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Being here at Kos as a minority and an evangelical (though i tend toward the Anabaptist theology which is less evangelically-inclined) is like being in a foreign country.

first off are these type of sentiments:

Progressives have a real hard time with believers.   To a large degree, a lot of the Left distrusts religion -- for entirely valid reasons -- and that distrust seems all too apparent to the people we're trying to win over.

you MUST quantify this statement. it is WHITE progressives who have a hard time with believers.

Us minority progressives have always had faith, Christianity, as the sustaining force in our social/political movements from the time of slavery to the civil rights mvt. we don't have a problem mixing religion and politics. it's the white folks.

to read diary after dairy about "the evangelicals" is a little rough to take. Folks here have to accept that they are outside the mainstream on cultural issues. Folks keep assuming all Democrats agree with them on abortion and gay rights and separation of church/state and keep bashing the Christian right and "evangelicals," without recognizing that a substantial part of their base has always disagreed with them on these matters and a substantial part of their base IS evangelical and/or Christian: MINORITIES.

i have feared for a long time that the [white] Democratic elite (by this i mean activists and the professionals who work on campaigns/staff/liberal interest groups) and their tone-deaf approach to religion would someday do us in among minorities. it looks like that day is here sooner than i thought it would be.

people here are forgetting that the rank and file Democrats (the ones who show up only to vote, not the activist elite/bloggers) ARE overwhelmingly religious/Christian. only 14% of the voters this year were secular. so to hear whether Democrats need to "get religion" seems rather odd.

the only people i've met who aren't very religious and are Democrats are Democratic staff members in DC and in the elite think tanks and in the blogosphere. Democratic candidates all uniformly have faith. it's their inept staffs that are the problem. thus why groups like NARAL and EMily's List continue to bleat about "woman's right to choose" instead of talking about how we can reduce abortion and why only Democratic policies can do that. thus why they're getting their clocks cleaned right now by the anti-choice movt. Most Democratic staffers do not think homosexuality is a sin. that's really great and wonderfully tolerant, but it separates them from "middle America" and i think that's what probably made them so unaware and out of touch for how much of an emotional issue the marriage amendments would become in the swing states.  Remember, a lot of Democrats also voted for all these marriage amendments, even in blue states like Oregon.

i saw and knew in my own community just how much Gavin Newsom and the Mass.court was hurting us and how deeply outraged many people of color were and i prayed it wouldn't hurt us in the election. but i think Democrats (hey Bill RIchardson, looking at you especially) did not know they needed to be countering it HARD in our churches. the only time i saw them do that was at the end when they sent Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to a black church to remind us of the issues that are really important: war, poverty, jobs, health care, etc. but that outreach was very futile and way too little. Latino and Asian churches were being pounded week after week with the message that our culture was betraying God and losing it's Christian center as gay marriage became sanctioned in parts of the country. the Bush people cleverly pounced on the issue and did the outreach. yeah, while Democrat activists were screaming about them violating church/state with their political outreach, Bush's message, with the help of a lot of sympathetic pastors/ministers, found an audience. Democrats had no institutional or organizational means to combat the Bush propaganda. instead, they simply complained about how Bush was politicizing the church. i heard more and more black folks utter the unthinkable: I think God wants me to vote Bush. people here dismissed the one poll showing Bush had made inroads in the black community.

While Kerry earned 89% of the black vote nationwide, Bush doubled his % of the black vote in Ohio to 16%. that could have been the election right there. that could have been the election right there in a closer situation. Black folks voted 61% for the marriage amendment in ohio. the GOP is smart. they know they've got a winning issue with which to lure us. and Democrats still are in denial about it.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/155/story_15579_1.html

Bush broke 40% nationwide among Latinos. he gained especially in the "swing states" of New Mexico and Colorado. this poses a serious threat to Democratic prospects for the future.

http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=123867

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/special_packages/election2004/10091983.htm

during the campaign, i would scream for Edwards/Kerry to use the same faith talk they did in front of black churches to white faith audiences. they never did. such a segregated approach to faith matters did them in.

Republicans may exploit religion for their own ends, but they are never, ever disrespectful of it as a lot of white liberals are. because they understand the role religion plays in our life, becuase they understand intuitively the social conservatism of minorities since it differs little from the Christian Coalition, they have now made significant inroads into the Democratic base. this has not been acknowledged enough by white liberals who have their heads up their ass about how a major portion of the party does not agree with them on the social issues. faith-based funding is hugely popular among minorities. Bush's faith talk resonates with us, while it alienates/enrages a lot of secular white liberals. we have no problem with saying "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, hanging the 10 commandments in public spaces. minorities are more likely to believe homosexual acts are a sin and the lifestyle abnormal and that abortion is the taking of an innocent unborn life. now these are big generalizations i'm makiing. within the community, there are a lot of diverse opinions. not all minorities agree on these issues. I lean to the left of most minorities on social issues (heck that's why i post here), and so do my other friends, but among the rank and file and our parents, these are the common sentiments. But we are also, for now, voting mostly Democrat because we realize that social justice, the economy, a sane foreign policy, are spiritual values as well.

another poster said:
"I can't understand how someone intelligent can take a leap into faith."

that's the difference between a Dem or Repub. A Republican would never make that kind of statement because they intuitively know how offensive it would be to most voters and they would instantly lose them.
all is not lost. we have a role model for the future in Barack Obama, whose language of faith resonates beyond and touches white rural folks too. the third person he thanked during his acceptance speech was his pastor and church. he spoke of a "merciful God." that is true, sincere faith with an inclusive message and vision that can combat the homophobia and narrow "culture of life" arguments of what it means to be Christian.

Originally posted to ihlin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 04:56 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Clarify (none)
    You are right. We must recognize that not all evangelicals are in cahoots with the Republicans.  Maybe we should refer to them as RW (right wing) evangelicals to more nearly differentiate them.
    •  thanks but... (4.00)
      we still need to deal with the fact that a substantial part of the base disagrees with core liberal positions on abortion/gays/church/state matters.
      •  We need to control the phrasing (3.92)
        The problem isn't that middle America is against Democratic ideals. The problem is in how it is worded.

        The Democratic Party is pro-choice not because it is pro-abortion, but because it believes it can be an issue of control for women, and because it doesn't want coat hangars in alleys. Nobody wants more abortions, and to have abortions used casually for birth control. We have been painted as the latter, and that turns off middle America.

        Likewise, I think we support gay rights because we believe that everyone should be free of government intrusion into their personal lives, and I believe it is a religious freedom issue. We don't want even the majority religion to be able to demonize minorities like homosexuals and Jewish people. Again, I think the idea of religious tolerance is something that is mainstream, but it has been turned into supporting gay marriage.

        I see the same thing with "entitlements." We could make a statement that nobody could disagree with, like "No child should starve to death in the United States." This is basically what welfare prevents, but the right has named it "entitlements" and used the term "welfare mothers" to turn it into a racial issue.

        What we need to do is control the language. The right is using the most progressive issues, like abortion and gay rights, to drive a wedge between the moderate and progressive parts of our base, and that is why they are winning. It is our responsibility to take back the rhetoric and show how mainstream our ideals are.

        •  Absolutely right (3.75)
          This idea of "framing the issues" has been discussed repeatedly in the last couple of days.

          We need to start talking about "reducing abortions" instead of "outlawing abortions".  We don't want people to have abortions, we want to eliminate the need for abortions.  We need to talk about reducing unwanted/teen pregnacies, but instead of talking about birth control first and discrediting abstinence, we should talk about abstinence FIRST.  Then talk about birth control as secondary methods.

          We need to talk about welfare/medicaid in a sense that religous people can associate with.  We need to illustrate these programs in the same sense as the saying about "teach a man to fish" vs. "give a man a fish".  Our goal is not to support these people, but to teach them how to support themselves.  Frame welfare in the sense of WWJD.  I don't mean that in the sense of trying to "sell" our programs by using religion, but, really, what would Jesus do?

          It's amazing to me that we can't find a way to use religion to our advantage.  In most cases, we are the party of tolerance, justice, forgiveness and understanding.  Aren't these some the guiding priciples of Christianity?  Since when has fear, hate, intolerance and demonization become the moral compass of our country?

          This is why I turned away from organized religion as a young adult.  The hypocracy of the leaders of the religious movements just astounds me; the fact that people can't see it disturbs me.

          The author of the diary has a very valid point:  We need to find a way to incorporate religion into our party platform if we are ever to appeal to these voters.  We need to appeal to the leaders of the churches to find out how we can make our ideals of choice, tolerance, freedom of religion conform with the ideals of the church.  I think deep-down they already do, we just haven't expressed it yet.

          •  strongly disagree (3.50)
            No we shouldn't be talking about abstinence. Sex is part of the human experience, it is NOT something to be ashamed of or repressed. Yes, it can and does lead to problems and those need to be managed responsibly. We can all agree that abortion is the option of last resort but don't demonize sex. I am sex positive and I suspect most people who claim otherwise have some inner conflict over the issue.
            •  Denmark and the Netherlands (3.50)
              have the lowest abortion rate, I have recently read.  They do it by stressing the quality of relationships kids develop.  No exploitative, risky, threatening encounters but rather loving consensual relationships which are trusting enough for the participants to have time to get suitable birth control.  That kind of sexual relationship is somewhat more acceptable to parents, even if they really want their children to wait for marriage.
              •  denmark and holland (none)
                great idea but it wont work here.
                our culture will never allow anyone to educate anyone like this. its a philosophy issue. and a life style issue. armericans are to arrogant and self centered to ever have this work here.
        •  nope, (3.00)
          the smug bastards see me burning in hell for all time. how the the fuck are you supposed to 'frame' that?

          "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

          by binFranklin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:34:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (none)
            The people who believe you are going to Hell also believe that Catholics are going to Hell because they worship saints and Episcopalians are going to Hell because they aren't born again. They will probably never vote Democrat.

            I think the problem is that a good number of people who don't believe you are going to Hell believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. Our challenge is to reach the people who are uncomfortable with homosexuality, but recognize the value of religious freedom.

            That is how I frame it, as a religious freedom issue. We can't let what is considered wrong in one religion impact people who don't practice it. I have been trying to think of practical demonstrations of religious intolerance, and all I have thought of so far is teaching evolution, and prohibition.

            I am not trying to trivialize the problems of being gay in today's America, but if we can somehow make the connection then we win. Some people believe it is a sin to teach evolution, but clearly we can't ban evolution. Some people think it is a sin to be gay, but clearly we can't ban homosexuality.

          •  take back the issue (none)
            We need to tell them that THEY are burning in hell for all time. God is on OUR side.

            we need to wedge into their issue from their greatest fear - death and hell.

            That's how the repukes control them. Now we need to do the same. Control them with fear.  We need to dredge up the bible quotes that shows that the devil hides in funny ways- and that they are being biggots and judgemental and will go to hell for that. That they will go to hell because the bible talks more about divorce than homos.

            Hell I tell you - Hell!!!

            "I will never accept an analysis that says a leader who stands for equality and fairness and who has the courage of his convictions is doing the wrong thing."

            by CrazyDem on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:23:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yeah- Bush is the Anti-Christ (3.00)
              and they voted for him.
            •  Who burns in hell? (none)
              We need to tell them that THEY are burning in hell for all time. God is on OUR side.

              The Bible says quite clearly that only God knows who's saved and who's damned. The self-proclaimed Christians who claim to know who is and who is not burning in hell are, in effect, making themselves co-equal with God. Do you want to join them in their blasphemous hypocrisy?

              •  no I don't want to join them (none)
                I don't want to join them but it feels good to say they will burn in hell. even if I dont' really mean it.

                however, now that I've got that out of my system I can go back to being an anthiest - where no one burns in hell.

                "I will never accept an analysis that says a leader who stands for equality and fairness and who has the courage of his convictions is doing the wrong thing."

                by CrazyDem on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 02:08:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I think it is immoral (none)
              to vote for an administration that condones torture and believes that all Muslims are terrorists, and therefore fighting some Muslims means fighting terrorists.

              I'm a member of a minority group: the reality-based community.

              by Unstable Isotope on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 04:30:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (none)
            I'm white, progressive and pagan. I work in a public inner city school in Broward County. The principal gets over the loudspeaker at 6:59 a.m. (before the workday begins) and simply states the time. That is the clue for the Christians to begin their prayer,

            There's a (black) teacher who's even laid hands on a student to help the student. I love that teacher. I feel a lot of hostility toward the white Christians right now, and I have decided to have nothing more to do with those people for exactly the reasons you state. I never liked them anyway. But I don't get that at all from my friends of color. I have gotten a lot of strength from just being around them the last couple of days. We are all going through rough times.

            To me it's a matter of being respectful of each other more than semantics. The media is going to say whatever the hell it pleases.

        •  It won't work because (1.00)
          re-framing the issues will not change the fact that the Democratic party is dependent on money from Planned Parenthood and NARAL -- and those groups are not known for their desire to see less abortion.  

          Yes, it should be framed as a civil rights issue, but you have to put actions behind those words or they will be transparent.  Allow pro-life Dems to have a place in the party.  Say goodbye to money from NARAL.

          It's the only way....

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

          by valleycat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:39:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  nonsense (4.00)
            You're basically saying NARAL and Planned Parenthood are encouraging abortion, and want to see more of it.  That's the plain simple lying BULLSHIT that the pro-life movement uses.  I think abortion rights advocates want to see the rate go down, too.  I certainly do, and i donate to Planned Parenthood.

            It needs to be available as a safe, legal option. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything possible to prevent it. That means birth control education, encouraging abstinence (start all discussion with "abstinence is the only 100% effective method"), and improving the adoption system.

            Voters may be stupid, but they're not THAT stup... oh hell, i guess they are.

            by Radical Middle on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:15:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not so sure that it is (1.00)
              total Bullshit; I travel in feminist circles, and am friends with local members of NARAL's board, and some of the rhetoric they use sure makes it sound like they don't see aboriton as a "necessary evil" but more of a moral nonissue.

              While that might not be the same as proclaiming from the rafters that "abortion is wonderful and everyone should have one," their message needs fine-tuning.  Simply raging "keep your hands off of my ovaries," negates the fact that for many, abortion should be a last resort, not a first choice.

              They've issolated feminists who don't have a radical agenda, and invalidated good people of faith that take issue with the huge amount of abortions that are being performed in our country -- most of them NOT due to economic situations.

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

              by valleycat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:05:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The majority of abortions (3.50)
                the huge amount of abortions that are being performed in our country -- most of them NOT due to economic situations.

                in this country are due to financial circumstances and lack of support from family or partner. There has been a rather dramatic change since welfare deformation.

                I would also note that many women simply do not share the notion that a zygote is a human being and that this is not a moral issue for them. Go figure. There's even a whole slew of religions which agree with them

                I would also note that with this election the entire conversation is something of a moot point. Bush will appoint judges who will overturn roe and a constitutional right to privacy. This is a lost cause. You 'non-radical' feminists should start considering what you're going to do about it and about preserving your right to obtain contraceptives. You reap what you sow.

                "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

                by colleen on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:24:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  fact? (none)
                Simply raging "keep your hands off of my ovaries," negates the fact that for many, abortion should be a last resort, not a first choice.
                What "fact"?  Who are you, or anyone, to say what a woman "should" do in this case?

                "If you don't like abortion, don't have one." That pretty much sums it up.

                I travel in feminist circles too - being a feminist - and I don't know any feminists who feel "isolated" because of NARAL's positions.  

          •  excuse me? (4.00)
            Are you out of your mind?

            Planned Parenthood and NARAL -- and those groups are not known for their desire to see less abortion.

            <sarcasm> Yes, that's exactly why the hike up the cost of birth control..... The people who work there get a real frickin' joy out of watching women crumble on the table and vomit in their own laps after an abortion.  They really just get off on causing women physical and spiritual pain. </sarcasm>

            I suggest you educate yourself on the mission here-- it's about the health of safety of women, not turning a buck by performing abortions.  

             

          •  You know - that is plain slander (4.00)

            re-framing the issues will not change the fact that the Democratic party is dependent on money from Planned Parenthood and NARAL -- and those groups are not known for their desire to see less abortion.

            Planned Parenthood has PREVENTED more abortions than the catholic church and every whacko christian anti-abortion organization combined.

            And every time the whackos close down a clinic and deprive girls of birth control and sex education, abotrion rates go up.

            "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

            by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 03:36:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you (4.00)
        for posting this very interesting diary, which sparked a very interesting debate, especially when you must've known that you're a double-minority in these matters.

        I don't agree with some of your points--though I agree with others, and think this an extremely important conversation--but I wanted to show a little love for your willingness to open this discussion. Thanks.

      •  Absolutely wrong on all counts, and here's why (3.93)
        we still need to deal with the fact that a substantial part of the base disagrees with core liberal positions on abortion/gays/church/state matters.

        Sorry, if you oppose civil rights and the establishment clause, then you are not "the base" of the Democratic party - you are, if anything the natural base of the Right.

        The Bill of Rights is not about imposing majority views, it is about protecting minority views. And the heart of progressivism and liberalism is fighting for a more pluralistic, more tolerant, more inclusive and more diverse society.

        To put it bluntly, just because you (speaking generically, not specifically) are black, or a worker, or gay, or a woman, or an atheist, or an academic, does not automatically make you part of the Democratic base.

        It is your beliefs and values that matter, not your race or economic class or interest group.

        Liberalism is not a special interest.

        "The problems of today will not be solved by the same thinking that produced the problems in the first place" - Albert Einstein

        by galiel on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:19:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Profound in its simplicity (none)
          This is one of the best points I've heard in this emerging cultural war:

          The Bill of Rights is not about imposing majority views, it is about protecting minority views.

          You get a four.

        •  freedom OF religion Means (3.25)
          FREEDOM FROM RELIGION

          and alongside organized crime it's the biggest UNTAXED industry in america.... maybe these assholes want to chip in for their crusade?

          "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

          by binFranklin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:38:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your post exemplifies his point (4.00)
            It is the minority segment of the Democratic Party that is hostile to religion that has hurt us.

            Yes, freedom FROM religion is your right, but you (generally speaking) always seem to make it clear that you have nothing but disgust for those of us that DO embrace a religious path.

            That doens't make us part of the republican base, it makes us people of faith that see our values best exemplified in the democratic party: healthcare for all, solidarity with the poor, saying no to unjust wars, the death penalty, etc...

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

            by valleycat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:47:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wholeheartedly agree (none)
              Far too many Democrats look down their noses at people of faith.  One I know thinks that all religious people are rubes and that the Democratic Party is best off ignoring them.  This is just wrong.

              I'm a committed Episcopalian and I think it's high time the Democratic Party spoke to issues of faith. It can't hurt.  

              I've written before of people who are basically moderate (even a little bit liberal) who still feel that they have to vote Republican because in their minds, only the GOP come close to addressing the "values" issues they consider to be of paramount importance (even more important than their own economic well-being).  

              We'll never get the hard-core culture warriors.  The GOP can have them.  But we can capture people of faith by reminding them that we share their values.

              •  Nonsense and false assertion (none)
                Far too many Democrats look down their noses at people of faith

                Unless you have statistics to back up this absurd myth, I will counter with the fact that the overwhelming majority of Democrats, and every single democratic politician,

                ARE people of faith. 85% of the US population are people of faith.

                This is a GOP-planted frame. It is false. It is irrational and contrary to both common-sense and empirical evidence.

                It is nonsense.

                "The problems of today will not be solved by the same thinking that produced the problems in the first place" - Albert Einstein

                by galiel on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:06:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  whose values shared by whom? (none)
                But we can capture people of faith by reminding them that we share their values.

                Sorry, I don't by default share the values of people just because they are "people of faith".

                I share the values of people who share my progressive humanistic values, which have nothing to do with faith. They are neither antagonistic to nor dependent upon faith. They are neither based upon nor contradictory to faith.

                Just like our Constitution, they are agnostic about faith. "Our values", if you mean by that progressive values, are not the same as "faith-based values". As you are finding out, people of faith have all sorts of values. A majority of them in this country voted for Bush's version.

                "The problems of today will not be solved by the same thinking that produced the problems in the first place" - Albert Einstein

                by galiel on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:09:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  If that's what you think (4.00)
            Then it's no wonder your arguments -- your discussions don't work.

            This is the elephant in the living room. The right to faith, be it a wiccan circle or a christian bible study is important to the vast majority of people in this country.

            I have no more patience with this kind of all or nothing attitude than I do with right wing conservative fundies who think all of us should believe as they do.

            The US governemt is and should be entirely secular, however, the vast population of the US is not.

            I can be and am, white, Christian, liberal, progressive, pro-choice, anti-abortion and against the death penalty. No christian, muslim, jew, hindi, or pagan should be asked, nor forced to hide their faith any more than we would ask an atheist or agnostic to obfuscate their lack of faith. None of it should be an issue worth punishment or disdain as an issue in and of itself.

            Respecting different beliefs can't be a one way street..  

            I'm not a Democrat. I just vote like one.

            by common veil on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:12:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Great post (4.00)
          "The Bill of Rights is not about imposing majority views, it is about protecting minority views. And the heart of progressivism and liberalism is fighting for a more pluralistic, more tolerant, more inclusive and more diverse society."

          I continue to wonder why our government is or should be in the "morals" issues debate at all.  Why should what my neighbors do in their bedroom be any concern of mine?  Why should my religious or spiritual beliefs be any concern of yours?  I happen to be gay, but even within that smaller community of common interests, I vary widely from others in what I consider personal moral issues.  Who should decide what is moral and what is not for me?  Isn't it a choice that only I can or should make?

          This country really needs to grow up!  When did we become such a conglomerate of non-thinkers and non-questioners?  Sheep controlled and herded by offensive catch phrases and intense emotional "hot buttons."

          Education is a big part of the solution.  Education and dialogue, not unreasoned arguing are things that can bring people and issues to common ground.  

          I do not condemn other's religions, but I also don't want them shoved down my throat.  I do not condemn other's fears, hopes, dreams and aspirations but they may very certainly not be mine.  Both sides of the political views of this country have a good number of elitist snobs. . .just an opinion. . .if we don't stop looking down on each other from our lofty intellectual pedistals and refusing to look at the reality that affects everyone, then nothing much is going to change in this country.  Inclusiveness has to be more than an ideology and more than a catch phrase.

        •  Point... (3.66)
          Point in agreement: Civil rights - the right for every person to be what they are and practice what they practice (to the limit that this does not infringe on the rights of another) - are the bedrock of the Bill of Rights and the Liberal ideology.  (To the best of my knowledge)

          So if this

          we still need to deal with the fact that a substantial part of the base disagrees with core liberal positions on abortion/gays/church/state matters.

          means gays should be second-class or that a particular Christian denomination should form laws of the United States, I agree with Galiel on this.  

          I'd say it's OK to have whatever views one has about being gay or Jewish, or athiest or whatever.  Hopefully they aren't yukky views, but people can change, too.  But to attempt to make one's views law?  Absolutely not.

          BUT: I do think we should extend this view to all people of faith.  I HAVE heard such negative comments about people of faith - ANY faith.  

          We can't walk away from this one.

          Sure in New Hampshire, for example, this isn't as intense an issue.
          Having canvassed for a weekend in Columbus, OH in October, though,  I can tell you I met ALOT of undecideds who had this problem:

          1. They thought Kerry would be GREAT with Security and Iraq.
          2. They couldn't support or didn't understand his views on abotrion or gay marriage.  
          And so they were either bitterly undecided or Bush leaners.

          We DO need to address these issues.  Instead of driving people away by saying 'your faith is dumb' (for example), I think those Liberals who are Christians should raise the message that Christianity - just straight from the Bible, not what Robertson and company babble on about - does not - DOES NOT - center on abortion or gays.  Nor does it suggest repression of others of differeing opinion or prohibition of intelectual inquiry.  (Unfortunately, though, it has often been PRACTICED that way - That's the problem, in my view)

          I'd probably be shot for saying that by both sides, but - oh well.
          If I'm wrong, then I either completely misread the New Testiment or do not understand what Liberalism means. Both are possible :)

      •  Your posts are necessary. Spread the word. (none)
        Spread the Gospel.  (Just kidding.)   But you are right.     We must find our voice morally and sincerely.   Secular intellectualism (or a sincere, but  relatively repressed religiosity like Kerry or the other candidates in '04)  is NOT the way to go.  

        A sense of right and wrong will give our words power and reach people.    It's only part of the solution - but it's a big part.

      •  And, there are also Progressives... (none)
        who are Evangelical Christians and White :-)  

        I think this is an excellent discussion and I hope to see more of it in the future.  Our political party (Democrats) ignored this whole issue which, I think, contributed to where we find ourselves today.  

        We need to tackle the gay and abortion issues in ways that recognize both the rights of individuals and our spirtitual beliefs.  Not an easy task.

        We need changes in how our media can be owned and used in this country.

        by california jim on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:11:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Respect but work together (none)
        Thank you for posting this, a very interesting topic. I think many progressives will have a hard time de-emphasizing their positions on gay rights, etc, but I wonder if a respectful acknowledgement of a difference of beliefs is a start? On the right they have been able to mobilize groups that would normally have core issues in conflict with each other to work towards some other goal.  
      •  No way, no how. (4.00)
        I'm not giving up my right, and my daughter's right, to dominion over our own bodies, nor am I going to ignore the gay/lesbian population being denied human rights just so that we can gain support of evangelical minorities.

        We all have to make our own choice of candidate which holds our own values closer and gives voice to those things we deem important.

        You are suggesting that we abandon issues that define who we are.

        It's not that I don't care about the opinions of evangelical minorities, but I'll be damned if I am going to allow religious rules to run my life, or my country.

        Anyone in this country has the right to practice their religious views, but not if they begin to infringe upon the human rights of others. It's perfectly OK with me if evangelicals denounce abortion and human rights for the gay community within their own church, as long as it affects ONLY members of that church who agree to abide by those rules. It is not ever going to be OK with me that those rules become law which affects us all, Christian, non-religious, or of other religion.

      •  Can I ask you where you got this: (3.75)
        "Progressives have a real hard time with believers.   To a large degree, a lot of the Left distrusts religion -- for entirely valid reasons -- and that distrust seems all too apparent to the people we're trying to win over."

        I have no problem with religion in America. I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM with religious hypocrites in the republican party. I HAVE A BIG PROBLEM with the rotten slimy bastard in the WH who would deny a woman choice, but has no problem killing hundreds of thousand of LIVING HUMAN BEINGS, and let's not forget this slime ball doesn't even attend church.

        Also you wrote:
        "Republicans may exploit religion for their own ends, but they are never, ever disrespectful of it as a lot of white liberals are."

        Apparently you don't seem to recognize that exploiting religion for their own ends is egregiously disrepectful of it.

        Finally, my sister is a devout Catholic, doesn't believe in abortion, but still voted for Senator Kerry.

        Also, I don't think it's a stretch to say these rotten shit bag republican politicians believe none of the shit they spew about religion. They wouldn't act the way they do otherwise.

      •  And here's the problem (none)
        If the Democrats sacrifice core liberal positions on these issues, they'll lose the white liberals, who will go to the Green party. Good luck taking on the Republicans.

        I frankly would like to see civil unions codified into the law as an entity entirely separate from marriage. I have no idea how this will fly with minority evangelicals, but white liberals are at least grudgingly willing to accept this.

        On the abortion front, you're right that the Dems should have hammered on the abortion rate increase under the Bush administration. However, white progressives aren't going to buy restrictions. I could see very grudging acceptance for a ban on third trimester abortions with exceptions for the health of the mother or an inviable fetus. The only reason this compromise is even slightly palatable is because third trimester abortions are exceedingly dangerous. Frankly, I'm not sure it won't open the door to total illegalization .. and if women hold the Democrats responsible for that, look out.

        Yes, we're going to have to walk a tightrope here. But it's either that or cede control to the GOP for a generation or two, and watch America crumble to dust in the process.

        •  We are a complex society. (none)
          I think we can handle it.

          I think third trimester abortions should be reserved to save the life of the mother.

          I strongly feel that we cannot suspend the Constitutional  rights of the mother to Life (primarily), Liberty and pursuit of Happiness, when she is pregnant.

          We have the law, it is written into the Constitution, and all the rhetoric in the world is not gong to change it.  We need to save abortion on the Constitutional grounds that rights of the mother supercede that of the fetus, not the privacy issue.

          Roe v Wade is just bad law.  

          But however, the compassion that we have for women in a bad situation should be shouted out, not shut up.  Plenty of women feel they have no other choice.
          Plenty of girls are forced into abortion by their parents, and need protection from that.  Abortion is the symptom. Not the problem, and we have been so sidetracked from that we have not even been able to start a meaningful dialogue on how WE plan to get the numbers down.  

          Sex-education sounds offensive-how about education courses in "family issues"  that respects the desire to teach abstinence until marriage, but also includes contraception info for "later in life", or NFP?.  I prefer my daughter to have up to date health info, but not learn about graphic sexual information, she is not able to handle it, she gets embarassed at some of the stuff on tv.

          I have to trust parents on a lot of this, and they have been working on bringing down the teen pregnancy numbers too.  I am not naive, I just think that local customs and values should be reflected in initiatives.  I feel that way because that is what we do when we talk about other countries, and having tolerance for other people.

          •  Do you even know (4.00)
            what Roe v. Wade said? Because it basically said exactly what you just articulated. RVW said that abortions must be allowed in the first trimester, can be restricted during the second trimester but must provide exceptions for the health of the woman, and that third trimester abortions may be banned. Later decisions have held that in the third trimester, an exception must be made to protect the life of the woman.

            The states are perfectly able to ban third trimester abortions, provided that they except abortions to save the life of the woman.

            And incidentally, just who do you think gets abortions in the third trimester by choice? Only a tiny fraction of abortions take place that late - 1% or less - and the reason is never because the pregnancy is unwanted. There are only two reasons for such late abortions - either because the life of the mother is threatened, or because the fetus is dead or nonviable - for example, if it has developed with no brain (not retarded, with no brain) - and will not survive. The idea of women running down to a clinic to get a 7-month abortion because they just suddenly decided they didn't want to be pregnant is a canard, pure and simple.

            •  You misunderstood me. (none)
              Yes that is what the case said, but the reasoning was based upon the penumbras (the accumulated cases over years) that we have a right to privacy-it is not explicit (it is an implicit right) in the Constitution.  

              They could have based it upon a basic Constititional right to Life, and Liberty, or any other explicit right in the constitution, but they chose the penumbras, which has always been a problem.

              And incidentally, yes I do realize that third trimester abortions are usually done only for the life of the mother,it is law in several states already, so I do not see why they have to go to a federal ban except some state legislatures are lazy.

              My argument was that Roe v Wade was based upon an arguable reasoning, they could have come to the same conclusion based upon an explicit right in the Constitution. We would not be arguing it now had been done that way.  That is bad law.

              My argument is that a woman has the explicit Constituional right to life as a citizen, not actually a privacy issue.  Roe v. Wade defended a woman's right to privacy, and extended it to abortion.

      •  Here is a statement that many evangelical leaders (none)
        have signed.  And there will be more of them in the days ahead.

        Confessing Christ in a World of Violence

        Be sure also to visit CFBA.

        Church Folks for a Better America -- A Time Comes When Silence Is Betrayal -- Iraq news, in-depth analysis, antiwar poems, good sermons, and more

        •  And here are excerpts from today's guest editorial (none)
          at Juan Cole's Informed Comment.  It is by Mark Levine, professor of history at University of California, Irvine.

          ... While the Left has often turned to Gramsci for guidance, most commentators have ignored one of his most important insights: that however negative a role religion played in Italian society, it constituted the most important social force in the struggle against capitalism and fascism, without which the Left could never hope to achieve social hegemony against the bourgeoisie.

          This is because religion contains the kernel of "common sense" of the masses whose natural instinct is to rebel against the domination of the capitalist elite.

          But because it is largely unformed or articulated, it is easily manipulated by that elite--as Thomas Frank has so eloquently shown in his recent What's the Matter with Kansas--and needs to be joined to the "good sense" of radically progressive intellectuals in order to shape the kind of ideology and political program that could attract the majority of the poor and middle class.

          But in this dialog the secular intellectuals would be transformed as much as the religious masses, creating the kind of organic unity that helped propel the religious Right from the margins of their party to the center of power.

          ... if progressives don't figure out how to reach working class conservative Christians, before to long we will all be living through Bush's dreams of apocalypse.

      •  Not One Word About (none)
        1OO,000 dead Iraqis?

        Whose sins did they die for?

        You can't always tell the truth because you don't always know the truth - but you can ALWAYS be honest.

        by mattman on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 12:46:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  LANGUAGE (3.33)
      we need to clarify and be firm with this...

      I do not know any fundamentalist democrats...but I know many many evangelical democrats....

      I'm white, evangelical, and progressive.

      I'm inclusive, but also believe that homosexuality is a sin.

      I'm pro life...but I'm pro life from conception to death.

      I'm also anti-war. (I actually take literally the commandment...thou shalt not kill)

      We need to realize that the difference between the democratic party and the republican party is thus...

      the republican party is made up primarily of those people of faith who agree on a central tenent of beliefs.

      the democratic party is made up of a multitude of faiths/nonfaiths, perspectives, and many of us do not agree on certain issues.

      I might be Cheney'd up, but I'm not that Georgie!

      by circuithead on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:19:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are pro-life and pro-choice mutually exclusive? (none)
        I am not trying to be flippant, but trying to understand how Democrats on either side can work together.

        "Here we don't cry... we fight."

        by Tiparillo on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:58:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pro-life and Pro-choice are NOT mutually exclusive (none)
          Check this Q&A out on the Kerry Catholics Page.

          Q: Can one then be pro-life and pro-choice?

          A: Yes. You both are not mutually exclusive. You can believe that it is consistent with the dignity of women that they be granted freedom in personal matters, yet actively seek to promote a culture of life. Many believe that the best way to address the abortion numbers is to remove the social conditions and situations that weigh on a woman's decision making and provide a structure that supports women and children. The type of things that can make a positive impact include such things as affordable and available health care, child care, affordable housing, secure neighborhoods, economic opportunities, educational opportunities for both mother and child, etc.

        •  I think this has been addressed above (none)
          "make abortion legal, accessible, and RARE" a la Clinton

          Reclaiming the "L" word for America!

          by billlaurelMD on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:08:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  great question (none)
          We need to stick to our core principles as party democrats like equal protection under the law.  But at the same time, as liberals and leftists, we need to open up a second front in the culture wars in support of progressive religious groups and institutions.  We need to take on the right wing evagelicals on their own turf.

          I heard mark shields make a great point about this the other night on newshour.  The trouble with some on the hard-core secular left is that they basically want to go beyond just the separation of church and state to enforce a separation between church and society.

          Some progressives seem to have forgotten that america really owes a lot to religious movements from abolition to the civil rights movement.  African-american christians haven't forgotten this, but a lot of white liberals have.

          And there are still plenty of great religious organizations on what used to be the left that play an important role in society like the salvation army.  Secular liberals need to think hard about strengthening these institutions with financial support and other alliances.  

          And at the very least secular liberals may want to consider spending less of their free time tearing down people of faith as if they are all irrational.  Plenty of very smart sophisticated people are religious.  

          On the other hand, the separation of church and state is still key.  I don't think democrats as a party ought to (or ever will) abandon our core principles like equal treatment under the law.  Nor will the party stop being pro-women's rights and pro-choice any time soon (nor should they).

          With patience, and by opening up a second front, we're going to win the culture war in this country in the long run.  Because we're right, and they're wrong.

          "For these things, too, and for a multitude of others like them, we have only just begun to fight." --FDR

          by markymarx on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:28:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  To be blunt... (3.33)
            Speaking for myself, secular liberals are usually pissed off at religion for a GOOD reason.  I can't remember the last time I actually attacked someone for their beliefs and tried to discredit them as people, but I'd be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time the same thing had been done to me by a believer.  You're telling secularists that they need to be more tolerant when in reality it is usually they who are faces with the intolerance.
            •  we live in different places (none)
              i sometimes forget that not all democrats live in liberal disneyland, like i do.  but trust me when i tell you this: in a lot of places there's not a lot of tolerance for faith.  that's the world i live in and always have.   i've visited red states, but never lived in one.  in fact i never would live in one probably because they're so intolerant in the other direction as you say.
               

              "For these things, too, and for a multitude of others like them, we have only just begun to fight." --FDR

              by markymarx on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:35:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Pro-Life, Pro-Choice (4.00)
          I personally am against abortion, I believe that life is life.  And in the face of my belief, I am 100% pro-choice.

          I think that most Pro-lifers are hypocrites. The are just Anti-Abortionists, and there is a difference.

          First - Many believe in the death penalty.
          Mr Bush sure does.  In his years as Governor he only commuted one sentence, dispite the many cases in Texas that were questionable.  THe one case he chose to changed from a death  sentence to life in prision was Henry Lee Lucas, a sadistic, pedophilic, mass murderer and cannibal.

          Second - Many of the most passionate prolifers seem to think that the right to life stops at birth.
          Many are against WIC, Head Start and other programs that help children get a good foundation in life. Few do little to help support or adopt children with catastrophic health challenges. They oppose universal health care until you hit Medicare - and that will soon go away too.

          Third - Many are against contraception
          Why? I think is is because sex for women, particularly outside of marriage, is "bad". With contraception, women might have sex "for pleasure". Just say no...abstainance only. And if you are "bad" then you will get pregnant and "pay the price".

          Fourth - Most support abortion only in the case of rape or incest.  
          Rape or incest. Interesting, the life of a baby concieved by force can be terminated, but the life of a baby concieved during consentual sex must be born. The pro-life, with exception for rape or incest, argument breaks down here. This is not about the child's right to life, it is about the circumstance of conception. If the woman consented to sex, she must have the baby.
          If you truly believe that every child concieved has a right to life then the circumstance of conception are immaterial. Life is life no matter how concieved.

          This is MY belief. And, thank God, I never needed to test it. But I also understand that many women, psychologically, physically, spiritually, cannot deal with carrying a child concieved of rape, or incest, or even consentual sex. I understand that many women believe differently from me and, in America, they have that right. Just as I would't want someone to tell me that I must have an abortion, I don't think it is right to tell someone else that they cannot.  THIS IS BETWEEN me  and God.  I have to live with the consequence of my choices.

          repost from a previous Diary:Abortion Rates Increase Dramatically Under Bush

          "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

          by digital drano on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:57:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  legislating personal morality (4.00)
        We need to realize that the difference between the democratic party and the republican party is thus...

        the republican party is made up primarily of those people of faith who agree on a central tenent of beliefs.

        the democratic party is made up of a multitude of faiths/nonfaiths, perspectives, and many of us do not agree on certain issues.

        No, I disagree.  The difference between the parties is that the Democrats don't want to legislate their personal morality over everyone in the entire country. The Republicans DO.

        This is a very important distinction.  I respect the right of a person to believe that homosexuality is a sin, or that God created the world in seven days and put fossils in the ground for His own reasons.  But that person does NOT have the right to force those beliefs on others.  And certainly the government doesn't either.  

        •  yes (none)
          I see your point, and agree with you...and I think it is precisely because of my point that leads to your point...

          I am merely illustrating the fact though, that the GOP can easily have a coherent easily digestible talking point system because the majority of their base believes "one set of values" (or at least pretends to)

          ...whereas, we do not and thus cannot.

          I might be Cheney'd up, but I'm not that Georgie!

          by circuithead on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:41:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, fair enough (none)
            If we're discussing talking points - I think we should reclaim the concept of "freedom" from the GOP.  In this case, personal freedom, specifically freedom of religion and morality.

            The idea seems to be that freedom is a zero-sum game - if I grant you the freedom to be a Muslim, for example, that somehow curtails my freedom to be an evangelical Christian.  Well, maybe it does.  Maybe evangelical Christianity isn't compatible with "live and let live".  

    •  Religion and vote count (none)
      I agree with this post because I realize that Kerry lost because of two main reasons:
      1. religion
      2. Vote count
      Democrats need to deal with both issues to be successful next time. Regardless of the vote count issue, those religious Americans, who are outraged at abortion and gay marriage issues will not go away and will not vote for a democratic candidate, unless... the democrats have a candidate "like" Barak Obama who can talk about religion in the way that reminds people of the real message of Jesus which was "Help the people in need, love thy neighbor as thyself, etc" Jesus would never discriminate against anyone! The problem that I see with Barak Obama is that these religious people that voted for Bush in those Southern states are usually white, and often racist. How will they identify with a black leader? Unless the black population increases to a nation-wide majority, I don't see a black president being elected. But the democratic party definitly needs to talk religion, but the religion of the new testament, they need to use Jesus words as in the "Sermon on the mount." And whoever it is that does so, has to be a good "preacher" a good "communicaor" a man with "carisma." As I stated in one of my diary entries, the democratic party needs to start scouting for these kind of politicians, because, let's face it, religious people are not going to go away, they have more children than the "liberals" in the big cities, so even the next generations of Americans will be indoctrinated by their parents to become "faith" people. There's nothing wrong with faith, except when it replaces "reasoning." Therefore the democrats need to "reason" with "faith" so that "faith" is linked again to a message of "love" instead of a message of "discrimination."
      •  I'm sorry, but . . . (none)
        I don't buy this whole charisma thing. We are talking like we had total meltdown. Kerry ultimately was 30-50,000 votes away from the presidency. There are 4-5 states where the difference was 2-3%. VA and NC may now be in play. These are not tear-everything-and-start-again-numbers. We simply need to do what Rove did in 2000. Where are our 4 million votes we can add?

        I think Kerry did fine talking about religion. He could have done better, but he was good. Our 4 million Rovian votes are with the moderate Catholics out there. They are left of center and natural allies of the Democratic Party. Kerry won the Catholic vote in IA, MN, WI, NM, MI, PA and lost by 1 pt in MO. The exception is OH (55-45) in the midwest. We can get these people, we can bring the OH Catholic numbers to 50% and increase the % in the other midwest states.

        Going for the moderate Catholic vote really has nothing to do with charisma, it is a whole different skill set. To get them, we don't have to revamp, just tinker with the message delivery. I think the Black vote is maxed out and we need to look for our Rovian votes elsewhere.

         

  •  agree completely (3.66)

    I was raised in a (white, of course) Southern Baptist family, and have to agree with your assessment. My parents were missionaries, my brother is a minister, and all are committed progressives. Yet they feel they have to constantly hide and hedge their political beliefs, because there is no language that lets them match them up with their religious beliefs.

    Gay marriage is the choke point. The issue came too soon, and the wrong way, forced by courts instead of emerging through debate. While I absolutely support gay marriages, I think that progressives should, as a matter of policy and politics, try to bring on the debate, not the marriages. That would entail keeping the issue firmly at the state level, and debating it state by state.

    •  That's what was going on (3.75)
      It wasn't the Democrats that made homosexual marriage a National Issue.

      It was the Republicans.

      Remember, at first the issue was simply isolated at the State level, and we here in MA have been debating the issue  for almost 5 years now.

      But the Republicans saw it as the perfect political football, and MA became the perfect target.

      If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

      by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:17:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even JFK knew when not to push an issue...... (none)
      Kennedy was very careful about dealing with Southerners on Civil Rights.  He knew that change had to come, but that it had to be gradual.  In fact, I would argue that had JFK lived, the Civil Rights Act probably wouldn't have been signed until the late 1960's.  

      The Gay marriage issue DID hit too soon.  Can you imagine what would have happened if the Democrats pushed for the Civil Rights act in 1948?  Strom Thurmond's convention walkout would have looked like a cakewalk.

      •  Yeah..but we didn't push the issue (4.00)
        The Republicans and Fundamentalist Right Wing did.

        Massachusetts was perfectly happy to keep this within ourselves.

        All of a sudden, after the SJC's decision, all hell broke loose. Why? Because all thess out of state organizations came to MA for the simple cause of making it a National Issue.

        You think I appreciated that every night on the local news, some guy from Georgia was up at Beacon Hill acting as the spokesman for the citizans of MA (hell, he even tried to run for State Senate)?

        No..I would have perfectly happy to let this move from State to State, pick our battles, move the issue slowly and let each region acclimatize.

        But the Rethugs made a national issue of it. Now we have to fight back and not compromise.

        If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

        by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:37:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  acutally (none)
        Perez v. California, the first decision striking down a miscegenation law, WAS in 1948.

        I do think the Democrats have failed to persuade people on this issue. The party leaders are just afraid of it to say anything, and the rest of us are too willing to dismiss all objections as homophobia--which even if accurate is counterproductive.

        But if you think anything would have happened without court action, you are fooling yourself.

        And there's a much better constitutional for gay marriage than for Roe v. Wade.

    •  Newsom: Civil Rights came too soon (none)
      I can really empathize that gay marriage freaked people out, not because these people aspire to bigotry, but because it is foreign and new and scary. But that doesn't mean it came too soon, it means it requires LEADERSHIP to usher change with empathy and courage. Kerry is a nice person but he just didn't do it.

      My friend thought gay marriage was an atrocity that would lead to marrying cars or marrying trees. Then he saw Gavin Newsom on Charlie Rose, who had the moral conviction that the FMA was a personal attack on his own city. My friend called me the next day to say I had an impressive Mayor and admit he may have been wrong about marrying cars. (He was also impressed with Newsom for addressing homelessness).

      Read this on Gavin, especially the last paragraph.

  •  ON Target (4.00)
    I don't know if the progressive blogger community can hear your message but it's one that I hope finds an audience. You're right and you speak well. My oldest son, who lives in Spain, lives his life by Christian tenets, does youth work and by his faith sees Bush as wrong and voted for Kerry. In his community he was almost the lone voice. We need to wake up. A white Baptist minister can also be a progressive, a reformer and leader for positive change. Now that would be a candidate! I Recommend your diary..pass it on!

    It´s not over till we say it´s over George and we say.....

    by philinmaine on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:20:39 AM PST

  •  religion and civil liberties (3.83)
    It makes me uncomfortable that I might be viewed as a white liberal elitist.  Just the same way that many of my neighbors down here in the south might be uncomfortable with the label of right wing evangelical christian.  The problem is with our perception of what those labels mean.  

    True, I am white.  No getting around that.  True also that I am more liberal than not.  But an elitist? I have struggled my whole life to keep my kids fed, my lights on, to keep my car insured and filled with gas.  

    I am one of those people that can't understand how intelligent people can be a fundamentalist christian, when so much of their faith is directly contradicted by modern science.  But I also am a christian....a catholic.  I think most people are in that vast grey area where one belives in God but is also interested in protecting civil liberties.

    The problem with a democrat trying to run a national campaign is that the republicans have hijacked the idea of what it means to be a christian, and if someone like John Kerry starts talking about his faith, they are instantly branded as a hypocrite and simply trying to pretend to be a person of faith.  The thinking seems to be that how can one be a christian and a democrat at the same time?  How did we allow this to happen?  

    It is clear that democrats cannot continue to write off the south and the midwest.  But faking overt religiosity for political advantage will never work.  Neither is compromising to any great extent on progressive ideals.  The real challenge is to frame the issue of civil liberties in a way that is not threatening to people who take a literal view of the Bible.  

    It is a great challenge.  But as a democrat, I resent the implication that I have no faith, nor am I a patriot.

    when the rich wage war; its the poor who die

    by getmeoutofdixie on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:20:45 AM PST

    •  I get the feeling 'elitist' is code for (4.00)
      labeling someone 'anti-christian', whatever that is supposed to mean.  

      "Reality" is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes.

      by LionelEHutz on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:30:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. Exactly. We must stop that. (none)
        Very effective technique.
      •  i would counter... (4.00)
        that elitist may mean someone who is surrounded by people who think the same way and doesn't feel the need to look at things from different points of view. We all do that.  We know we're right and we call the others wrong, dumb, crackers whatever...

        I don't believe the diarist is advocating for the dems to embrace a pro-life nor anti-gay rights stance.  Instead, if we want to be inclusive, we need to re-frame our message as so many have posted here. The rethugs are very good at this but unlike us, they don't believe in essentials of christianity like social justice, equality etc.   These are OUR issues, and we need to do much better at communicating that fact.

        •  "elite" (3.84)
          Please stop using this term in this way. You are playing along with the massive mind-fuck that the right uses so effectively to distract people from their own economic interests. A mother who drives a used Volvo (because of safety concerns for her kids) is labelled "elite" but not a mother who buys an expensive new SUV for the same reason? Someone who pays $2 for a cup of coffe is labelled "elite" but not a guy who pays $20 million for a soybean farm as a tax shelter? And now you're calling me (who drives an '89 Accord and can't afford health insurance) an "elite" because I educate my self on political issues and try to make a little bit of a positive difference in the world, but not the guy with the private jet that can wisk him to Washington whenever he wants to bend the ear of his congressman about tax legislation or environmental laws?

          Now as to the point of this diary, I applaud ihlin for raising this issue and I'm recommending this diary, BUT...
          to claim that people oppose gay marriage because of their faith is A LOAD OF CRAP. I'll believe it when I see an amendment pass banning consumption of pork. Anti-gay bigotry is motivated by bigotry, not faith. It is simply an irrational fear of gay cooties. My sexual orientation is not a matter of choice. I am attracted to the opposite sex. I am not straight because of moral values. My sex drive seems entirely biological to me. Most gay people will tell you the same thing about their sexual orientation. So when someone tells me that Jesus wants us to discriminate against a large group of our fellow human beings because of the way God made them, I say BULLSHIT. People used the bible to justify slavery too. I am not a materialist. I believe in a spiritual dimension. Faith is not to be belittled. But when "faith" is used to justify our fears and hatred rather than to open our hearts, I call BULLSHIT in the name of my moral values.

          •  now i don't believe it either (none)
            i believe homosexuality is not chosen. people are the waythey are. and that god loves us al equally. however, most folks (white, black, whatever) don't see it that way yet, esp. in the "red states." I get sick of it too. i have asked my friends and family where the hell Jesus talks about gay marriage or abortion but just can't find it. i think the movt.against gay rights is fueled more by fear, scapegoating, a sense of paranoia in troubled times. i truly believe it is only motivated by hatred by a small few (the Rev. phelps types). fear is very different from hatred.
            •  thanks. (none)
              I think this is right. Calling a gay marriage opponent a bigot is not helpful. Their leaders are sometimes bigots--not just Phelps, he has clean cuts cousins like the Family Research Council and Tom Coburn--and it is worth pointing that out with specific example, but you don't change peoples minds by calling them names. We haven't tried very hard to change people's minds yet.

              I have a pretty much made-up theory that a lot of the passionate opposition to gay marriage is motivated by a mistaken belief that judges can order churches to marry gay people. I haven't seen polling specifically on this issue, but I think some of the other polls suggest it. Do you think there is anything to this?

            •  It IS about fear (none)
              THANK YOU!! I have been trying to make this case as well. People are anxious, have a sense things are slipping out of control, and change is scary.

              One more distinction I think we should make: Hollywood values are disturbing because of people like Britney Spears (they did not let her speak at the RNC, remember?), and even Pete COORS, who LOST in Colorado, and not Micheal Moore. And I, who voted for Kerry, was offended by the JanetJackson "nipplegate" episode.

              But please don't overlook the fact that Coors lost in Colorado. I think they associate him with bad cultural values (those twins).

        •  so rednecks (none)
          are ELITIST assholes? cool.

          i think the diarist wants it's both ways, to be progressive yet the same as decent, normal people.

          i haven't made jesus an issue, i could care less about what  cult you belong to (outside of LaRouche)... don't expect me to respect it when you try to bring your afterlife into my home.

          by the way, my family are rednecks, so step off with the "compassion".

          "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

          by binFranklin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:52:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  you said... (none)
      "But faking overt religiosity for political advantage will never work."

      It works for George. The man is no Christian, obviously.

      Otherwise, getmeoutofdixie makes some good points. We need to be talking to these folks, not talking down to them.

      Some here spoke of a red state boycott - instead, why not vacation in a red state next year? While you're there, talk with the locals, engage them in a conversation - let them know that not every blue-stater is a crack-smoking athiest homo. Because I'm pretty sure that's what a lot of them think.

      Engage them on the moral issues and the economic issues. If we can tie it all together in a WWJD? kind of way, we might be on to something.

      The blog that mixes pop and politics - The Great Leap Forward.

      by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:56:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i'm not faking shit... (none)
        but i will frame the issues differently for my very catholic pro-life parents, my slightly homophobic in-laws and so on.
      •  adopt a red state (4.00)
        I was thinking last night, perhaps a mentoring model an "adopt a red state"  model would work and get the blues out of their comfort zone so that we stop - dare I say - preaching to the choir.

        I totally concur with the post.  A Christian is anyone who acts like a Christian and W is not a Christian.  People motivated by hate are not Christians. The Dems need to talk to people about these things in the terms that they understand. Tell them W is a Pharisee who talks the talk, but who doesn't walk the walk. Learn the language.

        If you make fun of their Nascar and their God, they will not vote with you.  That doesn't mean you have to be a Nascar fan, or go to their church.

        I am a real separation of church and state gal, but I also know that a lot of good has come from religious people - like the end of slavery, the civil rights movement.  Of course some crazy shit has come out of it too, like prohibition. And sometimes like w slavery religion was used to maintain the status quo.  So, ironically religion ends up being a tool for good and evil in the political realm. Let's make it a tool for good.

        •  not quite.... (none)
          A Christian is anyone who acts like a Christian

          Not to a true believer. When they ask you are you born again ("Do you know Jesus"), you better answer "YES".  Fundamentalists are sticklers.  They hold the Bible to be infallible, historically accurate, and decisive.

          If you are not born-again("saved") and cannot back your words with accurate quotes from the King James, don't be suprised when you are summarily dismissed.

          Acting like a Christian won't cut it.  Nor will being a Catholic, a Mormon, or an Episcopal. If anything they will begin to evangelize to you.

          "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

          by digital drano on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:27:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  YES! (none)
      Here I am, struggling, working single-mother of two, and NOW I'm also elite?

      Man-o-man...would someone please define elite for me? Does that mean intellectual?

      •  A definition of elite (none)
        in the current political vernacular it would seem that "elite" means "people who have XXXXXXXXX kinds of values".

        Its no longer a sociological term that reflects those with powerful interests.  

        I used to think it meant "people who go to college" but the campus republicans changed all that.

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

        by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:10:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes (3.50)
    I sense that you're correct.  Many of my African-American friends are extremely religious and I've always wondered when this was going to come back to bite us white liberal atheists/agnostics.  But I have to tell you that I am not really capable of "getting it" on the faith stuff.  There may indeed be something to that "believing gene" since there is only one person in my entire family that has ever been a practicing "Born-Again Christian" and she is adopted.  The rest of us are all either atheist, agnostic, or very liberal new age Christian.  

    About a month ago Jack Germond was on C-Span talking about his book.  A woman called in from Arkansas and she spewed vitriole and hate at him for daring to admit in public that he was an atheist.  She said things like "How dare you force yourself onto TV where I have to hear you."  She went on at length about how he doesn't have the right to be on TV or even to be as far as she's concerned.  Is there any common ground that can be reached between "people of faith" and non-believers?  I hope there is, but I'm not sure where to start.  Are you?

    •  Common ground? Bush told us to submit (none)
      the other day.  There may be some people with whom we can forge common ground, but I get the sense that the Pat Robertson set has no interest in doing that.  Why else would they refer to differences of opinion on lifestyles as a culture war.  

      "Reality" is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes.

      by LionelEHutz on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:53:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  first thing to do (none)
      is not to lump ihlin and pastordan and this vitriole-spewing woman together as if they were all like her. If you do that you've lost already.

      Maybe you can think of it as divide and conquer? You'll never get that woman--just as the Republican party will never get you... but you don't have to.

      What you have to do is get the people who are prepared to be "tolerant". Not accepting, not loving, but "tolerant" of others who are not like themselves. And you won't get them by insulting them.

      Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

      by JMS on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:35:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I saw that program (none)
      Germond responded calmly to the caller that she had the choice to turn off the TV and that she had the right to voice her opinions just as Jack has the right to voice his. He was not doing outreach for athiests, he was just being honest about who he is. I myself am too scared to let people know I am an athiest for fear of being shunned and dismissed as evil or unclean. It is a very sad state we are in today.

      Thank goodness for Kos, where I can feel safe to be who I am.

      •  I know how you feel (none)
        Even though I was born and raised Catholic, I have for the most part rejected my Catholicism, and have very strong Deist leanings.

        But I don't dare say it to anybody in public. If pressed on the issue, I'll say Catholic. Not out of shame or anything, but out of fear of being marginalized and demonized.

        If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

        by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:02:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Until you can say it Proud (none)
        they win. that's what this about.

        It's "the Enlightenment" delayed.

        this war between 'religions' seems to be  unavoidable.

        take a look at the world and count the religious/race wars.

        it can happen here it already has.

        "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

        by binFranklin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:08:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  See?? It boggles the mind!! (none)
      Christians look at secularists like this just for DARING to speak out about their beliefs.  You can't be a secularist and be open about it without a believer taking it as a personal attack on their own beliefs.
  •  THANK YOU (3.91)
    ...for saying all this. It needs to be said.

    One of Clinton's great virtues is that he spoke the language of faith fluently. He quoted the Bible often, and quoted it well, using its language to inspire and comfort like a gifted preacher. He's doing it even now: he was speaking to churches in Florida before the election, saying that certain Republicans are "nine Commandment Christians" because they repeatedly, willfully disobey "Thou shalt not bear false witness." That kind of firm, faith-rooted language is exactly what we need right now.

    We can win this debate without selling out. Clinton showed how. He's the one who said abortion should be "safe, legal and RARE." If Kerry had mentioned how much it meant to him as a Catholic to live in a state with the lowest abortion rate in America, that might have meant a lot. The gay marriage issue is trickier, but it's not impossible to get traction there either in a way that doesn't sell our gay friends down the river. Black evangelicals didn't turn on Clinton for loosening the anti-gay policies of the military, for example.

    This is OUR base. Remember that the first prominent "born again Christian" politician in this country was Jimmy Carter. Remember that the guy who gave the "I have a dream" speech wasn't called MISTER Martin Luther King; he was a Reverand. Remember that churches in this country have traditionally been used as a base to organize progressive causes, not right-wing ones. It's our base, and we need to take it back. If let Karl Rove's stormtroopers steal the Bible from us and use it to justify thier anti-Christian screw-the-poor policies, we're in deep trouble -- and so is our country. If the Republicans win the culture war, then election day is a meaningless formality.

    •  Exactly right (none)
      according to one statistic I saw, 61 percent of white evangelicals voted for Bush. That means we got 39 percent of them -- that's a lot to start with.

      Clinton's "safe, legal, and rare" formulation is where most Americans are....And you are right on target with what Kerry could have done (but I don't blame him personally -- it's just not where he was at the time).

      This does not mean becoming some parody version of the Christian right.  It means speaking the language fluently, fairly, and honestly.

      JESUS was a liberal.

    •  oops (none)
      "...wasn't called MISTER Martin Luther King; he was a Reverand."

      Um, yeah. And he was a ReverEnd, too.

      Sorry. Typos aren't such a big deal, but this one kind of undermined my point, didn't it?    :)

    •  Correction: (none)
      Clinton didn't "loosen" the anti-gay policies of the military.  Things go worse; discharges of homosexuals went up exponentially thanks to don't ask, don't tell.  Anti-gay people should have celebrated it, not complained.
  •  As a non religious gay man (3.77)
    I am not sure what point you are making.

    Yes, the black community is certainly bigoted - even more than the white community.

    I can't see that the response of the party should be to pander to the bigotry.

    What would help the most would be for those religious folk who were not bigted to provide some education and leadership to their bretheren, not encourage acceptancce of bigotry.

    And how in the world does not accepting your religion make someone "elite" - whatever that means :)

    "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

    by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:36:17 AM PST

    •  Exactly! (4.00)
      As a white, young, straight, liberal female, I'm not about to give up any ground in regards to gay marriage, abortion, or any other issue that's supposedly the kiss of death for Democrats.  I will not stand by and accept that my gay friends do not have the same rights as I do.  And I think the answer is more tolerance, and reframing the debate so it's not just "Agh!  Two dudes kissing!  Let's stop that!" but make it so, "Yeah, gay marriage might be a scary thing to you.  But what's scarier is millions of Americans in poverty and thousands of Americans and Iraqis dying for no reason in Iraq."

      And I'm not saying that the original poster was suggesting that we abscond with any mention of gay rights or the pro-choice movement, but I've seen a lot of crap here on Kos in the past few days that seem to say just that.  Let's give up the gays in order to further the movement.  Well, fuck that!  In this case, the ends don't justify the means.  We need to work on making our case to the 51% in this country that are paralyzed by fear, but the way to do this is not to cave in to their fears.

      Bush/Cheney - in your guts, you know they're nuts.

      by Lufah on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:46:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you don't give up on these things (4.00)
        You just change the terms of discussion...to include the "values" of peacemaking, justice, respect, mercy, help for the immigrant.  I think you are saying this.
        •  Yeah, you said it better than I did (none)
          I've just been getting very discouraged lately.  Not only with how the election turned out, but by people (in comments posted here and there around Kos) saying things like they're willing to give up Roe v. Wade, etc, in order to gain something else.  I'm just not willing to give these things.  We've got to figure out how to make this work without comprimising what we stand for.

          Bush/Cheney - in your guts, you know they're nuts.

          by Lufah on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:14:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's exactly right (none)
          The Republicans succeeded in part because they just got people to not think about the economy, or Bush's incompetence.  They changed the subject.  We can do that too.  
    •  I think the point he's making (4.00)
       is we need to stop dismissing the religious/evangelical/regular churchgoing people and their concerns. I too am a gay man who happens to be totally agnostic, leaning towards atheism. It is difficult for me to empathize with peoples' faith, but I'm old enough to know we can't continue to ignore it.
         Instead, let's look at what has been happening in the past few years that has many people of faith feeling under siege.

      Abortion - Rightly or wrongly, we are seen as the party that  promotes abortion. Clinton showed us how to counter this when he spoke about making abortion rare. We need to reframe the issue on our terms . As soon as the anti-choice people coined the term 'partial birth abortion' we lost that part of the argument. Think 'death tax' instead of 'inheritance tax'.

      Pledge of Allegiance- This court case rattled lots of folks. Conservatives (read Republicans) were seen as defending  keeping 'under God' in the pledge . Liberals (read Democrats) were seen as in favor of a Godless society.

      Gay Marriage The 'marriage' word is the killer. I am convinced we could have minimized the fallout with Massachussets as something that was local to their state constitution. But when Gavin Newsom decided to open the floodgates, despite plenty of pleas to let it be till AFTER the national election, it captured the imagination of the country. Every night on the news, we saw people lined up. For gay folks and progressives, it was an extraordinary sight and long overdue. For many people of faith it was a slap in the face.
         It's not only the Christian fundamentalists. We overlook the fact that mainstream churches are struggling big time with the issues of gay america. Look at the Episcopalians, one of the most progressive churches. There is a huge split between the liberals and conservatives that may lead to many churches breaking away over this issue. The Lutherans' are struggling mightily as well.

         I would love to see progresive people of faith organizing together and forming speakers bureaus to go into our churches and speaking about social justice and everything it entails. Remind people, as Jesse Jackson did, that it's about more than abortion and gay marriage. In all churches, point out that 170 years ago, many churches used the Bible to justify slavery. 50 years ago, many churches used the Bible to keep Jim Crow alive. 20 years ago, many churches used the Bible to prevent women from serving as ministers.
         Point out the fact that the Bible, like the Constitution, is a living breathing document. 30 years ago, divorce was roundly condemned. Now, it's a non-issue. How did that happen? When did the Bible change?
         We Democrats are the party of inclusion. It's what makes us strong. We have learned much from each other, and will continue to learn. People of faith should be one of our strongest constituencies. That they are not just means we have more work to do.
         And, no, we do not need to pander to some religions' misguided bigotry. Some folks are beyond our reason. A good model might be how we as a party dealt with civil rights. We lost many voters, not just in the South. After many years,  we drove almost all of the racists to the Republican party. Everyone knows that Democrats stand for equality. People who desire a color-blind society are automatically Democrats. We can do the same thing with people of faith.  The first step is recognizing that we need to begin a dialogue.

      Moderation, the noblest gift of heaven. - Euripedes

      by recentdemocrat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:53:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Disagree strongly (4.00)
        on the gay marriage.  Marriage is not a scary word (unless you've gone through a yucky divorce).  Therefore the "bad" word is gay. Do not fool yourself or let others try and fool themselves..this is a pure bigotry issue.  
        •  Gay marriage (none)
          I have to agree that for many people "gay marriage" is a scary concept.  No doubt about it. It doesn't mean that people won't be convinced over time.  They used to think interracial marriage was equally scary, and cited religious reasons for that position.  I think the entire point of this diary is necessary and thought provoking.  We as democrats need to speak the language of religion, and I say this as a gay Jewish man.  

          But lets remember that religion drove the civil rights movement. The Rev. Martin Luther King eloquently brought religion into the discussion.  He did so in an inclusive way. It became hard for people of religion to oppose what he had to say.  We can do the same thing.  The bible has many things in it, some we like as  modern society, some we don't.  I find it ironic (and somewhat saddended) that people will cite the bible for some things but ignore what it has to say for others.  Slavery is permitted in the bible, do we as a modern society promote or encourage it?

          Speaking the language of religion can be done so as to be inclusive. The key for the democrats is how to do so that it still remains inclusive.  

        •  Civil unions vs marriage (none)
          For months now we have been talking about the power of certain words to shape the debate. Why is it that as soon as the phrase "gay marriage" entered the national lexicon, we had a slew of anti-gay state  constitutional amendments. When the debate was about 'hate crimes' or 'anti-discrimination' or equal protection, we had an impressive string of vicories, at the local and state level, even in some of the red states.
             Words matter. Frame the point of reference and you frame the debate.
             Were there bigots who hate gays voting for these regressive constitutional amendments?Absolutely. But as soon as you say the word "marriage" , which has a strong religious connotation, since the bulk of marriages are performed by some 'religious authority' i.e. priest, minister, rabbi, you run the risk of being seen as meddling in someone's religion. That's the only point I'm trying to make.

          Moderation, the noblest gift of heaven. - Euripedes

          by recentdemocrat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:28:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  marriage rights (none)
            We should always use the term "marriage rights", not "gay marriage". Replace the negative word with a positive word.

            Civil unions are a loser. They look like a euphemism to the homophobes, and like capitulation to the progressives - and both are right. That gives us the choice... either we stand up and defend the right of same-sex couples to enjoy the same legal benefits of marriage that opposite-sex couples do, or we sacrifice their rights on the altar of political expediency.

            We do need to make it absolutely clear that civil marriage and religious marriage are two different things, and no church will be forced to perform marriages that the congregation doesn't bless. Likewise, we are not going to let one church's definition of marriage overrule another church's definition of marriage.

            Voters may be stupid, but they're not THAT stup... oh hell, i guess they are.

            by Radical Middle on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:37:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not advocating sacrificing anyone's rights (none)
              for political expediency. All I'm saying is the  word 'marriage' is loaded. Sure, we can stand our ground and insist on using it, but it comes with a heavy cost.
                 It all it did was stir up the bigots, then by all means we should continue to use it. We are never going to convince those folks so why worry what they think.
                But the word 'marriage' causes problems with many sincere people of faith. For catholics, it is a sacrament, Holy Matrimony. So even people who support total equality for gay relationships  have trouble with the word 'marriage'. It smacks of meddling in their religious creed.
                 If 'civil unions' is a phrase that doesn't work then let's find another. But any phrase that has the word marriage in it just continues the problem IMHO.

              Moderation, the noblest gift of heaven. - Euripedes

              by recentdemocrat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:21:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's loaded because it's meaningful (none)
                We should not surrender the word "marriage." We should divide the concepts of civil marriage and religious marriage.

                Proud citizen of the provisional Canadian province of Cascadia since November 3, 2004

                by seaprog on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 01:02:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly (none)
                  The right-winged POLITICAL agenda is cherry picking the bible and the religious community is actually being lead by a bunch of POLITICAL people. The POLITICAL community has realized that blind faith is just that...blind.  It is what they count on. I still maintain that if the word "marriage" was the bad one, and it is because of religion, then two heathens/atheists/devil lovers would not be allowed to get MARRIED at the local court house.  
      •  Pledge? (none)
        I challenge you to name one Democratic politician, anywhere in the country, who has supported removing God from the Pledge.

        The Senate voted 99-0 to keep God in the Pledge.

        •  Wimps. (none)
          They are politicians! Who is going to take a contrary stand, especially in an election year. I think it is unconstitutional to include "God" in the pledge.  The phrase "under God" was only added in the 50s during the Cold War. It does not have a long history in our country. Lets face it, we often relie on courts to make tough decisions like this.  We as a country can live without having "under God" in our pledge of allegiance. What God is it? Whose God?  This country was founded on the basis of religious freedom where people came here to escape government enforced religion.
        •  Again, it was perception, not reality (4.00)
             We have allowed the Republicans to paint us as the party that is against religion. Every time a poll is published, or an analysis is performed, the emphasis is on the fact that most people who don't attend church regularly are Democrats.
             The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has been painted as a liberal, out of touch, activist bunch of San Francisco judges. That is the perception. San Francisco = gay democrats. That is the perception.
             ACLU is supported by the liberals. That is the perception. The ACLU is against the practice of religion. That is the perception.
             Until we recognize this we are at a disadvantage. I am not politically atute enough to know how we change this. By I do know all of us need to be aware of it, so that we might better formulate a strategy to deal with  the perceptions.

          Moderation, the noblest gift of heaven. - Euripedes

          by recentdemocrat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:45:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The pledge (none)
          is a ridiculous place to fight a battle.  We need to choose our battles, or else the Republicans will lure us into situations where they can easily portray us as anti-God.  Gay marriage is an issue we SHOULD continue to fight for, but we need to keep framing it and reframing it - and keep younger generations in favor of it, since they are much more tolerant.

          "You're Bush's brain, Karl? I was expecting a much smaller man." - Triumph the Insult Dog

          by michigandemocrat19 on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:08:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  For THIS person of faith (4.00)
        those lines were a great joy.  As was the day we defeated the hate amendment in KS - largely by pointing out that faithful Christians disagree.  One of the legislators who changed her vote actually attended Rev. Fox's church - but was conflicted - having other Christians who shared her disagreement with the interpretation the far right pushes reach out gave her the courage to vote no.  (yes she was defeated Tuesday, we're starting over....)

        We can't assume that ALL people of any group behave or believe in the same way.

        There are many - certainly a majority - of religious folk who are against gay marriage - and most of them are against ANY legally recognized civil union.

        There is, however, a substantial and growing minority of us who either see it as a civil rights issue - or REJECT THE  INTERPRETATION that gay marriage is an abomination ALTOGETHER.  I urge anyone interested in this issue, and interested in a different faith view of the text that are allegedly about homosexuality - to read the PDF on What the Bible really says (and doesn't say) about GLBT people.  http://www.soulforce.org/main/biblical.shtml

        In my case - one of the couples I turn to for an example of how to live a life of faith and strengthen my relationship with my wife is a lesbian couple at my church.  They've been together - despite political, religious, and social discrimination - for over 20 years. They've raised a beautiful, intelligent, well adjusted daughter (who is straight, btw - so much for the recruitment theory). They are an inspiration.  

        To those who would demean their relationship. I ask - would YOUR relationship stand up to being the stuff of public debate?
        Would your faith survive official rejection by your church hierarchy.  If it was your relationship that was already officially banned - but we need to elevate that ban to the constitution anyway - what would you think?

        We don't have to agree.  
        We do have to love our neighbor as ourselves - and leave judgment of what consenting adults chose to do to G_d.

        I do have a question for those people who think that my gay and lesbian friends committed relationships harm my "straight" marriage.    That question is "How?"    

        Exactly HOW is my relationship harmed?  

        Why does what Adam and Steve do together affect what its Simple and his wife share?  Even if you buy into the ancient communal belief that one person's sin subjects the whole tribe to judgement - wouldn't we have been doomed long ago?  Is persecuting gays really going to change that equation?  And if we buy into that notion - um - why aren't we focused on universal health care and collective wealth?   My point is that we seem to be VEEEERY selective.

        And why do those 7 or 12 lines from books like Leviticus and a letter attributed to Paul (the one that also tells women to be silent...) that you think apply to gay and lesbians stand more importantly than the words of Jesus on divorce?  What of the thousands of lines concerning money?   Why is it that my GLBT brothers and sisters have to live up to a 3000 year old Hebrew Priestly code - but the rest of us can cut our hair at the temple, play with the skin of a pig, wear clothes of mixed fabric?

        Why do the people of faith who justify their discrimination against same sex partners not protest to protect the sanctity of our eating places from shrimp (http://www.godhatesshrimp.com)  It's an abomination, sayeth the Lord.

        What does Matthew 23 have to say to those who would selectively enforce one part of the law but not others?

        How did Jesus treat the outcast? The Sinner?   Who were the Samaritian's in Jesus' time?  Why did he so often use them as the positive example in his parables?  What does that tell us about how we are to live our lives?

      •  Totally agree (none)
        As a white urban church-going Catholic, the divisions and fights among all people of faith were HUGE this election season.

        I attend a very progressive Catholic church, know many gay families, and support their right to civil unions.
        My best friend is a lesbian, and I have absolutley no problem with sexual identity.  I'm not gonna let anyone tell me that I'm a bigot becuase I see marriage as a holy institution.

        "Marriage," implies sanctity.  I can best explain this by saying that I don't think ANYONE, gay or straight, should be allowed to get married, unless it's by a church.  CIVIL UNIONS for all.

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

        by valleycat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:10:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, but (none)

          "Marriage," implies sanctity.  I can best explain this by saying that I don't think ANYONE, gay or straight, should be allowed to get married, unless it's by a church.  CIVIL UNIONS for all.

          the laws under discussion are legal marriage - having nothing whatsoever to do with sancity or what anyone's church does.

          CHurches can decide for themselves whether or not they want to honor someone's marriage, but we have
          legal marriage ( and will continue to do so forever ) and what people are voting upon is legal discrimination against gay families.

          "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

          by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:33:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You prove my point (none)
            I don't agree with you, but you state eloquently what the word 'marriage' means to you. It's like that all over the country, even in congregations that are our natural allies. The word marriage is such a loaded word. Throughout history, marriage has always been an almost exclusively religious affair. It wasn't so very long ago that civil marriage ( by the mayor or JP) were so rare that it was an oddity to hear of someone getting married that way.
             I don't pretend to know what the correct term should be. 'Civil Union' smells of sell-out to some as evidenced by a comment above.  But I fear any description that involves the word MARRIAGE causes an unacceptable backlash, even amongst our allies.
          Let's find a new phrase that encompasses all our goals as gay men and women , but does not threaten, even inadvertently, peoples' religious views. This is not selling out. This is simply an acknowledgement of where we as a nation are today. If I can get all of my rights that marriage confers, minus the word marriage, I can support it. In point of fact, because marriage has a such religious connotation, I'd personally would prefer a different term.  

          Moderation, the noblest gift of heaven. - Euripedes

          by recentdemocrat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:05:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly what I'm trying to say (none)
            When people hear that "gay marriage" is on the ballot, right or wrong, if they are religious, they will immediately bring to mind everything that marriage means to them.

            For me, it is a HUGE word (and I know I'm not alone here).  I come from a broken family, and I promised myself that if I ever got married, it would be for life.  As a catholic "revert," I take my marriage very seriously, and in fact, I consider it a sacrament.

            I wholeheartedly approve of civil marriage for non-religious (whether gay or straight).  And that is exactly what the gay community is fighting for.  Also, I'm sure that many progressive churches will embrace gay marriage.  However, I do believe that there is a difference (mentally, anyway) in the sacrament of marriage, and a civil marriage.

            I read that marriage was only performed civilly as recently as the late 1700's and began in France.  I think if the issue was framed as "civil unions for all," that would help religious folks see it as the civil rights issue that it really is, and not further encroachment on religious sacraments.  

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

            by valleycat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:21:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Even more than the white community? (none)
      I'm a little tired of that meme.

      Whatever the general difference in personal opinion of blacks and whites with respect to gays, their public opinion - as shown by their votes - does not suggest that blacks are any more bigoted than whites.  In fact, if you look at the exit polls for the anti-same-sex marriage amendments, you'll see that in all states but one, black voters were less likely to support the amendment than whites.

      So if anyone is more bigoted, at least with respect to the political process, it's whites.

  •  Agreed but (3.81)
    can I please not have your religion for breakfast, lunch and tea, served up by the GOP?  It is your job to take back social justice from within Christian communities. If you are a Christian, only you can do that.

    I will roll over and play dead on -- yes, even Roe v. Wade if you will:

    1. give me social justice for the poor
    2. get us out of Iraq
    3. protect the environment
    4. allow for genuine access to health care
    5. protect public education

    Evangelical Christianity is about converting others to an eschatology of end times.  I see no way to sugar coat that. I'm agin' it.

    We are all wide awake now.

    by Percheronwoman on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 05:39:02 AM PST

    •  This one statement is right on (4.00)
      It is your job to take back social justice from within Christian communities. If you are a Christian, only you can do that.

      This is right.  It's not the job of the Democratic party to "christianize" itself.  It's the job of Christians to call their brethren to account, to repentance...

      However, we should note that the VRWC is not limited to secular media.  There is a huge empire of religious broadcasting that occupies a lot of the radio dial and that sprinkles right wing anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-feminist, and pro-war views into the hourly "news" breaks, and talk shows.
      AIR AMERICA may be enough to counter Limbaugh et al. on mainstream stations (although probably not).  But there is no Christian media equivalent to counter the hijacking of faith by oh-so-subtle and soothing right-wing bromides stuck in between Bible verses and praise choruses.  Drive anywhere in America and there are 5-6 stations at the low end of the FM dial (interspersed with the NPR stations). Everyone of them is serving up the Bush agenda along with the religious -- so that they become indistinguishable.

      •  Thank you, yes!! (none)
        It is NOT the job of secularists to reach out and transform the Christian faith!  Nor is the job of Democrats to change the outlook and platform of the Republican party!  One of the reasons I've written off both Christians and Republicans forever is their complete and utter lack of progress in controlling their own more extreme elements.  They're either fine with these elements and choose not to act, or choose not to act out of fear.  Clean your OWN houses - don't look to us to do it for you!
    •  Pardon me, (4.00)
      But that is not what evangelical Christianity is about.  At its most basic, it is a form of Christianity that emphasizes personal transformation by faith in Christ.  Period.  Kindly do not conflate all evangelicals into a monolithic right-wing freak show.  The presence of so many smart, progressive evangelicals on this site alone should work against that stereotype.  
      •  I would add that there is a difference (none)
        between Evangelicals and fundamentalists. By definition an evangelical is one who evangelizes, i.e spreads the word and attempts to convert. Some of you Apple fans are aware of the use of Mac Evangelists to spread the word of Mac superiority to Windoze.

        A fundamentalist is someone who takes the Bible literally. Not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, and the reverse is also true.

        My feelings about Christianity are complex, but I have to look past all of what I disagree with (I don't like any of the three monotheistic religions that grew out of the Mid-East, frankly), and look past the history of Christianity as practiced, and accept that if the majority of this country sees itself as Christian, so be it, and I'll be glad to accomodate the discussion to include that reality. However, I can't pretend to be a Christian.

        The battle for Helms Deep is over. The battle for Middle Earth has just begun.

        by Mithrandir on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:03:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's about language and Christianity (4.00)
    which is a key point that needs to be addressed.

    I hear what you're saying, but I disagree with your assertion that the GOP is "never disrespectful" of the religious.  That's wrong.  What they've done is learn the language of a particular kind of Christianity, and then become very good at using it for political gain.  That's it.  

    Al Gore understood this and tried to apply it late in his campaign, but it didn't work.

    On the Dem side of things, I don't really think that most White progressives have trouble with believers.  They have trouble with the language of a particular kind of Christianity when it shows up in particular kinds of political discussion.  Specifically, when people express their political allegiances using "God"  or "Christ" or something similar, that's the problem.

    And here I think Bush has become very, very good at creating confusion on this issue.  Bush never uses "Jesus Christ" in political speech, but he references Christ's words.  So, people who recognize scripture listen to Bush and hear an invitation to bring reference to JC into discussions in the political sphere.    

    There, I think progressives react on two levels.  First, they do not like the language of "scripture" OR overt references to JC to enter political debate.  It's exclusionary and it shuts down dialogue.  Second, they know that Bush is appealing to people's spiritual allegiances as a way of selling his political agenda, which is opposed to Christian teachings (e.g., war, favoritism towards the rich, etc.).

    So, in response to your diary, I would urge Dems to begin being very specific about the types of religious expressions that they find problematic in politics, and to focus on ways to articulate better the language situations that are problematic.

    And, I would urge progressive Christians to think about the importance of controlling the language of political debate, and not letting it be controlled by a cynical opportunists President.

  •  Well, if the black evangelicals (3.75)
    want to join the Republican party over abortion and gays, so be it. Live and learn the hard way. This is the same party that did not even want them to vote not too long ago. If people continue to vote single issues that are in direct opposition to their economic interest they get what they deserve. And I don't believe for one second that evangelical types are the norm in this country. They are a special interest group, and a well organized one at that.

    Half of the country does not vote. Imo, if the Democratic party wants to start winning elections they will study these people and grow their own special interest blocks of voters out of there. These people, for whatever reason, do not care. It's up to the party to find out why and target them.

    •  Right on. (none)
      How many progressives this year didn't vote because they saw the Dems as GOP-lite?  We have to serve our OWN interests and our OWN base to bring these voters back into the fold.  I think the whole "How do we pander to the other side?" discussion is actually part of the trap that the GOP has wanted us to fall into all along.
    •  Enough of live and learn! (none)
      I would like to remind you that we lost the election.  We can no longer afford 'live and learn' policy.  Our future is at stake too!  We need to convince everyone who is not comfortable with us and who is willing to listen that we are not bigots ourselves.

      I agree that we need to study the results of the election.  I noticed for example that 17% of voters in the most conservative states DID NOT participate in the referendum on marriage amendment (about 3 million people, in addition to the 28% who voted NO).  It's not that they didn't care.  They are the conservatives who were not comfortable voting for their church's position but didn't have the courage or excuse (us) to punch NO.  

      IMO, they are our swing vote we didn't go after, because we adopted 'live and learn" policy.  Enough of live and learn!

  •  Please read Juan Coles blog entry 11/4/04 (4.00)
    Excerpts from Cole's Informed Consent:

    The Democrats need to find a southern governor with a southern accent who is a Baptist.

    They also need to start defusing deadly cultural and "moral" issues that have been so effective for the Republicans. And they need to be sly about it.

    For instance, a lot of Democrats would like to see gay marriage or at least civil gay unions passed into law. This is a matter of equity, since gay partners can't even get into a hospital to see an ill partner because hospitals limit visits to close family.

    This issue scares the bejesus out of the red states.

    But if Democrats were sly, there is a way out. The Baptist southern presidential candidate should start a campaign to get the goddamn Federal government out of the marriage business. It has to be framed that way. Marriage should be a faith-based institution and we should turn it over to the churches. If someone doesn't want to be married in a church, then the Federal government can offer them a legal civil contract (this is a better name for it than civil union). That's not a marriage and the candidate could solemnly observe that they are taking their salvation in their own hands if they go that route, but that is their business. But marriage is sacred and the churches should be in charge of it.

    If you succeeded in getting the Federal government out of the marriage business, then the whole issue would collapse on the Republicans. You appeal to populist sentiments against the Feds and to the long Baptist tradition of support for the US first amendment enshrining separation of religion and state.

    But the final result would be to depoliticize gay marriage, because the Federal government wouldn't be the arena for arguing about it. The Federal government could offer gays the same civil contract status as it offers straight people who want to shack up legally but without the sanction of a church. As for gays who wanted a church marriage, that would be between them and their church (remember, the Federal government is not in the business, but would go on recognizing church-performed marriages as equivalent legally to the Federal civil contract). The Unitarian Universalists could arrange it for them. The red states' populations can be hostile to the UUists all they like, it wouldn't translate into a victory at the polls for a Republican president.

    The final outcome would be both more progressive (the Federal government should not in fact be solemnizing a religioius ceremony like marriage) and also advantageous to the Democrats, and it would leave gays actually better off.

    Read the whole article.

    •  I made this same argument on the Yahoo (none)
      message boards before I found dKos and I think it is the way to go.  I don't remember exactly how it played out, but I think that we could get the libertarians to support it too.

      The legal wranglings with estate law at the state level would be tough though.  

      "Reality" is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes.

      by LionelEHutz on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:02:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No (4.00)
      The Democrats need to find a southern governor with a southern accent who is a Baptist.

      I respect Juan Coles, but f-- that shit.

      Enough of these calls to find a Democratic Baptist who can compete with their Baptists.  (We had one already - Jimmy Carter, remember?)  Enough of finding a figurehead who will make Southern Baptists feel comfortable.

      I want them to feel uncomfortable.  I want them to go to church on Sunday feeling moral turmoil inside for what their leaders are doing.  I want them feeling the hot breath of Jeremiah on their necks.

      You don't need a Southern Baptist with a drawl to do that.

      •  I respect Juan Coles, but f-- that shit. (none)
        Carter won one and lost one, Clinton won two, and Gore 'won' one.  Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry all lost.

        Grizzlebee's: You'll wish you had less fun.

        by sendtoscott on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:37:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  don't you mean (none)
        "the hot breath of Jehovah"? Jeremiah doesn't make sense in this context...
      •  No Indeed (none)
        Enough with these checklist formulas (Southern, Baptist). What did it do for us last time? ("We need a candidate with national security experience, we need a veteran"). We need a BOLD LEADER with MORAL CONVICTION.

        Whomever our next candidate is needs to make it clear that they deeply respect Christians, whether they themselves are Christians or not. Some evangelicals will never vote for us, many moderates will.

    •  Southern Candidates (none)
      Here in Georgia, my friend and I were saying something very similar.  I consider myself very liberal, but I recognize a liberal is not going to win right now.

      My Methodist (recently Democrat) friend from Alabama  says the Democrats need to start grooming candidates that appeal to middle America, just like the Republicans did.  And we need to find a Democrat GOVERNOR in a red state that liberal democrats can just barely tolerate (because they will still be better than George Bush).

      Possible Candidates:
      Mark Hunt, D- Governor of VA
      Mike Easley, D- Governor of NC
      If they run with Bill Richardson from NM, they might even bring in a big chunk of the Hispanic voters in FL, TX and the West....

      I don't know if any of these guys are Baptists, though...

      •  VA Governor (none)
        Whoops, I meant Mark Warner from VA
      •  Easley is a catholic (none)
        and catholics are a rare species in the south and not really trusted.

        I didn't know that until I (a northern catholic) moved down here.

        when the rich wage war; its the poor who die

        by getmeoutofdixie on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:13:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yeah... (none)
          When I graudated from college....I lived in rural VA for a while.

          Let me tell you, it was scary. Within many of the small community Protestant Churches (I'm not talking of mainstream like Episcopalina or Presbytarian), there is outward hostility and demonization of Catholics. The irony is that before the Revolution, Virginia was officially a Catholic State.

          If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

          by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:46:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Catholics (none)
          Right.  Nobody is talking about this!  

          YEEEEEEAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHH!

          Did that get everyone's attention?  Kerry has a strong faith.  But he was the wrong kind of Christian.  As a Catholic, his message resonated with me even though it wasn't delivered in overtly religious terms because.. economic and social justice are values issues, and they matter.  An unjust war is a values issue.  

          The GOP drove a wedge through the Catholic vote with the emphasis on hot-button divisive issues like abortion, gay marriage, and stem cell research.  

          It was fine for George W Bush to appeal to Catholics, but it is not fine for John Kerry to be a Catholic and try to win votes by talking about his faith.  Hostility and demonization of Catholics, anti-Catholic bigotry, it's still out there.  Kerry was caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue.  

          We must cultivate our garden.

          by daria g on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:16:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Kerry's Catholicism (none)
            I don't know if I was alone in noticing this  during one of the debates but when Kerry was explaining his religious beliefs and said "Faith Without Works is Dead,"  I thought that line may have alienated him from some of the more fundamental Christians he was reaching out to.  While it may be a direct quote from the New Testament, many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians reject this philosophy and believe that they are "saved by grace, not by works."  Kerry's statement is very in line with Catholic teachings but is not universal Christian dogma.  I'm afraid he may have driven a wedge between his candidacy and many of the religious voters he was seeking to reach.
            •  Huh (none)
              Interesting.  It didn't cross my mind because Kerry's remark was exactly what I thought was perfectly right and appropriate when speaking of faith!   The only association I have with the "saved by grace, not by works" idea is Jansenism (fairly obscure reference, that) so it shows what I know about contemporary Protestant beliefs..

              We must cultivate our garden.

              by daria g on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:55:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Ironically.... (none)
              While it may be a direct quote from the New Testament, many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians reject this philosophy and believe that they are "saved by grace, not by works."  Kerry's statement is very in line with Catholic teachings but is not universal Christian dogma.

              The issue of being "saved by grace" is a distinctly Calvinist view (ie "the elect") wrt Protest tradition......"born agains" allegedly reject this notion. These notions are completely at odds theologically.

              The whole evangelical movement started as a rejection of these very same views they are embracing. The whole point of being "saved by grace" completely is at odds w/ the idea of "conversion"....after all, if God chooses who's saved, what's the point of conversion efforts...how can one be "born again"? Either you're among the "elect" or you ain't.....from the beginning.

              The goal of being "born again" is supposed to mean trying to be more Christ-like....and it's hardly credible to say Christ's example (as portrayed in the Gospels) was one of faith w/o works.

              In short, evangelicals who pick and choose which Biblical principals they want to live by are NOT truly accepting what they are claiming to accept.....the words and examples of Christ.

            •  Write them off (none)
              "many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians reject this philosophy"

              Many, but not all. Let's target the the other half, who do not reject this. We're disgusted with Bush because feins piety while dodging the draft. All talk, no action.

      •  We've got even better than that (none)
        We've got two governors of swing/red states who are democrats and women--Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas. (And there'd be three if the 'Schwarzenegger Amendment' ever passes. Arnie'd be able to run for Pres, but so would Jennifer Granholm.)

        I'll admit I don't know a lot about either Napolitano or Sebelius. But if they're at all acceptable to us progressives, imagine the excitement. THey obviously were able to get elected as Democratic women in states where that's not an easy thing--you're not going to have the governors of Arizona or Kansas easily tarred as 'Northeastern liberals'. Plus, we'd cross that bridge by nominating a woman for President, which will excite a lot of people (lots of women, but lots of us men who think the time has past come for it).

        "If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child."--Barack Obama

        by ChurchofBruce on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:32:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Liberals could win... (none)
        ...if they were true LIBERALS again.
    •  Wouldn't work (4.00)
      The point of the anti-gay-marriage laws is to forbid gay marriages.

      If we turned it over to the churches, some liberal churches would perform gay marriages.  Conservatives don't want any church to be permitted to do that.

      This isn't all that different from Kerry's position, which was to make it an entirely state matter.  it wasn't enough for conservatives.  They were afraid some states might legalize it.  They want gay marriage banned, everywhere, by any means necessary.

      They only support states' rights to do something they want.

    •  West Wing (none)
      This very proposal was brought up on "West Wing" last week in a clever exchange between Josh and a gay congressman.

      Of course the Dominionists want to put MORE Christianity into the federal government, not less.  The government derives its power from God they say.  To quote Robin Williams, "How Egyptian".

      •  fight revisionist history (none)
        the government derives its power from the people:

        Let us remember the powerful words of Declaration of Independence:

        Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

        by digital drano on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:49:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Libertarian solution (4.00)
      And exactly right. However, it won't sell the evangelical crowd.

      Because, plain and simple they want to use the power of Govt. to shove religion down everyone's throats. The real objection isn't the Govt. pushing Gay Marriage...its that they want Gay folks (and atheists, etc...) shoved back into a social closet via the coercive power of the state.

      You can't offer reason to that.

      •  Right (none)
        But there are lots of conservatives who are not as religious as the fundamentalist evangelicals.  They are uncomfortable with gay people being "married".  For many of them it really is the word.  When I bring up the idea of the Feds getting out of the marriage business altogether, it's only the hardcore fundies (the ones we'll never get, the ones who deserve to be marginalized) who are against that.  But the framing must be very careful, or they will steal the issue back.  I do think, to be absolutely fair, that the Feds should get out of the marriage business and let that happen in churches while they recognize legal civil contracts for purposes of visitation, inheritance, etc..  It's a radical idea, actually, since it would include straight people living together and possibly even the polyamorous.  But the butting out would appeal very much to that large subset of libertarian-minded conservatives.
  •  Maybe Ignorance Is The Problem (3.50)
         Too many "reality-based" Democrats are simply clue-free regarding non-mainline Protestantism.
         Which means they don't understand much of this country's history.
         Which means they don't understand much of this country's popular culture.
         Which means they havn't got the slightist notion of what makes tens of millions of voters tick.
         Suggestion:  before we make sweeping generalizations about fundies this or evangelicals that maybe we should actually investigate what we're talking about. As one pundit put it early Wednesday, Bush's people understand the blue states, but Kerry's people don't understand the red states.  If Democrats are supposed to be reality-based, they might become familiar with that reality!
    •  I agree and made an attempt... (4.00)
      ...at addressing that lack of knowledge in this: "About Christianity and Christians: A Guide for Secularists and Practitioners of Other Religions."  It provides an overview of Christian denominations and covers the theological issues that are relevant politically.  It helps you distinguish between Dominionists/Reconstructionists, End-of-the-Worlders, and Catholics who follow church authority.  Finally, it discusses how religion interacts with the worldview concept of Lakoff and Fowler's faith maturation studies.

      It was written to help this community specifically.

      It's time for the Christian Right to meet the right Christians.

      by rightchristians on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:59:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Alleluia, Amen n/t (none)

      Give a man a fish, he dines today, teach him how to fish, he dines tomorrow, teach him how to sell fish and he eats steak! Anon.

      by Serendipity on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:07:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not unless you mean it the other way around (3.66)
      I can ASSURE you that the problem is NOT that, for instance, atheists are ignorant of christians and their religion.

      We know much more than we want to because it is force fed constantly.

      It is that we disagree, not that we are ignorant.

      Now if you want to talk about ignorance, talk to a fundie about gay people.

      "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

      by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:55:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  an addendum (none)
        while I would agree with you that most people who are atheists (as opposed to people who are just "not religious) are knowledgable about Christianity (and even other religions), that doesn't mean that all atheists are necessarily respectful of Christianity.  

        Many people who are evangelicals, however, are deeply ignorant about atheists, partially because it is built into their religion.  And that makes sense, since religions, as institutions, don't have a vested interest in providing information and/or learning about competing institutions. [Not all, I know, but there's a pretty solid documented history of many].

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

        by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:13:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Evangelists and Other Religions (none)
          Many people who are evangelicals, however, are deeply ignorant about atheists, partially because it is built into their religion.  And that makes sense, since religions, as institutions, don't have a vested interest in providing information and/or learning about competing institutions

          My experience has been that evangelists are MORE knowledgeable about certain non-Christian religions than many people would think.  As evangelists believe "spreading the news" is an important part of Christianity, learning about other religions is often an important part of being able to proselytize.  At the evangelist church where I worshipped for a couple of years, those who were going to do mission work in Africa would spend some time learning about Islam so that they would be able to speak knowledgeably with Muslim people in the context of their beliefs.  And most evangelists have some level of knowledge of Judaism.  I've even known Messianic Jews who have become evangelist ministers. As one poster noted above, members of different Christian sects often have little knowledge of the others' beliefs as is evident by many of the biases fundamentalists have against Catholics.

  •  So much of this is simply about respect (4.00)
    and emphasis.  Look, we're never going to gain the moral majority Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson types, but there are many many people who generally sympathize with our social justice issues but increasingly feel alienated from the party because they feel their opinions based upon their religious faith are not respected and that the opposite of their faith is what is emphasized by our party.  I can't tell you the number of Catholics who overwhelmingly agreed with Kerry, but either sat out the election or even (gasp) voted for Bush because of the abortion issue.  I don't think the party needs to change its position on the issue to win these voters back--although some modification wouldn't hurt.  There are two things we could do however.  First, allow pro-life Democrats to freely and openly express their opinion--we used to do this (Al Gore and Jesse Jackson were pro-life at one time, just to name a couple).  You don't have to agree with the opinion but show some respect for their opinion as opposed to treating them as if they are Nazis or simply retarded.  Second, our candidates cannot simply stop at "I support a women's right to choose", or worse as Kerry said in the debates that he would make choice a litmus test for Judges (my god, I cringed thinking of the number of votes he lost with that).  Such candidates need to go on and talk about (not merely give lip service to, but make a priority) the need to change the circumstances which lead a woman to choose an abortion.  And they need to make very clear that they think abortion, except in some cases is wrong--not that they will take the right away, but that it is usually wrong.
    •  Sorry (4.00)
      Kerry is pro life, he just didn't think he had the right to force his choice onto the majority of Americans who are prochoice.
      This thread is all about myths. Belive what myth you like.  As someone said once you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own set of facts.
      I guess that's why the term "Reality Based" ressonated with so many Democrats who did vote Kerry.
      •  What facts have I stated that were wrong? (none)
        It seems to me you simply disagree with a label I put on Kerry.  That's simply semantics. Moreover, I think if you describe Kerry's position even as you say it is, the vast majority would use the same label I used.
        •  Here's where we differ (4.00)
          Using a word like wrong with abortion is more than semantics.
          It's a value judgement.

          I don't think anyone wants to get an abortion when faced with the choice, but for many, given their particular circumstances, it's the RIGHT choice.

          Far better would be to say that abortions should be rare, as Clinton did, and to put in place those things that would actually help make that happen.

          The sad thing is that prochoice people have been saying just that for years.  Whose problem is it that others don't hear it?

          •  I agree with much of what you say. (none)
            I think "rare" probably is a better word in some ways.  I don't think there's anything wrong per se with making value judgments about things--we do that all the time--but politically it may be better to use a less normative word like "rare".

            I guess the only way I would differ is that the emphasis needs to be more on rare--much more-- if we hope to capture otherwise liberal, but pro-life, Dems.  (If you don't think there are a lot of them who wanted to vote for Kerry but couldn't because of abortion, you should read the diary on the homepage about a canvassers experience in Ohio on the issue.)  

            •  Believe me I spoken to a few (none)
              "It's okay that women and children are dying over in Eyerak so that Americans don't die over here.
              There should be no abortions but for certain situations, like rape or health of the mother maybe.
              I don't really agree with Bush but he's pro life and Kerry is not so my vote has to go to Bush."

              Frankly I think they both personally support the same thing, Bush just talks a better line of bull.

  •  Ok, look...I don't agree with this at all... (4.00)
    The problem with what you're saying is there is no secular attack on religion.  It's fine if your religious.  It's fine if you don't like gay people.  But you have no right to force your views on other people or discriminate against others just because of your beliefs.  

    Being secular or an athiest is not an attack on religion.  On the other hand what you're saying is basically "if you're not religious, you're wrong, and we're going to screw you over".  To be frank, it's this sort of attitude that pisses me off the most about highly religious people.  They see things like gay marriage as an "attack on their religion", when in fact they are the ones trying to force their views on everyone else, and are thus the ones attacking everyone who has a different opinion.  

    Let me give a metaphorical example.  I don't drink.  I think alcohol is a bad drug and that drinking is stupid.  I always have and I always will.  Yet, I am aware that most people do drink alcohol.  My friends do, and I find that disappointing, but I respect that it is their choice to do so.  Whatever my personal feelings, it is not my place to go out and mandate what they do.  

    For that reason, it would be wrong for me to go around campaigning for a prohibition amendment.  My personal feelings on the matter do not change the fact that all people should have the right to make that decision for themselves (in fact, I think all drugs should be legalized along those same ground).  

    And that's what the anti-gay marriage amendment is all about.  It's moving beyond your own personal feelings, which you are perfectly justified in having, and forcing those opinions on everyone else.  That's wrong, just as it would be wrong for me to try to get alcohol banned.  

    Your premise is that Democrats should reach out to black evangelicals by standing up for something that is wrong, and I think that is a terrible idea.  I'd rather the Democrats never win the presidency again and remain a permanent minority, than have the party betray what is right and worth fighting for.  

    In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

    by Asak on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:04:51 AM PST

    •  By the way... (3.90)
      A simpler way to describe the crux of the problem is this:

      If you think not being religious is "disrespectful to religious people" then the problem is with you, not with me.  It's disrespectful to people who are secular to expect them to pander to religious people by saying things they don't believe.  That's what the Republicans do, by the way, they pander.  

      George W. Bush talks a lot about Christianity, but the truth is he and the other Republican leaders don't give a rat's ass about any of that stuff.  They use cultural wedge issues as a way to coopt poor white people, so they can achieve their true goal of rewarding the wealthy.  Religion has always been used to control in this fashion, it's not something that's new.

      In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

      by Asak on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:09:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  x (4.00)
        Religion has always been used to control in this fashion, it's not something that's new.

        Not just to co-opt the white masses, it was also used to justify and mitigate slavery.

      •  These are all good points you make, but... (4.00)
        you might want to take a minute to consider why you are a  perfect illustration of what the diarist is arguing.  And while I find what you are saying to be true on an emotional level, the number of people who rated your comment high, proves to me that this diarist has made a very good point.  

        None of the issues you react against are really being argued in this diary entry.  There's no call to abandon key progressive issues.   In fact, all the diarist is doing is calling attention to a general problem that progressive dems have in engaging "believers" in serious political discussion.  It's about how react and talk to a certain type of people.  Because in politics, talk has consequences.  So we need to think abou this problem.

        Do you really believe that religion is always used to control?  That all people with religion in their lives are antithetical to progressive politics?

        You make some good, general points.  But religion has many uses, plays many roles, and takes many different forms in our lives.  Every year, for example, I go home and spend Passover with my family.  That's not control.  I don't consider myself a "believer."  This event enters into political discussion without a problem, etc., etc.  There's more of a range of possibilities that you allow in your comment, and I'm pretty sure that you probably operate in your daily life based on a much wider conception of religion than you allow for here.

        So, while I am not the diarist, here, I still invite you to take a minute to think about whether or not you could consider a less extreme position and still remain true to your ideals?  I think you can, and I think the diarist does, too.

        Of course, there will always be a need for a branch of the progressive to be on the front lines battling the most extreme politicized religious groups.  But for now, in these days after the loss, I think we're trying to work our way back from extremes.

    •  Agreed (none)
      We should all be respectful of eachother.

      But this type of thinking (e.g. separation of church and state is an "attack" on religion) plays right into the GOP's hands.

      We should be advocating tolerance and freedom, pushing the point that we can all believe as we see fit without the government mandating it--and still respect religion.

    •  Corollary (none)
      I totally agree with you. However, being the Devil's Advocate, perhaps the MA supreme court decision mainstreaming gay marriage was perceived by many persons of faith as an attempt to force upon them a view they found repugnant to their faith - i.e., perhaps it was perceived as a secular attack on their faith.

      I note that MA is overwhelmingly Catholic but remained blue despite the decision. I suppose we could conclude that its population is  progressive enough to be able to discern that there really was no attempt to force secularism upon them.

      The challenge to us is to find out how we can overcome this misperception where it exists elsewhere. Frankly, it think that the issue was pushed too early, too hard, and too unambiguiously. If we continue to view gay marriage as a black or white issue instead of a grey one, we will continue to lose.

      We need to reframe the issue - I don't know how, but surely we need to be pointing out the problems that persons in loving relationships face absent some form of legal acceptance.

      Give a man a fish, he dines today, teach him how to fish, he dines tomorrow, teach him how to sell fish and he eats steak! Anon.

      by Serendipity on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:35:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't "pushed" anywhere (4.00)
        The MA Supreme Court just ruled on a case that came up in its calendar. The people who made it an issue are the Repubs, who wanted to spur the extra amount of turnout needed to win.

        There wasn't a big groundswell of activism or advocacy around this issue during the campaign, the issue wasn't raised by the Gay and Lesbian Groups as a concerted lobbying strategy -- the "pushing" was all GOP-style.

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

        by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:47:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Sky Hasn't Fallen (none)
        The realization here in MA is that the world hasn't changed for the worse because homosexuals are getting married.

        We're not forcing Churches to marry gay people. I think anybody on this board would ever even suggest that.

        But I can't in good conscience and as a matter of principle deny an American citizen their rights, simply because your religious beliefs say he doesn't deserve those rights. It's not a religious question, it's a civics question.

        Like a I said, I would never advocate  forcing a church to accpet homosexual marriage. But as a legal and rights issue. There's no rational reason to deny these people their rights.

        Remember, the ultimate law of this land is not the Bible, the Talmud, or the Qu'ran....it's the Constitution.

        If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

        by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:09:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •   secular attack???? (none)
        If only.

        no, Really:  Our government, our society is Secular!
        WE are the ones being Attacked!

        They are the ones seeking to control the lives of those outside their faith by creating Laws based on their faith.

         "You Will behave the way We think is right, and here's the full weight of the State and it's Monopoly of Violence behind us."

        I think everyone has the right to believe what they wish, just don't try to make it a law.

        "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

        by binFranklin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:53:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kerry should have neutralize the issue. (none)
    I wish Kerry had followed Clinton's advice to say publiclly he is against gay marriage then qualifies that he is for civil unions and emphasize that George Bush is also for Civil Unions.  Kerry will not be upsetting his base because his base is against gay marriage.  And even gays are not pressing Kerry to support gay marriage.  They want Kerry to win first.

    And you are right.  Instead of emphasizing you are pro-choice and respecting women's right to choose emphasize that democratic policies in fact decrease abortion rates  and  there are statistics to prove it.  No law making abortion illegal will decrease abortion.  Even if it is legal  women who choose to have abortion are desperate because who would want your uterus to be scraped.  Emphasize  that even if you want to overturn Robie wade it is impossible to do so.  And keeping it legal will save women lives.

    And this is what he believes and when he says it despite loud protests from minority in the dem party  will reflecct him having a strong character and remove the flipflopping, going with the political winds charge.

    •  Most people in this country are pro-choice... (3.66)
      So, I'm not sure what your idea of a minority portion is.  

      In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

      by Asak on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:10:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, the problem is (none)
        that Kerry was tagged early on as extreme and a lover of PBA, which most people are against.

        Kerry finally said he is against it during the second debate and in the last week of the campaign, it confirmed in religious circles that Kerry stood by his vote on a 1997 Daschle ammendment banning abortion after viability, except in the case of physical health issues.

        I think that came a little too late. He had already been branded as an extreme pro-choicer.

    •  Kerry said this. (none)
      Kerry said 1000 times that he was against marriage and for civil unions - just like Bush.

      But they still pinned the gay marriage label on him anyway.

      The issue is going to hurt the Dems until they diffuse it, and the only way I can see that happening is if they (1) amend the Constitution to make gays second class citizens or (2) educate and advocate on the issue and win support for marriage.

      Personally, I think #2 is a better idea.

      •  Slightly disagree (none)
        they didn't pin "the gay marriage" label on Kerry, they bathed Bush in the overwhelming scent of "marriage protector" and it wafted off into various precincts where they needed more turn out.

        The religious right isn't looking at what Dems say or what Dems support, they are looking for messages that enforce and reassure what the religious right wants.

        Kerry didn't have to be pinned with the "gay marriage" label, it was enough that he didn't signal he would "protect" marriage.  Its all done much more vaguely and more indirectly through code words and biblical language, language that Bush used during the debates, btw. That's what all those "missteps" about "love" were with him, Fundy code.  He wasn't being stupid, he was trying to get the word "love" in there.

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

        by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:23:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  asdf (none)
    damn good diary and comments. lotsa food for thought.

    War in Iraq = Al Qaeda Recruitment Program

    by ImeldaBlahnik on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:09:55 AM PST

  •  I take issue (4.00)
    You've said a few things that I take issue with.

    Many people working and running NARAL and other prochoice organizations recognize that it's the economics that makes abortions happen for the most part.  But the organization is focusing on preventing the choice from being removed overtly or covertly from the people who need them most.  Don't attack them because they are not all things to all people.  Why didn't pastors stand up and encourage people to vote for a candidate who could make the world and America better safer place for them and their grandchildren?

    Second, what I take from your statement is that as far as you are concerned, it should be okay for minority evangicals to put their bigotry before the health of the country.

    If you believe that God made everything, then he made gay people.  End of story.  They are no less human and deserving of respect than minorities are to whites.  Don't forget not so long ago and in fact still today, you could find plenty of "scientific" evidence that blacks were inherently inferior to whites, thus discrimatory laws weren't - well - discriminatory.

    So it's not okay for you to be discriminated against, but it is okay for others, is that it?

    And I read a poll that overwhelmingly rejected the question of whehter people would be comfortable saying the pledge of allegiance if instead of the word "God" it was replaced with the word "Allah" (which means God and as GWB is fond of saying Christians, Jews and Muslims all pray to the same one).  So as far as I am concerned putting God everywhere is about putting Christianity everywhere and should be recognized as such.

    Sorry, it sounds to me that plenty of people talk the talk of being good Christians but they sure don't walk the walk.
    And as far as I see, you are just asking to be let off the hook to practice your religious beliefs as you see fit, which is fine, just don't try to tell me that you are somehow morally superior, which you aren't, and don't try to force it on to anyone else.  That's what the Taliban did.  

    Lot's of people stood with them in a time of crisis because of shared values, but over time they found out that they weren't actually part of the chosen few and those that survived lived for years under terror and repression.

    So you're a minority Evangelical, great.  Too bad you didn't get the memo that the Christian Taliban's heaven is only open to White Folks.  Your place is somewhere much further down.

    •  now, now... (4.00)
      "So you're a minority Evangelical, great.  Too bad you didn't get the memo that the Christian Taliban's heaven is only open to White Folks.  Your place is somewhere much further down."

      Don't be dumb. Ihlin isn't the enemy, he's on our side. If he's telling you an unpleasant truth you don't want to hear, don't shoot the messenger.

      I think we all agree that minority evangelicals who voted for Bush made a big mistake. But being snotty about it doesn't change anything. We have to ask ourselves how we win them back. They've been the core of the progressive movement since before we were born and we need them in the fold -- period.

      •  I'm not being snotty (3.88)
        I'm angry.
        And it's not an unpleasant truth, it's an unpleasant opinion.

        Look as far I am concerned it's not about religion.  It's about power. The Taliban or OBL are not about religion. There's plenty of Muslims in this world who will tell you that they seriously distort the Koran and Islam, in general.  They want power and control.

        What they did do was find a wedge issue of their own that others Muslims can't disagree with.
        With OBL it is the presence of infidels in the Holy Land of Saudi Arabia.  That is what they agree on, some don't have any problem with them being there, but recognize that they shouldn't strictly be allowed, according to the Koran.

        Gays and abortions are the Christian Talibans wedge issues.  Get the evangelicals of any stripe to vote on that and you have power.

        But don't kid yourself, there isn't a "big tent" in their teachings that actually welcomes minorities.

        Fundamentalists work on the same system with the same terms that Bush used - you're either with us or against us.  

        So first they shear off the gays.  And there has been discussion here that we should concede this point.  I say that is wrong.

        Then they want to shear off young women with antiabortion issues.  And some people say that we should concede this point.  I say that is wrong.

        Then they want to shear off more women with their marriage initiatives.  And should we concede this point?  I say not.

        What about affirmative action?  Should we concede that yes, actually a level playing field of opportunity has been achieved for all with regards to white males? I say no.

        What about when they start parsing who exactly practices the right sort of Christianity?  You do know that many run of the mill fundies don't even consider Catholics Christian?  Is this another point to concede, if you are Evangelical?
        I say not.

        Given that they want to create a nation that governs according to Biblical principles, and that Bush has done such an excellent job to fuck up your economy, how long do you think it will be before the starving masses are offered or compelled to become what is okay as far as the Bible is concerned?  Slavery is okay as far as the Bible is concerned.  What's better - free and starving or enslaved and fed?  You tell me on this one.

        And it is also okay to buy slaves from a neighboring country accoding to the Bible.  When they get to that point, who will be there to protect me and mine?  Hello anybody there?

  •  I am a black man of faith (4.00)
    But, I disagree with you. That's the problem with mixing poltics and faith. It's really not, if we are honest with ourselves, about faith in God, it's about power over our fellow man. I said this yesterday to another poster like yourself, stop acting like the Christian victim in a society of which Christianity is the majority and is the driving force of the society. I will not get into a theological debate other than to say I believe this view of Christianity, as the persucuted rather than the ones persucuting may have something to do with what happened to Jesus, but frankly, is not longer an accurate description of the Christians place in America or in most of the world (sure you can point out things to contrary, but what is more likely? I see more percution by Christians). Of course, this is not taking into account terrorism and Islam which another ball of wax.  As for the moral issues, I wish more people knew history- but this is one of the many problems with the left, right and middle in this country- lacking a knowledge of history. 100 years ago or a little bit more, we were being taught that black people were treated the way they were because the Bible said so. I have a friend who says those people were "lying." But, those people were in the majority, so what was the truth? Today, we still have Bob Jones University that says that blacks are not to date whites for biblical reasons. Missisippi has yet to take segregation laws off the books in as of this last election b/c racism is part based on religious ideas that have long been forgotten told to poor whites who were inthe majority to make them more pliable to the will of the wealthy class. Wedge issues- abortion, gays, etc, are not new - they have just morphed into new wedge issues. Also, most AA evangelicals voted for Kerry b/c they understand quite pragmatically unlike their white counterparts that it's not about faith. My grandmother - who spends long hours in churches- much more than I can- voted Democratic for historical reasons and because she understands what's at state and how language is used to divide us. Before it was blacks, national defense and crime, and now it's gays, guns and abortion- what will it be next? This is the flaw int he idea that this reallya bout the issues-it isn't. It's about manipulation. IN the ny times article about the Bush administration- this is what was being missed- they talked about his faith- and read that to mean faith based- I now read it to mean- manipulaiton of people of faith who dont knwo their own history. Did you know for example in 1910 (not long ago in human history) they tried to add an amendment to constitution banning marriage between blacks and whites? Are you familar with the laws banning marriage between black and whites that were on the books until the 1960s? Where do you think they got the reasoning for these laws? Several places, but one was biblical. Don't let your own prejudices cloud your understanding of what this is really about. And don't be so willing to toss other groups to the curve b/c you are being told this is why we lost. What if the Dems had abandoned us in the 60s? They could have you know- it would have been more politically expedient. Gore did  it in 2000 with the black vote. Are you okay with that? Do you like being tossed to the curve because of poltical expediency? Is it moral even under God to treat human bei ngs in this manner? If you are truly Christian then you know that we are all sinners- and it is through Gods forgivenance that we live- so tell me - where in your heart are you showing that? And finally, on apersonal note- do you think you can speak for God on earth? Because often I hear that kind of hubris in talking about faith.
    •  People should read this one twice (3.66)
      You have said it as well as it can be said, Bruh1. Folks will either get it or they won't. And most will get it and recognize they feel the same way.

      The question I have is how can we amplify your words and what they mean so that folks understand what is really going on.

      The biggest problem I see is that the true Dem message doesn't get out there, while the GOP has built an empire that

      1. puts words in our mouth.
      2. is full of careful lies about what they actually believe and intend to carry out.

      I may not know for sure what God's will on Earth is, but damn if I can't see a devil telling powerful lies.
    •  hell yeah (none)
      thank you.

      "fuck your war... and your president."--Snake Plissken

      by binFranklin on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:56:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find it hard to accept (4.00)
    that "white progressives" have a hard time with religion, when religious and faith based groups make up a large portion of many progressive movements.  

    White liberals who aren't engaged in movement politics might have trouble with religion and faith-based groups, but the progressive movements, especially the peace and justice movements have a deep and positive affiliation with faith-based groups.

    And, as a person of no-faith its not up to me to help liberal/progressive Christians take back the public alignment of religion with evangelical republicanism; I don't care if people perceive Democrats as not religious, because I don't perceive of being "not religious" as a problem.  The people who are hurt by the republican ploy are those like ihlin, and it is folks like her who should be on the lead in this.  It is inappropriate to expect me, a secular agnostic, to know the language of faith.  And you are dreaming if you think I'm going to adopt that language in doing political work, given that I believe its part of the problem.  For people who don't find it part of the problem (and I have nothing against you) then by all means incorporate it.  But that language excludes me, so if the party were to take it up, then its sending me a message.  Its up to you other people of faith to remind your evangelical bretheren that secular language doesn't exclude them, and to teach them that they need to tolerate us.  You folk are the ones who have to make the republican evangelicals feel welcome, not me.  And frankly, "a woman's right to choose" IS the underlying reason for legalized abortion in terms of political philosophy and consistency, which is why I will not give up that language - its about allowing women to be full public citizens and fully recognized with all the rights of public citizens, which is the reason I believe in choice.  I don't believe in choice because I am a "baby killer" there are specific historical and anti-authoritarian reasons why I support choice.  

    The responsibility to do what you are advocating doesn't lie with atheists, secularists or agnostics, it lies with the Democrats of faith and the progressive Christians. And it doesn't really lie with the candidates, unless they choose to address it, as individual people of faith.  So, you are the one who needs to get to work, and you are talking to the wrong people -- you should be talking to the Christians.  Leave these hostile anti-religious boneheads who are going overboard here to people like me, a secularist who is perfectly comfortable with the recognition that the majority of Americans are people of faith and people for whom faith is important.  

    The right has so polluted the public discourse in, around and about issues of faith and secularism, that reasonable discussion isn't really possible.  The Democrats need to explain why, even as people of faith, they don't believe that the language of faith is not the appropriate language for public discourse, given the private nature of faith.  I am more than happy to explain to people (and I have) why I am against public prayer -- it is disrespectful to people like me.  I'm not against prayer, everybody in the bleachers is perfectly free to say a prayer TO THEMSELVES before the football game starts. But they don't have the right to isolate me by bringing their religion publically into the non-religious public event.  We have to go back to that level and deconstruct the 30 year colonization of the Republican right on this issue.

    Majority doesn't rule in the US, majority governs and in a democracy, governing means respecting the rights of the minority even as you earn the right to govern from the majority. [The # 1 lesson I wish GWB and his radical supporters had learned]  
    I do agree, however, that the hostile tone re

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

    by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:14:41 AM PST

    •  You have a blind spot (none)
      I'm at a loss here, because I've seen so many comments from you in the past that I can agree with.  

      You see, we have to out-do the other side on tolerance and compassion.  You have to get over your offense at people praying in public.    You can think it's silly or weird or whatever, but you must be tolerant.    

      You're right about the football game - but that's probably not a winnable battle.     Arguing for Church/State separation on freedom of religion grounds is better in the abstract, but it's very corrosive to just go telling people that they can't be publicly religious.

      •  I'm not so much interested (4.00)
        in winnable battles, I'm interested in ending the domination of the religious right of the terms of discourse.  The only way to do that is to continue to say things that people may disagree with, until its at least recognized as one of many positions.

        I don't disrespect religious people or their beliefs. But they are wrong when they say that our government derives from God (that's what the monarchy said and we had a revolution to establish a different kind of government, one that derives from the consent of the governed, who are perfectly free to take their own moral guidance and principles from God).

        I'm also someone who has argued (and agreed) with ihlin for a while now and her characterizations of feminists in particular are as skewed (and false) as the hostile characterizations that people around here make of red state religious folk.

        Here's what I always want to say to the evangelical religious folk who really do want to make over public life in their own vision: If God
        is all powerful, is not the presence of God known even when it is not marked?

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

        by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:03:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We All Have to Remember (none)
          ...that the right's dominance of the religious discouse is the reinforcement of fear and bigotry, not leadership and advocacy of justice.  We don't have a religion deficit, we have a justice deficit.  And we already know that on issues of social justice, Dems win hands down.

          If you listened to BushCo speak about his agenda the other day, he is already planning more long-term damage to families.  The so-called "values" crew have their comfort level on cultural issues, but are set up for serious financial decimation.

          Leadership discourse that has grounding in religious principals is not new to the US -- think of Lincoln or Dr. MLK.  Both provided compelling messages on issues of American civic values and social justice that came from not only religious principle but also from humanist reason.  MLK in particular was brilliant at the mixing of religious discussion with high humanist language that continues to inspire people -- of all religions -- around the world.

          Dems need to remember where they came from -- the great advancements in social justice mostly came from us.  We are mostly not disrespectful of religion, but nor are we good at backpeddling on the justice we can about.  And nor should we be.  The other side made their unyielding vision of the way the world ought to be the centerpiece of their so-called revolution.  So should we.

          Opinions can be argued with. A conviction is best shot. -- T.E. Lawrence

          by cassandra m on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:01:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  On This I Agree (none)
      The responsibility to do what you are advocating doesn't lie with atheists, secularists or agnostics, it lies with the Democrats of faith and the progressive Christians. And it doesn't really lie with the candidates, unless they choose to address it, as individual people of faith.

      What has happened in the past 30 years is that the right wing has hijacked Christian political activism.  Until this generation, political activism among Christians was synonymous with progressive political issues from abolition, to anti-war movement, to empowerment in 3rd World countries.   Falwell, Robertson and their ilk became the face of the Christian activism as opposed to the spiritual successors of Rev. King and Father Drinan taking the lead of the faithful activists.

      I believe that the Pope's edict forcing all Catholic clerics out of secular politics throughout the world had a very large effect on the progressive Christian movement and it was intentional.  The Vatican seriously crippled the Church as a force for social change at a grass roots level with that decision.

      Progressive Christians are the ones who have the responsibility to take the lead in redirecting their religions back to the traditional role of being a force for positive social changes, which is the role Christian activists had for centuries.

  •  Sigh... I'm just going to throw (4.00)
    a couple of points out there, because I was up all night & am too tired to really form a single cohesive argument. Yes, I know the country isn't ready for gay marriage. The issue has been bubbling to the surface for two decades now, mostly due to one reason-- AIDS. Starting in the eighties, you had large numbers of gays, many in committed relationships, facing chronic illness & certain death without any legal status for their chosen partners, many of whom were also infected and who desperately needed both next-of-kin status and rights of inheritance. Plus, of course, many gays' families of origin made a special point of shutting out those who actually loved their children or siblings, out of some sort of righteous, destructive rage. If we could have a do-over in establishing legal marriage, I would make all unions civil ones-- the rights that gays & lesbians want aren't conferred by God or a church anyway, but by the legal code & its recognition of adults' right to form a family based on mutual commitment. No church has ever had to marry any couple of whom it disapproved, and it is dishonest for anyone to claim that that will ever be the case. As it is, we're stuck with an uncomfortable church-state collusion (see, it would be much easier on churches if they weren't involved in the legal part of the process!) that gives religious entities too much stake in civil matters that only should be tangential to their missions. This will probably bring offense, but it has to be said: fundamentalists & minorities need to get a better grip on heterosexual marriage before lashing out at others' relationships. Southern Baptists have higher rates of divorce than atheists; red state residents divorce more than those in blue states. There is a lack of any marriage, not just stable ones, in many minority communities... for very good reasons, of course, but all of the machismo in the world won't bring economic stability to minority men, and all the piety in the world won't make bad marriages better. This rage against gays is primarily another example of right-wing weakness-- trying to weaken others' status to deflect attention from a group's own crumbling ideals. While I agree that progressives could probably stand to communicate our morality better, the truth is that faith talk is mostly marketing technique, and marketing is what the GOP does best. This is not to be confused with substance, however, and while the left does a lousy job marketing, that deficiency pales in comparison to right-wing incompetence in virtually every matter of policy. I recognize that most people aren't critical thinkers-- and fundamentalism tends to discourage the very idea, of course-- but people who cannot think critically, who are uninformed, are generally ill-suited for self-government. If that makes me an elitist, so be it. I'm sure there's more to say, but I have to get through the rest of the day & don't have much time to ponder it.
    •  As a black guy, I am going to shock you (4.00)
      and agree with you about the marriage thing. Just this year, this black conservative family group came out advocating on marriage issues- and what did they discuss- you guessed it- gay marriage. But, what does that have to do with the crisis of family in the Black community? I come from a situation where my mother was not married to my father. Was that due to gays? No. It's due to systemic and structural issues in the Black community and our society in general. The idea that this fake issue- of gay marriage- is somehow the crucial issues that will affect whether black people marry each other or not is just wrong, and ultimately a waste of time b/c the truth is it's sensationalistic, and that's the reason it is being discussed v. dealing with the much more difficult issue of divorce, having children out of wedlock, economic issues, etc.
      •  Massachusetts, home of gay marriage, (3.83)
        has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. The highest? As a group, born-again Christians!

        Oh, yeah, and stem-cell research? Those embryos come from fertility clinics that destroy them anyway. If every embryo is sacred, shut down fertility clinics.

        Abortion? Way down during Clinton, way up during Bush--a statistic reflected around the world, where countries with legal abortion have lower abortion rates, and countries with abortion bans have higher rates as well as much higher fatalities among mothers.

        So pardon me, but the first thing I think of when someone wears Christianity on his sleeve isn't "Jesus-like" but "hypocrite."

        Second, right-wing Christians in America are following the very old pattern of oppressors acting like victims. They feel oppressed not when secularists enforce their will, but when they can't enforce their will on secularists.

        All demographics point to gay issue simply going away. Even young evangelicals don't care about it. Does that help us? No, the fundamentalists will simply find another fake wedge issue.

    •  PS: don't know what happened (none)
      with the formatting on that post... I apologize, because I know it makes it hard to read.
  •  I don't know..... (3.85)
    You think the GOP gets it? The owner of my company buys a table at the Democratic FUndraiser JEfferson-Jackson Dinner every year here in Atlanta. Usually the more right wing officers get the tickets and go to suck down a free meal. This past year it was made sure that I, the most vocal Democrat in the company, got a ticket. While waiting for dinner the 7 wingnuts I was with were talking about the movie Passion and what it meant to them. All 7 said if they could have lunch with anybody, it would be Jesus. They were just so full of the spirit.

    Then the program started, and a popular black minister came out to lead us in prayer. The snickers started from these 7. "Sounds like Abernathy Baptist Church in here." "How dare they use religion at a poliical dinner." "God, this is just disgusting. I wish he would hurry up."

    You see, the Republicans don't get minority evengelicals. They just know how to get your vote. Don't you realize why there are white churches and black churches and Korean churches and hispanic churches? They don't want you in theirs.

    Signature Impaired.

    by gttim on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:17:10 AM PST

  •  Sad, so very sad (4.00)
    That people believe that what Bush wants is a more Christian nation -- waging war, taking money FROM the poor to give to the rich, wanting to stop all abortions but not helping poor women then faced with raising children with no healthcare in poverty.

    Is that the Christian believes that all the evangelicals want us to embrace?  That is not how this Christian belief.  You are trying to force real Christians into the bush/Pat Robertson mold. And since when did being sly, devious, about wanting civil rights become the right thing.  

    Face it.  this is a nation ruled by greedy Christian fakes.  People ask the question, what would Jesus do?  If Jesus were to walk in America today, what would he say?  Vote for bush and believe?  I think he would have a few problems with the money changers in his temple.

    To tell gay people they should hide in their houses and be afraid until you can decide how to "phrase" their rights is beyond my ability to understand caring.

  •  don't forget the (3.66)
    cultural and regional undercurrents...

    Point #1... except for some gay activists who have turned bitter about black churches, most "white elitists" wouldn't say a peep about black churches because we know that they are our allies. Note that they say nothing about fundamentalist Muslims, who have some practices we'd find pretty loathsome, because it's not relevant to the landscape. Remember how people here were outraged that a small town in Michigan didn't want to let a mosque broadcast prayers over a loudspeaker--how many would be outraged if churches did want to broadcast prayers over a loudspeaker. And how many of these "militant atheists" would go out of their way to insult hindus or buddhists (I think being a buddhist is rather fashionable among elitists) or Jews. Are they hypocrites? Not exactly--but you have to get at what they (we) really mean. When your white liberal elitist complains about religion, he or she is really talking about anything to do with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and their ilk. And personally, I think if you're truly aligned with those people, the chasm is just too damned wide to find any common ground. I think the reason why it's easier to accept spirituality in a black church than a white evangelical one, is that you know that the black church isn't in a position to bludgeon you with religion--it hasn't the power. The white evangelical church does. We'd be a lot more accepting of the religious agenda, if the political agenda weren't so loathsome--so let's try as much as possible to remember that they aren't one in the same.

    Point #2 regional differences in how people talk about religion. If you are from the South, Christianity is open, and worked into the fabric of daily life. It is synonymous with being American, I think. I have this weird vision that even if someone like that knew you were a Jew or something, they'd still more or less treat you like a Christian if they liked you. Contrast with the parts of the country where most kossaks (and by extension liberal elitists) come from... In the Northeast, especially, religion is not something you wear on your sleeve. I was watching something about the Queen of England, who, despite being the head of the Anglican church, finds discussing religion in company to be in poor taste. Ditto Episcopalians and many of the mainline prot types in the NE. Anyone have insight on how this works in the midwest and West? So if you are from a more "reticent" area, as most of us are, people who are not so reticent come off as alien.

    Point #3...unfamiliarity. In my long ago religious survey, we found that a number of people here are not only atheists, but had always been atheists. Now this group is way overrepresented in dkos (and by extension in the liberal elite), so it's a fairly small group overall, but I would suspect a relatively vocal group on this website. My husband can be like this at times...he grew up in a family that did "Christmas" and "Easter", but didn't go to church and wasn't "anything". I wasn't anything either, but after 12 years of Episcopal school, I would find myself surprised and perplexed about what he didn't know about the Bible. What was also interesting, though, was how he seems to think that our kids would turn into mushrooms if they were exposed to the least bit of Christianity. I keep pointing out that I survived years of "indoctrination" and emerged neither a believer nor hostile to Christianity. I just made my own decisions--decided it wasn't for me--but retain a lot of fond memories and real affection for the churches and clergy and religious instructors of my childhood. So while I'm as alarmed by Falwell and his ilk as anyone else, I wouldn't lump them in with all "believers" by any stretch, because I'm familiar with people of faith who aren't raving lunatics. If you were never exposed in this way--or if you have really bad memories of your church (as some fallen-aways do), it's hard to remember or realize that not everything is like that.

    I'm going to think that the anti-Christian (along with the anti-Rural, anti-stupid people, anti-gay, anti-Kerry--whatever) backlash is just that--backlash. People lashing out--giving voice to beliefs that they had kept down for the sake of the election or whatever.

    But hm...here's a reticent point of view... after a certain point, lashing out accomplishes little. We need more tolerance all around because we've all got to keep living together. And tolerance means accepting that some people on all sides won't be "converted" and since you can't then deport them or incinerate them, you have to live with them.

    Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

    by JMS on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:21:30 AM PST

    •  What we need less of (none)
       is victimhood and people getting up on the cross like Jesus . We aren't in Heaven. We are on earth where everyone must live. Remember that, and, it makes it easier to get a long.
  •  What a Joke (3.84)
    I live in an urban, integrated community and go to an integrated church that is extremely active. Tonight I will be making cookies for the bake sale.

    Our religious belief is that gays and lesbians are equal to everyone else. And if you want to see a tragic situation, try outlawing abortion.

    How very convenient for you to label people who disagree with you as "elite" or "out of touch". Why don't you acknowledge that many people who disagree with you are very religiously active but  don't share your views.

    And if the African-American community was honest, it would recognize how religion used by  MLK was a wonderful galvanizing force for civil rights, but how religion has also been used to openly attack minorities (racists claimed and probably still do that the Bible "says" white people are superior) and today to try and co-opt them politically.

    It is imperative we start focusing on and yelling about the real moral issues--war, poverty, bigotry--rather than letting ourselves be divided by hate pushed by faux Christian Republicans.

  •  Fine (none)
    No more Jesusfreak jokes.  But you are the exception.  You live in the reality based world.  Most evangelicals don't.  

    I agree completely that we need to make our message more appealing to evangelicals who still live in the reality based world.  Change style, substance, how and where we campaign.  Agree 100%.  But I still believe this country was founded on the separation of church and state.

  •  Only 14% of Democratic voters this year... (3.66)
    were secular?  Where did you get this figure?  I don't believe it, especially if you are implying that 86% are religious, or so-called people of "faith".
    Frankly, those who identify themselves as "evangelicals" are IMO explicitly bigoted, because of their stance on homosexuality in general, not just on gay marriage.  And as one of you said above, black evangelicals can be just as bigoted as whites.    The Republicans are welcome to these people.
    I think a more important comment was the story about  Germond and the  reaction to his atheism.    Evangelicals or people of "faith" have no interest in reaching common ground with  secular people--they simply want secularists (or people who prefer to remain privately religious) to give way to the infusion of more and more religion into the way we talk about politics.  Now,there seems to be a presumption that law and government policy has to be justified on the basis of consistency with religious belief, not on the basis of ideas about social justice, equity and fairness, or even compassion and charity. We have shoved down our throats the idea that "Christianity made this country great"  and we must submit to the idea that all of our democratic ideals are really just tenets of the Christian religion.  Next step in the logic:  all tenets of the Christian religion are principles of our democratic government.
    Baloney.  Christians can consider the commands of their religion and then act accordingly (and STFU).  Let them acknowledge publicly that they are compelled by "faith" to deprive others of freedoms.  But I'm tired of being told that their contribution to the  public discourse is somehow privileged because it's based on religion, but Jack Germond can't speak because his opinions aren't underpinned by "faith."
    •  Excellent (none)
      I am a Theravada Buddhist, along with 100 million other people throughout the world.  God is not part of my life, nor is faith in anything supernatural.  But that doesn't make me entirely a secularist.  The teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Buddha on how people should actually behave towards one another are quite similar.  There are sources other than the Bible for ideas like compassion and ethical behavior.  Everyone who is not an Evangelical Christian is not a live-for-the-day hedonist.
  •  Are you leading? (4.00)
    As a progressive evangelical, will you and some of the other posters step up and lead in your church?  People like me with less religion are, as you say, not well-suited to be pulling progressive Christians into the dialogue.  But you are.  

    I agree that some progressives don't know how to deal with religious folks.  But in my GOTV efforts in poorer black and white neighborhoods, I often ran into Christians and evangelical Christians who were open to discussion with me (a non-believer) about context (regarding abortion), love (regarding gay marriage), and words vs. deeds (regarding the war in Iraq).  If I can have those conversations, surely you can lead larger conversations in a similar way.

    I don't agree that the democratic party needs to fundamentally change its stances.  I do agree that more people within the party need to speak clearly and forcefully about their faith and how it works hand-in-hand with progressivism.  Like Obama.  Like you.

  •  Just a thank you and some observations (4.00)
    First and foremost, thank you for sharing.  It is with dialogue and discussion that we (as democrats and as americans) can find common ground.

    I do believe you are most right in how middle to the far right see democrats and the separation of their political beliefs from any "religious" beliefs.  I also believe that it is wrong to jump to the conclusion that because we see differences in the equility of the world, we reject the notion of a spiritual world, or even our own spiritual progress.

    For me, there are christians and there are "Christians".  The fundemental teaching of christ -  love the lord god with all your heart and all your soul and to love your neighbor (Mark 12:28-32) express the two basic tenents of christianity.

    Second, I believe that the purview of judgement is God's.  Man - any man, from the president to the minister in the pulpit - cannot assume to know the great wonders and universal secrets in God's mind.  When we (humans) judge another, we are taking on God's role and rejecting the commandments of christ to love and show compassion to others.

    Labelling something a sin (homosexuality, gambling, drinking, playing cards, dancing) can be an expression of your faith and how you believe God wants the world to work in your faith structure.  

    You can work to avoid those sins and you can attempt to enlighten others about how they corrupt and separate them from God.  The difficult part is how you balance identification of "sins" with compassion for those others who do not share your belief system and how you keep punishment for these sins in only God's hands.

    I believe that God wants us to learn to love each other (that includes Republicans) and to accept each other because he knows that when we accept someone for who they are, sins and all, we see the magnificance of Gods love, who loves us even greater than how we can love someone.  And he loves us - sins and all - as a parent loves their child.  Not accepting the "bad" behavior, but knowing that their child's heart is pure and that the parent's love transends the temporal time and space.

    Thank you again.  I hope to read more of your entries as time progresses.  All of us here (and even "over there") have to come to grips with the idea that God's wonder is outside of our understanding. Everything works to God's wonder and to God's plan.

  •  I have a nephew who (none)
    restored some of my Christian beliefs I have lost in the 4 years.  He is a born again, saved youth in his early 20's.  He told me that he KNOWS what he believes is correct, but that does not make what others believe wrong.  If more "Christians" had this kind of tolerance there would be no church and state issues, no hate-based (Jerry Falwell, et el) followers.
  •  Thanks, ihlin. (none)
    This is absolutely true.  As I said on another thread, the difference between black and white evangelicals is that the black church takes social justice seriously.  Dems can build a bridge on that score.

    The work that will need to be done is change the perception that white secular Dems are radical advocates of abortion and gay rights.  (Notice that I'm not say they actually need to back off on the advocacy; it's the perception that needs to change.)  At the same time, the black community is going to need to accept some kind of trade-off:  social progressivism in exchange for economic development.  

    That, in my opinion, is how Bill Clinton became the "first black president."  He could sell that kind of deal to the black church in a way that Howard Dean or John Kerry never could.  John Edwards might be able to, but it'll take some time and effort to get there.

    On the other hand, he's got four years.

  •  Good thread. (3.71)
    I don't like the choices being made but I applaud the analysis.  Very well written.

    First, a caveat. Some white progressives have trouble with evangelicals, others with faith.  I believed as a Jew for a long time now I am struggling.  My mother is now a Unitarian.  I'd say she leads a life of faith but differs markedly about notions of homosexuality being sinful.

    To be quite honest, I've never understood why some may think, if they do think, that God needs their help to identify and punish sin.  If I want to go to the hell others believe exists, why is it your concern or if not yours than some other evangelical?

    Does God need your help in doing His work?  I have always thought of that has being the height of vanity.  God destroyed Egypt by Himself did he not?  He didn't outsource the job, if I read correctly.

    Did God really want that worshipper to vote for Bush or is that worshipper afraid that God will punish them if they do not?  Does God punish all within "a culture" if some displease Him.  Has He no power to discriminate?

    Who stands at the center of this culture?  Jesus Christ?  Really?  I didn't know we were a Christian culture.

    What does God think of voting for the man who led us into a war whose need was debatable?  What if God is a staunch pacifist?  What if the blood of the decapitated is now on the Bush voter's hands in the eyes of God?

    To know the will of God is very tricky.  Maybe God can take care of His affairs on His own and this is more personal, more mortal an affair.

    And I don't imagine God is going to descend and leave on my doorstep a year's worth of health insurance, with a Blue Cross and a Blue Shield.  Not that God isn't with me when I am ill, but I am not a Christian Scientist.

    Bush talks the talk, but does he walk the walk?  How well do we truly know God's will?

    I guess that is what I would say to the Bush voter who dwells in faith.  And I find how some evangelicals have treated me and my kind a little rough to take.  Why does God need a mortal to tell another that they are a sinner?

    But I do nor write to shoot the messenger.  

    Hopefully Obama and others can counter this.

    Kerry and Edwards came out against gay marriage and said leave it to the states.  What more does an evangelical want? Another evangelical perhaps?

    Maybe Bush won not because of gays or Gavin or Judge New Englander but because Bush is just like them.  Maybe folks just like voting their own kind.

    So what do you counsel, that we either confront prejudice, cater to it, or cater to it before election day and betray it afterwards?

  •  WRONG WRONG WRONG (4.00)
    NO, we do not need to pander to everybody religious. There is a reason that this country was founded on the basis of religious freedom, and that was to keep religions from being either impeded by the state or have a state religion impose its will upon a minority.  The post above talks about making faith an important part of the democratic platform.

    BULLSHIT.

    Anyone who has a christian faith that does not allow them to support the democratic platform is clearly unable to think deeply about their faith, or about what democracy and the democratic party stands for.  The democratic party is centered, currently at least, on the most christian values that exist: charity, forgiveness, understanding, faith in the ability to improve, putting aside individual material wealth (higher taxes) for a more noble cause (increased standards of living.  Our foriegn policy is as close to non-christian as can be --- (very papist and crusader-ish, but not that christian).

    We need to keep the focus on economic, social, environmental, and foreign policy related concerns.  And we need to do it on a LOCAL AND STATE SCALE.

    Lets leave the bigotted "christian" states to do whatever they want..... but in our blue states, we must focus on economics, environment, social concerns, and good science (like Cali just did).
    Pandering and talking about faith is not the way to REALLY win the day, but it CAN lose for us democracy's vital separation of church and state.

    For example, if we start talking about how important faith (and lets be upfront here, EVERYBODY MEANS CHRISTIANITY) can be for us, and out politicians and our country..... than how do we stop people like Judge Roy Moore and others who seek to bring Christianity farther and farther into the public sphere.  We already are subjected to God Bless America every time we turn around.  We would get branded hypocrites, or have to make Kerry-esque statements of how we voted for our faith before we voted against it.  I dont think anybody wants to hear the republican attack dogs on that topic.  If we give in, then every Muslim, Jew (except the stupid ones), Buddhist and Hindu, etc... living in this country will be oppressed religiously, and we will have brought about the destruction of separation of church and state.

    Everybody move to the blue states and focus on making our states the best.... the bigots will learn when they have no jobs, no education, and no chance of improving their life.  Lets see if they can handle living in the same state as a married gay couple for the chance at a better life.
     

    •  It's wishful thinking (4.00)
      When Democrats tried to talk like "real people", or what their textbooks suggests were real people, they kept on losing. They are not flaming liberals. Kerry had a moderate or conservative stance on issues ranging from gay rights to Iraq.

      A majority of Americans support civil unions, gays in the military, and non-discrimination laws. The last two have a HUGE majority, around 70-75%. I refuse to accept that we are supposed to slit our wrists and keen and wail and bash gays until the fundies come calling. Running far to the right is not goign to bring us any new voters. It will just embolden Republicans to move even further to the right.

      Democrats need to have a fucking backbone.

  •  Colorado is a really odd example (4.00)
    Bush won CO handily in 2000, when gay marriage wasn't an issue. This year, he won by a smaller margin. You boast about Hispanics voting for Bush, and how this is a horrible sign for Colorado's future, but Hispanics also voted for both Salazar brothers, who oppose the anti-gay amendment and take a hands-off policy on abortion rights, and they also helped to give Democrats control of the state legislature for the first time in decades. These were rural areas that helped elect Democrats. Suburban and rural areas in Montana, Minnesota and Oregon elected many new Democrats this year. Did these people just not get your memo that they won't ever vote for a Democrat?

    You need to realize that there is a difference between people who think that homosexuality is a sin and people who vote against same-sex marriage. Maybe it's because you only spend your time around people who hate gays and want gays dead, but you seem to believe that because a lot of religious people fear and hate gays, Democrats should pander to them, because then they'll vote for Democrats. What you don't mention is that these people never, ever vote for Democrats. They didn't vote for Clinton, who bashed gays to get reelected. They didn't vote for Gore, who barely ever mentioned gays.

    In spite of the fact that same-sex marriage was a huge issue for the extremely bigoted black community, the total that supported Bush barely nudged up 1-2%. You use Ohio as an example, but the black vote wouldn't have saved Kerry there. Inez Tenenbaum didn't support gay rights, and she still lost a fair amount of the black vote to DeMint. Are you saying that Democrats should support firing gay teachers, and calling gays "dikes" and "faggots", like DeMint does, in order to keep the black vote?

    These scare tactics about how basic human rights are driving away minority voters and "people of faith" and the guilt-tripping because some Democrats don't believe homosexuality is a sin is a meme that does nothing but drive away even more voters without attracting new ones. A MAJORITY of America opposes the federal marriage amendment. They continue to oppose it. A strong majority of Democrats oppose the federal amendment. The day that the Democrats support this amendment to pander to those who will never vote for them is the day that many, many loyal progressives will turn their backs and never look back.

    For all the talk of out-of-touch Democrats, I really do feel that your comments and comments by others are equally out of touch. You make fundamentalists seem like the Waltons, poor victims who have been tricked and shaken to pieces by evil liberals. The truth is that most of them are extremely prejudiced, hostile boors who enjoy causing others to feel pain. They only want power. They resent the poor, they resent the diverse, they resent logic of questioning our role in the universe.

    These people are killing America and nothing will ever cause them to support Democrats. I think that if you spend more time with them, you'll see that.

    •  This post is right on the mark (none)
      The one thing I add is that the black church needs to reform itself from within and see that coming out against homosexuality is no better than racism.  And if this post brings some outrage, then so be it.  

      But the fact of the matter is that before the civil rights era, there were many churches still preaching the religious degradation of black people (this was based on Cain's descendants being described as dark in the bible).

      So maybe the black church needs to LEAD the way of christians away from the right wing, but they need to do it through sensible theology which acknowledges differences and the fallibility of the bible.  Start accepting homosexuality as simply a difference and not a mortal sin, something that murder (Iraq), Lying(the president) and stealing (Halliburton) infact are.  I havent heard any conservative black churches preaching the Cain story lately...stop preaching against homosexuality   WAKE UP

    •  Too much generalization. (none)
      All we need to do is peel off the smallest piece of the left-most flank of "those people".      While broadening the coalition at other points as well.
    •  Agreed (4.00)
      The day that the Democrats support this amendment to pander to those who will never vote for them is the day that many, many loyal progressives will turn their backs and never look back.

      This needs to be said loudly. I see gay rights as a core civil rights  and freedom issue. Equal protection under law. Period.

      On my list of priorities and non-negotiables this principle is near the top. I will not stand for a party that endorses laws of unequal rights, for any reason, for any one. I have stood against racists regardless of their sexuality, I will stand against bigots regardless of their race.

      To my eyes, the Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion in our laws. That includes your religion no matter how much you believe in it. I would also remind the thread's initial author that there is such a thing as freedom from religion.

      So if people want to have a fight over criminalizing and discriminating against gay people because their religion says its sinful, then they need to ask themselves where that comes down on their list of priorities. Because if they aren't ready to break our coalition over it, then we are better off focusing on something else.

      The fact is that Karl Rove is bathing in champagne at this very moment knowing he achieved what racists have dreamed about for generations: splitting the AA voting bloc. Some AA evangelicals chose Bush...what will they get in return for that over the next four years?

    •  I disagree in part (4.00)
      Blacks didn't vote for Bush- the numbers don't bare it out. So rather than bringing your own prejudice to this issue focus on the actual facts. Also, blacks are no more likely to be prejudice against gays than whites. Another unproven popular myth. At some point differing minority groups have got to realize when the CW isn't CW but is a play at separating them. In fact, if you ever bothered to talk to black Christians about the issue as a civil rights issues you would be surprised how many of them yu could convince if you actually tried. The guy above is not rep'ing anyone but the people he knows. I could match him person for person once they are talked to about the subject as how the system tries to take away people's rights and is this fair? Reducing it to religion only leads to circular conversations that get know where. But our unique understanding of being 2nd class citizens in the US does if it is used not as a "We are just like you", but I am being discriminated against, and here's how approach does often work.
  •  Hispanic community (none)
    Has anyone seen the exit polls which detail why Hispanics voted the way they did in places like New Mexico (44% of the vote!!!!!) and Arizona?   The only thing that I can think of is that Hispanics have an inherent distrust of politicians who make lots of promises, a tendency that Kerry exhibited quite often.   I attended a voter forum put on by NALEO this year and when the issue of gay marriage came up, all the participants said that it didn't concern them at all.   The forum took place in several cities with high concentrations of Latino voters and to my knowledge, in none of the cities, did the issue of gay marriage strongly resonate.

    What Hispanic voters DID care about is character and integrity.   When voters were asked to compare the two candidates, they cited Bush's very clear positions (even if they disagreed with them)as having appeal.  Hispanic voters knew where Bush stood. They were not so sure about Kerry.  Check out the comparisons for yourself in this link for a  Battleground States voter forum summary.  

    http://www.naleo.org/VocesReport_II_final.pdf

    we will fan the flames of our anger and pain/til you feel the shame of what you do in God's name

    by Michi on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:51:32 AM PST

    •  All polls have shown that (none)
      Hispanics have the same disapproval rating on same-sex marriage as whites. Nowhere near as high as blacks. Hispanics also helped Democrats make BIG gains in Colorado, up and down the ticket. Where was the anger at gays then?

      Bush has always been popular among Hispanics and that was bound to increase over 4 years.

      I don't think that Hispanics are really that much more anti-gay than whites are. And throwing around New Mexico, a state that Gore only lucked out in winning 4 years ago, doesn't disprove my point.

      •  Bush (none)
        No, he was not terrribly popular.  He did nowhere near as well in the 2000 elections as he did in the 2004 elections.  

         

        we will fan the flames of our anger and pain/til you feel the shame of what you do in God's name

        by Michi on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:49:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again (none)
        wrong about Blacks- who do you think disproportionately voted for Kerry while Latino and White voters went for Bush?
      •  Cultural, not Religious (none)
        With Hispanics, the homosexual issue is not one so much of religion as it is cultural.

        Speaking as a Puerto Rican, I can tell you that a majority of Latino society was (and to some extent still is) very patriarchal, emphasizing male dominance. It's a culture that derives pride from conquest, dominance, and strength.

        That's not to say that they don't value social issues such as civil rights etc. But in terms of homosexuality, it's contradictory to what they are used to.

        When I was a child in Puerto Rico, I was the only boy in an extended family that included 5 girls. And I wasn't the oldest, but I got ALL the attention. It wasn't until I moved to States spent considerable time with my father's family that I learned that that's not quite how things work.

        If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

        by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:28:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  NM Catholic Vote (none)
        for Kerry was 63%, that was a whopper and I think it came from the Latino community. That is one of the silver linings in this whole thing.

        One NM problem I have heard is the whole NM/TX relationship. Bush was supposed to have had a good relationship with NM and so they tended to respond well to him.

        Nonetheless, Kerry getting 63% of the Catholic vote, including >50% of the weekly Mass attendees is awesome.

    •  Huh? (none)
      didn't Kerry win the majority of the Latino vote (aroung 58%)?

      "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

      by Passing Shot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:29:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  58% (none)
        Is 58% something to crow about considering that the Hispanic community has trended Democratic?

        Bush made gains in the Hispanic community, but I don't believe it's because Republican policy, even its social policy, holds great appeal to Hispanics.  I think it came down to an issue of trust. For whatever reason, Hispanics trusted Bush more than Kerry. (Ironic, isn't it?)  I honestly believe that it's not a trend which will hold in future elections, unless of course, the Democratic Party continues its policy of showing up in the town every 2 to 4 years to tell Hispanics to do their duty and show up at the polls.

        we will fan the flames of our anger and pain/til you feel the shame of what you do in God's name

        by Michi on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:46:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not something to crow about, (none)
          but when you draw comparisons between the 2 candidates such as "The only thing that I can think of is that Hispanics have an inherent distrust of politicians who make lots of promises, a tendency that Kerry exhibited quite often" and "Hispanic voters knew where Bush stood. They were not so sure about Kerry", you imply that Bush did better than Kerry in garnering their vote.  And to argue that Kerry pandered and Bush didn't is patently absurd in light of the facts.

          "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

          by Passing Shot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:18:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Making inroads (none)
            Bush definitely did much better at gaining ground in the Hispanic community.   I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why, when Bush's positions are so opposed to true Hispanic issues, and then I came across the Naleo forum summary which expresses voter concerns about Kerry and his inability to articulate where he stood on the issues.   I also just happen to know that Hispanics have an inherent distrust of politicians who make promises rather than tell you what they plan on doing. Kerry's 'I have a plan' is the sort of thing that grates on Hispanics' nerves.

            And of course I realize that Bush is untrustworthy defined, which is why I mentioned that it was ironic that such high percentages of Latinos came out for Bush in places like Arizona and New Mexico.  

            I remember that Richardson was interviewed a few days before the election and he said that Kerry had a good chance of getting the Southwest states, including Colorado, because Hispanics, which make up large percentages in states like New Mexico and Arizona, would come out for Kerry.   They didn't. They went to Bush.

            we will fan the flames of our anger and pain/til you feel the shame of what you do in God's name

            by Michi on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 12:54:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Hispanic community (none)
          has been shifting more and more towards the GOP over the past decade. It wasn't just this year.
  •  And keep posting, please (none)
    Really good thread.
    •  Some of the comments are interesting, (none)
      but this is nothing that hasn't been said before.

      Democrats need to bash gays and get hysterical about abortion in order to win office.

      That's the message, and it's clear that many people believe this. I oppose abortion, but not enough that it's my main issue. I can tell you right now that the people who vote for Republicans because of abortion will never, ever support a Democrat.

      People who want the party to move further to the right and abandon many of their voters will probably get their wish, so I hope they're enjoying all this.

      •  chill James (4.00)
        Democrats need to bash gays and get hysterical about abortion in order to win office. That's the message....

        No - that's not the message of this diary. You should read it again. This is a dialogue that needs to happen. PEOPLE ARE HOMOPHOBIC. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with, and it can and will be dealt with. Nobody is saying to bash gays, but if you want to get 51% of the vote, you need to learn how to appeal to people who are afraid of gay marriage. If you don't want these bigots on your team, you can lose. I don't think these people are bad people - I just think they've been raised in a culture that hates gays, just like our grandparents were raised in a culture that hated blacks. It takes time and we need to talk about how we're going to win these people over.

        •  I am offended by this (3.66)
          Someone who is homophobic is not acting in abad way? This is a kin to say someone who calls me "nigger" is not a bad person because he can be convinced on other issues to support me. Some things truly are about morals man- and I don't mean the easy ones. As a black guy- it would be easy for people to abandon me. It's certainly politically easy to do so because more than the gay issue the Dems woudl regain the south by abandoning blacks. See the lack of principles in that? We are loser in the short term. I wish people will deal with their own shit- making one group the scapecoat for prejudice sake is not the answer. And, please don't tell me I didn't read your post- I did. It's offensive on so many moral levels that I can't begin to help you even get close to an understanding of God- the chosen were the minority in their time- to abandon someone because they are now- is repulsive.
          •  it goes like this (none)
            First, I didn't mean to offend anyone. I'm a hispanic, and I've been called plenty of things. I know what discrimination is like. I've been the victim of it by police, classmates, etc.

            I'm not saying it's ok to be racist or homophobic. All I'm saying is that it's a product of the society that these people were raised in. I don't think that makes them bad people. Apparently you disagree with me. I have good friends of mine who call me a "spic" thinking that I think it's funny and that because they're friends with me it's fine. No, it's not fine, but you know what - they are good people. They just don't get it. All of them voted for Kerry. All of them believe in the same things I believe in, and I won't count them out or stop being friends with them just because they don't GET IT yet. I made it clear to them that what they did hurt me, and they stopped doing it. Not everyone has an on/off switch that can turn bigotry off. It's not that simple.

      •   it was to the thread's author (none)
        I was worried he'd only read what I wrote as a smackdown of evangelicals.
  •  finally (none)
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
  •  I've been thinking about this issue (none)
    much the past few days also. And I have to admit, that I have lumped stupid people, Billionaires for Bush with no social conscience, and religious right wing nuts, into the group that voted for Bush.  I think the majority of people in this country have some kind of religious belief.  I feel very strongly, however, that many of our wars, social issues, and historical problems have come from people either trying to push their faith onto others, or using their interpretation of the Bible to force others to do what they believe is correct.  

    I HATE when people try to force their opinion on others and think that everyone that doesn't believe in their religion is wrong.  That is part of my problem with many organized religions that teach that is you don't follow their exact code, you are going straight to hell.  Too many people sit in a church on Sunday, then go out and treat people horribly every other day of the week.

    I believe mainly in the religion of treating people right and doing the right thing.  I believe in letting people, for the most part, live their life the way they choose, unless it somehow interferes with MY rights or someone elses.  

    I have had many discussions with fundamentally religious friends about Bush and how people can think he is a good Christian.  The Thou Shall Not Kill commandment has always seemed like a pretty big one to me.  Do they think that God only meant Americans?  The way Bush used the death penalty in Texas was appalling to me.  Remember the way he MOCKED the Born Again Christian who begged for her life when he denied clemency?  

    I often think that we may never know who is right and who is wrong in many of these religious debates.  My feeling is that there are going to be an awful lot of people that spent their time on earth publically pointing out their ideas of sinners, preaching hate instead of love, and teaching intolerance that are going to be in for one BIG suprise when they find themselves at the Pearly Gates.  

    •  So do many Christians (none)
      I believe in letting people, for the most part, live their life the way they choose, unless it somehow interferes with MY rights or someone elses.

      We just have to activate in their minds that aspect of their beliefs.

      I agree with your comments overall, but it isn't about "secularists vs the religious".  The Republicans are more than happy to frame things that way.  And we tend to go along with it.  The truth is, it's about "loving vs hating" and we have to highlight the love in religion and claim it as our own.

      The Republicans have claimed the old testament.  The new testament is there for us, we just have to grab it.  If we have the guts to do so.

      And I'm writing this as someone who considers himself a "spiritual agnostic", if people can wrap their heads around that.

  •  I'm black... (4.00)
    ...aethiest (for lack of a better term), and I ain't budgin'. I grew up religious and got over it.

    I just have a lot of trouble accepting a religious document(s) that contradict(s) so much of what I believe.  I don't understand how I'm supposed to communicate with someone whose beliefs are 180 degrees away from mine and make no sense to me. Religion did so much damage to my family and me over the years, I want nothing to do w/ it.

    Sorry, we've made enough concessions already. I'll work w/ the segment of the black community that's willing to view things from a holistic African worldview and go from there, not a co-opted Western religious stance.

    AyanEva

    •  That's not very politic.. (4.00)
      and this is politics we're talking!
      I think we do need to find a way to be more open and inclusive. And a way to put the TRUTH about us out there.

      I grew up religious too, and I can't stand the perception that Republicans somehow own Jesus. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry - all deeply religious. And I'm not talking, make an appearance at church for the cameras religious - each of them grew up going to church, and never left their faith, even during those young adult years when they most people drift away.
      John Kerry would leave his anti-Catholic prep school on Sundays to go to his Catholic church.

      There is a seperation of church and state, and people on the left respect that. But we have to find a way to let the truth about us (most of us have a faith) known. And then to steer the discussion away from red herring issues like gay marriage back to truly important, life impacting issues, like war, economy, healthcare...

      Rev. Al Sharpton did it perfectly in one glib line:
      "The issue is not who you go to bed with. The issue is whether either of you have a job when you get up in the morning,"

      •  Missed opportunities (none)
        I do wish Kerry had done a lot more talking about his faith-- particularly the part about being an isolated Catholic in the 1960s, and the stigma of skipping out of school on Sundays so he could attend Mass. I'd like to think a lot of Catholics would have reacted to that and remembered that there was a time when they were a minority viewed with suspicion, and maybe Kerry would have done a better job of winning that vote. Maybe Kerry could have given people second thoughts about issues like school prayer if he could have talked about the feeling of knowing that the prayer everyone else was whispering was being sent up to a Protestant God.

        Maybe Kerry could have talked about his own family's history-- the fact that his grandfather came to the U.S. and decided he had to leave behind the Jewish faith and become Christian. He could have talked about the fact that while he has been nourished and sustained by the Catholic faith, it's a wonderful thing that America now is a country where people no longer feel like they have to change religions just because they're living in a new country.

        Maybe Kerry could have done a little more preaching in mainstream white Protestant churches and not only black churches.

  •  Forgive a repost, but (4.00)
    I really do think we're talking around the real issue.  The real issue is message, not content.  Democrats are the party of compassion, the real followers of the teachings of Christ.  And that comes from a Jew.  We're just doing a TERRIBLE job of pointing that out, and we missed a wonderful opportunity.  So please consider the following:

    It makes me nauseus to agree with you, but perhaps I must.  But first I've got to figure out how many evangelicals really voted from religious fervor, and how many voted from hate disguised as religious fervor, or zealotry disguised as religious fervor.  If they hate (fear) gays, or they think abortion providers and their patients should be summarily executed, no amount of feeding the poor will reach them.  They are the modern day Baptists pointing to the Bible to justify slavery and subhuman treatment of blacks.  If, on the other hand, they are truly striving to be Christ-like, they MIGHT be reachable.

    We, as Democrats, made a big mistake.  Had we identified fundamentalist Christianity better as the primary issue, we had a wonderful spokesman.  He's not much respected for his tenure as President (talk about a guy handed a shit sandwich then blamed for the cuisine), but is a far better Christian than Falwell or Robertson.  Of course, I'm talking about Jimmy Carter.  He could have been front and center, talking about REAL Christian values, about building homes for the homeless, feeding the starving, making lives for people to welcome children instead of making parenthood an insurmountable burden, etc.  In all those areas, he has credibility, and he speaks the language.  Perhaps, while there is time (he's not getting younger), he could start taping a whole series of 'Why Democrats Love Christ, and Show It Every Day' spots.  If he's still around, wonderful. If he's not, (sorry for the cynicism) so much the better.

    We don't need to change our message.  We need to enlist the messengers who know Democrats are better citizens, better neighbors, and quite frankly better people, than Republicans.  In this way we can actually be more who we are, more liberal (there I said it, liberal, fuck "progressive," I'm not ashamed), and, dare a Jew say it (and remember, Christ was a Jew, Paul was the Christian), more Christ-like.

    •  You hit it. (4.00)
      "But first I've got to figure out how many evangelicals really voted from religious fervor, and how many voted from hate disguised as religious fervor, or zealotry disguised as religious fervor.  If they hate (fear) gays, or they think abortion providers and their patients should be summarily executed, no amount of feeding the poor will reach them."

      This is spot-on.  It's true that we progressives need to craft a narrative that resonates with people of faith, but it doesn't mean we have to abandon what we stand for.  My problem with ihlin's diary is that s/he seems to accept at face-value the rationales of the faithful that their votes are grounded in faith, rather than bigotry.  I'm not so sanguine about their motivations.

      "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

      by Passing Shot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:36:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is topics such as this (4.00)
    That make me question even more whether I even belong in this country.  

    My view is that religion is a personal matter.  That the Constitution has erected (thankfully) a wall between church and state. That it is our constitutional right to not have someone else's religion forced upon us by the govenment.

    Those who want to tear down the wall are, to put it simply, un-American.  I believe GW Bush is un-American, and I believe the views of those who want to inject their religion into the government are un-American.

    I will resist it at every opportunity.  And if it becomes irresistable, I will leave this land, because it no longer will be the United States of America.  It will have become a cruel, fascist, theocracy.  

    This nation is on a knife's edge.  We are leaning into the abyss below.  And a large number of religious fanatics appear to want to push us in.

    •  "It does me no harm.... (3.85)
      ...that my neighbor worships 20 gods...or no God"-Thomas Jefferson

      "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions...."Thomas Jefferson

      That right there embodies I think why so many "white elite liberals" are uncomfortable discussing faith in public. It's supposed to be that way.

      I recommend to everybody that they read Thomas Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists. This letter was a response to letter sent to Jefferson by the Danbury Baptists expressing their fears that a national religion would be established. At the time the era's Religious Right Wing was pushing to declare a national religion. Jefferson wrote back saying that the "Wall" was erecting for the sole purpose of not only protecting individuals from religion, but to protect religion itself. And this is coming from a man who professed to being a "Materialist" and has actually called the Bible a "dung heap" (his words, not mine). You'd think if there was anybody who would be hostile to religion, it would be him. And he wasn't alone among the Founding Fathers either.

      The main issue (and I agree with the original poster) is how we frame the issue and get the message out. Thomas Jefferson proved that we don't have to be hostile to religion, but we don't have to be subservient to it either.

      If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

      by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:34:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Moving from conservative divinity school... (2.50)
    To atheism, I must agree and disagree with your diary.

    I agree that Democratic candidates did not reckon with "faith-based" issues; it cost Kerry plenty of evangelical Hispanic votes in New Mexico.

    But, let's be honest.

    This boils down to one deliberately divisive wedge issue -- gay rights.

    I call it that, not gay marriage, even though gay marriage is how BushCo frames it.

    And, as an independent progressive, I hope Democrats are prepared to spend a season in the wilderness before pandering for church votes, while practicing "the bigotry of soft bigotry" through co-signing anti-gay bigotry.

    Rights, liberties and dignities can be expressed as spiritual values, but if scorched-earth cultural warfare needs to be expressed in religious terms, then the Democrats just need candidates who are prepared to do that.

    "There is no god, and I am his prophet."

    by steverino on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:18:04 AM PST

  •  Your point about NARAL and pro-choice groups (none)
    I agree with your point about the message to a great degree. I spent a lot of time with Dem activists in this election and when the topic turned to abortion, even many of them did not realize that abortion rates went down during Clinton and up during Reagan and Bush because abortions are so closely tied to economic issues. The Repubs want to make it all about "morals" and Dems want to make it all about "stay away from my body." Abortion is primarily about economic issues and the lack of a community-based childcare network. If we can get the message out that abortion goes down when those Democratic issues are addressed, we may be able to make inroads into the "morality" votes, at least on this topic. It's a tough road, though. We've been a one-note party on the topic: "choice."

    Ironically, the problem for many, many people faced with an unexpected pregnancy is that they feel they have no choice. Without a network of support and economic strength to properly raise a child, they feel they can't have the baby.

    •  asdf (4.00)
      Part of the problem is that for many of the evangelical community, they have no desire to prevent unwanted pregnancy, either.

      Look at the red states where sex ed consists of "just don't" without mention of birth control or disease prevention.  We have pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill, or even standard birth control pills, because of their religious beliefs.  Wal-Mart won't even stock the morning after pill.

      It isn't about preventing abortions at all, if it was the religious community would be in favor of birth control and education, universally agreed to be the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy.  
      Their goal seems to be something even more disturbing.  They want fewer abortions because they want more women having children.

      •  sex=bad (none)
        I think that's what the more fundamental (pun intended) message from many religious folks is.  No sex before (heterosexual) marriage.

        Reclaiming the "L" word for America!

        by billlaurelMD on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:22:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You're right (4.00)
        Check out a lot of the articles by the Cultural Conservatives in the National review, among others.

        They constantly harp on the population decline in Europe, and how it will eventually be Muslim and non-European due to demographics. Its yet another code phrase concept...what they are really saying is that they want more breeding, so we remain a nice Christian nation fist and foremost, and for White Evangelicals...white and christian preferentially.

  •  My SO actually came up with this... (4.00)
    Since we're both Catholic (and doctors-to-be) the issue of abortion is a tough one for both of us.  Neither of us would ever countenance the idea of personally performing an abortion, nor would we want one for ourselves or our family or friends.  BUT, we both understand that for some people in certain situations, abortion is absolutely the right thing to do.  Furthermore, outlawing abortions just brings us back to coat-hangar days and massive numbers of poor women dying or showing up in ED's with out-of-control sepsis and pelvic inflammatory disease.  That is a humanitarian travesty as well as a HUGE drain on our already-stretched-to-the-limit health care system.

    But how to frame this so people realize why outright bans on abortion are not a good idea?  My SO said the line should be, "I'm not pro-choice and I'm not pro-life.  Abortion is a terrible procedure and no one goes around asking for one.  But, until we promote our values and fight for social justice and health care for all, we cannot overturn Roe v. Wade. Let us create a society where Roe v. Wade and abortion is unnecessary.  Until then, we cannot turn a blind eye to this problem."

    The slogan shouldn't be pro-choice, it should be fight for a society where Roe v. Wade isn't necessary.  This reframes the abortion issue from one about faith (since you can say you personally do not support abortion) to one about social justice and progress (supposedly an ideal shared by all).  And you can hammer it home with the pro-life crowd by saying you look forward to a day when we don't need Roe v. Wade and that you're actively working toward that day.

    Let's make Roe v. Wade irrelevant.  I know this may anger some feminist wings, but we need to separate the woman's control issue from the faith issue as well.  I think we can all agree that no one wants to see abortions done willy-nilly on a whim.

  •  Do Democrats Even Care About Marriage? (none)
         That can be a perfectly valid question for a deeply religious person who is troubled about the gay marriage issue.  To them, the way many Democrats discuss the issue SEEMS to indicate a basic indifference about the institution. It SEEMS that Democrats are saying "marry shmarry, who cares who marries whom, etc..".  It's like Norman Lear's notion of You Like Your Eggs Scrambled, I Like 'Em Fried So What's The Big Deal Here.
         An historical parallel comes to mind: The Lincoln-Douglas debate over popular sovereignty and slavery extension. Douglas' view was that it didn't matter whether slavery was voted up or voted down in a territory so long as there as a popular vote on it.  He insisted that he didn't care less about slavery itself. Lincoln of course took the view that since slavery is inherently evil, it DOES matter how you feel about it and its extension or non-extension matters,too. Indifference is not an option. Who was right?
         How does all the foregoing apply to us? Simply that the institution of marriage is not a matter of indifference to millions of our fellow Americans, nor should it be a matter of indifference to us.  Strong marriages. Strong families.  That's what America should be all about.  That's also one of those areas where Democrats can be proactive, arguing for pro-family policies(regardless of the family's composition).  It's not only right, it's good tactics because it Changes The Subject and shifts the ground of the debate from straight vs. gay to strengthening families in general.
         When you talk about an issue the way your opponents want to you to talk about it, you're just jumping through a hoop being held out by them.  The Democrats have done it often in the past, and bingo, they did it again this time around over gay marriage.
           
    •  Easy (none)
      Point out that the despised state of Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rates in the Nation.

      Seems to me like Democratics like being married.

      If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

      by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:37:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's A Good Start, But (none)
        A Democratic pro-family theme has to go much farther than that.  It has to frame policies that favor strong families in ways that address specific economic worries, such as job security, health benefits, and education.  In other words, if strong families make a morally stronger America and universal health insurance strengthens families, then universal health insurance becomes more than some wonky lefty policy proposal.  It becomes a Moral Issue--and it is.  
        •  I'm more than a little uncomfortable (3.66)
          with the language of "strong families", since it suggests forced marriage, authoritarianism, and even domestic violence.  Marriage is not always good and is not always the answer. Same with "strong families".  Remember that in some of the strongest of "strong" families, seeped in the tradition of evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity, children can (and unfortunately are) still drowned in their bathtubs.  There are very progressive reasons why the critique of the family values world view were raised in the first place, and much of the discussion about "strong families" (like much of the discussion about gay marriage and abortion) is not simply a discussion about families or marriage) but about fighting the tolerance that people have for progressive ideals.  Listen to what the TV ministers say about gay marriage, they aren't just upset with gay marriage, they are upset with the fact that people aren't outraged at the idea of gay marriage.  The "threat" to marriage, isn't that individual or existing marriages will be ruined, but that people might come to see marriage as something different than what they "know" it to be.

          If you reintroduce the original progressive politics that underlie many of these social issues (rather than trying to make it a cut and dried pragmatic policy issue) then you can speak to moral issues.  But the Democratic party also abandoned that path.  If someone is deeply and morally opposed to abortion, telling them that people will have them anyway so we want to keep them safe isn't going to do it. You have to tell them why you believe that legalized abortion is, in fact, a moral choice.  For me, its moral because of the progressive political philosophy that underlies it.  Because for me, morality is not cut and dried.  That's respect.    

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

          by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:45:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Strong Families..." (none)
                 Sorry about the word choice.  I didn't mean "strong" in the sense of patriarchal, etc., but strong in the sense of "cohesive".  A cohesive family is one that isn't torn apart by economic forces beyond the family's control.  It should be a matter of social and moral responsibility to ensure that such forces as job loss or lack of health benefits don't disrupt families however those families are constituted.  And the best way to do that is not to slap charity bandaids on the situation but to make sure the good jobs and adequate benefits are there to begin with.
            •  Sorry (none)
              for the explosion; its a real sore spot with me, but is one of those things I don't get to say very often because of the general consensus that "strong families" are a good thing.  This seemed like an appropriate place to air it.

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

              by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:21:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  How about "healthy families"? (none)
                That avoids the authoritarian and hierarchical connotations of the word "strong," and opens up the possibility to talk about families in a broader sense than the narrow and historically uncommon model of nuclear families.

                Or does this just come across as wishy-washy, wimpy liberalism? I really can't comprehend the traditional view of families, so maybe I'm just tone deaf to speaking on this issue.

                Rhetorically, I'm OK with "strong families" if it works with the broader population, so long as when we talk about it we explain that it means something broader than the narrow model. I'd like the Democrats to say:

                "We support marriage rights for all, because marriage builds strong families for everyone. Some people want to weaken families by preventing people from choosing to marry when it would strengthen their commitment to each other and their families. We believe this is wrong. And we believe it's wrong to divide people because their families look a little different. Single parents with children and step-families and families with gay parents and families with adopted children and close groups who have formed families by choice rather than birth are all families and should be respected. We are strong in our diversity, and strong when we recognize equal rights to government recognition for the ways in which we live our lives day to day."

                But maybe I'm just out of touch. The families I know in my life run the gamut and none seems inherently stronger than any other. Statistically, that experience seems to be the norm. Yet a majority vote in favor of the minority model. I don't get it.

                Proud citizen of the provisional Canadian province of Cascadia since November 3, 2004

                by seaprog on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 01:13:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  It not indifference (none)
      But it is lack of understanding.
      I simply fail to see how the composition of any one else's marriage affects the "sanctity" or value of my own.

      And in terms of family too many gays are thrown out or their own because of their orientation or shut out of their partner's family when a crisis hits and the partner can no longer speak for him or her self.  That's wrong.

      To me, marriage is a personal covenant between two people, the two make their own choices as to what it will or won't entail.  And no one else should have the right to tell them what they should agree to.

      But it is also a legal contract in society, which society deems to have important obligations and responsibilities.  To me I think that anyone who wants to enter into such a contract and abide by those checks and balances that society has deemed appropriate for such a partnership, should be allowed to.  End of story.

    •  It has nothing to do with marriage (none)
      The Democrats are certainly more supportive of families and   raising kids than the republicans.

      It was ALL about gay bashing - marriage just being the particular legal issue on the agenda at the time.

      "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

      by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:49:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry (3.50)
    If the African-American community doesn't want to back gay rights and their bigotry leads them to join the Religious Right, then sorry, they'll have to get what they deserve for a while.

    Any Afican American who wants their own civil rights protected but isn't willing to stand up for the civil rights of others is a hypocrite.

    I'm not shooting the messenger here.  You've pointed out a real phenomenon.  So am I.  Any minority group that joins the oppressive majority in order to suppress another minority group deserves their oppression.

    Freedom for all.  

    Period.

    A lot of people don't have much food on their tables, but they got a lot of forks and knives, and they gotta cut something. - Bob Dylan

    by ShadowRunning on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 07:26:38 AM PST

  •  a lot of things (4.00)
    As a list, so it remains semi-cohesive. I'm very tired too.

    1. Great diary. These are the kind of voices we need in this larger conversation. Others with views differing or complementary, please express yours. This is how we learn and grow, and we have much to learn.

    2. People too easily conflate Christianity with this right-wing nonsense. Start deprogramming now. There's a whole other brand of it out there that's starting to be reborn.

    3. "Liberal Christianity" has failed miserably in getting its act together. I see the movement stirring to fix that too.

    4. There are big chunks of whole denominations and similar types of entities now starting to get it. The UCCs have been out front for a long time. The Alliance of Baptists are pretty darn good. There are a lot of Disciples of Christ churches that are wonderful. The Presbyterian Church in the USA is about halfway there. You get the idea. Change is slow but it is happening.

    5. We need to reclaim the word evangelical. It once was a word we were proud of. It had such a focus on taking our faith into the world not to hand out Bible tracts and I Love Jesus toenail clippers but to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, and tend the sick. It was a wonderful word and can be again.

    6. African American churches have been out front in this conversation for a long, long time. A lot of people just haven't been paying attention. So many "white churches" have had their head in the clouds focused so much on heaven that they have no clue what is going on around them, and little care to do so. "Black churches" often believe in the Jesus of right here and now, working for justice in the world and a comfort that is present and real and always with us not just in the sweet by and by but right here and now. "White churches" could learn a lot from that.

    7. Barack Obama is going to offer a LOT to this conversation. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I think he's the one who really gets it the most right now.

    8. Christianity should not be a scary thing. It is so only because people have co-opted it for their own selfish purposes. This has been going on in Christianity since it started. There are lots of good, honest, decent, kind, compassionate, fired up people out there who can be a powerful voice to America, but they are underused often because they are ashamed of what Christianity has become and often don't want to deal with having a voice in the Democratic Party that often doesn't want them there. I hope this can change.

    9. Please don't think anyone is suggesting a Christian takeover of the Dem Party. God knows I don't think anyone here wants that. There are common values we all share and talking about them in a "religious" way from time to time adds depth to our conversation. We are looking to deepen the roots of the party. We are part of the greater whole. To borrow from the Bible, we can be many voices with one spirit. Our spirit is to affect change for the good of our county. I think we can all get behind this. We are indeed the rainbow people and can live like it.

    10. It has to have teeth. We will comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Liberation theology isn't a cool-sounding term, it's a way of life.

    I should shut up now. This is too long. We're just beginning. Hang with us folks. It really will work.
    •  clarify (none)
      I hate to reply to myself, but one more thing.

      I'm not meaning to idealize certain denominations or traditions or people here. I guess if I had ten more pages I could clear up the nuances. There are positives and negatives to people, churches, traditions, theologies and beliefs and we can parse those out at length. Just please don't reduce a tradition down to, "well they believe in X (some bad thing) therefore they should just go away." I think you'll find it's more complex than that.

      Indulge me on this for now. Maybe we can prove our worth to the conversation.

  •  What? (4.00)
    Your disdain for NARAL and Emily's List is very apparent.  Groups organized around women's civil rights.

    No apologies for trying to keep the U.S. what it started out as - a nation with a secular government.

    •  Secular Government, with purpose. (none)
      As a mom, I can tell you that the gender feminist approach does not greatly appeal to me either. I recognize and  am grateful for those women who marched and protested, but I have to tell you, my grandmom was a feminist. She worked her whole life, balanced family and work, had her own pension, and was as strongheaded as they come.  But she was always a lady, and refused to give up her femininity in order to become something else.  There is an increasing frustration among women that the focus is on gender and sex, rather than on what are perceived as practical issues.  Women in Latin communities have issues that are directly related to there roles AS women, and so they are often left out of the message.  

      I am all for women's civil rights, but not at the expense of estranging men,(I have three sons, and a wonderful husband) and losing my strengths and identity as a woman.  I took feminist jurisprudence course, and was frustrated the whole time, because I felt that they focused on negativity and contempt, rather than looking at the machinery we have and using that for workable solutions.  They discussed rape, abuse, sexuality, and I thought they should have been looking at divorce laws, inheritance rights, custody laws, and due process, and social security entitlement. I worked in an OAG office, and while most of the legal complaints came from women they were about empowerment as a citizen, not specifically gender related.  

      To give you an example, I studied the way that MADD was so successful and how they were able to so quickly get laws regarding drunk driving on the books when so many other feminist projects fail.  Well, they worked within the system, looked at a problem that effects EVERYONE, not just women, and gained a hell of a lot of support because they formed as a womens group co-opting their identity as mothers to appeal to everyone.  And they took a lot of guff for it, but it was a success.

      Same goes with a lot of issues that effect everyone, not just women.  If there is an economic problem, and we need equal pay, then we need to work on equitable pay scales for certain types of jobs.  I would guess that Blacks, Hispanics and older people (like my dad) also make less money per hour than white men, but doesn't get a lot of airplay.  

      I absolutely do not want any part of theocratic gov't.  I absolutely do not support an intrusion of religion into the workings and machinery of public discourse.  But the point of this is that plenty of Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, Islamics, and other faithful people have been pushed aside, and while there should be no special agenda, the values of civility, honesty, benevolence, peace, sharing, community, integrity, and honor that already exist within the party platform, need to be expanded upon, and those who are guided by their faith should at least be able to say so within the Democratic party.  Those that are guided by secular humanism should also speak out, as they have been.  

      Just as the most vocal among conservatives have recently been the far right fundamentalists, so too have the far left atheists, and secular humanists. What has happened is that they have estranged us. Well, there is an ocean of people in the middle.

      •  I could echo most of this... (none)
        And as people keep saying, we need to reframe the debate, the language is a lot of our problem.  But we also need to be truly inclusive.  We need to be the party of community, loving our neighbors as ourselves, which is a concept secular humanists can generally get behind as well.  Again, Obama excels at this.

        Taking an embracing attitude, rather than an oppositional one, would attract a lot of people.  Most adults with families and jobs and limited resources know perfectly well that life is full of gray areas.  

        For example, I am firmly in favor of legal abortion, but having children deeply changed how I FEEL about it.  It was a much more abstract concept when I was single and in my twenties and had never lived through an actual pregnancy (which also changed my understanding of giving up a baby for adoption!).  I see very little in the national debate that addresses this.  Abortion is not pure evil, and it is not morally equivalent to having a tooth pulled.  Sometimes it's the best choice, and that should be a private personal decision, not a legal one.  Making it unnecessary, that is an excellent way to approach it.

        While I'm here - I do think some of the gay rights language needs reframing as well, but the fight for gay civil rights cannot be laid aside or pushed back.  The reframing has to do again with community, love and family, rather than with sex, which is the bugbear for homophobes.  The sex just ain't anyone's business, certainly not the government's.

  •  A minority evangelical speaks (3.50)
    This is a very interesting and thoughtful piece. I'm a bit ambiguous about it though.

    I understand religion and evangelicalism and I appreciate Anabaptist theology. I even appreciate faith. I agree we should not denigrate people's faith and anybody who embraces us should be embraced back.

    Personally, my own theology tends to the "modernist". My concept of God borders on the naturalistic. My approach to knowledge is scientific.

    There is a vast cultural divide here. There is just no way I am going to convince the majority of conservative Christians that reproductive freedom should be protected, that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights as I am, that schoolchildren should never be forced to pray in public school and science education should be about real science. Chances are I am not even going to convince the majority of conservative Christians that neo-darwinism is "real science" rather than some kooky fringe theory that secular humanists and an activist court have forced down the throats of God fearin' Christians.

    So where do we start this dialogue? I'm against telling conservative Christians I share their values and theology when I don't. I share some values with Anabaptists, but not others.

    We can be respectful of people's faith. We can and must welcome any person of faith to the Democratic Party or any Liberal/Progressive movement-not as junior partners but as real valued members. And candidates should not hesitate to talk about religion and values.

    But when it comes right down to it we have to face the fact. There is a radical division between being a member of a reality based community and a faith based empire.

    •  We just want the moderates anyway. (none)
      I don't think this is about converting, the fundies are going to go whichever way they want. Look at how they hijacked the Republican party.   They can have them.   There are plenty of faithful in this country that have no problem with a secular government, but find no solutions coming from the Democratic party to what they see as direct threats to their way of life.   That would be the traditional family values, the acceptance of family-friendly policy, and the strengthening of their towns, not a nameless faceless  federal gov't.

      Not everyone is a fanatic waiting for the rapture, but there sure is a lot of talk coming from  this bunch.  They have the media- half my channels here in MS are Christian radio, and Christian oriented television.  They have money-tons of it.  

      There are cities here where the biggest, most expensive infrastucture is the church.  I drove through one town all trailers and little houses, and one BIG-A$$ Church!  Well that is where they sink their money, they don't want the gov't.

  •  Black Evangelicals, Southern Evangelicals (none)
    Ihlin, I have already been taken to task by my coworkers for this. They are evangelical Christians and they resent the implication that they delivered a Bush victory, because they worked their heinies off for Kerry just like I did.

    This includes both my black and my white coworkers. Because I live in the South, where to be churchless is as bad a misfortune as to be homeless. All of my coworkers are devout Christians (I'm not), and all but two voted for Kerry as hard as they could.

    Of the two who did not, one claimed that gay marriage and abortion were more important issues than Iraq and the deficit. The other is mentally ill. (No offense intended to mentally ill people. I also know mentally ill people who voted for Kerry. I just include the info to explain why I didn't bother to get her exact reasons vis a vis her vote.)

  •  Calling All Progressive Christians! (3.66)
    Run for office! Run for office! Run for office!

    Lord knows I can't relate to 51% of these people (get it? "Lord knows?"). I can't help but put rational thought above "faith". In my crazy world, faith has no place in politics. I can't help noticing the hypocrisy of including religious code words in your speeches that show "respect" for Jesus while enacting policies that have already killed over 100,000 innocent people. It just strikes me as blatantly un-Christian. But apparently, I'm wrong. Most Christians in this country disagree.

    I fully admit that I am out of touch with the slight majority of American people who voted, not to mention that bazillions that didn't. I can't relate to these people. They are weird aliens to me.

    Thus I am encouraging you, you religious progressives who I've never met but I believe do exist, please take over the party. Run for office. Frame the discourse in a way that makes sense to the masses.

    As for me, I'm going to be in a steady drunken stupor until 2008. At least 2008. Call me if you need a $25 donation, assuming none of my three part-time jobs are outsourced in the near future.

    •  Hilarious (none)
      <you religious progressives who I've never met but I believe do exist</i>

      Excellent.

      Yes we do exist...(or at least we think we exist - Descartes?)

    •  You've obviously never been (none)
      to a progressive event, or certainly not to a peace event.  Religious progressives are everywhere.  And most of these events also have interfaith components, and they manage to do so without isolating or offending people who are not religious, because they talk, they don't preach and they don't pray to God but they discuss how their faith in God directs them to progressive causes.

      In fact on the progressive left (not within the Democratic Party) there already is a model for talking.  The progressive Left is always talking about morals and values (sometimes too much, in my opinion because it lessens the sharpness of the analysis).  This isn't in the Democratic Party discourse because it is too left/to progressive.  Secularists and religious folk come together over progressive ideals, which the people of faith seem to find mesh with their faiths. Secularists also have a language of morals and values, that's progressivism.  And its echoed in the language of progressive people of faith.  That's why they work together.

      As someone said upthread, the problem with the religious red state folks isn't really their religion, its their politics.  Both their secular politics and their religious politics. But the latter is a matter for people of faith to sort out.

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

      by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:00:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (none)
        I was stunned to see so many church groups at the October 2002 anti-war march. I'm one of them secularist-types, and I openly admit that I distrust organised religions-- especially the small minority  I occasionally encounter that attempts to recruit me or my wife or my child (HANDS OFF!). But man did I respect and enjoy those people marching! Good folks, all.

        And the person who mentioned Jimmy Carter needs a 4.  Our first born-again Christian President, and a decent man who embodied and still embodies the tenets of his religion personally. "Ye shall know him by his works", indeed.

        My question is this: what the hell did they go? I saw them at the first protest, in force. They were probably at the second and third protests too, though by then swamped by a huge sea of secular people. But after the war, they were gone... and all that were remaining were scruffy Berlekey types.

        Rove was trying to spark a civil war in the Democratic party, and we can't let him succeed. They don't call 'em "wedge issues" for nothing-- DIVIDE AND CONQUER.

        I'd like to instead see a civil war in the Repug party between the secular, fiscally-conservative Reagan Republicans and the Christian/Neocon Bushies-- this thing can backfire on Rove if we just keep our heads.

        •  Where did they go? (none)
          I don't know exactly what you mean.  I'm in DC and I see them all the time; whenever there's a protest down at the WH, the Pax Christi folks and the Christian Fellowship folks are always there.  And the Quakers are one of the core groups for local organizing here.

          Also, because I do work on issues around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and now Iraq I get lots of emails and action alerts on those issues and every day there's something from one or the other of the big church organizations, from CPT and the like. Plus a lot of the activist groups here have members from different local churches. The Churches (specific ones, of course) are still a center for progressive organizing here, apparently that isn't the case in other locales.

           

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

          by a gilas girl on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 11:39:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Agree (4.00)
    I am Catholic, and have similar issues. I am progressive, faithful, but feel comfortable in really any church, and am finding myself being squeezed out in a way. I am pro-choice legally,(not in favor of criminalization) but want to see more done to reduce abortions, and where do I fit in the Democratic Party?  I am not a baby-killer, I have compassion.  I am sick of being painted pro-abortion, but there does not seem to be a place for the RARE crowd.  

    Pastordan has thought of maybe starting a related kos site, for the faithful, and I think it is necessary.  I prayed for a win all morning on November third.   And yet all my neighbors can think to do is call me a baby killer because I supported Kerry.

    It hurts.   I have four children, but I support legal and safe abortion because I know of the difficult choices families sometimes have to make, I hope my neighbor who called me a baby killer the other night, never has to choose between his wife and a child.

    I hope that we can bring this issue to the front, Maybe the Dem party needs to understand that they have been pushing values out of the message and  they got smacked because of it.  I think the American public sent a clear message out, and that is why we are sitting today where we are.

    The Democratic party is losing faithful, because it is not listening to them, or recognizing them.  Hispanics are getting harder to count on   and how can you preach tolerance to people when you don't have much of it yourself?  Calling people of faith idiots, and the rest of the language has got to go.

    I am completely tolerant of atheists, pagans, my husband claims agnosticism, but I will not be backed into a corner, and faithful have a right to be heard in the Democratic party, because there won't be a party left if we don't have the room and the voice.  

    Another thing.  I disagree with with a lot of the gender feminist movement, even though there is a  merit to the white boys club (the same one that we have in office now), and work needs to be done to improve conditions and empower women.  I feel that movement has forgotten what I need as a mom. Which is support and encouragement to be a mom. I cannot express more strongly how that is tied to choice.

     I am angry at the camp that encourages abortion as a solution to poverty, environmental degredation,and all other social problems,  they don't even realize how unfriendly they are to families.  And we all know cities are the greatest place to raise kids, right?  There is a reason families fled the cities in droves.  The same people that placed a bullet in the Democratic Parties back, are the people who used to be its backbone.

    •  speaking as a (very lazy) Catholic (none)
      I think we Catholics have an additional out on the abortion debate.  The Catholic church is against the death penalty, no ifs ands or buts.  The Republican Party is, almost universally, in favor of the death penalty.  

      While not all democrats are against it (Edwards comes to mind), we do seem to have the lock on the general concept.  Knowing Kerry's feelings on it, I wish he would have made it a larger issue in the election, at least when speaking in predominantly Catholic areas.

      Using that as a key, Catholics can be brought back to the Democratic party easily.  Make it an issue, as they make gay marriage and abortion issues.  Bring up the Northwestern U students who saved so many wrongly accused men on death row.  Bring up the most glaring examples of wrongful convictions.  They paint us as baby killers?  Fine.  Paint them as black-robed executioners, death-happy ghouls who are ready to chop off heads with or without cause.

      Shoot, I'm at the point where I say play as dirty as they do, and drag up every nasty thing the Republicans said about Catholics back when JFK ran.  My grandmother still hates the Republican Party for that, almost half a century later.  I'm sure with a little prodding and a reminder many Catholics would feel the same.

      •  Good points (none)
        And I agree with them...

        ,,,but they see it as punishing criminals versus murdering the innocent. Protecting society from evil versus promoting the wholesome and good in generating new life.

        "Soft on crime" is what we will be called.

        I still think we should do it because execution is still murder, impossible to apply equally, and (if those aren't enough) contradicts doctrines of Christian mercy, humility, and not usurping God's authority, justice, judgment over life and death. These principles do matter.

        But I doubt it would be an net vote winner for us. It could however be a interesting part of a new argument for "limited government" which I sense would be a winner for us if it pertained to social issues.

    •  I do not do this but (4.00)
      I am angry at the camp that encourages abortion as a solution to poverty

      I will work to establish an underground railway for poor women to Canada when roe is overturned as it will be within the next few years. I believe passionately that poor women should have freedom of religious choice (something which charitable choice' leggislation does not provide for) and control over their reproductive choices.
      I don't know anyone who 'encourages abortion as a solution to poverty'. I encourage women to not have 15 children they cannot afford to feed not as one solution to not increasing poverty (solutions to poverty are another topic). There might be people out there who do what you describe but I don't know them. No one is anti-family, some of us recognise that 40% of the people in this country are not married and that they deserve political representation also.

      I'm angry at people who would force women who don't even have access to healthcare to have children they cannot afford to feed against their wills. I'm angry with people who refuse to recognise that some women don't wish to have children at all.

      Because I don't know any people who feel the  way you describe I suspect that you're framing the issue in a manner which demonizes the women ihlin describes in this diary as 'bleating'. How much respect should I have for your values when you mischaracterize my concerns for the root causes of poverty in this manner? You speak as if we force women to have abortions. The coercive stance is yours, not mine.

      Meanwhile, because you have won and with this election Roe will soon be gone along with our constitutional right to privacy, it's your responsibility to see that those children are fed
      and, guess what, you cannot do that without assuring that their mothers are too. You reap what you sow and social conservatives have sown  much misery.

       

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:21:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm in the same boat (none)
      I'm a white urban progressive Catholic, whose been fighting for John Kerry both as a matter of faith and of politics.

      But yes, I am angry at the democratic party for not allowing any faithful voices.  There was even a pro-life governor (?) who was not permited to speak at the democratic convention some year?  The repubs have learned that lesson: they have MANY pro-choice voices now.  WE ARE THE PARTY OF EXCLUSION NOW!

      The dems have shyed away from any talk of morality for fear of isolating non-believers.  Instead, they have gagged people of faith in the party.

      I'm also a feminist, but disagree sharply that the feminist movement should be defined by abortion rights issues.

      Progressive religious from many faiths have been stifled from getting the message out that the Democratic party best represents their values because some non-believers might get pissed.  It's a double-edged sword, isn't it?

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

      by valleycat on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:28:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Separate site? Bad idea (none)
      If the secular progressives are not exposed to the religous progressives how are they ever supposed to understand?
  •  There are more faiths (none)
    than just "Christian"

    It seems right now, if you aren't in the "in" religion, you are seen as unAmerican and unFaithful.

    I am tired of continually being preached to by holier than thous on BOTH sides of the aisle.

    "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - JFK

    by jillian on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:09:19 AM PST

  •  Summarize your religion (3.50)
    I think a lot of us don't get it, and a lot of them don't get us.  I, for one, simply can't wrap my head around people of "faith" more focused on joining the right team and focusing on what happens after they die rather than caring for each other.  To me, so much of modern evangelical Christianity seems to be about one simple issue- have you joined the right team.  If you've found Jesus you get to go to heaven.  If you haven't, you go to hell.  Period.  End of story.  The entire Bible is summed up in the one line, "No one comes to the Father but through me," and the rest is forgotten or ignored.

    For comparison, here's a wise man's summary of Judaism:

    "Love your neighbor as yourself.  That is the whole Torah.  Now go and study it."  Hillel

    What am I missing?

    •  You said it... (none)
      ...better than I could. I just don't get it.

      AyanEva

    •  you are so right (none)
      To me, so much of modern evangelical Christianity seems to be about one simple issue- have you joined the right team.

      But it's up to the progressive Christians, who seem to be out in partial force on this thread, to call this version of Christianity to account.  

      This is not really about the Democratic party -- this is about changing the terms of the faith dialogue. This, in turn, will make it harder for the right wingers to successully conflate Bushism and Christianity.

      And Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Jesus were on the same page.

    •  Summarize my religion (none)
      Like I said..I have strong Deist leanings, so here's my summary

      "God gave you the abilty to reason...use it"

      If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

      by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:08:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is an important topic... (4.00)
    and needs to be treated with respect.

    But, I have to say I disagreed with a lot of what you wrote. The current cultural fight is not about values nor is it about issues. Rather, it's about a fundamental understanding of this nation's origins. What do civil rights mean to us? What does the bill of rights provide for us?

    That's where we are divided.

    I can respect differences, but I can't respect violations of the separation between church and state. I can't accept the civil rights of gays being violated. We need to parse some information here. I have never heard a Democratic candidate disrespect religion. Have you? I'm scratching my head about this. As for bloggers, yes some of us are disgusted that phony issues about religion are splitting us apart.

    Why are they phony issues? Because the rich guys who are funding these smears don't give a lick about your beliefs. That's why. It's all a sham to divide us. And we've been divided because most Americans do not understand American civics. We don't understand the constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Frankly, I don't think religion should play a role in politics at all. It's assumed that religion plays a role in our personal lives, it plays a role in our decision making and in our cultural lives. It plays a role in who we vote for individually. Why do we have to argue about it? I understand that some people think abortion is murder, and I respect it. That's a religious - political decision. But why does religion have to make itself so coercive when it enters the public sphere? Why do the children of non-christian religions have to feel oppressed by it when they are made to sit through blatanly Christian events in public? Why must a Christian view of abortion dominate?  Why must gays be subjugated? Why must children learn erroneous ideas about creation in public schools?

    I can define myself and my faith (or the lack of it) in any way I want without ever feeling the need to propagate it as a form of politics. I can call myself a Christian Atheist and sound pretty convincing (having had many priests in my family, having been raised in a devoutly Christian home, having the Jesus of the Beatitudes stamped into me from an early age, and having won the Religious Medal at my Catholic High School though I wasn't even a Cathloic!) but I fail to see what relevance my religion has at all.

    America was founded on a separation of church and state. So why are some Democrats dismissive of faith?  I don't think we are. I think some of us are dismissive of the unseemly political uses of faith. Because we see it encroaching on the secular laws upon which this country was based. The America you describe above is not an America I want to live in. I do agree with you that I, personally, have a political dilemma, since if I want to persist in my insistence on the Bill of Rights, I will likely lose every election from now unto kingdom come (hah) but I guess I will agree with you and say I will have to find a way to deal with that. But I can't change my true feelings about the subject.

    As an atheist and a white person (actually, I'm Mediterranean and though I am white, many whites have made it evident to me that I am not totally white) I do take exception to being called an elitist. I have no idea how you come up with that term. Please define it for me.

    "And they call reading a sin, and writing a crime. They will never forgive us for this Somewhere Else." Thomas Bernhard

    by upstate NY on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:25:24 AM PST

    •  Exactly (none)
      There's a fundamental misundertanding about what our country really is, and the principles upon which it was founded upon.

      You're seeing now that Fundamentalist organizations are trying to re-write our history to reflect and legitimize their attempts at instituting their agenda. Their trying to paint the Founding Fathers as Righteous Patriots doing the work of God in Founding a Christian Nation. Despite all historical evidence to the contrary.

      Goerge Washington never professed his faith. Whenever he went to church with Martha, he would leave during communion.

      Thomas Jefferson was a materialist and in many of his writings was hostile towards the effect of religion on society. He even wrote his own "Bible", reducing or eliminating the mythical and mystical aspects of it and instead focusing on the actual message and teachings of Christ. The Jefferson Bible

      Historical evidence points to many of the Founding Fathers to being either Deists, or belonging to Christian denominations that relied less on mysticism and faith and more on reason and facts (John Adams was a Unitarian).

      If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine

      by BullittStang on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:58:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, indeed. They are trying to make (none)
        our heritage and our beginnings irrelevant. We have simply been overtaken by a group of people who are not in a majority and who do not understand/believe in the constitution.

        I have no problem with faith or mysticism. In fact, i prefer it were I to ever find my religion (I doubt it). In fact, unlike many Christians, I actually like going to church, and the one I go to (Eastern Ortho) certainly falls under the mystical. But I have no idea why anyone would insist the truth is to be found there and only there. This is a secular country. The truth is found in churches and in mosques and in temples and in works of fiction and in poems and in music and in psychedelic experiences (I've heard said).

        "And they call reading a sin, and writing a crime. They will never forgive us for this Somewhere Else." Thomas Bernhard

        by upstate NY on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:16:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  what you fail (none)
    What you fail to see, and which our founders did not, is that while individual belief is all well and good, that these beleifs are DANGEROUS to the countries well being as a whole. God and government is a recipe for disaster, always has been , always will be. This is the reason why democracy will never work in the mid east and why it still hasn't fully developed here.

     People like to talk a good game here about how great this country is, but looking at it's history, we still have a LONG way to go til we get to the promised land. Religion and the hatred and bigotry it inspires, as always is the largest obstacle we still face.
     I would be curious to go ahead into the future once this country fails and falls as they all do and look back at what future historians think of us. Once we are no longer the top dog and winner of wars, true perspective will be seen and I predict it will not be so rosey.

    After all, while the Third Reich now goes down in history as the definition of "evil". It would be quite different if they would have one. This 'evil' reich would suddenly be viewed as the greatest nation on earth etc.  Funny thing about perspective. You lose and you are seen as you are, you win, no one can dare see you for what you are.

  •  Adding evangelicals loses our base (none)
    Folks here have to accept that they are outside the mainstream on cultural issues.  

    To move this "mainstream", loses the base of the Democratic party.  The big difference between the Repugs and the Democratic party is that Repugs care out energizing their base and the Democratic party keeps taking us for granted and telling us to be quiet.  In this election, the our base was anti-war and told be quiet.  Trying to straddle  the middle on the war was very difficult for Kerry and I think lost him more votes than it won since it made him vulnerable to the charge of "flip-flopper."

    The Democratic party selling out our gay friends and neighbors & giving up on separation of church and state in futile attempt to compete for a slice of the Repug coalition of the bigots will eviscerate the base of the party.  Those who are anti-gay or who want the government to promote their religion will always go to the Repugs.

    We need to win by trying the mirror image of Rovian tactics with regard to expanding base in the edges.  Rove wrote off the middle and he's winning and we're losing.

  •  But there is another side (none)
    New Jersey is not a blue state because of Democratic Party stands on economic issues.  The paradigmatic New Jersey Democrat is a Republican who bolted his/her party over disgust with the right wing cultural bent of the Republican Party.  That's why we're a blue state.

    Hidden in the exit polls for New Jersey was a question, "should McGreevey have resigned?" -- a reference to our soon-to-be-ex governor, who came out under rather adverse political circumstances. A majority of voters did NOT want him to resign -- this despite the fact that he appointed his alleged ex-partner, a non-US citizen, to be the state homeland security director.

    A majority of people here favor gay marriage (and a huge majority favor civil unions, which NJ now recognizes.)  We also have the largest percentage of suburban GLBT households in America, and as a straight Garden State male, I'm damn proud of it.

    Why are we this way?  Faith vs. reason is not a social issue here.  It is an economic issue.  Biomedical research is a major part of the New Jersey economic base.  Science isn't ideology -- it's how many of us in the garden state make our living.  I do not want my wife's job to go to Switzerland or India because stem cell research offended someone's religious sensibilities.

  •  On Wednesday (4.00)
    After a long sad morning at home, I came into work and spoke to a couple of other Kerry supporters here. I told them I while I've always felt like an outsider, everywhere, I now felt like I was walking around with a stain on my forehead. And trust me, a plump, 40-something white woman in the white suburbs does not stick out in a crowd, so this is all coming from inside. Can it be my lack of faith that separates me from most of my fellow Americans?

     the only people i've met who aren't very religious and are Democrats are Democratic staff members in DC and in the elite think tanks and in the blogosphere

    Well, I'm certainly in the blogosphere, but I'm none of the rest. I'm a reference librarian, for crying out loud. And the blogosphere is made up of human beings, just like the folks in church or over at the mall.

    Democratic candidates all uniformly have faith

    They say they do, anyway. They have to. Earlier this year I heard Ron Reagan say he could never be elected to office because he's an atheist. Now I'm NOT saying that all, or even most dem candidates are closet atheists, but the truth is that there's always a party line to tow. Knowing what I do about the president, I'm suspicious of his faith. I'm always suspicious of the faith of former ne'er-do-wells who suddenly turn to Jesus. But I did not get that kernel of faith, that germ, that gene, in me. So I must respectfully disagree with you.

    I still hold that gay rights are human rights. And abortion--well, I've never had one and doubt that I ever would have, but that's not the point. It angers, no, incenses me that most of the leaders of the anti-abortion group are white males. You don't want to know what I'd like to do to some of those clowns. So I'm pro-choice, but am quite open to alternatives and prevention. But it is so hard to plan for peace while you're being shelled.

    I don't know what else to say. I sometimes feel like an exile, that stranger in a strange land, that is my land.

    "The country we carry in our hearts is waiting" --Bruce Springsteen.

    by bdizz on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:32:27 AM PST

  •  The Taliban took the leap of faith too, (4.00)
    and we don't like where that has led. I assume we agree on this.

    It's a free country. You are entitled to your leap of faith. Just as I am entitled to my belief that there is no God. If the Taliban moved here, they'd be entitled to their leap of faith.

    What neither you nor I nor the Taliban are entitled to is to force your beliefs on our government, which is what is happening to an increasing degree in this country.

    As progressive Americans we need to insist ever more strongly on the complete separation of church and state. Any compromise on this sets us off in the direction of Afghanistan under the Taliban.

    We rely on science and evidence, not faith and God, to bring our astronauts back from the moon. We rely on science and evidence, not faith and God, to decide our legal disputes. We should rely on science and evidence, not faith and God, to decide our domestic and foreign policiies.

    The "common ground" between us is science, facts, evidence, and reason. We need to use it to fight back against the encroachment of religion into our political society. We need to fight back on the air waves, on the "internets" and (for faithful progressives) in our churches.

  •  Recommended (none)
    I'm recommending this diary, not necissaryly agree with you that we need to embrace "faith" in order to win, but because this is a discussion that the progressive movement needs to have.

    We are clealy losing on the religious/morals front.  George Bush has brought this issue to the forefront, and the culture war in this country has surpassed all other issues because of it.

    I really liked Barrack Obama's speech at the convention.  It incorporated religion without offending those of us who do not subscribe.  But is that really the answer?  Do you think that the liberal/progressive/Democratic movement could ever win a battle of faith/morals against people who use religion whenever it suits them?  

    I don't believe for one moment that these politicians (I'm looking at you, George Bush) actually believe this crap that they are spewing.  They are using the religious movement to gain power.  Rove's whole stategy from the start was to mobilize the Evangelicals to get re-elected.  Does anyone think that he actually cares about the Evangelical movement?  Is HE an Evangelical?

    I don't think we can win trying to beat them at their own game.  We need to create a new set of rules for the game.

    •  go the next logical step (none)
      instead of using religion like they do we have to show how it influences the democratic party.

      25 years ago most mainstream Christians were democrats.

      Texas was blue!

      Social Justice is a core Christian value.
      Equality is a core Christian value.

      I might be Cheney'd up, but I'm not that Georgie!

      by circuithead on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:40:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree but... (none)
        I think we need to go further than just explaining how religion influences the Democratic party.

        I'm concerned that religious fundamentalism is encroaching not only on our politics but on all aspects of our society. Most alarming to me is its encroachment on science. Fundamentalists don't believe in evolution. How can the US keep its leadership in science and technology if growing numbers of our young people are indoctrinated in evangelical fundamentalism?

        If we don't discuss these issues on the air waves and Internet, then the only view that the youth in the red states get is the intolerant, homophobic, anti-secular, crap that is spewed daily on the evangelical radio and TV stations.

        I wrote a diary on this last night. But it's kinda long.

      •  Agreed. (none)
        Instead of just standing up there and telling them "we hate all of the same things you hate" and "we fear all of the same things you fear", we need to show them how we use our sense of religious and moral values to shape our guiding principles:  Justice, tolerance, equality, understanding and helping the less fortunate among us.
  •  I have a hard time (3.75)
    With this.  I am black and a Christian, but truly believe that everyone has rights and everyone should be treated humanly as possible.  I have no problem with gay marriage, pro-choice, freedom of speech, owning guns, etc..  I believe that Jesus was brought here to show us how to get where we are all trying to go and that the Bible is very metaphorical.  This is why the Constitution is so great.  This is why there is seperation of church and state.  When it comes to religion nobody has the rights to it.  People have died, millions slaughtered in the name of religion.  All we have to do is look at 9-11.  Religion is man-made, but knowing God isn't.  Having sprituality isn't.  You Ihlin, discount every other religion that was here before Christ.   Granted, there has been no type of major sprituality since Christ, that is why I think he is the map, the way.  But I just can't think that Christ would have wanted the perversion of his gospel the way that it has been taken out of context.

    George W. Bush and his minions are closer to anything that the Bible describes as devils and demonic forces as I have ever seen.  I know we have to reframe the message to capture some of these voters.  Clinton did it.  But come on these people should also be thinking rationally.  They have a cult mentality.  I do not believe Bush is speaking for me at all.  

    Politics is a dirty business and when you include religion in the mix, it just makes it much worse.  This is like being in the middle ages.

  •  Why should they be respectful ? (3.66)
    I have never understood this insistence that
    someone's religion should be "respected" just because it's a religion.

    I certainly respect some Buddhist teaching, for instance, but I have disdain, not respect, for
    the "christians" who are chanting that the
    ten commandments is the foundation if US law and
    we need to teach "creationism" in biology class.

    When they demand "respect" what they are saying is
    "don't point out in public how deluded I am".

    "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

    by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:39:54 AM PST

    •  respect (none)
      I don't think it's an issue of respecting the specific beliefs of a religion, but respecting the idea that faith is an important part of someone's life.

      Of course, Democrats have never disrespected religion. It's an utter fabrication. It's one of those insidious GOP memes that has leaked into the Fox News Consciousness, so to speak.

  •  I'm worried that we are only figuring this out now (none)
    The repubs have noticied this chasm within our own party for some time and have used it to divide and conquer.  Yes, not all members of the democratic party have the same beliefs when it comes to gay marriage, etc.  Can we not respect these differences and work with groups where we have other aspects in common?
  •  Barack Obama and the grassroots-- (3.50)
    I also noticed, and I posted somewhere on this blog yesterday, that Senator-elect Obama, in his victory speech, thanked his pastor and mentioned his fellow church-members.  That impressed me (a godless white liberal woman) because having followed Obama's two campaigns over the past 2+ years, having read his book, and having spoken with a few people who know and work with him, I think his faith is an integral part of who he is, and I admire it-- the integrity and the particular faith he practices.

    Barack Obama didn't come to that faith or that church simply for political convenience.  If he were to drop from the political scene tomorrow, and never return, he would still be at Trinity UCC on Sundays with his family.  It's who he is.  He doesn't hide it; he doesn't brag on it.  

    Obama found, when he came to Chicago in the 1990's and became a neighborhood organizer, that one of the most effective forums for social and political change in the African-American community that he landed in, the Roseland neighborhood, was the church.  That's not news:  black churches were in the forefront of the civil rights movement in this country in the 1960's, long before white liberals started adding their voices and blood to the cause.

    A personal note:  I grew up in the neighborhood that Obama worked in for so many years.  I lived there when it was white, middle-class, predominantly blue-collar.  I saw white flight and panic-peddling destroy the neighborhood in the 1960's.  I know what Obama has had to work with there, and the few buildings that are safe and whole are churches.  The unemployment rate in Roseland has to be over 60%.  It was a tragedy, not a community, when Obama started working there.  It's improved enormously over the past 5 years but it still has a long way to go before any of us, quite honestly, would choose to live there.

    The point I'm longwindedly making is this:  rather than focus on faith, who has it and who doesn't, and whether those who don't have it should get it even if they have to fake it-- why not look at what else Barack Obama did that has paid off so tremendously for him and for his constituents:  grassroots organizing.  Work in the community.  All politics is local.  The religious right knows this; the African-American community knows this; they do it and have done it for years and they accept it as a necessity and a way of life.  Grassroots organizing doesn't have to be done from a church!  Do it from a storefront tutoring operation.  Do it from a neighborhood food pantry.  Do it from a local 'clean and green' gardening club.  Just DO IT, and when we have done it enough, the step to the election of a President who shares our goals, aims, and yes, values, will be a small step and not the enormous leap that we didn't quite pull off this past week.

    It's not about religion.  It's not about faith.  If those are there, great.  If they aren't, fine.  It's about works.    

    "When fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression" -- H.L. Mencken

    by cinnamondog on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:44:31 AM PST

  •  It's the salesmanship, stupid (3.50)
    1. We need religious people to stay in the Democratic party.  There are just not enough secular types to win election.  It seems clear to me that the secular left is forcing these middle class folks to vote Republican because much of the left is condescending towards religion.  I've seen enough "stupid Christian" remarks on here to prove that.

    2. What the left needs is to run progressive candidates who can speak about religious values while enacting progressive agendas.  As sick as everyone is of hearing about how great Obama is, I want to mention him again to say that he is the type of candidate we need to be running everywhere.  If you listen to his DNC speech, he is able to speak about faith and values in a way that makes an skeptical agnostic like myself feel inspired.  I've also heard several Republicans who voted for Bush say "You know that Obama guy?  That's the kind of person the Democrats need to run.  He really believes in God and is pretty conservative.  I'd vote for him in a second".  Well of course, we know Obama is not a conservative, but as we've found out in the past two elections, it's the perception that people have, not the issues that count.  Like Clinton, Obama, etc, we need someone who understand faith and can speak genuinely about it.  Even if evangelicals disagree with such a person on social issues, a good speaker can neutralize this issues and allow this voters to vote their pocketbook instead of their bible.  Kerry was certainly not this type of person.

    3.  Let me say clearly that this is NOT about compromising on issues like gay rights, women's rights, etc.  This is about speaking to the average American and not coming off as elitists.  Anyone who thinks Kerry didn't come off as an elitist is lost somewhere in the blogosphere.  I winced whenever he spoke about economic or cultural issues.  The only thing I felt like he could speak clearly about was foreign policy and the campaign avoided talking about it!  We cannot run another stern intellectual type.  We lost with Gore and Kerry.  We need someone who can speak to the average Joe; that's what Bush supposedly has.  That's what Clinton had.  We need some charisma, perhaps Edwards will be a good choice in the future, but he may also fade into oblivion.

    Got that?  Charismatic progressives who can speak about faith and values without sounding like they're having an enema.  We're not giving anything up.  We just need to make the sale to the majority of the American people who don't have time for nuance and policy analysis.  They function on catch phrases and emotion.  The Dems need to start appealing in these ways too or continue losing.
    •  Yes, yes, YES! (none)
      You hit the nail on the head.

      I'm amazed at the people in this thread who say things like, "So you're saying we should give up gays completely, all in the name of pandering blah blah blah..."

      NO! Nobody is talking about giving up our progressive agenda, and nobody is talking about pandering. It's about taking about churches back from the bigots.

      Churches helped end slavery in this country, when Quakers refused to buy cloth made of slave-picked cotton.

      Churches helped end Jim Crow a centure later. Civil Rights marchers were led by a Reverend, under the banner of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, singing hymns.

      Churches are part of our legacy, too. It's critical that we engage them. Clinton did, and he won easily twice, even taking states in the deep south. A candidate who can do the same thing will win, and one who seems contemptuous of relgion -- as some here seem to be -- is doomed.

      •  Well, (none)
        some people, and unfortunately some loud ones, are talking about moving ever rightward to pander to the evangelicals. But I agree with you that that's not what this discussion is really about. You have to understand, though, that for many of us queers and many of us women, we're feeling more than a little threatened at the moment by the "blame Gavin Newsom, blame Planned Parenthood" rhetoric that's been going on, a little bit here and a lot elsewhere.

        I am not a Christian, so there's a limit to what I can do. I do see a lot of good that has been and can still be done in the name of the Christian faith. But I think the important point for those of you who are Christian is this: your faith has been kidnapped by the right. Your faith is being abused by those who focus on the divisions it can create rather than its hopeful messages of love and unity. This is a rift that, as I hope many of you see, you cannot allow to happen... they are trying to silence you for your brand of faith just as they are trying to silence me for being queer.

        There are many progressive Christians, and pardon me for coming off like I'm telling you what you need to do, but now's the time to get organized and loud. Don't let the bigots keep putting words in your mouths.

        Christianity and progressive politics don't need to be on opposite sides, ever, even on places where we disagree. Don't like abortion? Great! Who the hell does? Let's all work together to come up with real solutions that give people real alternatives to abortion, while keeping it legal, rather than forbidding the practice only to have people going to back-alley abortionists. Don't like gays? Well, I can't make you approve. Maybe I'm a sinner, and maybe not, and in the end that's between me and God. Think what you will, but I still deserve equal rights under the country's laws.

        We don't need to convince every evangelical Christian that we're right. We just have to convince those who are generally not hateful, but who have had these issues thrown at them in the same "with us or against us" frame that our president uses. A lot of this is a battle that will be fought within the churches, but it also means that those of us who aren't Christian need to get out of that "with us or against us" frame as well. We have many religious allies from all faiths.

  •  Separation of church and state (3.66)
    is in the Constitution, and I demand that it be upheld.

    I cannot be a member of any political party that consciously or subconsciously begins to mimic its opponent in order to peel off elements of the opponent's support on a particular issue that I consider to be a matter of pure personal preference that should not even factor into, let alone direct, public policy and taxpayer-funded initiatives.

    If we start trying to win people to us because "we are Christians too," I am out.  If we do not keep the controversial and divisive matter of private belief out of public life, I will vote for another party's candidates.  If we cannot commit to fighting for people's votes by educating their opinions about our policies and appealing to them with the practical effect of those policies, then I'll take my energies to another party that will.

    It is that simple.

    Quick, look busy! Here comes Christian Conservative America

    by Loquatrix on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 08:59:54 AM PST

    •  I couldn't agree more! (none)
      I am completely opposed to pandering to those who have faith in God just to win votes. We can respect their faith---it's a free country---but they have to respect our constitution. Complete separation of church and state!
    •  But we are Christians (none)
      Christian values are liberal values.

      Jesus was for helping the poor. Debt forgiveness was his big political issue.

      Jesus was for loving everyone, and judging not lest ye be judged. The guy spent most of his time hanging out with a prostitute, after all.

      Jesus was for rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's-- in other words, paying taxes. Any rich person who is opposed to progressive taxation has less chance of getting into heaven than a camel going through the eye of a pin.

      Jesus was not only anti-death penalty, he was a victim of it.

      People aren't going to give up their gods. We need to reframe the argument.

      •  I am not a Christian (4.00)
        so please don't say stuff like that.  I'm not being confrontational, I'm just asking nicely that you not say that, please.  :)

        I understand your point -- that religious people assume good social values are Christian values, when in fact they're just good social values that "Christ" espoused -- but if you are not going to alienate people like me from the Democratic party then you are going to have to find other words by which to make your case.

        Quick, look busy! Here comes Christian Conservative America

        by Loquatrix on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:46:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Christians (none)
          I apologize if I overstepped my bounds, it's just that I feel a lot of us have needlessly oppositional relationships with religion, and Christianity in particular. And I'm not saying there aren't legitimate reasons for being wary of religion, historically speaking, but I think we've suffered for it politically.

          I'm not a Christian, myself. But I recognize that I share many values with the Christian faith, as I understand it, and if we can elect someone to office who won't kill thousands of people simply by speaking to those values, I'd support that. I'm not willing to change my positions on women's rights, gay rights, or anything else, but I am willing to change the way I talk about them.

  •  I don't buy it (none)
    I don't see why a party can't be made up of groups with different interests. I imagine that most of the people who want to legalize marijuana are Dems, but that hasn't turned into an issue that turns people off.

    On the other side, the conservatives have a coalition of hard core evangelicals  the fiscal conservatives. The fact that a raised minimum wage was passed in Florida, and Arlan Specter won in PA which went heavily Dem, shows that one group doesn't need to dominate the national agenda.

    I also think sometimes you need to stand on principle even with unpopular issues. Supporting civil rights cost us the south. That doesn't mean it was the wrong thing to do.

  •  Well I guess since I'm a member of a group ... (4.00)
    that is only 2% of the population, my views don't matter a lot.

    But I can tell you, that as a Jew, hearing politicians espouse 'faith' night and day scares the absolute living crap out of me. And Christian attempts to put the word 'Judeo' in front of the word Christian to describe their views don't fool me either - not one bit.

    Only a few hundred years ago (less for Russia), Jews used to lock the gates of the ghettoes they were forced to live in in Europe on Easter. Why? Because the priests would fire up the flocks, who would then join pogroms to kill the 'Christ-killers'. When I hear the most powerful leader on earth talk about faith continuosly, and insert veiled wink and nod references to specifically Christian scripture, I hear the enemy at the gate.

    Ihlin - I do BELIEVE. Just not in the same religious doctrine that you do. Which I thought was ok in the United States of America - where our founding fathers were wise enough to separate church and state. I go to my rabbi for spiritual guidance, not my congressman.

    Ihlin - my people stood with arm-in-arm with yours when the masses in the South believed your voice was less important and that you were not equal under the law. Will you stand with us now?

    •  I'm absolutely amazed (4.00)
      That any group of people, and I am by no means singling out black evangelicals, altough they would certainly fit this description; who suffered so much under oppression and intolerance, who fought so hard and so long for equality and justice, could simply turn around and impose the same kind of oppression and injustice that they suffered through.

      Freedom, justice and equality is not simply for those who agree with you; it's for those who don't.

      •  On Blacks' Attitudes Towards Gay Rights (4.00)
        My conversations with other black people when discussing gay rights has almost always come down to the feeling that white gay men are "piggy backing" on the tragedy, toil and travail of the black community in the civil rights struggles for minorities.  It is no understatement that there is a great deal of resentment among many black people that gay people equate their struggles for civil rights with the experience of African-Americans.  I don't think there is any more homophobia in the black community than there is in white America, however, I will say that mainstream black America believes that gays (who are primarily white men with higher incomes than African-Americans) now seek to reap the benefits of civil rights after African-Americans carried the load.  
        •  Suffering is suffering (none)
          Whatever happened to compassion?  You obviously have more connection to the black community than I do, but I don't understand that logic.  Because gay people (and by the way, not all gay people are white or male) use the civil rights movement and the oppression of black people as a comparison for their situation the black people are going to hold it against them?

          That sounds more like lingering resentment against white men than a ligitimate reason to oppress gay people.  Black people weren't the first group of people to be oppressed, and the civil rights movement wasn't the first movement to fight for equality.  I'm not real familiar with the civil rights movement, but I'm sure they used references to other peoples who fought oppression as much as the gay community is.

          •  To be completely blunt (none)
            Because gay people (and by the way, not all gay people are white or male) use the oppression of black people as a comparison for their situation the black people are going to hold it against them?

            Yes, they have, can, will, and will continue to greatly resent gays trying to horn in (as many see it) on the civil right's movement. Of course, gays are NOT the only one's viewed w/ resentment, the women's movement too.......but gays are, w/o question, the most resented group in the Black community, IMHO.

            That sounds more like lingering resentment against white men than a ligitimate reason to oppress gay people.

            It's BOTH to tell the truth. Gays are viewed as a group who can choose to avoid oppression simply by not disclosing their sexuality, whereas being Black is rather obvious!

            The more religious the Black person in question is, the more instense the resentments (this holds for both Christians and Muslims in the Black community). Not only do they agree w/ the idea that gays can avoid oppression unlike Blacks, the notion that being gay is a choice and a BAD choice at that.

            I'm not real familiar with the civil rights movement, but I'm sure they used references to other peoples who fought oppression as much as the gay community is.

            This is all true, but it WON'T change many minds in the Black community. I actually see Blacks going over to the Republican side of the aisle as more and more gay issues are pursued as civil rights issues. The Blacks voting for Bush (IMHO solely on the issue of gay marriage) in Ohio actually DOUBLED from 2000......this is a remarkable shift.

            If anything gets Black folks in bed w/ the Republicans, IMHO it will be the gay question. It's NOT an issue of logic, but of "group think" and a (real and imagined) sense of STILL being oppressed.

            (From all the polling data, these same trends and attitudes towards gays holds for Latinos as well)

        •  You've got the attitude correct (none)
          But is is an incredibly bigoted attitude.

          Talk to any black gay man - they are more prejudiced than whites.

          (Interestingly, not so much against lesbians - they seem to associate being gay in men as a "weakness" and not macho).

          Because they struggled for civil rights does not mean that they are they only ones entitled to them - and they block out totally the fact that the civil rights movement was strongly supported by gays.

          Bayard Rustin was the cause of the March on Washington and gave MLK his platform for his I Had a Dream speech, and they have wiped him from their history.

          http://www.lambda.net/~maximum/rustin.html

          "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

          by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 03:58:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  On Blacks and Gays and Civil Rights (none)
            I think it's a distortion to surmise that African-Americans believe that other oppressed groups are not entitled to Civil Rights.  Except for the most bigoted, I believe black people feel that everyone in America is deserving of equal protection under the law.  My point above is that most African-Americans believe that gays need to fight for civil rights on their own terms and that it is not analogous to the struggles of African-Americans in this country.

            You mention Bayard Rustin and the prejudice he faced within the movement as a gay man.  However, don't forget that it was J.Edgar Hoover, a gay white man, who was doing everything possible to undermine the Civil Rights movement at the same time.

            •  Analogies ? (none)

              My point above is that most African-Americans believe that gays need to fight for civil rights on their own terms and that it is not analogous to the struggles of African-Americans in this country.

              No that isn't true. A fight for civil rights is a fight for civil rights.
              They are bigoted against gay men because of their religion, and so they are "offended".

              What in the hell does Hoover being gay have to do with anything - other than he's another example of a homophobe. ?

              "We are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy unless it obstructs interstate commerce. " - J. Edgar Hoover

              by tiponeill on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 06:32:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •   asdf (none)
      The public and political uses of religion revolt me.  Fundamentalists of every stripe unnerve and infuriate me because of their insistence that the culture and the state reflect/espouse/impose their beliefs on everyone else.

      I grew up in a neighborhood like that and I couldn't run away from it fast enough-- even though the principles imposed were only partially religious, & primarily, actually, materialistic/classist, but they were utterly confining. Asphyxiating.  Diversity is the balm that soothes the wounded heart.

      Anyway, the problem is not Christianity, it is Christofascism.  iow, the fundamentalists are to Christianity as the Taliban is to Islam.

      This is a problem for Chistians to confront and heal among themselves.  Don't make it my business, please. Don't force my President to speak 'Christian' all the time.

      I love reading Pastor Dan's take on issues and events.  I love snarky gay jokes. I'm grateful for a public marketplace that allows room for both, and more, and more.

    •  dude (none)
      where the hell did i say Jews should be discriminated?

      i was just trying to outline how the electorate feels about faith matters. yes, i hate the injection of "judeo-christian" morality into politics. i hate having "moral values" be the arbiter of how people vote. but we have to understand it to combat it, and to try and figure out how we can use it to our political ends, of peace, justice, equality.

  •  evangelical = evangelism to me (none)
    Main Entry: evan·ge·lism
    Pronunciation: i-'van-j&-"li-z&m
    Function: noun
    1 : the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ
    2 : militant or crusading zeal
    • evan·ge·lis·tic  -"van-j&-'lis-tik adjective
    • evan·ge·lis·ti·cal·ly  -ti-k(&-)lE adverb
    merriam webster online
    I am enraged that this is driving our policies through ashcroft et al.  Something has happened to reason with the millenium and information revolution, and womens rights.  Something just snapped.  I feel deeply contemptous of those trying to weave the conversion of non believers into our government.   I believe you need to review the root meaning of evangelical to see why it is so offensive to many.
  •  I Trust Christians (none)
    Black ones.

    We the undersigned urge you to support Federal funding for research using human pluripotent stem cells. -80 Nobel Laureates to Pres. Bush

    by easong on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:15:39 AM PST

  •  Just an observation (none)
    Didn't Christ stand against participation in politics, letting Caesar have his way on earth, because the kingdom was not of this world?

    Politicians playing the religion card are really not listening to Christ's message.

    If someone wants to hear Christ's message and reform their lives based on it in a personal conversion that is up to them. After that they have to realize that someone else, their neighbor, whom they are supposed to love as they love themselves, has to come to Jesus or not on their own terms.

    Fundamentalists are taking a personal psychological issue and turning it into something it is not, a politcal system.

    Religious liberty, yes. Religious intolerance -- imposing your religious views on others through the government-- NO NEVER!!!

    We are turning into a nation that will look a lot like the middle east if this keeps up. And it's time to say it.

    Don't even try to misunderestimate me.

    by pox vopuli on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:16:41 AM PST

  •  BEST DIARY OF THE YEAR (none)
    I am also a churchgoing Christian who spends a good bit of time here at DKos and it is good to hear someone else expouse those views too.
  •  We Believe. . . Sign the Petition (none)
    We are not single-issue voters.

    We believe that poverty - caring for the poor and vulnerable - is a religious issue. Do the candidates' budget and tax policies reward the rich or show compassion for poor families? Do their foreign policies include fair trade and debt cancellation for the poorest countries? (Matthew 25:35-40, Isaiah 10:1-2)

    We believe that the environment - caring for God's earth - is a religious issue. Do the candidates' policies protect the creation or serve corporate interests that damage it? (Genesis 2:15, Psalm 24:1)

    We believe that war - and our call to be peacemakers - is a religious issue. Do the candidates' policies pursue "wars of choice" or respect international law and cooperation in responding to real global threats? (Matthew 5:9)

    We believe that truth-telling is a religious issue. Do the candidates tell the truth in justifying war and in other foreign and domestic policies? (John 8:32)

    We believe that human rights - respecting the image of God in every person - is a religious issue. How do the candidates propose to change the attitudes and policies that led to the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners? (Genesis 1:27)

    We believe that our response to terrorism is a religious issue. Do the candidates adopt the dangerous language of righteous empire in the war on terrorism and confuse the roles of God, church, and nation? Do the candidates see evil only in our enemies but never in our own policies? (Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 8:12-13 )

    We believe that a consistent ethic of human life is a religious issue. Do the candidates' positions on abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, weapons of mass destruction, HIV/AIDS-and other pandemics-and genocide around the world obey the biblical injunction to choose life? (Deuteronomy 30:19)

    Sign the petition:

    http://go.sojo.net/campaign/takebackourfaith

    •  There's one belief missing: (none)
      We believe that a complete separation of church and state is a fundamental principle of the US Constitution. (That's why I abstained from signing this otherwise worthy petition.)
      •  As A Thoroughly Irreligious Person (none)
        I see no contradiction whatever between the sentiments expressed in the above petition and the principle of separation of Church and State. What was the point of that provision of the First Amendment anyway?  It was meant to bar the establishment of a state religion.  It was not meant to separate religious faith from morality.  I have no trouble making ethical decisions without reference to the supernatural.  But I have also come to understand that for most people it's literally impossible to make an ethical choice outside a framework of religious belief. If we're going to turn away people from a political movement for that reason, we'll be lucky to carry Berkeley.  
  •  You can't cherry pick your minority rights (none)
    It wasn't all that long ago that Christians were being fed to the lions. The Republicans have turned the black and hispanic religious vote against gays. A neat trick, but until you relize that fighting for minority rights is an all or nothing fight, you're going to keep losing your own rights.

    Don't tell me how much defending my own right to Marry "hurts" you, unless you are prepared to confess to bigotry.

  •  how to put this? (4.00)
    First of all, I want to thank you for writing this diary and to expressing in a clear, articulate and open-hearted way what I do understand is a very real and important point. I know you responded to a comment I wrote in which I aimed to separate matters of religion from morals, and it is very helpful to know the background to that response

    I am writing as someone who was raised Jewish and whose God, if I have one, is the God of Spinoza (in case you don't know, Spinoza was branded an atheist by his contemporaries for denying that God was a creator of anything. God, for him, is simply the causal order of nature.) Nonetheless, I am culturally a Jew. And as a Jew, I find Christian American (and frankly Western) culture to be overbearing. For many evangelical Christians, I am either a candidate for conversion or a means to the end of the Second Coming (the first coming of whom I do not recognize at all). Every year, around this time, I get bombarded with Christmas consumerism. I do not celebrate Christmas, or any other Christian holiday and certainly not Easter. But nor do I begrudge anyone their celebrations. The society I live in, however, begrudges me mine. If I were to want to go to temple on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I would need to take off work. I have no option of substituting working on Christmas (which would be no problem for me) because that is a national holiday.

    I am in favor of talking about values. I have spent my life to pursuing things that I both enjoy and that benefit the common good, and I am fortunate to have succeeded in that domain. I have views about the obligations we owe to others, both our equals and those less fortunate than us, to the environment, to animals and plants, and about how political institutions ought to reflect those same obligations at home and abroad.

    Perhaps my religious schooling when I was younger influenced those views, though not in the way you might think, as the branch of Judaism I was raised in was much less devoted to faith as it was to reasoning -- Spinoza was my childhood idol, and  we were shown the Holocaust documentary 'Shadows and Fog' in fourth grade (something I strongly advise against). Today I ground those values in beliefs that cut across religious viewpoint. They do not rest on faith, but rather on reason.

    Indeed, one of the wonderful things about democracy is that we can agree on basic values and principles without having to agree on religion. People can practice the religion they profess, hold the faith they do, without having to press their faith on others who do not share it. A century of religious wars inspired the philosophical ideas that ground democracy.

    I would like to think that it is still possible to talk about values -- values we all share -- without having to ground that talk in faith.

    I don't think that anything you have written is inconsistent with what I write. I suppose I am just trying to point out that the aversion to talking about religion and faith is something more than simply a matter of wanting to maintain secularity. Rather it is ensuring that there is a space for real and substantive religious diversity and toleration.

    •  Keeping religion (none)
      separate from government is essential to this American experiment in government.

      The most essential point I take from your post is the historical fact of the centuries of religious wars that gave birth to the American form of government, which is a rebellion against government based on a particular religious faith. If want to open that door and invite in that type of strife here in America, it will no longer be a country that is faithful to its own politcal constitution.

      Frankly there is nothing more annoying or divisive than an evangelical. Unless you share that evangelical's particular faith. That's my opinion, strongly held.

      Don't even try to misunderestimate me.

      by pox vopuli on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:40:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What Kind of Wall of Separation? (none)
        Between Church & State?
        Or between religious faith and moral choices(entailing the political activity grounded on those choices)?
        We can and should insist on the first.
        To demand the second is to demand the impossible of most people. You might as well demand that they stop inhaling and exhaling.
        The religious beliefs of the Christian Right are of no interest beyond the purely tactical(Know Your Enemy).  It is their moral and political choices that are fundamentally flawed.  This thread alone demonstrates that people can hold 27 different flavors of religious belief while still making good moral and political choices.
        We are not Byzantine theologians or Medieval scholastics.
        Politics is a matter of cultivating our garden, not of trying to answer unanswerable questions about faith or whether or not this is the best of all possible worlds.
        By their fruits shall ye know them.
    •  Thank you. (4.00)
      For this: "I would like to think that it is still possible to talk about values -- values we all share -- without having to ground that talk in faith."

      I am astounded to hear people suggest that it's the religious who have been marginalized, when my husband and I--secular people with strong beliefs and principles, just not beliefs related to a religion--are told virtually every day in countless ways that we don't have values or morals because we do not believe in a god.  

      My morals, values, and principles are no less deeply held, and no less "good," because they are grounded in humanism rather than theism.
      I have the greatest respect for people of faith, and all I ask is similar respect in return.

  •  very good point (none)
    i think we are going to address many of these concerns at this site...

    http://amendmentnine.blogspot.com

    i encourage you to read the big ideas preview.

    hope to get your feedback.

    -fed.x

  •  I see where you are coming from (4.00)
    But there are some stands I absolutely cannot and will not support.  

    I will not and cannot support intolerance and hatred of my fellow human beings who are homosexual.  At one point it was just as unpopular to oppose slavery and support equality for all races as it now seems to support the rights of GBLT people.  I will not sell out a segment of the human race for political capital.  If I have to "admit" homosexuality is wrong to convince people to vote for my candidate, they will remain unconvinced by me.  

    I will not and cannot support taking away a woman's right to choose.  I do believe abortions should be safe, legal, and rare.  I don't think they should be a first option or a casual decision.  But I can't sell out the rights of women.  

    I will not and cannot give up my belief in the Constitution, including the separation of church and state.  It is fundamentally wrong to force your beliefs on someone in exchange for them receiving basic human needs (you have to listen to my religion if you want shelter/food/etc.)  I also cannot support the abandonment of science and reason in favor of superstition.  The pledge and things like that are, for me, a non-issue.  Let them have it, it doesn't affect me.  

    If this makes me an "elitist", then I guess I am an elitist.  Guilty as charged.  But I would never wish to force my beliefs on anyone else.  I know evangelicals and fundamentalists are different, but I honestly grow weary of anyone who tries to push their beliefs on me.  And when the state is used for this purpose, it is even worse.  

    This doesn't mean I won't support candidates who have faith.  I support Barack Obama, who I believe is a man of sincere and honest faith.  But I also believe that he would not attempt to force his faith on me through the power of the state, or take away the rights of those he does not agree with.  

    •  You are not (none)
      an elitist. That's the label that those who have grabbed political power want to oppose on people like you and me, who really believe in the Constitution and the philosophy that underlies its words.

      Sadly, true Americanism is being thrown aside by people who don't have a clue about how to keep a democratic/republic alive. People who feel entitled by their own faith to lord it over others who don't share it.

      Americans need to wake up right now on this issue. If not, it's over. America is finished.

      Don't even try to misunderestimate me.

      by pox vopuli on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:47:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wish I'd said that. (none)
      You put it better than I could, and I agree with every word. I am almost more depressed today than I was on Wednesday, because I have the creeping sensation that my own party is being urged to betray the important principles that you just outlined above in order to win over those so-called "moral values" voters from the Republicans.

      Hint: we won't. Not the hardcore ones, which is most of them. We'll just be selling out our own values, which are just as good and profound as theirs.

  •  Thanks, but.... (none)
    I get that you are genuinely trying to be helpful, but it seems to me that you're essentially saying to the dKos community, give up on the "wedge issues" or else.
    I agree that Democrats have an issue with speaking to people of fiath but the answer is NOT to become more overtly Christian. Sorry, this Jew won't follow along.

    Yes, we're only 2% of the population, who cares about us. I'm used to being marginalized. But I am an American and this is my country too.

    •  No not change any thing (none)
      Just to speak up that we have values too, they may be about peace, and love, and honesty and tolerance, but are just as valid.  I do not think that wedge issues should be abandoned, they need be further embraced as part of the values of compassion, and tolerance.  I think that is what leads people to be pro-choice, or stand up for gay rights, even when they do not have a personal stake in these issues.

      There are many interfaith alliances, and denominations that promote the same values that Democrats have been pushing.  Peace for example.  Why not support those who are against the war on conscientious objector grounds?  Why not just come out and say that we don't don't support the war because we "value" peace, and don't want to give up on it?

      I think the main point is that you can remain secular, and have tolerance for values based upon faith.  I don't want prayers in school, because to me, it would end up threatening MY faith, by promoting one prayer over another.

      I think secularism is valuable to safeguard private religious worship.  That is my main concern with this administration.  They espouse a certain faith over others, and they need to knock it off.

  •  Great Diary (none)
    The best thing about this diary is the dialog that's happening here.  I saw someone say that PastorDan is thinking of creating an alternative DKos for those of faith.  I hope none of you ever go away from DKos.  It's vitally important that we all talk like in this diary and like I've been doing in my local Democrat club where I'm about the only one who is NOT a person of faith (live in the south), and yet I'm far from the only progressive.  We need to understand each other.  Agree with the original poster or not, this dialog is important to our nation's future.
  •  I disagree. (4.00)
    If you don't believe that protecting minorities is a vital part of the Democrat Party, then I don't believe you are a true Democrat.

    Sometimes, standing up for a minority group is hard -- because they are (gasp) a minority!  So is the way to overcome this, to succumb to an oppressive majority?

    If that is your answer, then the Democrats are finished as we know it.  To sell out to ignorance will be to kill this party.  For every evangelical Christian you gain, you will lose 2 progressives.  You will lose the gays and the families of gays.  You will lose, period.

    I REFUSE to bend over for these Red States.  They are literally dumber, they are more religious, and they are consistently misinformed about the issues.  These facts are RELATED.  If intellectualism, reason, science, facts, and equality are to be sacrificed or diluted in the name of "winning," then I suggest that we have already lost.

    _______________________________

    My cat's breath smells like cat food.

    by snahabed on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 09:56:50 AM PST

    •  If it takes years (3.66)
      and years and the loss of the presidency for a few more cycles, we cannot give in on this issue of keeping religion out of our politics.

      We cannot deny rights to anyone just because they are different.

      We cannot turn away from reason and science to satisfy a vocal majority of religious zealots.

      This has to be a core stand of the Democratic Party.

      The Republicans can be the Taliban.

      Don't even try to misunderestimate me.

      by pox vopuli on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:02:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Throw Gays to the Lions (none)
      If you think we can afford to sacrifice the civil rights of our gay citiizenry, then who will they come for next? There ain't no going back, justice knows no compromise. We cannot succeed by cowering and kowtowing to the New Taliban.
      Thirty years from history will record what our party does now in our time of trial. Bend over, or punch them in the face.

      We the undersigned urge you to support Federal funding for research using human pluripotent stem cells. -80 Nobel Laureates to Pres. Bush

      by easong on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:05:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think you misunderstand (none)
      Not embracing fundamentalists.

      Not changing the message-Getting OUT the message of peace, tolerance, benevolence, honesty.

      Whether you like it or not the Democratic Party has always had tons of support from various religious groups that support secular government.  But this last cycle they chose to shut us up, or avoid our issues.

      Many fled to the Republican party because of it.

      The very people you claim to support are running away from this attitude, because there is no respect for the total package.  Hispanics are the poorest, need the most services, but most are devout Catholic.  So do you abandon them, or must they abandon their faith?  Many would never have an abortion, and cannot by faith use birth control, so do you tailor programs to support NFP initiatives, and child health plans, well mom clinics, or do you make them adjust to the program?

      One reason so many NGO initiatives fail in Latin America is that they fail to take into account the culture.  Educating girls in general gives them more empowerment, not birth control.  The birth rate goes down once girls have better economic options.  Telling them to use condoms and birth control is considered a form of genocide, and is more threatening to them than the poverty.

  •  Makes me very sad (3.66)
    Yes, this diary does.  I think you have a valid point.  But if you are right, there is no hope for this country.  Ever.

    I am a Christian, but I believe that God made the gays and women as they are, and that God does not make junk.

    Obscure verses in the old Testament were used to justify black slavery by the great great grandfathers of the fundamentalist white Christians of today.  If black fundamentalists have so lost track of their history as to have forgotten this, and have forgotten how it feels to be told that God did not make you and you are not part of humanity, that you a subclass, there is no hope either for Christianity or democracy in this country.

    If women have forgotten how the fathers and grandfathers of today's fundamentalists justified their non humanity, stupidity, inability to vote using Bible verses, it also makes me sad.

    I need to be choosing another country, one where all humans are human, and all are free to choose their religion and to choose what to do with their own bodies.

    Any suggestions for a country with a good medical program.

    I am deeply saddened

  •  What's the goal of the party? (none)
    It seems to me that this excellent post gets into the basic question confronting the Democratic party: Does it want to win elections or push certain agenda points?

    Kerry certainly thought the goal was to win the election, and he adjusted his positions to--almost--accomplish that goal. Nader didn't adjust his positions, and admitted from the outset that he wouldn't win anything.

    So what's it going to be? Push issues like gay marriage that aren't going to win senate seats, or adjust the party line to maximize votes?

    •  The Democrats (none)
      did not push the issue of gay marriage, the Republicans did. Remember?

      All the Democrats did was stand up for fundamental rights when the other party chose to deny them.

      What was Kerry supposed to do, start talking about denying rights to people just to win the election. He has more character than that.

      On this issue, the Dems did not back down though they knew it was a loser. To their credit.

      Don't even try to misunderestimate me.

      by pox vopuli on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:23:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is stupid (none)
      the Democrats will never out gay-bash the GOP and they shouldn't try. also, a lot of our candidates in the red states did sound exactly like the GOP in their literature: I will save the american family and am at the forefront to stop gay marriage. ick.

      no, you have to fight for the issues that the majority of the Americans agree with us on. Americans support the Dem platform way more than the GOP, with the exception of stupid narrow issues like gaymarriage. health care for all, fighting corporate corruption, alternative energy, a living wage, saving the environment, right to unionize. the problem was, Kerry really did not offer much in the way of both proposals. i heard very litle about the environment this election and we failed miserably to make alternative energy our wedge issue. i used this issue for a lot of my undecided friends: either you are with big oil and the saudis, or you are not. Kerry could never draw that simple distinction and neither could a lot of Democrats. we had to have Michael Moore do that.

  •  some follow up here (4.00)
    i appreciate the dialogue here.

    howeever,i feel most people have still missed my whole freakin point. i did not say i agree with the mixing of politics/religion, nor that i endorse throwing gays to the wolves or overturning Roe v. Wade.

    i was thinking and outlining it from a POLITICAL strategic stance. i was acknowledging the hard reality of minority viewpoints. go to the Pew Forum and look at the polls. look, i'm with you guys on this. i wish we were Europe, nice, tolerant, secular. we aren't. so to win elections (which is what i like to do), we must deal with the electorate we got. an electorate that is very anti-intellectual, paranoid, scared, and religious. ROve knows this. why do you think he is so brilliant about knowing what strategy/message to use? Democrats like to believe our electorate is tolerant, reason-based, stands for equality, appeals to our beter angels. doesn't work that way. i am sick to my stomach, as our most of my evangelical friends, that gay marriage and "moral values" as defined by the Republicans won them this election. my post simply was trying to shed some light on why this happened, how it was allowed to happen, how even in my mom's church the pastor counseled them to vote Bush and my mom got yelled at by everybody for saying she wanted to vote Kerry. it was then that i realized how far this had gone. i had no idea that pastors in minority communities were doing this, and that so many of the rank and file agreed. if you don't think "Faith, family, morality" was what won Bush New Mexico, you're in denial.

    For the seculars who think that it's up to us to fight our evangelical brothers and sisters on their narrow-minded brainwashing, i can say we've been doing that for YEARS. it is just hard work. extremely hard work. i have minority gay Christian friends. i have talked about the divisions within my own Bible Study group. when i began college, many of my christian friends were all right wing Republican because they just ASSUMED that was what you HAD to be if you were Christian. over the years, this has changed. half the Christians on my campus either came out after graduation, we have one transsexual and my friend who used to be a "single-issue" pro-lifer voted Kerry. fortunately, we were influenced by being in a blue state and largely secular colege. our counterparts in red states do not have those influences or a chance to hear "the other side." if it weren't for my bashing of Bush constantly, i am sure my mom would have listened to her pastor/church (who also said she had been brainwashed by her radical daughter).

    So us progressive evangelicals have been fighting. But it is hard to not acknowledge the Democrats' PR problem. and only Democratic staffers and the professional politicos can do something about it. Christians need to be treated as an "interest group." The Democrats pander to environmentalists, pro-choicers, trial lawyers, unions, yet for some reason we leave off the biggest interst group of them all, people who vote according to faith???!!! the kerry campaign and DNC late in the game tried to have a "religious outreach" desk. which led to all sorts of problems as they had to fire the first two people. i am sure the GOP had to snicker over their lame efforts.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0306.sullivan.html

    None of the Dem interest groups unfortunately are tied into the church network, with the exception of the NAACP and african Americans. Kerry/Edwards were never often seen in a white church setting. Meanwhile, the GOP has FOcus on the Family, Gary Bauer's Family Research Council, the CHristian Coalition, all of which are tied into the GOP Party structure. Ralph Reed can go from the Christian Coalition to Bush party chair for the South. I was never so frightened as when i read that the Christian right wingers said they had studied union GOTV techniques in their outreach. and wow, did it work on Tuesday. Face facts, churches are where the action are in the swing states. that the GOP is tied to these structures, and has leaders from them in their political network, is what kicked our ass.

    can the Democrats build their own infrastructure for this? i think they absolutely have to. sending in Jesse or Sharpton into the church at the very last minute is not a sensible strategy! some people will object to the very notion of involving churches in Democratic party politics. well, it already goes on within the black church. If you read some of the books about Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign, you will see that her outreach in black churches was magnificient. and that she spoke the language with them and she and Bill knew by first name every single black pastor in New York and regularly consulted with them. They all prayed for her and Bill during the impeachment trial. why Democrats have ignored doing this for other ethnic community churches is beyond me, but it looks like they will have to, esp. if they want to keep the Latino vote in their column. Latinos are less politicaly aligned than anyone. I always cringed when i hear Democrats automatically assume they are ours and why we could build our majority through the Southwest. no way jose. gotta do some hard work now.

    i will concentrate on message in another post.

    •  couple of points: (4.00)
      Thanks for starting this dialogue, although, like many, I have some reservations.  Thank you also for clarifying some of your earlier points.  it's an interesting analogy you draw between Christians and other interest groups.  The problem is, government advocacy on behalf of environmental issues, racial issues, gender issues, or sexual orientation issues isn't expressly precluded by the Constitution.  I have no problem re-casting our principles in the language of values informed by faith.  I have a severe problem with treating "Christians" (never mind the problem of treating a religion as a monolith) as an interest group with needs that must be met.

      As for Bill and Hill reaching out into black churches, it wasn't that they were trying to reach Christians, as much as they were trying to reach the black community.  There are far fewer institutions around which blacks as a whole (again, that monolith problem) tend to congregate than for whites.  The Clintons acknowledge the black community as an interest group, not black Christians per se.

      just the $.02 of an occassional church-attending black dyke.

      "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

      by Passing Shot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 12:04:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Don't Think It's That Complicated (none)
      I really don't think Democrats can or need to tie in church networks into the party the way Republicans do.  

      There are some simple positions the party can take that would appeal to the Christian community and would not compromise progressive principles, IMO.

      First of all, liberals always refer to the Establishment Clause of the Constitution as a "separation of church and state" whereas the Constitution prohibits the ESTABLISHMENT of any religion, and there is a difference.  I think people need to pick and choose their battles and some 'radical secular' positions should just be dropped.  

      Is there really any harm over the display of a nativity scene on public property ?  I think not but how many court battles have there been over just that.  Battles like these are what fire up the right wing evangelists.

      It's only a matter of time before the Republicans figure out that they can use school vouchers as a way to get support from black ministers.  Given that the majority of African-Americans support vouchers for use at religious schools, why do the white Democrats insist that "separation of church and state" prevents it ?  I don't see anyone opposing the use of Pell Grants for the Jesuits' Georgetown Univ.

      Why do we have candidates saying Roe v. Wade is a "litmus test" for judges ?  Even if it is, you don't have to say it and tell people that abortion rights trumps all other issues when choosing a judge.

      USE some of the more liberal clerics as faces of the progressive movement.  And I don't mean Revs. Jackson and Sharpton.  For example, Rev. William Gray was a Congressman, OMB Director, head of the Negro College Fund, and pastor of the largest black church in Philly.  If anyone should be a spokesman for role of religion in social progress, it should be him.   Rev. Forbes of Riverside Church in NY should be up front and center. There are other clerics...find some rabbis too.    

      And liberal politicians being seen on TV coming out of church at times other than during campaigns wouldn't hurt either.  Clinton attending church during his Presidency certainly played well with some audiences.

      Steal the faith based initiatives issue from the Republicans.  Every ghetto in America has black churches that have some little day care center, senior citizen center, or some other social program that is or has been funded through government programs.  "Faith based initiatives" are old news in the black community.  Some ministers have built little fiefdoms with government funds used for their church programs.  What George Bush is attempting to do is take BIG BUCKS and give them to the "supersized churches" that have appeared in the past 15 years and are operated as conglomerates.  The Democrats could take the initiative idea to help promote real poverty programs instead of a shift of funds from the Treasury into the Great Temple's coffers.  However, it would require an acceptance from liberals that using churches for social programs is not "establishing religion."

      •  good ideas Poobah (none)
        but it still means we need systematic outreach and some GOTV among the church-going voters. if we can just peel off 5-10% of the white weekly churchgoers who vote for Bush, this would really help, and i'm not sure how to do it unless we try to involve them w/ the party. i really do believe we need a dialogue with those churches. all they get spewed is right wing moralism. my mom's church works with a food bank that's about to lose its funding because the govt. has no money. why can't Democrats make the point to them that the GOP tax cuts is what is causing this? The GOP gets to issue its talking points to them about how Bush will defend marriage while our side doesn't ever get its say.

        yeah, vouchers are the other issues the GOP will use to divide/conquer among latinos/blacks. i personally don't have problems with faith-based initiatives, provided done in the right way (ie not the Bush way). i have no idea what some libs just want to condemn the whole idea as some infringement on church and state. it's a politically losing argument too.

      •  again, a couple of points: (none)
        "Is there really any harm over the display of a nativity scene on public property ?"

        Yes, there is.  1) which religions are entitled to this privilege?  2) where does it end?  3) is there a difference between a nativity scene in a municipal plaza and a nativity scene in a public school play yard? You think we have too much liigation on this now...

        "Given that the majority of African-Americans support vouchers for use at religious schools, why do the white Democrats insist that "separation of church and state" prevents it ?"

        1) it's not just white Democrats that oppose vouchers for religious schools.  2) it's not because they're used at religious schools that engenders opposition, it's that vouchers are a BAD IDEA.  They sap money from the public school system, and they don't provide enough money to cover even a lower-tuition parochial school.

        "Why do we have candidates saying Roe v. Wade is a "litmus test" for judges ?  "

        I don't recall ever hearing Kerry mention Roe by name, either in debate or on the stump.  Most candidates refer to the right to privacy as outlined by Justice Brennan in a non-abortion case (Griswold)

        "The Democrats could take the initiative idea to help promote real poverty programs instead of a shift of funds from the Treasury into the Great Temple's coffers.  However, it would require an acceptance from liberals that using churches for social programs is not "establishing religion."

        Are all houses of faith eligible for these funds?  Wiccans?  How do you assess their efficacy without being accused of trying to shape the programs?  What if there's a religious component to the services provided -- "a little sermon with your soup, sir"?  This IS assisting in the establishment of religion.  Are these service providers permitted to discriminate, in accordance with their religious beliefs, in providing assistance?  If no, then the government could be accused of dictating religious belief.  if yes, then the government is engaging in unlawful discriminatory practices.

        Tell me how you see this being implemented.

         

        "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

        by Passing Shot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 01:47:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: Couple of points (none)
          1) which religions are entitled to this privilege?  2) where does it end?  

          Opposition to Nativity scenes in public places is, IMO, radical secularism.  I don't really care if a big menorah is put in public place during Hannukah and a big crescent and star during Ramadan. It ends when the holiday is over. real easy.  

          it's not because they're used at religious schools that engenders opposition, it's that vouchers are a BAD IDEA

          Every urban ghetto in America has a little struggling Catholic school left behind by the poor Irish and Italians of generations before. And these schools are filled with Hispanics and African-Americans (who are usually not Catholic)scrimping and saving to pay the tuition which is set barely high enough to keep the doors open and heat on.  If Democrats were serious about making inroads to get votes from people who are concerned with "morals" in society, they would help these poor parents out.

          Are all houses of faith eligible for these funds?  Wiccans?  How do you assess their efficacy without being accused of trying to shape the programs? Are these service providers permitted to discriminate, in accordance with their religious beliefs, in providing assistance?

          I don't see Wiccans starting any social programs for the needy, so this isn't a problem. Same rules that apply to federal funding of private higher education could apply to providing funds in so-called faith based inititative programs.

          Most candidates refer to the right to privacy  
          While I'm aware of the premise for Roe  candidates usually don't refer to "right to privacy" when describing abortion rights, "right to choose" seems to be the current popular adage and I have heard the latter used as a litmus test.

          If the goal is to neutralize Democrats perceived hostitlity towards religion while maintaining liberal principles and respect for people of all faiths, I think the above positions make sense.

          •  Wiccan charity and "faith-based" BS (none)
            I know several Wiccans and neopagans, and as something of a pantheist myself I'm at least as pagan as I am Christian.

            These people are as charitable as a group as the more committed Christians I know. Often they work through existing organizations, some of which are Christian-run, so their visibility as neopagans can be low. But not always.

            Here's an example of a Wiccan charity in Cincinnati called Robin's Hood that provides shelter to homeless people: http://www.citybeat.com/2004-05-26/news2.shtml.

            The Pagan Pride Project is one of several groups that do annual food drives: http://www.paganpride.org/what/what.html

            There are more, but those were just the first two that showed up in a Google search.

            In any case, this is beside the point. Religious charities that are financially and organizationally separate from their parent religious organizations have always been able to get non-profit status for charity work. Catholic Community Services has been one of the most active social welfare organizations in this country for years, but it's a non-profit organization separate from the Catholic Church that doesn't use any of its money for proselytyzing.

            Bush's "faith-based initiative" has one salient characteristic, and it's that it allows the government to fund outright religious organizations who spend money converting people and engaging in religious practices that have nothing to do with their charity work. Many of these organizations are outright religious right organizations that are pursuing anti-gay and anti-women political agendas, and giving money to right wing political candidates. There are some token non-Christian groups that get money here and there, but the focus of the program is in funding the religious right. The whole program was unnecessary and amounts to government handouts for fundamentalists. It represents a blurring of the line between church and state. It's immoral, and has to be stopped.

            Our existing non-profit charity system works well, and in combination with government social welfare programs and funding priorities, they're sufficient for taking care of the needy, if we only would fund them.

            Proud citizen of the provisional Canadian province of Cascadia since November 3, 2004

            by seaprog on Sat Nov 06, 2004 at 10:12:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Info and Point Well Taken (none)
              I think your post shows how Democrats can still seize the initiative and co-opt the faith based initiatives issue.  By supporting funding for groups like Catholic Charities and other social welfare agencies founded by churches but run separate and apart with very specific missions, the mainstream American public can understand that Democrats support charities run by 'faith based' organizations without supporting proselytizing.  It could then be as simple as pointing out that Democrats support funding Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army versus Bush supporting using government funding of the Benny Hinn Crusades.
          •  Sorry, I wasn't clear. (none)
            The question "when does it end" refers to how many religions are we going to permit to use public spaces to express their faith.  Limiting it to Christianity, Judaism and Islam simply won't cut it, as any attempt to do so would be tantamount to privileging one or several religions above all others.

            As for your other points, perhaps I'm being thick but they don't seem to address either the Constititional or logitical problems inherent in faith-based funding initiatives.  But I suppose we can agree to disagree.

            "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

            by Passing Shot on Sun Nov 07, 2004 at 02:04:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  It's the language, stupid! (none)
    I agree 100%.  We can't allow the ideals of liberalism to be marginalized by the reactionary right's use of language.  Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and yes, Bill Clinton used soaring, religiously framed rhetoric to advance the causes of tolerance, unity, social justice and the very American ideals of equality of opportunity and equality under the law.  It's true that many to the left of George Bush are uncomfortable mixing religion and politics, but it's not religion we should be talking about, it's our core values. We've got them, they exploit them and manipulate people with them.  That's a difference that can win elections for us.

    I'm a Jew, and I approved this message.

  •  Obama indeed (3.50)
    I disagree with you that we have to adopt the "values" of preachers in order to succeed.

    I do agree with you that we have to adopt the STYLE of preachers in order to succeed... and Obama does that better than anyone. But we all can learn how to do it... and our candidates better figure it out right quick.

    We need to turn every debate into a moral debate. We need to create and sell a "Covenant with America" for 2006, one in which all our positions are presented as moral imperatives... and by sell I mean sell it like a tent preacher would!

    Again, not like I want my candidates speaking in tongues and shouting "hallelujia!". But I do want to reframe every position in moral terms.

    Peace and justice? Righteous.
    Health care? Righteous.
    Equal rights for women, gays, minorities? Righteous.
    The Earth? Sacred and inviolable.
    Alternative fuels and conservation? A righteous duty.
    Science and free inquiry? Sacred.
    Freedom of religion and freedom from religion? Exalted.
    Helping people over corporations and profits? A noble and righteous duty.

    And, yes, this will imply some demogoguery in terms of defining the people who oppose these moral imperatives as "evil". Oh well, we can't be squeamish here. That's just an unfortunate side-effect of framing the debate so strongly, and we must steel ourselves up for that.

    What I dislike most about religious dogma is the black-or-white, good-vs-evil component. I think we can mitigate this by making our tenets inclusive. But sadly this is the hand we've been given to play, and we're going to have to be unashamed about defining the people who oppose our values as evil, wicked deceivers. If they howl, too bad.

    I've studied religion quite a bit, and from where I sit I don't see a whole lotta daylight between the basic tenets of the world's religions.. and they are very "liberal" values indeed. We can sum them up and turn them into our creed, and turn this into a platform for taking back our country.

    •  Common values (none)
      Obama already gets this, and does it brilliantly:

      It is that fundamental belief, it is that fundamental belief, I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams and yet still come together as one American family.

      Pure Biblical rhetoric, yes even as an atheist I heard that and shouted "Right on!!!" The religious language didn't bother me at all, because I agree completely with the underlying moral value.

      And to expand on your comment, there's a fair amount of overlap between the core values of Christianity and those of secular humanism -- tolerance (judge not), the search for ultimate truth (whether through religion or science), compassion, justice, equality (there is neither Jew nor gentile), and community (I am my brother's keeper).

      We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals; we now know that it is bad economics. —Franklin Delano Roosevelt

      by Utah for Dean on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 02:36:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Progressives need you to speak more (3.50)
    I have to let you in on a little secret: just as gay marriage scares evangelicals, evangelicals scare some non-evangelicals.

    We call them "Jesus Freaks" because they make us a little nervous, we do not understand what their agenda might be, we do not know how to talk their language. We also have an underlying assumption that they look down their noses, do not approve of non-evangelicals.

    Reading your passage melts that tension, makes it less scary.

    •  trust me, they scare me too (3.66)
      my family scared me growing up. my mom and brother talking about my needing to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior. i know those words still cause willies among probably most folks here.

      until i read the NT and discovered Jesus was a pretty cool dude, a revolutionary even.

      Some evangelicals do look down on the non-believers. think y'all are going to hell. they'll be really nice about it when trying to convert you. but that's the wrong approach.

      i totally agree with the statement: Jesus save me from your followers.

      most American christians (or Bush types) are a bunch of hypocritical Pharisees. but i still have to love them anyways. you seculars don't have too and i envy that! the concept of grace sure can suck sometimes.

      •  I almost admonished you (none)
        for the piety of "you seculars don't have too and i envy that! the concept of grace sure can suck sometimes".

        But instead I just wanna say thanks for loving them so we don't have to! Way to take one for the team :)

  •  The Ohio Issue 1 ammendment was not (none)
    about gay marriage. It was framed that way, and I guess people are too lazy to read. Marriage was already defined as between a man and a woman in Ohio. This amendment expands to ALL unmarried civil relationships - civil unions amongst straight or gay. Basically, because the wording of this amendment is so broad, it could have far reaching effects, including legal battles about medical power of attorney, living wills, etc.. Even the Republicans such as Taft and Voinovich were against it. Ken Blackwell was all for it.

    Article XV

    Section 11. Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.

    And from the League of Women Voters:

    "The amendment further states that no legal status, such as a civil union, may be devised by state or local government that would carry the weight of marriage or confer any benefits or obligations of marriage on unmarried individuals. As such, it would revoke actions already taken by some cities and universities, and would test the validity of adoptions, custody orders, wills, powers of attorney, and other legal arrangements between both same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex couples."

    LOWM full opinion

    Cinci Enquirer

    and another

  •  WJWD (4.00)
    The question isn't WWJD?  It is What Jesus WOULDN'T Do!  Jesus, after all, was the ultimate liberal; some would say the ultimate revolutionary.  In an era of cultural hegemony and repression, Jesus taught love, tolerance, and peaceful resistance. There is nothing in the teachings of Christ that is antithetical to the purposes or aims of a progressive community.

    Some here seem to be saying that we must all agree on all these various issues in order to be united.  I say the very fact that we tolerate and even encourage dissent is what must unite us.

    Set aside, for a moment, your own religious persuasions or lack of them, and think logically about the basic tenets of Christianity -- the actual teachings of the man.  Would Christ tell us to respond to an attack on our nation by bombing innocents, lying to or deceiving the public to gain support for toppling some dictator we don't like, or espousing hatred against those with a different belief system than our own?  

    Who would Jesus kick out of his "flock?"  Prostitutes?  Nope. Thieves?  Nope. Phillistines? Nope. Samaritans? Nope. The rich?  The poor? Go on and on.  Nobody would be denied entry based on any criteria of the temporal world. If there is one common theme among the teachings of real Christianity, it is the tenet of inclusion.

    Apply this logic to any issue of our time. Would Christ exclude gays?  People who have had an abortion?  Performed an abortion?  The very idea of exclusion was inconceivable.

    Jesus was, without a doubt, the most anti-fundamentalist teacher of all time.  Everything he stood for and taught was anathema to the ruling elite, be they civil or religious. He scared the shit out of them with his preachings of tolerance, inclusion, and yes, even forgiveness.

    By now you must think I am some sort of neolib born again.  Actually, I'm probably closer to an atheist.  Or, more accurately, a universalist.  I don't believe there is some Higher Being dictating what happens in the universe.  The universe just happens.  This eventually occurs to a lot of people like me who grew up as devout Catholics and discovered later that lighting candles and burning incense wouldn't buy me one day out of Purgatory.

    But that doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't do our part to influence its direction in our little dust speck corner of the cosmos.  We must!  And I have come to believe that a lot of the things this guy Jesus taught are the right direction -- actual positive ways to relate to each other.

    There was one thing that Jesus would not tolerate: hypocrisy.


    ************************
    WEBSTER'S NEW UNIVERSAL UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY
    hypocrite:
    • a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.

    • a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, esp. one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
    *
    ***********************

    If a person chooses to define himself as an evangelical born again Christian, my first take would be, "Great!  Now here's someone with a positive, wonderful belief system!  Jesus, after all, was pretty cool guy!"  Now, if that person goes on to tell me that gays are sinners to be condemned to Hell, great art works in the halls of Congress are to be covered with veils so we can't view their sculpted breasts, and that it's okay to hold as prisoners people not charged with any crime...well then I begin to question the validity of their beliefs.  Surely, they can't think Christ would condone such behavior?  

    In short, we of the left should not shun the language or teachings of religion.  We must embrace it, adopt it, and learn how to tell people that our Values are the real Christian Values.  It matters not that we are not all Christians, or even if we are religious in our personal lives. What matters is that we retake the claim to those values -- those are our values, goddam it, and I want them back!!

    You know, it's funny but I haven't seen one reference here to the one president of this century that was a true born again Christian. Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter found their faith in the belief system of Jesus.  Now, that is not my personal take on the universe or my definition of eternal life, nor would I guess, is it shared by too many people here. And sure,we all (me, too!) made fun of his podunk, cracker, quaint and quiet adherance to his religion, but in doing so, we missed a terrific opportunity to bring quite a few million true believers into our fold.

    The Right has successfully pigeonholed us as a bunch of amoral godless pinko elitists who snort at the idea of the "Moral America."  We have likewise fallen into their exquisite trap of exclusion, by branding all those who subscribe to a "Christian" or otherwise "religious" belief system as fundamentalist wackos. The Republicans, of all people, have managed to embrace an enormous diversity of people -- not all of them rich! -- from old Conservatives to radical neocons.  And when the hypocrites of the Evangelize For Profit movement came knocking, they opened their doors in welcome, and in rushed millions of actual Christians, too.  Misguided? Yes, but made to feel welcome, just the same.

    Our job is to prove that we are not the elitist and exclusionary ones.  Our job is to point to the hypocrisy of the Jimmy Swaggerts, Ralph Reeds, and Reverend Ikes of the world and make a place for and welcome those with real Christian mores back into our flock.  Will they agree with us on every issue?  No, of course not!  But we'll have a helluva lot easier time convincing them that our side is the moral highground when they are with us and not against us.

    I think Jimmy Carter was on to something.  I wonder, I fear, if it's too late for us to learn it again.

    •  no it's not too late (none)
      "Now, that is not my personal take on the universe or my definition of eternal life, nor would I guess, is it shared by too many people here."

      whoa, and we wonder then why we lose the church-going vote? well accept the fact then you are outside the mainstream in the swing states (you're probably fine in CA or NY). we would like to believe Kossacks represent the mainstream of America. but they don't. and maybe that's why we were so unprepared for our horrible defeat. the Senate seats really really hurt too.

      the fact is, besides Jimmy Carter who was a born-again loved by the evangelicals until he started supporting abortion rights, the Democrats nominated 4 freakin times one of the great fundamentalist orators of all time: William Jennings Bryan. he was a progressive who railed against the rich and the corporations oppressing the poor. his base was rural folks and farmers--the same ones who have left us in droves for the GOP. go to one of his speeches. they are inspiring. we have the spiritual vision in our history and we've articulated it before. we just need to learn from it.

      •  pretty darn mainstream here! (4.00)
        Not sure if you're agreeing or missing my point...  Most of kos is "out of the mainstream" of the swing states, certainly insofar as religion is concerned.  The point is, and it's made elsewhere in these comments far more elegantly than I can say it: Regardless of religious persuasion, we can and must reclaim the mainstream of the morals debate.  We spend time bashing religious ideologies instead of welcoming the diversity they might bring to us.
        (you're probably fine in CA or NY)

        I am firmly ensconced in the very middle Missouri, a state that swings like no other. And, (gasp!)  I am a farmer by trade, and also a dad, a softball coach, a PTA member, etc. etc. Hard to be anymore mainstream than that.  I don't bother my neighbors about my religion and they don't bother me with theirs.  It's kind of a tradition here that people don't get all uptight about stuff like that.

        Meanwhile, though, Kerry lost my county by 34 votes (out of 85,000+ cast).  I'll bet every one of those could have been recouped in any one of the many white, Baptist churches here. These people are my neighbors and friends; we help each other when it floods, we loan each other balers and rakes and tractors, buy girl scout cookies from all the kids, and we worry about each other when it storms. Frankly, they don't give a shit that I'm not a Baptist, or Methodist, or whatever.  And they want to be Democrats!  Their parents were.  They know why we have rural electric cooperatives, and farm co-ops, and county water systems!  But they are not going to give up their religious beliefs to fit in.

        Imagine if we got off our moral high horses and let all of these people know they could be Democrats and still be Baptists, too!

      •  On Carter and Abortion (none)
        I don't remember Carter as being as progressive by today's standards on abortion.  As a matter of fact, Jimmy Carter supported and signed the law prohibiting public funding of abortions (Hyde Amendment).  Carter went so far as to say "all things in life are not fair" when describing the effects of cutting off funding for poor people. Unfortunately, no Democratic Presidential candidate today could get through primaries taking such a public position.  
  •  If you're right, I'd rather lose (4.00)
    In your diary, you claim that minority communities would like to end the separation of church and state, and that defending the rights of gay people is politically unpopular.

    I'm not sure what you're asking of me.  But if you're asking me to support those beliefs, you are asking me to forswear two of my deepest principles:

    1. I believe that the church and the state must remain separate, for the health of both.  I've traveled Europe and read history.  Uniting the church and the state corrupts both, and ultimately yields bloodshed and widespread secularism.  My family has fought for religious freedom for since the 1500s; my ancestors were driven out of France because they were Protestant.

    2. I believe that every minority must be defended: black, Hispanic, gay, Jew, Christian, atheist.  If the price of African-American support is truly giving up the gays--and I pray that is not the case--then this defense will be hard.  And yes, I hear that gay people have no business talking about civil rights because they have not suffered enough.  Who dares to say that to a teenager driven from his family, never again to hear a kind word from his own mother or father?

    Over the past few days, I have had many temptations set before me: I've been asked to sacrifice my moral beliefs for political victory.  I've been asked to betray the hopes and dreams of my dearest friends.

    If I remain true to my moral beliefs, I may not save my country.  I see that now.  But if I forsake my moral beliefs, how can I save anything, even myself?

    •  no no no (3.33)
      that's not what i'm saying.

      look, the GOP has a big tent of people who can't agree on a lot of shit either.

      i am NOT saying we need to end church and state separation or sell out gay people. can folks read? i am saying we need to be aware, particularly our Democratic party strategists, of where the minority community stands. you can bet your coat that Rove knows where we stand, that's why they are trying so damned hard to woo us with their faith talk.

      we need seculars, moderates, evangelicals, we need them all in our party. so let's talk about the issues that unite us--they are far greater than what divides us. we don't like immoral wars for profit. we want universal health care. desperately. we want single payer even. we want strong unions, a living wage. these are "moral values" to us too. we believe in ending racism. Ok?

      •  Fair enough (none)
        If you feel accused by my message, then I ask your forgiveness.  I have been offered many temptations over the last few days, and visited some of the darkest areas of my soul.[1]

        Reading your message, mulling over its implications for Democratic victory, I was blessed to realize I still cared, deeply, for more important things.  After a long and difficult political fight, doing good--as best I know it--still mattered to me more than winning.  I am not, yet, a Lenin who can sacrifice anything and everything in the name of expediency.

        And for this, I am thankful.  

        I love and respect the Christian faith--though I no longer have it--and I am willing to respect anyone who thinks long and hard, and tries as best they know how to do good.

        [1] As I once told a friend, "I do not know if there are such things as souls or devils.  But I believe--as deeply as I believe anything--that one may be sold to the other."

    •  the least i ask of you (none)
      is to respect that some in the party may not agree with you on some issues. that's ok. we'll never agree on all the issues.

      there are those Republicans right now who hate Arnold and Specter because they betray their deepest core beliefs. the more level-headed ones (Rove) know the GOP needs them in their tent and coalition. that's how to approach this issue.

  •  the black church needs to wake up (4.00)
    I posted this on LeftofArizona's diary A minority homosexual responds.

    [For the record, I'm black, lesbian, out and Episcopalian (though non-practicing)]

    Gay folks are everywhere and come in every color, and all those minority evangelicals that voted their fears in this election likely work with, are friends with or are related to someone that is gay. And, given their political viewpoint, there's good reason they don't know that person is gay. If you're in a virulently homophobic religious community you don't want to come out.

    BTW, this denial of homosexuality in the black community has probably played a role in the explosive increase of HIV in black women today, no doubt due to men on the DL that believe that they are straight (want the relationship with the woman for stability and social acceptance), but like having men on the side for sexual encounters. There's lots of controversy about this, chronicled in an excellent Slate article. These men feel they cannot come out without being persecuted in their religious community. Gay=white to many of these men. This is what has to change.

    Southern Voice Online has an excellent first part of two stories on the similarities and differences between the black civil-rights movement and that of the current gay rights movement. The core of this article is the hypocrisy and homophobia in the black community that continues to deny that homosexuals exist among them. The lack of understanding what commonality exists between the movements is clearly laid out, with the irony that one of the key people in the civil rights movement, Bayard Rustin, was a gay man.

    Mathew Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel, an Orlando, Fla.-based conservative legal group, said religion played an important role in blacks' attaining rights.

    ...There is a wide gap between perceiving homosexuality as an abomination and seeing it as a natural way of life, but gays can make spiritual arguments on the immorality of discrimination, Walsh said.

    "On the left, the argument is not about changing God's word on homosexuality," Walsh said. "The argument is that [religious people] will soon be persuaded to admit that your brother, or cousin, or sister is gay, and you don't want them to live as second-class citizens."

    ...For Mandy Carter, a black lesbian and executive director of the Durham N.C.-based Southerners on New Ground, raising the question of whether the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement are similar brings to the forefront a basic, but most important issue: When will the black community recognize there are gay people within it?

    ...The black civil rights movement also has a gay man to thank for one of its shining moments, said Carter, who is also a board member of the National Black Justice Coalition, a gay rights organization. Black, gay pacifist Bayard Rustin was the architect for the historic 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

    It was Rustin who introduced King to Ghandi's philosophy of non-violence -- the key ingredient to winning passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- and it was Rustin who was often marginalized within the civil rights movement because racist opponents threatened to use his sexual orientation to sabotage blacks' efforts.

    "What if Bayard Rustin hadn't been there?" Carter asked. "There wouldn't have been the civil rights movement we know today."

    To not see the similarities between the two movements is the "height of ultimate irony," she said.

    But it is sometimes easy for modern African Americans to adopt anti-gay attitudes, mainly because the black gay men and lesbians around them have not revealed their sexual orientation, or asserted their right to dignity, Carter said.

    "In terms of movement for change, [black gays and lesbians] better be [involved] because we can't afford to not be," Carter said.

    This has played out locally in the usually gay-tolerant Triangle area of NC fairly recently. Members of the virulently homophobic Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh are an extreme example of the problems gay minorities face in whether to come out.


    The Rev. Patrick Wooden [of Upper Room] has called noisy protests to oppose homosexuality, which he calls 'one of the greatest enemies of Christianity.' (Sher Stoneman, News & Observer)

    From the News and Observer:

    "I cannot stand by and say nothing while this wicked phenomenon takes place," Wooden said.

    Wooden has made it clear he will not tolerate gays or lesbians in the church choir or, for that matter, in any church leadership position.

    Four years ago, the church started a private Christian school after he became concerned that the public schools were tolerating gays and lesbians.

    A native of Rockingham, Wooden, 42, is a broad-shouldered man with an easy smile. He attended Fayetteville State University, and does not hold a seminary degree. He has led the Upper Room for 17 years. The congregation is part of the mostly black Church of God in Christ, a rapidly growing denomination that numbers 8 million U.S. members, according to its Web site.

    At a recent church luncheon devoted to homosexuality, about 200 participants were handed booklets printed by the church titled, "Disarming and Defeating the Homosexual Theology." Wooden told the group it was time to "get our hands dirty."

    "We have to block the use of euphemisms when we talk about homosexuals," he said. "They are not gay. We've got to use terms like 'deviant' and 'abomination.' "

    Making progress on this front is going to be slow, when you're up against something like that.

    Pam's House Blend

    •  right on sistah! (none)
      i have minority gay friends. it's like a fate worse than death. some have been disowned by their families. some are in the closet to their family. it's painful. fighting homophobia has to come from within the community. the DL phenomenon is killing black folks. it needs to be addressed urgently.

      but in terms of building a political coalition when we have such problems in our communities which the GOP is so willing to exploit, that is a different story we must deal with as well.

  •  The problem (none)
    Is that for the most part, and this may well be skewed since I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church in TX, most evangelicals seem incapable of accepting alternate points of view regarding certain subjects. For example, as an educated person, I recognize that abortion and infant mortality have been an issue with humans since we lived in caves, perhaps before. There is evidence that certain herbs were consumed to terminate a pregnancy if the tribe could not afford to feed another child. Termination was seen as the humane alternative to starvation or infanticide. Homosexuality can similarly be explained as a natural check against overpopulation.

    The shame associated with both activities is not a natural phenomenon, created by God, but rather artificially induced by religion in order to control and manipulate. I agree that the Left could stand to be more in touch with its Spiritual nature, but embracing the radical notions of the anti choice, anti gay movement is definitely the wrong way.

    end corporate rule. restore democracy.

    by jaskot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 12:59:31 PM PST

    •  and where in the post did i say (3.00)
      we need to embrace anti gay or choice sentiments? wake up. i was simply  pointing out the reality that some folks who vote Democrat dont' agree on those issues. that's fine. let's talk about all the things we do agree on. the GOP doesn't kick out its pro-choice people. the Log Cabins get to hang out with them once in awhile (i don't know why they want to...).
  •  The problem (4.00)
    Is that for the most part, and this may well be skewed since I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church in TX, most evangelicals seem incapable of accepting alternate points of view regarding certain subjects. For example, as an educated person, I recognize that abortion and infant mortality have been an issue with humans since we lived in caves, perhaps before. There is evidence that certain herbs were consumed to terminate a pregnancy if the tribe could not afford to feed another child. Termination was seen as the humane alternative to starvation or infanticide. Homosexuality can similarly be explained as a natural check against overpopulation.

    The shame associated with both activities is not a natural phenomenon, created by God, but rather artificially induced by religion in order to control and manipulate. I agree that the Left could stand to be more in touch with its Spiritual nature, but embracing the radical notions of the anti choice, anti gay movement is definitely the wrong way.

    end corporate rule. restore democracy.

    by jaskot on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 01:07:10 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the post. Too bad no one is listening (none)
    I agree exactly with what is happening. Too bad the democratic party has been highjacked by "elite, white and secular" groups.
    .
    Its not that religious African American groups are feeling the pressure to vote their conscience and are moving republican, but so are the Catholics.
    .
    I was stunned to hear that 18 percent of the UNION vote voted Republican in OHIO.
    .
    The traditional base of the democratic party is jumping ship because it appears that the democratic party no longer is speaking to the issues.
    •  i think this is true to a certain extent... (none)
      the party relies on groups like the Sierra Club and NARAL and Emily's List which are very white and secular for its organizing. the contempt for the religious right and the bashing of Christians or anyone who doesn't agree with them gets to be a bit disturbing.

      you can say what you want about the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family but they do represent ordinary Americans who are part of their membership and are closer in touch with them and their "values" than an Emily's List, which is mostly white activist professional women. i think Emily's list is enormously effective. i'm glad they're around. but there is limits to what they do, and their single-issue agenda makes them an easy target. that's the problem with all our interest groups: they are all single-issue and minded. the GOP's folks have united worldviews and values on a wide variety of subjects. the only organization we have that remotely resembles that is MoveOn perhaps...

      •  Focus on Family (none)
        I can't believe that you are citing James Dobson's Focus on Family as ordinary Americans that a more centrist Democratic party could work with.

             Dobson believes in beating children as young as 18 months with sticks.

             Dobson believes that the young gay man who was crucified on a fence in Wyoming got what was coming to him.

             How do I know?  I read his website about 4 years ago when the daughter of a friend wanted us to contribute to sending her to a Focus on Family program.

             Frankly, this is a very sick group of puppies, and if Democrats ever look like this, and  by inference the rest of America is to the right of that, anyone with any sense needs to immigrate to some place else.

        If Democrats

        •  no no (none)
          dobson has some good things to say about child rearing that i like but yeah, he's a nutcase. i didn't say Dems should look like him or work with him. i said they need to build some credible institutions of their own that reach a wider variety of people instead of simple single-issue easily dispersed groups. that's why MoveOn is so valuable.

          my dentist carries Focus on the Family newsletters in his office. Do Democrats/progressives have any similar institutions that porport to speak for "the family"??

          •  Dem Family (none)
            I would say that we have relied on the mainstream churches for that kind of thing.  And possibly union newsletters.

            It may be worth rethinking.

            Another possible job for pastordan?

            •  and while we're at it (none)
              I didn't think Dobson had ANYTHING useful to say about childrearing.

              Once you start with beating children from their earliest memories, you end up with twisted little kids and even sicker adults.  How do I know?  My mother was like that, and it hs taken me 57 years to even partially deal with it.

  •  Thanks for the post. Too bad no one is listening (none)
    I agree exactly with what is happening. Too bad the democratic party has been highjacked by "elite, white and secular" groups.
    .
    Its not that religious African American groups are feeling the pressure to vote their conscience and are moving republican, but so are the Catholics.
    .
    I was stunned to hear that 18 percent of the UNION vote voted Republican in OHIO.
    .
    The traditional base of the democratic party is jumping ship because it appears that the democratic party no longer is speaking to the issues.
  •  Thanks for the post. Too bad no one is listening (none)
    I agree exactly with what is happening. Too bad the democratic party has been highjacked by "elite, white and secular" groups.
    .
    Its not that religious African American groups are feeling the pressure to vote their conscience and are moving republican, but so are the Catholics.
    .
    I was stunned to hear that 18 percent of the UNION vote voted Republican in OHIO.
    .
    The traditional base of the democratic party is jumping ship because it appears that the democratic party no longer is speaking to the issues.
  •  What you're basically saying is (3.50)
    We have to do much ground work...

    However, as a Buddhist, I (a) respect people's religions or lack thereof, and (b) see a big threat to religious freedom, of which abortion/gay rights is the "camel's nose under the tent."

    I agree that religious folks need more contact.

    But, the reverse is true: Richard Viguerie's bleat about a war on "Christian values" rings so, so hollow to me.

    It's about time, frankly, that folks in the religous community - in the Evangelical and Protestant communities especially, started vocally denouncing the nonsense being done in the name of their religion.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 01:41:05 PM PST

  •  I'm a white christian protestant. (none)
    21, female, and a Democrat.

    Just saying.

    I believe in God and his laws. I am pro-choice, pro-civil unions.

    I'm a Democrat.

  •  Ihlin off post? (none)
    Any chance of talking off post?  This is great stuff!  I'm following so much of what you're saying and I am not a religious individual.  I don't really agree that matters one way or the other in this country.
  •  My response (none)
    ihlin,

    I did appreciate reading this diary entry.  I do understand where you are coming from.

    I wrote a diary response but it fell off pretty quickly because the diaries were coming in at record pace.

    I will us that to start a dialogue with you.

    I would appreciate recommendations from people who read that because I think the two of our diary entires would make a good point/counterpoint.

    (Yes, I know it may be pimping my own diary, but I did get some good feedback on it.)

    What's wrong with being a flip-flopper? Jesus was one! (Matthew 15:22-28)

    by LeftofArizona on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 03:07:44 PM PST

  •  Honest attempt at clarification (none)
    I'm not sure if I understand what you're trying to say.  

    Progressives believe there should be a separation of church and state, and thus that our candidates should not go around talking about their individual faiths.  But yet you want us to talk about it?

    And I realize that your statement that "white progressives have a hard time with believers" is generalized, but I don't think it's true.  I know a lot of white progressives who ARE believers (though not evangelical.  perhaps that's what I'm missing?).  They are some of my favorite people in this world, and I actually enjoy having conversations with them about both god and politics.  

    I'm not sure what you want to accomplish by this diary.  

    "We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame." -Herman Hesse

    by tryptamine on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 03:37:15 PM PST

  •  Speak out in your church (none)
    Emphasize the foreign policy and socio-economic issues of religion and morality.  A war based on lies hurts our entire nation and it has killed thousands and thousands of innocent people.  Would Jesus have gone to Iraq?  Irresponsible tax cuts that benefit the wealthy are in the end going to HURT, HURT, HURT the poorest and lower-middle class sectors of our country.  That's really consistent with Jesus's philosophy, right?  I don't even believe Bush is that religious, and his policies certianly don't reflect it.  He's a fucking politician that's taking a lot of uneducated people, who cling to religion for comfort, for a ride.  I feel for them, truly.

    I admit, full-heartedly and without shame, that I have trouble understanding evangelical mentality.

    But why don't evangelicals see the hypocricy in supporting a president that lied to the world about a war that has now killed thousands and thousands of innocent people?

    The fact is, two gay people getting married does not affect other people. It is a fundamental privacy and equal rights issue.  In the 1950s, many people, including judges, were saying that it was against Christianity for blacks and whites to get married.  What's the difference now?  We should all know that religion must progress with the times to stay viable.  If this weren't the case, Chrisitanity would not be any more advanced than the backwards, biggot, racist, sexist Islamic nations of today.  But I fear we're heading in that direciton.  We're heading backwards in terms of religious progressivism, preaching more intolerance than compassion.

    And churches need to stop being hypocrites and get to moral issues that really affect our citizens.  Frankly, though, churches should stay the fuck out of politics unless they're going to start paying taxes.

    Democracy depends on informed activism.

    by Juan Pablo on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 04:04:01 PM PST

    •  Why pandering won't work (none)
      We should all know that religion must progress with the times to stay viable.  If this weren't the case, Chrisitanity would not be any more advanced than the backwards, biggot, racist, sexist Islamic nations of today.

      Ok, so Dems should cut out the stereotyping of fundementalist Protestant Christians, re-evaluate the hows/whys of their situations and choices, but yet.....it's OK to stereotype 1+ billion people w/o giving them the same consideration?

      While I'm not in full agreement w/ the diarist, their point, altho framed w/in the context of Christianity, is well proven here.

      While many minorities are Christian, the fastest growing religion in the world is Islam. Not just in "backwards" counties either, but all over Europe, Canada, South America....and yes....the US. In the Black community, there's a HUGE Muslim community, in fact Blacks are the Muslim majority in the US. LOL....not all Muslims are Arab!

      Your remarks show percisely why many people are afraid or contemptous of this idea of pandering to evangelical Christians. It's impossible to do, IMHO, unless you put down others who do not share their world view. The "base" is unwilling to hear anything else. Besides, it's clear from reading these posts that many of y'all don't have the faintest understanding of Midwestern/Southern evangelicals or their concerns. If the Democratic party goes in that direction, exactly how would it be different than the opposition?

      Dems will never see the inside of the WH again (except as cleaning staff) by trying to play the other guy's game......if you're going to be an opposition party, be one!

      FWIW, the evangelicals are NOT as stupid as many here seem to believe. They know fully well that Dems are scrambling to try and figure out how to "talk the talk" to them....think they'll buy it? Anybody who thinks that is underestimating the intelligence of these people and overestimating their own. As much of what this election was about was how "liberal elitists"
      think of religious people and people in the Midwest/South the idea can't sense condecension when they're getting it. As they have shown, they understand, resent, and reject it.

      From Reagan onwards, Republicans have made their message clear and distinct....IMHO, it's too late and the wrong course for Dems to try "Republican-lite"....not only will they NOT buy what you're attempting to sell, they'll revel in the obvious desparation!

      Why don't Dems just find their stands, articulate them clearly, and let the people who are willing to listen do so. It may not win elections in the immediate future, but it will give the Dems a clear position in the electorate and, whatever else the Republican smear machine say, will throw off the "flip-flop" label which KILLED K/E in the red areas.

      This Republican victory was NOT just an over night success, but a well planned and time consuming thing. They chose their message, put it out there, and let those who wanted in come in......it took time, but it worked! LOL...if you build it, they will (eventually) come.

      Republican-lite will not only continue to LOSE elections, it'll continue to erode respect people have for Democrats.

  •  "Keep the faith, baby." (none)
    ..and Never Antagonize Adam Clayton Powell.  We've always been in this together.  Before Kerry, before Clinton, before Carter, Johnson, and Kennedy and even before Dr. King.  It's all about freedom.  Always has been, and always will be.

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