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nosmokes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 04:32 PM
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When faith meets politics
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July 25, 2004

Guest Viewpoint: When faith meets politics

By Dan Bryant


The role of faith in politics has once again become a significant campaign issue. Two nationally known speakers have visited Eugene churches recently to promote voter registration among religious people: the Rev. James Forbes, pastor of the Riverside Church in New York City; and David Barton, deputy chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

A representative of the local Republican Party asserted to The Register-Guard that the two events were no different, except that one speaker was a "liberal" and the other a "conservative." As a participant in both, here are a few of the differences I observed:
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Neither speaker mentioned any of the items cited as critical by the other.

The difference between these two lists is striking. The first primarily concerns economic injustices, a frequent theme of the Hebrew prophets, the teaching of Jesus, the Koran and most other religious traditions.
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What we desperately need today is a dialogue including these two different faith perspectives and how they further the public good (or how they do not). My discomfort with Barton's perspective is that he describes this election as a struggle between "humanism" and the "Judeo-Christian" tradition, and then appeals especially to evangelicals to join the struggle that the cause of right vs. wrong might be won.

Regardless of how one votes, people of faith should reject such an appeal. It is profoundly unhealthy to democracy when a political party or a government becomes associated with one particular religious perspective.
~snip~

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Dan Bryant is the local organizer for Let Justice Roll and senior minister of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Eugene.


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Copyright 2004 The Register-Guard









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