this too, and I hate what the church has become.  Incidentally, there's a good book on this subject called Extreme Righteousness -- I can't remember the author, but it's a first class book.  Talks about the ways in which the RR of today look an awful lot like the Pharisees of yesterday.

      "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." Milan Kedrun

      by Guy Fawkes on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:57:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent! But we've come to know that's what (4+ / 0-)

    you do. A brief shout-out from a young Unitarian fan ... I must get away to a concert, but I'll be back with more detailed response in three hours.

    All the best, as always,
    Monique

  •  This really resonated with me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, pastordan

    but the answer to that is not to stop using the language, but to reclaim it.

    I am so grateful to you, Pastor Dan, for giving words to what I feel.  I am working toward this.  And I was particularly gratified by these words tonight.  And thoroughly disgusted by this:

    But they most likely will respond to ideas of right and wrong, and to language that sets these ideas in grand prose. (See: King James Bible)

    The beauty and majesty of the King James Bible inspires me every day.  I am so sorry to see it denigrated as "grand prose" supposedly used for nefarious purposes.  Very sorry indeed.

    1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

    by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 07:58:43 PM PDT

    •  What the hell does this mean? (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't understand this in pastordan's diary, and I don't understand it in your comment.

      But they most likely will respond to ideas of right and wrong, and to language that sets these ideas in grand prose. (See: King James Bible)

      The full quote runs:

      That's a lot of people -- people who likely derive their ethics from a particular faith tradition, but who may not respond any better to the words of a religious liberal than they do to a religious righty. But they most likely will respond to ideas of right and wrong, and to language that sets these ideas in grand prose. (See: King James Bible.) If secular liberal politicians would simply engage the better angels of a broad, and often unchurched, electorate, they just might win

      What, in God's name, is nefarious about that?

      Plenty of people in this country were brought up in religious traditions--including me--and either don't, or won't, set foot inside a church or have anything to do with organized religions.

      Yet, we are fiercely proud of the best aspects of our upbringing, just as we fiercely lambaste the worst.

      So the solemn cadences of the KJV or other Bible version or Torah or Koran or whatever text we grew up with still speaks to us. That's our language.

      We don't care what the Pope says is right or wrong. But when you speak in terms of right and wrong, that's our language, too.

      It isn't just "purty" language. It's moral language. It's spiritual language. And, sorry, but it belongs to us just as much as it does to you.

      •  I said 'supposedly' used (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that it's "moral language" and "spiritual language" and that it "belongs to [all of us]."  I was attempting (perhaps not very articulately)  to follow up on some of the important points made by Pastor Dan in this very compelling diary.

        1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

        by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:25:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Give Me the Specifics (4+ / 0-)

    Pastor Dan, I love your comment about morality being of the specific vs. the piety of the general. And I'm with you as far as Christian leftists being VERY specific about their faith and its derivation. The National Prayer Breakfast movement -- a mostly (tho not entirely) conservative network of Christian activists is endlessly vague, "allowing" everyone to come worship Jesus with them. Thanks, but no thanks. Specificity is grace.

    But I'm with Stan when she points out that the religious left is falling down on the job. Here on Kos, I see all the time self-declared religious leftists getting all mushy about how Jesus REALLY said this or that; and yet, just like the conservatives, they never bother to wrestle with the pieces of scripture that don't work for them.

    Instead, they applaud activists like Jim Wallis and Michael Lerner. I don't have to take anything away from the work those guys have done to lament the way so many liberals have deified them; the way so many liberals are searching for a leftist Jerry Falwell. This is a stupid strategy twice over -- one, because it means entering a wrestling match with Falwell, and once you've presented faith as a wrestling match, he's won; two, because it ignores the fact that the Religious Right has long since grown past the stage of iconic leaders.

    It's a movement. A very big movement. We can fight it -- but not by pretending that its followers are dupes or that the dinosaurs of its early years are all that's involved.

    And sure as hell not by declaring that the answer is that "Liberals need to talk about God." The hell they do. BELIEVERS may talk about God -- that's great -- but no one should HAVE to talk about God to get elected. So long as that's the case, we're cooked. We'll end up with lame-ass bi-partisan measures that slant right every time. We'll end up with generalities of faith, not the specifics

    •  Agree with your last point 100%. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, MamasGun, noweasels

      I've never believed that we need to force people to do God talk. And I really would welcome the day an open non-believer could be elected.

      As for your first couple of points, you are also correct. I try to be honest about when I'm struggling with a piece of scripture. And blech, Wallis and Lerner just don't do very much for me. If we're going to make heroes out of someone, start with John Lewis.

      Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

      by pastordan on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:17:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hey, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, MamasGun

      I don't get to cop out with "I'm doing what Jesus said," because, officially, I don't care.

      So I do have to wrestle with those parts of Scripture that don't work for me.  'Cause there's no "new covenant."  Which means, holy shit!  In return for victory in battle, I will sacrifice the first thing that greets me when I return?  Even if it's my daughter?

      Congrats to the woman who drives a TENT SPIKE through the head of a fleeing enemy who's asked for succor at her tent?  

      Hooray for the hero of my faith sending a man into battle with INSTRUCTIONS for his comrades to abandon him to death, just so said hero can bang that guy's wife?  

      What kind of faith is this?

      I'm left to say, "You know what - I take being a Jew very seriously.  But Judaism, as a theology, blows.  Hard."  And so, like Walter, I'm left with five thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax - and really, nothing else.

      Compromise on Personnel - Never on Principle. Street Prophets - "Ani Adonai Eloheichem" He says.

      by mkrell on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:36:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two Comments (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, Puskara
      1. You are absolutely right on one score.  Nobody should have to talk about religion to get elected.  What someone believes about God, or Gods, or the lack of any belief in a deity, should not affect whether or not someone can get elected to high office in this country.  In fact, the Constitution specifically forbids a religious test.
      1. I want religious leftists to speak out for religious reasons.  I don't want this country to continue under the delusion that Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell speak for us all.  Every time I identify myself as a Christian, I cringe a little, thinking that I am being lumped in with them.  So my reasons for wanting the religious left to get active are not so much political as they are religious in nature.  In addition, it helps get the people elected that I think are better suited to govern.  It's a win/win.

      "The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting." Milan Kedrun

      by Guy Fawkes on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:04:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a somewhat different take (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pastordan

    on the Adele Stan post. I think it is not incompatible. Just different.

    Buffy, David, and the Religious Left

  •  This deserved a recommend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pastordan, noweasels

    for the Cotton Patch Gospel reference alone.

    Buckle your handbaskets, America.

    by Soy Lechithin on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:15:39 PM PDT

  •  It isn't like we're creating a religious left (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, bheuvel67, catleigh

    I mean goodness, we really do have a religious left and it isn't their fault that they have been busy practicing their faith instead of buying radio and television stations.  I'm Buddhist, which according to the Book of the Dead means that I am to recognize and honor that other people follow different Buddhas and that enlightened beings are born in all sorts of places and belong to all sorts of races and nations.  Just curious, but what if you are a Christian and you belong to the "left".....what are you supposed to do then, Just shut the hell up? Pretend like you aren't there?

    •  Nope (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, MamasGun, Militarytracy

      Just be religious.  That's what I figure.

      At least, that's what I've been telling 'em for the last year or so (them being the religious nutballs that live near me).  I live in the reddest part of NC, the Triad area, and a HOTBED of asshattery (we can claim Vernon Robinson, Virginia Foxx, etc).  Most of the "important people" here fell to the "religious right" years ago, and they, along with anyone else, keep trying to convert me to^b^b from Christianity to whatever the hell it is they practice these days on the "religious right."

      So, guys like my former boss who made me go to company-sponsored bible study for the worthless "Purpose Driven Life" crap get an earful about how I'm a Christian, just like Jesus asked me to be.  I don't have to add anything else to that recipe, thanks.  I also love piping up about how Jesus wouldn't want us bombing anyone, period, and why are you so afraid of death that you need to go killing people?  What, you didn't believe Jesus about that bit?

      Hell if you're ever confronted by idiocy like that, you have full rights to give the same answer, "No, I'm just as how Jesus asked me to be, thanks."

  •  Darn you PastorDan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, Alice Venturi

    You make me regret not going to seminary instead of business school!  You also make me realize daily why I don't go to the old church I grew up in anymore.

    Thankfully, I can still get good sermons and writings from you.

    I figured I'd just say thanks for reminding me of who I am, and for reminding me of of my faith.

    Thanks!

  •  Very potent, PD (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pam from Calif, Dugius

    I long for the day when we can all drop the pretense that we have to be the same to be together.

    I don't know how in blazes we ever got to be such a herd mentality people, but it is entirely irksome.

  •  Thought - provoking diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MamasGun

    although I'm way too tired to comment cogently tonight.  I think the religious left cannot be a mirror of the right.  Once we start down that road, we will surely become the religious right with all their hypocrisy and self-aggrandizing assurance of knowing The Truth.

    A 'religious left' movement cannot degrade into a 'we're holier than thou, and better at doing what Jesus really taught' sort of thing or it will be hollow.  Instead, the progressive faithful have to truly be the light of the world--lead by example, let the integrity and sincerity of beliefs reflect  love of God and belief in His love for all His children.  I believe religion and politics can mix and influence one another, but never by attempts to impose religion (or 'faith-based' legislation like the stem cell veto) on those who don't want it or accept it.  Faith should inspire others, not coerce them.    

    "Going to church does not make us Christians any more than stepping into our garage makes us a car." --Rev R. Neville

    by catleigh on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:46:45 PM PDT

  •  Salt, pepper, oregano, basil & lemmons (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marcvstraianvs

    are staples in an Eastern Orthodox kitchen.  

    My favorite soup:  Greek Avgolemeno/ Egg Lemon Soup with chicken stock.

    http://www.recipesource.com/...

    "A child miseducated is a child lost" John F. Kennedy

    by Pam from Calif on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 08:59:02 PM PDT

  •  I have another question (0+ / 0-)

    What values that you have in Christianity aren't found in secularism for the purpose of policy making?

    Fear is not a winning strategy.

    by bruh1 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 09:42:40 PM PDT

    •  There aren't any bruh, there (0+ / 0-)

      aren't any. They're just trying to spread the "good word". No matter how religiously liberal you get, you still want to convert others.

      •  not all religions seek conversion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TiaRachel

        Judaism and I believe Buhdism does not. But definitely christianity has as one of its central tenets the idea that Christian love means conversion. I suppose many will disagree with this, but I asked my friend, a third theology major, about this, and she says that it's the case that Christian love means bringing one into the Kingdom of God. I don't understand how, when one gets beyond the plaititudes, how Pastor Dan and the Christian Left will produce a result thats different than the christian right. If I am to take them seriously, that they can't express their political voice without expressing their religious voice, then I have to wonder what that then means in terms of enforcing religious doctrine into policy? How does one separate it out if one is using it as the basis of the principles for making decision? Kerry put it best- he said he is a man of God, but his decisions as a public figure can not be based on his faith. I don't think its possible to ignore faith as a part of ones decision making, but the fact that they so far seem unwilling to aknowledge the inherit issues that arise seems to me to be problematic. In one response to me about the politics, Pastor Dan seemed to indicate that he didn't think this was a real concern or at least dismissed it. I want to understand how he thinks his religious convictions will produce a different result than any other mixing of faith. So far- the argument has been in part- well the Christian right aren't really acting as Christians. But thats what the Christian right is saying about them. Are we going to fight scripture to scripture next? Is that the goal? And if so- to what end?

        Fear is not a winning strategy.

        by bruh1 on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:22:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I really, honestly, truly, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85

        don't care if you convert or not. That's your business. My business is to be myself. You don't like who I am, tough knorchtke, as my dad used to say.

        Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

        by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 07:11:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You saved the best for the last - 3 parargaphs. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel

    I'm troubled by all of the demands for religiosity in public discourse. I grew up thinking this country was founded on the ideas that people's religions were personal matters not public affairs.

    I'm not a believer and frankly I'm getting tired and offended by people who think everything in public life has to revolve around people who do.

    This

    It's about standing up for what's right, and helping others to do the same, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof.

    is OK. That's what's needed in public discourse regardless if the moral compass is religious or not.

    And this

    I long for the day when we can all drop the pretense that we have to be the same to be together.

    is what I think is a foundational American ideal. Everyone was free to believe or not and be American, because otherwise some believer might create a religious state that would infringe on some other believer.

    The problem is the right wing nutcases who want to force their particular belief structure on everyone else. In other words, they despise the American ideal. They're not about standing up for what's right, they want a church as state government.

    So I understand the desire to just turn off the microphone to all religious talk and chase the right wing nutcases back into the caves they crawled out of.

    Interesting post.

  •  Hmmmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel

    "That and secular leftists, who don't really understand how the whole religion thing works."

    1.  Many secular people were previously religious, some were even members of the clergy.  However it is nice for you to help the right vilify us with their own poisonous invective.
    1.  Consider for a moment that secular leftists, those who do and do not understand how the "religion thing works", may simply think that trading one form of religious entanglement in government for another is not a very good trade.  Also consider that people may understand you and your beliefs and still think that you are wrong.
    1.  Though I do not necissarily support any of the people you quoted (I have not read the full text of what they wrote.) I do think that trying to work from universal values that we all can agree on is an excellent place to start.

    Vote for DLC candidates: Because our oligarchy is bettern than their oligarchy!

    by Puskara on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:33:59 PM PDT

  •  thanks for the link to Faith in Public Life (0+ / 0-)

    I've never seen that site or heard of Chuck.  Where have I been?

    I don't look good enough to be on TV but am often told I have a compelling and persuasive voice, so I would love to elbow a few people away from the nationally syndicated radio microphones to get more progressive Christian ideas out there!

    Last but not least, I've recently discovered Maldon Sea Salt.  It is delightful.  It's also expensive, but since I don't use much salt, one box lasts for months.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D. IMPEACH!

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 10:44:24 PM PDT

  •  seems to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel

    that the mystics and founders of most religions (who, significantly, usually didn't write a thing- it was their followers who felt the need to codify) were talking about transcending the individuated self to apprehend a more universal form of consciousness. and yet, as the centuries roll by, the supposed acolytes of these mystics focus more and more on attempting to exalt their individuated selves into the super-selves of what have become rigidly structured dogmas. what should bind us together then becomes an even more virulent excuse to tear us apart.

    i've always loved the story joseph campbell related to bill moyers. campbell was attending some interfaith conference, and approached a shinto priest for some clarification. he told the priest that he'd listened to the shinto presentation but didn't think he grasped the shinto theology or ideology. the priest thought for a moment and replied:

    "i don't think we have a theology. i don't think we have an ideology. we dance."

  •  Aren't we all missing the point? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TiaRachel, Dugius

    How about if we don't bring religion into our politics anymore - and return America to the secular, law-based land we were intended to be. The longer we continue to participate in an arena that the 'Moral Majority' created, the more legitimacy we lend it. Most people I know want religion out of politics, and returned to the privacy of their own lives, where it belongs. Many are sick to death of hearing religion brought up constantly in politics.

    For any candidates questioned about their 'faith', I say let them gently remind the questioner that faith is a deeply personal relationship between God and the believer, and that they find it inappropriate to discuss in the political arena.

    "'Tis the time's plague when madmen lead the blind" -Shakespeare

    by gitana on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 11:26:24 PM PDT

  •  Tigercourse (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, cowgirl, emeraldmaiden

    You wrote this:

    I think you are out of your goddamn mind. I think virtually all religious people are out of their god damn minds. I think belief in the invisible is silly and I think adherence to a book written by con artists is weak willed and weak minded. I find religion to be base and immoral and those sucked into it to be rather pathetic. I can't say I understand exactly why they find religion neccessary, but I see what it does. It courrupts the "soul" and weakens your will. Whatever morality you have or claim to have is diluted by the possibility that you only act in moral ways to avoid punishment. Religious people are easily lead and commanded by people who rarely even believe in the same things you do (Priests are often less strident believers than the layity) but seek to either make a profit or simply dominate others in the only way they can. Religion is the only form of voluntary subservience I can think of. Religion is not democratic, it is the very antithesis of democratic and it's rise can only weaken our already tennuous nation. I view you the same way I would view a believer in alien abduction. They're unstable and I don't want them controlling the public discourse and bringing their belief in little green men into the public square. The same goes for you. I'm tired and I'm rambling and putting up a horribly structued argument. But I'm not just tired in body today, I'm tired in my "soul". Right now, at this moment I can't handle being in this tiny minority and at the whim of what I believe is a crazed majority.

    We progressive Christians (and progressive members of other faiths with whom we agree) are NOT a "crazed majority."  We're not crazed in any way, except, perhaps, by the moral bankruptcy of the current leadership in this country and the very sad, very disturbing abandonment they have embraced of everyone who is not rich and/or powerful.  I am distressed by your comment tonight, because you seem to equate being a faithful Christian (which I hope to be) with being unfaithful to basic American values (citizenship, tolerance, compassion, democracy).  I could not disagree more.  I have zero interest (in fact, negative zero interest), in forcing anyone else to believe as I do -- and, in fact, I am a lawyer who has spent her entire career defending the First Amendment, in which I believe passionately.  But that certainly does NOT mean that I equate the basic tenets of my faith -- decency, charity, hope, compassion -- with a "crazed" part of the populace of this country. Rather, I hope (and believe) that, whatever their relgious (or non-religious) leanings, most Americans feel the same way.  

    1-20-09 the darkness ends "Where cruelty exists, law does not." ~ Alberto Mora

    by noweasels on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 11:32:19 PM PDT

    •  Now THAT, we can use in a campaign speech. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, noweasels

      "What is really what if I can't even get comfortable 'cause the Supreme Court is like, all in my uterus?"

      by cowgirl on Thu Jul 27, 2006 at 11:49:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the problem... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TiaRachel

      is that the basic tenets of your faith only apply to you.  There are over 10,000 Christian denominations because people cannot agree on what the basic tenents of Christianity are.

      Vote for DLC candidates: Because our oligarchy is bettern than their oligarchy!

      by Puskara on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 04:53:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah, but you see, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, emeraldmaiden, mommyof3

        that's the point. There are shared tenets that connect us one to another, but the purpose of organizing a "religious left" is not to walk in lockstep, but to be ourselves.

        Street Prophets: where the cookies live now...

        by pastordan on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 07:10:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All we have to be... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85

          is what we were made to be... in our creation.

          Now, if I haven't messed that creation up too poorly, I can use who I am to reach others... for any number of things.  All hopefully good or striving for good.

          ... and definitely politically aware!

          Pastor Dan,  you are always good for making us think!

          Thanks!

          Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

          by mommyof3 on Fri Jul 28, 2006 at 09:48:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And the 'religious left' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85

          need not be Christian. Most major religions share the same basic values of treating each other well, caring for the poor, not stealing, not killing, etc. They are not all in complete agreement, of course - the Christian fractions are not all in agreement, as was said upthread. However, I think we can all agree on most of the basics.

          Which god or gods you choose to deify, if any, should have no bearing on how we conduct ourselves, IMO.

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