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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 07:24 AM
Original message
Red Letter Christians fight the right wingers
Only Jesus can decide this fight
Posted by Frank James at 12:40 pm CDT

Last week I wrote about the Red-Letter Christians, a new movement of evangelicals meant to contest the Religious Right for the moral high ground in the nations public policy debates. The RLC held their press conference to pre-empt the conservative Family Research Councils Washington Briefing, an event meant in part to rally Christian conservatives before the November mid-term elections. So what was the FRCs response? Pretty muted actually, from what I heard at the FRC conference. Speaking at the general session on Friday, Tony Perkins, the FRCs president, dismissed the RRs critics in a not-too-subtle attack on their authenticity as Christians. There was a poll or survey just released by Baylor University, one of the most in-depth studies on Americans and religion, Perkins said. One of the things they pointed to was there really is a distinction between evangelicals.And I know were hearing a lot especially this week as a number of left-leaning quote unquote evangelicals have been denouncing this event.

What it boils down to (is we) are Bible-believing Christians. Thats the demarcation. Thats the point of difference. And in that poll it shows that 22 percent of Americans believe the Bible. That is almost a quarter and the fact thats almost the same number of people who were identified as value voters in the 2004 election. There is strength in numbers. Were just encouraging Christians to say its OK to stand up and defend and proclaim the truth and were going to stand with you and were going to help you and together we will make a difference in this nation. Bible-believing is a term many who take the Bible literally use to describe themselves. It the same as fundamentalism, though that term seems to have fallen out of favor. Perkins was essentially saying the BB Christians, his people, are real Christians because they believe the Bible, implying the other Christians really dont so they arent real, a point he accentuated by saying "quote unquote evangelicals."

For their part, the RLC, so-called because they want to give greater priority in public to the social-justice message contained in Jesuss words, printed in red in many Bibles, believe they are closer to Jesuss truth because of their social-justice emphasis. The Red-Letter Christians (are) saying we have neglected the words of Jesus. And Christians are supposed to be first of all known by obedience to Jesus Christ, said Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a Christian group devoted to social justice.

And we havent seen that or heard that in proclamations by those who claim to be Christian and so active in public life. We want to return to Jesuss words to correct the politics that have become so skewed by a partisan application of them.

more at link (There's even a Gannon sighting!): (free reg req'd)
http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2006/...
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 07:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good! We need some balance. :-)
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 07:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. There have always been red letter Christians
But they have never been given any attention because they do not seek the riches of the world like the fundies do, and so have little access to the media.
But it is time for them to stand up and be counted, and I am sure that the truth will prosper.
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 08:17 AM
Response to Original message
3. Let's Spin Their Numbers A Different Way
"And in that poll it shows that 22 percent of Americans believe the Bible. That is almost a quarter"

Less than 1 in 4 Americans. Not a very big number when you consider how these people try to set the agenda not only for themselves but the other 78% who don't view things the way they do. They are always telling us how many people support them, and my response is always less than 1 in 4.

*shadow government*
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qanda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 08:27 AM
Response to Original message
4. Rev. Jeff Carr is on C-SPAN this morning
Edited on Mon Sep-25-06 08:27 AM by qanda
He is doing a good job against the Right-wing Bishop that they have on there.
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Cassandra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. That RWer just said...
That they appear to be more intolerant and bigoted than they really are. So how bigoted are they, exactly?
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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
6. Do the RLCs have a website? Does it answer the q, "WWJT"?
"Whom Would Jesus Torture"?
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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. They are on our side
A Progressive Evangelical
Tony Campolo
What's a 'Red-Letter Christian'?
Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. That's why we created a new name for our Christian political movement.


Recently, I met with a group of religious leaders who have become increasingly disturbed by the alliance between evangelical Christians and the Republican Party. Karl Rove, President Bushs political strategist, has brilliantly and successfully served as the matchmaker to arrange this union, which was consummated in the last presidential election when 83 percent of evangelicals voted Republican. The meeting was joined by the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine; Father Richard Rohr, a well-known Catholic writer and speaker; Brian McLaren, a leader of the emergent church movement; the Rev. Dr. Cheryl J. Sanders, a prominent African-American pastor; the Rev. Noel Castellanos, a strong voice in the Hispanic community; and several other outstanding Christian communicators.


The purpose of this gathering was not to create a religious left movement to challenge the religious right, but to jump-start a religious movement that will transcend partisan politics. Believing that Jesus is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, we want to unite Christians who are concerned about what is happening in America. We are evangelicals who are troubled by what is happening to poor people in America; who are disturbed over environmental policies that are contributing to global warming; who are dismayed over the increasing arrogance of power shown in our countrys militarism; who are outraged because government funding is being reduced for schools where students, often from impoverished and dysfunctional homes, are testing poorly; who are upset with the fact that of the 22 industrialized nations America is next to last in the proportion of its national budget (less than two-tenths of 1 percent) that is designated to help the poor of third-world countries; and who are broken-hearted over discrimination against women, people of color, and those who suffer because of their sexual orientation.

Because being evangelical is usually synonymous with being Republican in the popular mind, and calling ourselves progressive might be taken as a value judgment by those who do share our views, we decided not to call ourselves progressive evangelicals. We came up with a new name: Red-Letter Christians.

http://beliefnet.com/story/185/story_18562_1.html
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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
8. Here is their site
http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=about_us.redletter...

Who We Are

The Red Letter Christians are a network of effective, progressive, Christian communicators urging an open, honest and public dialogue on issues of faith and politics. We believe and seek to put in to action the red letter words in the Holy Bible spoken by Jesus. The goal of the group is to advance the message that our faith cannot be reduced to only two hot button social issues - abortion and homosexuality. Fighting poverty, caring for the environment, advancing peace, promoting strong families, and supporting a consistent ethic of life are all critical moral and biblical values.

What We Are Doing

Across the nation, the thirst for biblical truth and justice is creating a movement of progressive ideas and voices. The Red Letter Christians, with their distinguishable faith backgrounds and biblical knowledge, are speaking out and leading this movement. Through their writing, visits to college campuses, sermons in churches, and media coverage, their Christian perspectives of compassion and justice are being heard by an ever-growing audience.

Why We Are Speaking Out

For decades, leaders of the Religious Right have attempted to convince Christians and the American public that people of faith and strong moral values have only one option when it comes to voting. This narrow view continues to overshadow the majority of Christians in America whose faith motivates them to care deeply about a range of ethics and values. Our nation is hungry for an open dialogue on moral values and its role in the public square. God is not a Republican or a Democrat, and candidates should be measured by examining an array of social and economic issues.
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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. "Red Letter Christianity" sure sounds better than "God's Politics",
the title of a great Jim Wallis book I browsed at the bookstore awhile ago (excerpt online at http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Politics-Right-Wrong-Doesnt/... ).

Is this the same movement? sojo.net sounds like Jim Wallis's Sojourners.

In the book, Walllis writes movingly about what he learned from his three-year-old son. Whenever they went out walking, his son simply said, "Hello!" to everyone they encountered, including the homeless lying in the gutter, and regardless of ethnicity, how they were dressed, or any other reason an adult might have for pretending they were not there. Never once did they get a hostile reception, and many of them subsequently greeted them as friends when they met again.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
9. I'm giving this a fifth recommendation, because this is such an important
issue: To not throw away Christianity, but to keep educating Christians about what it can and must be. That is, a belief system that truly challenges the believer to forgive "seventy times seven" and to turn the other cheek (rather than declare "you're with us or you're with the terrorists") and to go the extra mile.

We have enough primitive religions around the world that speak of enemies, and seek to divide people from each other. Many atheists on this board would have us just eliminate religion and seek to spread logic and reason throughout the world. A noble goal, but the fact is that most people need some set of rules and guidelines to manage the big unknowns of life, and the more forgiving and tolerant those guidelines can be, the better our chances to have peace.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-25-06 11:12 AM
Response to Original message
11. Great name, great cause. K&R!
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