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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:13 PM
Original message
Reclaiming Religion in the Democratic Party.
I was watching the Anti-War teach-in this morning, (which originally aired yesterday) and was very impressed by the panel that was there. On of the comments I had heard really hit home and made me think...

"why aren't we doing alot more of this?"

Right now it seems that the Reich-Wingers have a monopoly on religion and the religious demographic.

Well, although I know that there are many wacko's in the Church (ie fundies) the fair majority of Christians are down to earth, caring, compassionate, and socially conscious people. Many Christians, although not advocating it, are not intolerant of the gay community by and large, and are not out to bomb abortion clinics. Though many have a pro-life stance, a good number of them are NOT anti-choice.

It made alot of sense to me and raised a few questions as to why we aren't doing more of this type of grassroots activism.

The basic comparison I see is that there is virtually no differance between the abortion-clinic bomber/gay bashing fundies and the terrorists. Both are using thier extremist religious views to further their own self-serving and destructive causes. Most of these extremists are looked down upon by the majority of their own. They shed a bad light and misrepresent the real moral values embraced by, and taught to, their congregations.

I think that it is long overdue to reclaim religion into the Democratic Party, and take away the Republican monopoly.

They consistenly misrepresent their principles and real moral values in favor of their more extremist counterparts views.

Just wondering what other people think about this and what, if anything, could be done to do this effectively.
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coloradodem2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. There are those out there.
They should be able to help us reclaim our base.
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liberal43110 Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. I worry about "reclaiming religion"
because I don't think religion belongs in the public sector. of course, individuals' religious--or non-religious--beliefs may inform their opinions and beliefs. but politics should not be about religion at all.

i think trying to "reclaim religion" is set up to fail because the Republicans will always be "more" relgious, so people who care solely about religion will still go to the right.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. I understand your point
but its already in the public sector and is one of the most powerful weapons being used against us. At the very least it would lessen the positive impact they would get from it and lower the negative effects against us.
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. There was a picture of me in the local paper, praying
the day after the election. My friends at the pub, mostly republicans, did a Mastercard shtick on it, with the punchline "Doesn't she know God's a Republican?"

I don't need to "reclaim" religion. I just want it recognized that not all the people of faith are one one side. It's not the "Religious Right" and the "Secular Left". If some of us religious Dems could just have demonstration of some sort to get in the public eye.

I myself went around during the campaign with a "Christians for Kerry" button on. I gave out a "People of Faith for Kerry" to one of my fellow churchgoers. Most of the people I go to church with seem to be Democrats. The pastor voted Bush in 2000, but absolutely couldn't do it in 2004. I don't know what he ended up doing. Either Kerry or Libertarian, I guess. But it was one more vote Bush didn't get that he'd gotten in 2000.

We're ELCA Lutherans, the "liberal" Lutherans as the Missouri and Wisconsin Synods think of us. But still, there we are, a "blue" church in a very "red" area.

I don't think religion belongs in the public sector either. But I'd like folks to know they can be religious and vote Dem. That's why it bugged me so much when Maher said that we should just concede religion to the Republicans. Oh no you don't!

It's just insulting when the Right tries to pass themselves off as the more religious. Like putting a magnet on your car and saying you're supporting the troops, sometimes their faith doesn't seem to carry over to their lives. Republican religious folks can be so hard-hearted at times, at least some of the ones I encounter.
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DARE to HOPE Donating Member (552 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 07:57 PM
Response to Reply #13
33. Your ELCA pastor voted for Bush in 2000? Ha ha!!
Just had to have an inside laugh. We are LCMS Lutherans in the Chicago area (English District) and are liberal enough to have voted for Jerry Brown in the 1992 primary against Bill Clinton, thinking he was too conservative (Brown had a $100 from every citizen campaign, a forerunner of Howard Dean's campaign this year.)

I used to work for Sen Paul Simon, another LCMS Lutheran, but vilified as a "baby killer" et al. in the 1980s by the extreme right. Still he was too milk toast for me at the time--I was trying to get his attention about Iran-Contra.

My husband is always trying to tell me ELCA is more conservative in spots than their image, and we are more moderate/liberal in spots than our image. The postwar (WWII) graduates of Concordia St Louis were some of the most progressive clergy in America, and ended up being the impetus for the newly gathered ELCA. Nineveh housing project in NYC is one well known project that came out of this group.

So proud of your pic in the newspaper, and your standing up for Christ's Name in the midst of so much calumny, in your red state especially. We pray for you, and for the whole church in America, that God lift up the truthtellers in the midst of all the lies.

Blessed Easter season. Heading to bed EARLY. :-)

P.S. EVERY political movement or act I have ever undertaken has grown out of my very vivid faith.
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #33
45. Thanks
Yeah, he voted Bush. He bought the "compassionate conservative" moderate act Bush was putting on then.

But he JUST couldn't do it this time. At least he can admit when he's wrong.

I think that it varies by the individual churches. Just as we have conservative Dems and Liberal or moderate Repubs, there is wiggle room I guess.

Even so, y'all shook your finger at us for getting to close to the Episcopalians and such. I've had Wisconsin Lutherans get upset with me for even BEING ELCA. "You believe in abortion! You believe in gay people" To which smart aleck me replied "Yes, I believe they exist." I could never get him to understand that the difference is having your arms out to hug vs having your hands out to push away. We're not cheerleading for abortions, for pete's sake, but we're there for the person who needs healing and comfort.

Even so, we have lots of Democrats in our little church. I didn't know that before the election, until I got the guts up to wear a Kerry button into church. I decided never to take it off no matter where I went. So surprised to hear a 75 year old woman look at me and say she feared for our democracy. Or another 70 year old man ask why they care more about Terri Schaivo than they do about all the people who've died in Iraq. And another former retired marine with a son in the military who got really steamed when they went after Kerry's service. I'm so amazed by our elder members. I expected them to be conservative. Nope.

Thanks for your prayers and kind words. It was an accident that I was caught praying, even though I did that alot that day. I was also wearing a "hoopla hat" and so made a good picture.

Hmm. Wait a minute. (wanders over to photobucket)



Dis is me. The answer was no, obviously. I like to think it was so that the Republicans could self-destruct.
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DARE to HOPE Donating Member (552 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 09:55 AM
Response to Reply #45
49. So cute!
:-)
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #49
53. Eh, alittle Buddah-like, but whatcha gonna do
Thanks again.

I did like that Democrat deck of cards. The jokers were Cheney and Bush. I still have the hat too. Hoping it's reusable.
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
37. Sorry, but religion does not belong in political discorse
Edited on Sat Mar-26-05 10:03 PM by me b zola
EVER.

Elected officials are there to govern, to carry out laws. Thats it.
If I want to hear about religion, I will go to church.

BTW, I kind of like our Constitution. It is such a shame the way that it is being kicked around.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #37
41. again... I will say...
Too late. Its already there. We weren't the ones who brought it to the political table, but we are repeatedly victimized by it.

Read almost any speech made by a Republican. They mention God in almost every point they try to make. To just block your ears and try to pretend its not there is just naive and only further will continue to hurt us and this country unless we can put a stop to it.

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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #5
50. Self-delete
Edited on Mon Mar-28-05 10:22 AM by auburngrad82
Posted reply in wrong place.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
55. That's a good point
Many religions don't believe in evangelizing as well. That's why we don't see them out there proselytizing like the fundies, who are trying to inject their religion into our laws.

Many, many churches respect seperation of church and state.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
3. here is a book for ya
Jim Wallis

God's Politics: Why the Right gets it wrong, and the left doesn't get it.

It is good readying and yes it is time we do reclaim some of this, after all pverty and war are moral issues and going to war in the name of peace is a contradiction of terms
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
4. Well, I can't speak for the DNC, but I do think that the left needs to
reclaim evangelism. (Not the in-your-face schtick of the Right, but at least the backbone to speak up and defend our beliefs.)

Would Jesus love a liberal? You bet!
http://timeforachange.bluelemur.com/liberalchristians.h...
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Biology Donating Member (128 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 07:50 PM
Response to Original message
6. excellent point
Its critical to reclaim at least a portion of the moderate religious majority to win an election. Nearly 90% of all americans claim to believe in God, and 45% believe in creationism (although most people also believe in evolution). Many are pro-choice to one degree or another. What we are hearing is a very loud fundamentalist movement that only represents 20% or so of the population.

Although not particularly religious myself, I was struck with the 1996 words in a speech on evolution by Pope John Paul II where he refined the catholic view (since 1950) that evolution occurs. A paragraph of that speech is as follows:

"Taking into account the state of scientific research at the time as well as of the requirements of theology, the encyclical Humani Generis considered the doctrine of "evolutionism" a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis. Pius XII added two methodological conditions: that this opinion should not be adopted as though it were a certain, proven doctrine and as though one could totally prescind from revelation with regard to the questions it raises. He also spelled out the condition on which this opinion would be compatible with the Christian faith, a point to which I will return. Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."

Indeed, we are hearing a very loud and obnoxious minority of fundamentalists. The silent majority awaits options (i.e. a moderate politician) that has not yet emerged.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I would think that the Christian community
would be on the front line against these extremists. Christianity right now is taking a beating because of this lunatic fringe.

Who do you see on tv? Not your everyday, hard working, compassionate Christians...

Its these freakshow bigots that are getting the airtime.
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DARE to HOPE Donating Member (552 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
34. Yes, just like Kerry got little airtime during the election, etc etc
I mean, how many Americans even know that the mainstream churches all sent a letter to Congress decrying the Bush budget? The media have given the Rev Jim Wallis a little bit of a platform, being an "evangelical" who wrote a book challenging the rest of them. But interview clergy in the field who do God's work everyday?

The closest I have seen to this is the media attention the Rev Jesse Jackson can still command. I cut out his editorials for our church bulletin board all the time. He and the Rev Al Sharpton speak clearly to the admonishments of scripture and to the need for a just society.

White churches tend to not have the church/political connections in the same way. One reason is that white congregations are not heterogeneous politically in the same way. And the emphasis has been rather on attempting to save/grow families and individuals in this free wheeling destructive culture we live in.

However, people are beginning to put their heads up, and realizing that fighting for political values, say, like budget priorities, work rules, social programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security DO have a place in their spiritual life. Everyone is so extremely busy, and so occupied with school and work demands, it is hard to even get them to church regularly. But the coffee hour group is learning how to send email to their Congress members and to the paper.

Other than that, like most everything else, they "Let the pastor do it!"

Blessed Easter, everyone!
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
8. Wow. I'm shocked that there seems to be so
little intrest in this, and I'm not even religious...

:argh:
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Auntie Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
9. One thing we can do is to stop BASHING Christians.
That would be a good start! Most Democrats are Christians too.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 09:38 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I dont think many sane Democrats bash real Christians
But we do bash the hell out of the fundies.

:crazy:
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:11 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. Problem is we get "fragged by friendly fire" on occasion
When someone makes fun of the Pope or talks about how maybe "Jeebus should come on angel wings and save Terri" we feel like our faith is being ridiculed, since we and the fundies at least have Jesus in common, if not much else.

I just wish the religious and the non-religious could just agree to respect each other, at least here. Jokes about pulling a tube in and out and in and out of the Pope kinda turned my stomach, and I ain't even Catholic. Meanwhile, we don't even know what's going on with him. When he says he's surrendering, it might simply refer to the fact that he isn't going to be able to participate in the Easter services and he's accepted it and isn't trying to push himself to do things he can no longer do without making himself sick again. Why some are assuming he's going to starve himself to death I have no idea.

But we're never going to "reclaim" religion if we're seen being insensitive to those among us who might be religious. There were "Catholics for Kerry" in the last election. I met them. There were also Republicans for Kerry. I was especially proud of them and their credo "Country before Party"!

I'd just like to break up the stereotype somewhat. That's all.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 08:38 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. A very good point.
Your comment.." fragged by friendly fire" is unfortunately dead on.

I, if you recall other posts I have made, am very non-religious.
I have always made sure to not stomp on the individual or the religion itself, but to address the issues I have with institutionalized religion.
Much of my family is religious, and Democrat. I know there are alot of christian democrats out there. The problem I have is that the extremists are the only ones being put on the MSM. They are preaching thier hatred and twisted views in the name of God, and the media and public perception are not differentiating them and every other Christian in this country. I'm sure theres a few Repukes out there that are normal hard working socially progressive Christians, but are now being represented by B* and his twisted moral views, but they are all floating on the same boat, and when we attack the Repuke party, we are lumping them in there as well.

Thats the issue at its core, that there are a few wingnuts out there representing much larger groups, and the reasonable ones are being persecuted for the extremist views of the few. Muslims in this country are still going through the same thing right this minute. They are being lumped in with the terrorists and religious extremists. We need some influential religious leaders on tv who denounce the actions and views of these extremists, and saying clearly to the country... They are NOT us. They do NOT represent the Christian community. They need to be exposed as the extremists that they are.
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thebigidea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #14
27. still, you'd think someone's faith would be strong enough...
Edited on Sat Mar-26-05 11:13 AM by thebigidea
... where a few dumb jokes wouldn't make a dent.

"Jokes about pulling a tube in and out and in and out of the Pope kinda turned my stomach"

Well, that's humor for you. Personally, any given Saturday Night Live sketch makes me want to throw up all over the place.
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kodi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
11. i don't want the democatic party within a million miles of religion
if the democratic party is uncapable articulating how ethical behavior is possible without the guiding force of religion, then the Enlightenment is finished and humanity might as well start heading back towards the caves from whence it came.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-25-05 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I think what he's really saying is that we need to counter the lie that
a Christian has to be a Republican, because the Republicans are against abortion and homosexuality, as if that was the heart of the Christian message.

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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:21 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. Some of us get our sense of justice and fairness in part from religion
One has to just look at the stories about Jesus. The dude does NOT seem like a Republican to me. In some ways, he was a revolutionary. He cared about the poor and the weak. A good role model even if you aren't into worshiping him. I always like that about one of my favorite journalists, IF Stone. Affirmed atheist, but he recognized that Jesus was a revolutionary figure, even if he did consider him fiction.

I guess we're saying that, like Kerry, we may not wear it on our sleeve, and we may not think we should legislate our faith, but it does inform the way we live our lives. In the third debate, I liked that Kerry brought up knowing someone's faith by what they do more than what they say. I like that he's pro-life but doesn't feel compelled to legislate it to people since not everyone agrees with him. He represents his constituents, who are mostly pro-choice. So being a person of faith can coincide with being a liberal Democrat. They are not mutually exclusive, and that is the myth we'd like to see dispelled.

It's all about respect. We don't have to hit people over the head with our faith. But we don't appreciate the Right trying to pretend we don't exist on this side of the political spectrum. We do.

I spent some time being made to feel I was a lesser Christian because I wasn't like Pat Robertson or others I saw on tv or met on campus. I'm not going to let people do that to me again. I CAN be a Liberal and a Christian, and see one as an extension of the other.

Being a person of faith should include things like caring for the poor, and you can't tell me the Republicans know very much about THAT.
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RevCheesehead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. you write good stuff, LC!
I am fascinated by this topic, and hope to return to it again tomorrow. With this being Holy Week, much of my time is, obviously, taken up with church duties.

I would very much like to see the liberal and moderate voices of religion speaking out. Jim Wallis is one of my heroes, because he is willing to offer the alternative Christian viewpoint.

I think one of the reasons the loudmouths are getting attention is because they are there, making noise. Media loves a circus. All they have to do is show up, point a camera, and offer "color commentary." No need to do any pesky investigative work. The lazy bastards are simply there to entertain us. What's next? Live footage from a freeway wreck? Emergency Room stalking?

The other reason the religious left isn't getting much attention is rather simple: WE'RE IN CHURCH, OBSERVING HOLY WEEK! And some of us are obnoxious enough to say that the world doesn't begin, end, or revolve around Terri Schiavo.

I hope she lives a few days past Easter. At least they wouldn't be able to hijack the holiest of days.
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kodi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #15
30. ah, the weasel words "in part" arise . so, just what part would that be?
explain to me with your personal examples what you mean that parts of an ethical position are and are not derived based upon religious thought.

so, explain for me what is faith based and is not faith based ethically in your political positions.

you are basing your argument on "stories about jesus?" what the heck does that mean? you are capable of separating out the facts from the fiction and articulate it in a way that convinces others who believe in the fictions?

your short story about izzie stone is quaint but besides the point. the folks on the right use jesus because of the imprimatur of him being the son of god incarnate. he is not a great philosopher to them. he is the messiah. you do of course recognize the differences here, do you not?

once you throw down with jesus either you accept that godly nature or you don't and use instead his powerful, humane ethical message, and that ain't religion.

but, what you have done is wade into the fray using the figures, imagery, and terms of religious idolatry of the right, yet without the sanction of a god backing up your positions.

your opponents believe that whatever they believe is factually true, and are unable to see the difference between the denotation and the connotation of the messages of jesus. you will not pry them from that with any talk about the message of jesus that centers on the connotation of the jesus stories.

all you have done is walk onto their battlefield with the weapons of their choice and can not muster to your side anything but reason and logic, and neither are effective when it comes to dealing with people who base their entire world view upon religion.

frankly, i could not care less if a person believes in jesus, buddha or a purple tree snake from new guinea named melvin, but when they bring to bear on political topics opinions based upon such beliefs, i question them because there is no common ground that is based upon reason, logic, and experience.

saying "god said so" is not good enough for me, even if it is for you.

I believe you have a, well, fundamental misconception of the fundamentalist/religious right. they believe certain things that are good and certain things are bad because their god tells them so in their sacred texts. that is a radically different approach than believing one's own god supports those things that a person believes are good.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #15
60. yes you can be a liberal and a christian
this is not the point.

You refer to what Kerry said about faith and you skip one thing that was really important: he was talking about everybody including agnostic and atheist. The basic aspect is that he does not feel necessary to inflict his faith on us. He is a christian and does not feel the need to tell us he is, but rather prefers to talk about his values.

This is what I like about him (and Dean). They can express their values without giving us a lecture about their faith. I was really disappointed that their consultants found necessary that they started to talk about faith, and not surprisingly for people who normally do not speak about faith publically, it did not o well.
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quaoar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 08:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
18. The civil rights movement would not have happened
without the guiding force of religion -- at least it would not have been as non-violent as it was.
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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #11
29. me too - keep religion out of the dem. party and US govt.

nt
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 12:36 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. too late on the second part.
Its already there. Tell THEM to keep it out.
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #31
38. We tell THEM to keep it out by being above the fray
I know a man/woman by his/her deeds---policies. Morality is not necessarily tied with religiosity. Far better to have a leader who does the "correct" thing while muttering not a word of religiosity, than to have a leader who "preaches" the word of God but sells his soul, and the Nation, to the devil.

As far as reaching voters...I'm a firm believer in the Democratic values. Period. Those values are moral & represent 85% of the American population. Quit wasting time politicizing dead-end issues.
If the DNC has the where-with-all to offer a candidate who is truly a leader & who can truly lead, then we have no use for theocrotizing the Democratic Party. The issues alone, when framed correctly, will make us overwhelming winners in '06 & '08.

JUST SAY NO TO THEOCRACY.





This message is brought to you by spiritual citizens aganist the perversion of their faith.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #38
42. maybe I might not have worded it perfectly
about 50% understood what I was saying. And 50% took it an entirely different way.

I don't want religion in politics and in no way suggested that. The issue I made is that religion is ALREADY IN politics, and we need to get it out. But the Christians need to be the ones to do it, or we will continue to have politicians using it to their advantage. We need to work to disarm the right wingers of their most powerful and devisive weapon.
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_TJ_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
19. I don't understand a lot of christian thinking
Christians should be the most anti-war section of society. Jesus
said love your enemy - not kill them.

IMO the right-wing wackos who call themselves christians are
unworthy of the name.

There should be a 'who would Jesus Bomb' movement.

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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #19
22. well, I don't believe that we should have a
"who would Jesus Bomb" movement. Its self defeating. And Jesus/God/Holy etc... should ever be tied in with any act of hatred/war/violence.
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
20. I think we need LESS religion and more rational thought.
imagine that. I think we are overdosing on religion and it ain't pretty. other countries must think we are nuts!!
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
21. How can one claim to honor the first amendment...
...and then embrace religion as a political party? And...would this make it okay for a Democratic president to use God and Religion for political purposes like Bush is doing now?

Look at history if you want to see how the mix of religion and politics is one of Democracy's worse enemies.
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CarolNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:40 AM
Response to Original message
23. This group is trying.
www.catholicsforfaithfulcitizenship.org

Here is their latest press release:

Catholics for Faithful Citizenship 3-24-05
"Shouting 'Shiavo,' Republicans quietly shred the social safety net."
For immediate Release

This people pays me lip service but their heart is far from me. Jesus, quoting Isaiah 29, in Matthew 15:8

Adopting the language of the Catholic Church, Mr. Bush and Congressional leaders this week sought to exalt themselves as champions of a culture of life as the legal remedies to prolong the life of Mrs. Terri Schiavo were gradually exhausted. We are united now in praying for this Catholic woman and her faithful long-suffering family. But Mrs. Schiavo has fallen further victim to a stunning political bait-and-switch, as politicians who trumpeted her cause were simultaneously looking for ways to cut health services that sustain the lives of millions of our poorest citizens. Furthermore, the tragedy in Minnesota this week served to highlight the cost in lives of political inaction by these same conservatives in the service of the Gun Lobby. Perhaps most starkly revealing of the true Administration stance on the sanctity of life has been Mr. Bush's unsuccessful effort to persuade the Supreme Court to allow continued executions of minors and the mentally retarded, in direct violation of Catholic doctrine.

When it came to investing dollars in upholding the sanctity of life, or losing contributions from wealthy constituencies, politicians on the right couldnt abandon the culture of life quickly enough. Republican House leaders sought to slice $14 billion from the Medicaid budget that supports nursing home care for the indigent, including Mrs. Schiavo. A six-month-old baby named Sun Hudson was taken off life support last week in Houston because the prognosis of his developmental disorder was poor and his grief-stricken mother had no money. His death was enabled by a 1999 futile care statute signed into law by then-Governor George Bush.

This past weeks issue of the American Heart Associations journal Circulation is dedicated to documenting the significantly greater burden of cardiovascular disease among our minority communities, and the health care disparities that in part contribute to their substantially increased likelihood of death compared to other Americans. Rather than working to fix this unconscionable disparity, the Bush Administration is selling it as a reason to pour Social Security money into private accounts.

Now comes special federal legislation, rushed through Congress in the middle of the night and focused on the fate of Mrs. Schiavo alone. This law signed by Mr. Bush explicitly excluded similar legal remedy for anyone else in the same situation. These three legislative actsslicing Medicaid funding in our federal budget, protecting Texas hospitals from charity care expenditures, and creating a privileged status for Mrs. Schiavos lifesend a message that the lives of the poor matter much less than the well-to-do, unless they can be used as political symbols that mask this double standard.

In the one most concrete case of a loss of life that Congress could immediately correct, we continue to see total indifference to the spread of gun violence in America. Highly publicized gun massacres have now occurred three times in the past two weeks. But the Congressional leadership has directly sabotaged renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, sought to repeal gun laws in our national capital, and offered sweeping legal immunity to those who profit the most from gun sales. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, guns kill more than 30,000 people annually in the US, and African-Americans are more than twice as likely as others to be killed by gun.

This past week the Catholic Bishops issued a statement reaffirming our Churchs unequivocal opposition to the death penalty. Politicians of every stripe have long pandered to the general publics fear of crime by seeking to execute the poorest and least well-represented criminals. This Administration even argued in the Supreme Court for the continued execution of minors and the mentally retarded, but thankfully from a Catholic perspective those arguments were ultimately rejected.

As Catholics, we are called to pay more than lip service to our respect for life. If the right-wing politicians want to stand up for the sanctity of life, let us see a truly consistent ethic that recognizes the increased likelihood of death among poor Americans resulting from cuts to the federal healthcare budget, massive political contributions by the gun industry, and the continued addiction of weak politicians to the injustices of the death penalty in America. Terri Schiavo has helped us all, particularly we Catholics in this Easter Season, to contemplate again the fragility of life and to reject the selective valuing of one life over another.


There is also a group that Walter Cronkite is involved with that is attempting to combat the right wing extremism.
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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. This is great...but why promote religion from within political parties?
There is nothing wrong with individuals getting involved WITH the Church to promote causes that benefit the people. But it's a mistake to think that religion gets any kind of power from joining with a political party.

Blending religion with politics weakens both religion and politics...making one beholden to the other.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Its not a mistake to think that religion gets
power from political parties. Its alread happening.

I don't believe in the "blending" of the religious and politics.

But we MUST dispell the myth, that if you are Christian, you are Republican.

We MUST not allow them to USE religion as a tool against the Democrats, which they have been doing more and more for years.

They are the ones who have already brought religion to the political table, it is now the duty of the Christians to speak out and tell them to not USE their religion as a political weapon.

To create seperation of identity of Christians and Fundamentalists.

I'm sure you remember B*'s comments about being God's choice.
My grandmother, at 92, was FURIOUS at his statement. I don't remember her being quite so riled up over politics. She is a lifetime Democrat and took offense to B* trying to claim God supported him, as I'm sure many others did as well.


TIME TO SPEAK UP!

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Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. Jesus wept...
...don't you understand that religion and politics have always meant the destruction of democracy and civil liberties throughout history? They simply do not belong together...which is why the Framers used their experience with the CHURCH STATE of England to write the Declaration of Independece and the Constitution/Bill of Rights.

Why are so many unwilling to learn from history?

By COMPETING with Republicans concerning who can be the MOST RELIGIOUS...you're actually giving them credibility and saying that it's okay for a political party to blend religion and politics to gain political advantage.

Republicans have taken us back to the time of the Puritans. You're suggesting that we should join them instead of simply being the party of the people and doing what's right.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #26
28. I think you are missing my point.
The objective IS to get religion out of politics.

The FACT is... and read almsot any quote being made by Repukes, they are mentioning God in almost every speech they make.

The object is to STOP the Repukes from using God as a political tool.

The object is to have Christians speak out and TELL the politicians to STOP using Christianity to divide the people of this country.

The right-wing are butchering the Bible and its message to suit their needs.

You need to come to grips that right now, we ARE well on our way to becoming a Facist Theocracy. This trend needs to be stopped before its too late.

What I am saying is that Christians need to take back their religion and to keep it from entering into the political fray.

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liberal43110 Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 08:37 PM
Response to Reply #25
35. I disagree that we must dispell the myth, that if you are Christian,
you are Republican. Most people know this. Only a very, very extreme few don't, and no amount of rational explanation will change their minds.

This is the same trouble Dems walk into regarding taxes and government spending. For decades the Repubs have been decrying taxes, and the Dems didn't have the courage to stand up for the positive merits of their own arguments: "Taxes are the price we all pay for living in a civil society." Instead, Dems tried to claim we were for lower taxes too, but maybe not as low as the Repubs were.

No matter how low Dem politicians want taxes, the Repubs will want them lower.

No matter how "Christian" you try to portray the Dem party values, the Repubs will always portray them as more Christian.

In the end it's a losing battle. We need to make rational, articulate arguments of what we positively believe in, like the separation of church and state.
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Discord Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #35
43. so, your in favor of continuing to let them
portray the left wingers as godless(lie) immoral(lie) baby-killing(lie) thugs?

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liberal43110 Donating Member (687 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 11:56 PM
Response to Reply #43
48. No
I favor using reason, logic, and well-thought arguments for everything. If citizens want to support well-reasoned arguments because the arguments coincide with their religious beliefs, then great.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #24
56. I agree. Fusing church and state is a bad mix.
Furthermore, we are not a "Christian" party. Not all Democrats are "Christians" we believe in freedom of religion, not promoting ONE religion over another, thus nationalizing it.
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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
32. What Is a Christian?
Since I really became an active Christian some years ago, I have noticed a snide, superior attitude toward Christianity, that I had never noticed when I was an atheist and/or agnostic, that generally comes from people totally duped by the corporate media, who think they are "really wise and sophisticated," who think they "face facts" because the corporate media gave them that line, and whose opinion of religion is about 30 or 40 years out of date, if you even want to put it that way. These people are oblivious to the kinds of elements that make up the thinking seeker's life today.

As a teenager, I had a long period where I couldn't stand religion--its "dead/archaic" atmosphere made me sick, it was like a social club full of hypocrites who were not really even sincere about their faith, and I hated their bigotry, especially sexism, the deepest bigotry, masking as "tradition." When I attacked these people in my mind, I thought I was "attacking religion," or "proving there was no God." Later, I started to re-read the Sermon on the Mount, because I had remembered that, even as an atheist, I knew how profound it was. This time, it started to reawaken a search for a God I now felt again. The central point of religion is experience: changing yourself, and "trying to get there." It is highly offensive when some people, claiming to be Democrats, have such a stupid, "Republican" attitude toward what a Christian is, in the modern world. Nowadays, there are Christian Wiccan feminist Buddhists, and who the hell knows what other combinations. This is a society of so much intermingling culture that combinations are typical, and have actually been common for a few generations among educated liberal people.

I am offended when stupid, anti-Christian "planners" for the Party assume that Christians are all anti-abortion. I am more authentically religious than most of these assholes, and I am pro-choice. I do not even want abortion to be "rare," one of the code words. I want there to be exactly the number of abortions that women (and, after all, abused girls) need there to be, and not one fewer.

The more typical, modern liberal/democratic style of religion/spirituality nowadays is a lot more loose and lenient on the theological doctrine--many Christians no longer believe some of the most basic things, like a literal Hell--and instead are trying to find the sacred in the world and in themselves. It is a seeking for the ethereal "inside" that is actually found and lived "outside," rather than the "inside" meaning that anyone can find in the mind. A true Christianity becomes the basis for conscience and ferreting out lies, as an atheist can do the same as an ethical philosophy, but to deny that your own reason has now changed, is false. I hate fake Christians as much as I ever did, but then I hated them because I thought the whole thing was phony. Now I hate them because I know the whole thing is real, and they are defiling it.
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kodi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-26-05 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. you "know the whole thing is real?" can you weigh or measure it?
Edited on Sat Mar-26-05 09:40 PM by kodi
can you put it in your pocket?

can you hold it in your hand?

sounds more likely that you are demanding that which others see as a blank face on a set of of dice has spots on them only you can see, and others have to agree with you on what spots are on the dice, or we have as you say>>>

" a stupid, "Republican" attitude toward what a Christian is"

so, according to you, anyone who does not agree with you is stupid.

how nice to know how you really feel.

what you are describing>>>>

"It is highly offensive when some people, claiming to be Democrats, have such a stupid, "Republican" attitude toward what a Christian is, in the modern world. Nowadays, there are Christian Wiccan feminist Buddhists, and who the hell knows what other combinations.

The more typical, modern liberal/democratic style of religion/spirituality nowadays is a lot more loose and lenient on the theological doctrine--many Christians no longer believe some of the most basic things, like a literal Hell--and instead are trying to find the sacred in the world and in themselves. It is a seeking for the ethereal "inside" that is actually found and lived "outside," rather than the "inside" meaning that anyone can find in the mind."


is not mainsteam, evangelical, or even fundamentalist religion. it is doubtful that what you describe is religion at all, and in all likeihood is as you describe, a mish-mash of spiritual paths that rely upon internal rather than external devotion.

I shall let pass without comment that one can not be a christian-wiccian-buddist because each faith requires an exclusive adherence to a particular set of theological principles and dogma that precludes accepting the tenets of the other faiths mentioned.

(it makes as much sense as the jews-for-jesus movement.)

if one states that such theological principles and dogmas are not important, then one is not of that faith, or frankly any faith, because the lack of a dogma or set of theological principles in a quest of personal meaning describes not religion, but spiritualism.

btw: "what is a christian?" is answered by the theological principles and dogma set down in the nicene creed:

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.


know any buddhists or wiccans who believe in the aforementioned creed?

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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. An Answer
Wow, what a concentrated, prolonged vicious attack. When you spit hate, you really go on like an abuser who just likes to attack people, which of course, you are. I hardly know where to start, you were so vindictive. I will refer to only a few things, because actually, you really make me uncomfortable.

You are an atheist who hates Christianity, yet you are the one who decides, by official pronouncement, who gets to be a Christian, and who does not; and I cannot decide and think for myself, and I am a Christian. You are the great omniscient know-it-all, yet even with all your years of scholarly research, you somehow managed to miss the rather basic fact that the Nicene Creed is not original to Christianity, it dates from about 381, replacing the earlier creed from 325 issued by the Council of Nicaea. Neither was original, as both replaced the Apostles' Creed. Your scholarly research apparently failed to turn up the rather obvious fact that the creed is recited at Mass--that would make it Catholic, asshole, and therefore not followed by Protestants, like me, and had never been followed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which predates Catholicism, or by the very first Christian churches, the Syrian or Coptic churches. If you ask most real Christians what makes them Christian, they will probably not even check with you first, but will just go ahead and say, either that they follow Jesus Christ, or the New Testament of the Bible.

The purpose of living a religious life is to try to become the sanctified thing yourself, and find salvation, not to memorize and recite the dead legalisms you prize so highly: "for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (2 Cor. 3:6). I will not try to explain the whole background of the Christian quest to absorb the teaching into each one's own conscience, to then set it aside outwardly and pursue now the Spirit of God--an ordinary Christian pursuit--as you seemed to have so much trouble comprehending anything, and even insulted me with the claim that I am not a Christian or religious or anything else, because you pronounce that I am wallowing in some fantasy world "mish-mash" of your invention. You whine that it is "not even fundamentalist," a remark I still cannot understand; and stupidly claim my beliefs are not Evangelical, showing what a totally ignorant phony you are. I am a liberal Lutheran who belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, so that is precisely what I am.

After viciously bashing me about five or six times, you add this phrase, "I shall let pass without comment" some other supposedly egregious act I commited, as if you are holding back and being kind. What a strange comment. "Can you put it in your pocket? Can you hold it in your hand?" I can hardly even believe such ignorance still existing in the modern scientific world. Science tells you that material objects are actually moving atoms which you cannot see or hold, and you take it on faith. I claim that there is such a place as Italy, yet I cannot produce it and have never been there. Does it therefore "not exist"? What a simpleton.

As for combinations of belief among seekers, I think you actually appear to be ignorant of something here. We are not living in a church or even a uniform religious culture, but a totally secularized, corporate-capitalist media environment that never even refers to religion anymore authentically. If people can be drawn to a true religious belief by way of what was out there to encourage their interest and further study, I am grateful for it and accept them, and they will not be kept out of Heaven or away from the Table that was large enough for all because, thank God, you and your Litmus test do not apply.

I will not answer you again, no matter what kinds of remarks you post.

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kodi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #44
47. and an answer
Edited on Sun Mar-27-05 10:30 PM by kodi
Wow, what a concentrated, prolonged vicious attack. When you spit hate, you really go on like an abuser who just likes to attack people, which of course, you are. I hardly know where to start, you were so vindictive

Oddly, I did not attack anyone. I asked for logical and rational proof for the opinion that Jesus died and rose again. As of yet, there has been no response to that question.

I asked what empirical evidence is there for the event happening.

You are the one who used ad hominum and put your own words in my mouth.

I will refer to only a few things, because actually, you really make me uncomfortable.

Yes, I see how I can. You are unable to articulate you position without personal attacks.

BTW How do you know the Good Lord did not put me here to test your faith, like Balaam was tested (Numbers 22:21-24)?

You are an atheist who hates Christianity,

I am not, and you do not know what you are talking about.

yet you are the one who decides, by official pronouncement, who gets to be a Christian, and who does not; and I cannot decide and think for myself, and I am a Christian

No, classical Christian doctrine going back nearly two millennium delineates that one needs to believe in the Resurrection. If you know of a sect that calls itself Christian that does not accept the Resurrection, other groups professing Christianity will not accept the former sect as Christian.



You are the great omniscient know-it-all,

There you go. A personal attack.

yet even with all your years of scholarly research, you somehow managed to miss the rather basic fact that the Nicene Creed is not original to Christianity, it dates from about 381, replacing the earlier creed from 325 issued by the Council of Nicaea.

The basic fact is that the Nicene Creed exhibits the basic tenets of orthodox Christianity, and it forbade the influence of the Gnostics whose methods undercut the authority of the bishops.

Tertullian wrote over 140 years before the first Nicene Council that for the majority of Christians, the orthodox position was that Jesus rose bodily from the grave, so every believer should anticipate bodily resurrection.

The orthodox position adopted the literal view of the resurrection because it legitimized the authority of certain men who claimed exclusive leadership over the churches as successors of the Apostle Peter. From the late second century, CE this doctrine served to validate the apostolic succession of bishops and is the basis for the papal authority today.

This was in response to the ideas of Marcion and the Gnostics, who felt, like Luther, there was no need for an intermediary between Man and God. In fact, Marcion was attacked for appointing female priests and bishops.

Neither was original, as both replaced the Apostles' Creed. Your scholarly research apparently failed to turn up the rather obvious fact that the creed is recited at Mass-

Another personal insult, how, well, Christian of you.

BTW, 12 years of Catholic school, religion taught to me by Jesuit priests. I do know a little bit about the Mass, being an old altar boy, but do you know about the Love Feat, the Agape that was split off from the antecedent to the Mass around the same time, again, to legitimize the authority of the bishops.

-that would make it Catholic, asshole,

Yet another nice Christian remark there. Storing up those treasures in heaven are we?

and therefore not followed by Protestants, like me, and had never been followed by the Eastern Orthodox Church, which predates Catholicism,

well now you have me, because I was unaware that the Eastern Orthodox Church used a different bible, you know, The New Testament canon as it is now recognized was first listed by St. Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367 in a letter written to his churches in Egypt.

You see, that which was around for say 1,000 years before Luther all followed the basic tenet I mentioned earlier, a belief in the resurrection.

That was the point here was it not, the resurrection?

or by the very first Christian churches, the Syrian or Coptic churches.

Which also preached the resurrection, and used versions of the texts incorporated into the Vulgate of St. Jerome

If you ask most real Christians what makes them Christian, they will probably not even check with you first, but will just go ahead and say, either that they follow Jesus Christ, or the New Testament of the Bible.

They may not check with me, but they had better check with their priest or minister and ask them if one can be a Christian without believing in the resurrection. I doubt you will find they would.

The purpose of living a religious life is to try to become the sanctified thing yourself, and find salvation, not to memorize and recite the dead legalisms you prize so highly: "for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (2 Cor. 3:6).

What sanctified thing" does one become?

Seriously, what does that mean?

Did you note that I had pre-empted your quoting "for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life" (2 Cor. 3:6) when I mentioned the need to know the difference between the denotation and connotation of the Jesus stories? Because that is what it means.

I will not try to explain the whole background of the Christian quest to absorb the teaching into each one's own conscience,

You shouldnt, because you cant. That path is for each of us alone.

to then set it aside outwardly and pursue now the Spirit of God--an ordinary Christian pursuit--as you seemed to have so much trouble comprehending anything, and even insulted me with the claim that I am not a Christian or religious or anything else, because you pronounce that I am wallowing in some fantasy world "mish-mash" of your invention. You whine that it is "not even fundamentalist," a remark I still cannot understand;

Fundamentalism is a belief in the literal truth of the Bible. The Resurrection is professed in the New Testament, ergo, fundamentalists believe in the Resurrection. Understand it now?

and stupidly claim my beliefs are not Evangelical, showing what a totally ignorant phony you are. I am a liberal Lutheran who belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, so that is precisely what I am.

I comprehend you quite clearly, that you are speaking now not as a Christian, but a mystic Sufi.

I did not say that anyone was not a Christian. I stated that the Nicene Creed articulates the theological precepts and dogma of orthodox Christianity, and that one who is considered a "Christian" follows the basic tenets and dogma laid out in the Creed. Professing that you are a Protestant is not the issue because the Nicene Creed, the lodestone of Christianity holds the orthodoxy 1,000 years before Luther was even born. However, if you have any information that Luther denied the resurrection, stand and deliver it.

After viciously bashing me about five or six times, you add this phrase, "I shall let pass without comment" some other supposedly egregious act I commited, as if you are holding back and being kind.

Actually, I am, very much so. Moreover, I did not insult you personally, as you have repeatedly in the post I am responding to here.

What a strange comment. "Can you put it in your pocket? Can you hold it in your hand?" I can hardly even believe such ignorance still existing in the modern scientific world. Science tells you that material objects are actually moving atoms which you cannot see or hold, and you take it on faith. I claim that there is such a place as Italy, yet I cannot produce it and have never been there. Does it therefore "not exist"? What a simpleton.

Another Christian-like insult.

You seem to have little understanding of logic, reason, empiricism, or scientific method. As to Italy, one can travel there, many people can, and all who so will agree that Italy exists. We are talking here about corresponding truth, and you are mixing it up with faith. I was allowing you an out; to take the chance to grab on this dichotomy of flesh and spirit and recognize that they are not explained in the same way. Alas, you missed it.

As for combinations of belief among seekers, I think you actually appear to be ignorant of something here. We are not living in a church or even a uniform religious culture, but a totally secularized, corporate-capitalist media environment that never even refers to religion anymore authentically.

No, we are living in a culture that employs as a major part of interpersonal communication powerful emotional metaphorical imagery derived from ancient texts that were sacred when everyone thought the earth was flat and stomach ailments were a result of evil spirits. In addition, some people still believe the metaphors are factual and are incapable of looking past the imagery.

That is the problem with any religion, not simply Christianity.

If people can be drawn to a true religious belief by way of what was out there to encourage their interest and further study, I am grateful for it and accept them, and they will not be kept out of Heaven or away from the Table that was large enough for all because, thank God, you and your Litmus test do not apply.

Do you understand that a true religious belief is based upon the anticipation of a true religious experience? Was there any other way that early Christians walked without fear into a coliseum filled with lions?

I will not answer you again, no matter what kinds of remarks you post.

Ah, a hit and run artist.

Go with Jesus.

and perhaps read John Bishop Spong's "Why Christianity must change or die"

"The gospels are only first century narratives from first century interpretations, nothing more and never have been. You must not read them to find the literal truth about Jesus, rather to be seen and read as the way into the Jesus experience they were written to convey. The experience always lies behind the inevitable distortions by the limiting factor of mere words. To see the revelation of truth, you must go beneath the words, and discover the experience that made the words necessary. Only in this manner will the meaning of the words be revealed. Do not identify the text with the revelation or of the messenger with the message. The gospels are not in any literal sense holy, they are not accurate and they should not be confused with reality. The gospels represent the stage in the development of the Christian faith story where ecstatic exclamation begins to be placed into narrative form. The stories in the gospels were designed for a different age, and were to be understood as Midrashic writings, not literal ones.

When the gospel stories of Jesus were composed, circa 90CE, they were created to help interpret the meaning of his life. His followers believed that their experience was that in Jesus they had met God, and it was that reality to which they were responding. However like Paul before them, the authors of the gospels were limited by the use of language and the current and prevailing definition of God. God had always been thought of as an external and unlimited source. They saw in Jesus a transcendence and only God could have created him. They were attempting to say that the qualities found in Jesus were then not within the capabilities of human beings to create. Therefore he must have been the product of Gods spirit. To show this and pass on the ecstatic experience they mined both their sacred traditions and their vocabulary in order to speak rationally of what they had experienced by themselves capable."

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Dark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 12:11 AM
Response to Original message
39. One little problem. It's called abortion. Dems will never seem more moral
than Repubs as long as this issue exists. And Pro-Life is always seen as better than pro-choice, even by pro-choicers!
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NAO Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
40. Matthew 25:31-46 (the Biblical Mandate for Welfare, SS, Medicaid)
Yep, those Bible Beaters do have ONE thing right: God IS going to "judge us as a nation".

Unfortunately, they missed the criteria by which He is going to separate the "sheep nations" from the "goat nations". Jesus tells us that God is going to decide who goes to Heaven and who is cast into Eternal Hell based on...domestic policy. Specifically on subsistence programs and social programs for those in need.

Religious Reichers, read it and weep (gnash teeth too, and all that other stuff):

Matthew 25:31-46
http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?search=Matthew+25:3 ...


**** I propose that we erect giant stone tablets with this Bible passage inscribed on them and place them in front of every Federal Assistance Office in the country.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-27-05 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
46. How I think Religion should relate to Government:
Edited on Sun Mar-27-05 08:15 PM by ginnyinWI
religion--->people--->legislators--->laws---> judges and president
ideals----->
morals----->
ideas------>
principles-->

And NOT:

The Bible-------->judges and president


Am I right?
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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
51. Four little words: Martin Luther King Jr
If it were not for Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, how long would it have taken to get equal rights for African Americans?

Religion played a HUGE roll in the Civil Rights movement. Dems and religious leaders worked together to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #51
57. That was then. It was our Constititution that laid the framework for CRA
It was our Constitution that allowed for the Civil Rights Act to be passed.

We should NOT be promoting one religion but upholding the CONSTITUTION.

Religious leaders are free to preach what they wish.

Our official political party should NOT adopt any one specific "Christian" denomination's beliefs.

We are NOT a "Christian" party. We believe in freedom of religion and welcome people of all faiths and athiests.

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auburngrad82 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #57
61. My point is that religious groups and leaders have historically
been involved in some of the biggest political battles in our country's history. We cannot ignore them. I do not advocate any religion over another. I do not consider myself a religious person. But why would you want to turn your back on potential allies just because of their beliefs?

If it were not for MLK Jr and black churches all across the south the Civil Rights Act would not have been passed when it was. There were also a lot of Rabbis involved in the Civil Rights battle. It was non-denominational, with leaders from all religions working together.

Did it cost Democrats the southern vote? Yes. Was it the right thing to do? Yes.

Our Constitution laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act but for almost 200 years after the Constitution was written blacks did not enjoy the same rights as whites. Action had to be taken and it was. And if it weren't for the hard work of many people, both religious and secular, it may not have happened.

We all have a stake in what happens to our country.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #51
59. In fact, some people with the same Christian faith had different values
and supported segregation. MLKś values, based on his faith, led his fight. I am sure other people from a different faith took part in this fight as well as people who were atheist.

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George_Bonanza Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
52. Don't you see, the only way to get religion out is to...
NEUTRALIZE IT AS AN EFFECTIVE WEAPON!

Gosh, why did the Democrats lose in 2004? Because people cared about "values", and the Democrats were out to slaughter babies, burn Bibles, and have orgies with gays. As long as the Democrats ignore the religion issue, the Republicans are going to stick it to us as much as they can, because it works. To whom does Bush owe his presidency more to than the Fundamentalist Christian movement? Democrats have the issues, but Republicans have the heart, and unfortunately, the American electorate tends to be Romantic rather than Enlightened come election time. Stir a few hearts about Jesus and saving the world for democracy, and you have their vote.

Also, I saw this news segment about how these idiots were trying to institute the "Theory of Intelligent Design" into Kansas public schools. My god, what a gathering of fools. There was this one bitch (typically Fundie looking) who kept saying, in the face of overwhelming anti-ID evidence, that she respected other "opinions" when it was clear that it was not merely opinion, it was freaking science fact! Then there was this other nutter who said that while the Theory of Evolution was just a theory, the Bible was fact. Uh, can you prove that?
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PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
54. Sorry record in the mainstream
The catholics here(forgetting that other catholic nations had pushed deeper social justice agendas) launched out on activism of sorts. But the big money base movers were private schools(which started out as a discrimination issue way back) and Pro-Life which have way surpassed the Berrigans on all levels. Triangulated, conflicted and dealing with its own systemic conservative leadership problem I am not sure what the Roman Catholic Church for one was ever willing to do with the moral forces it unleashed at times. Once again a closer fidelity to the down to earth language and character of Jesus is crazily in conflict with the radical right. Our bishops are even sadder in their way than the DLC, purposely so by their appointment by a cautious Vatican.

This monopoly on religion is actually a MSM creation, they who understand as much about religion as rocket science and perennially make trivial and trendy insights into ancient institutions as if there was no other arbiter of Wisdom than the corporate news. The catholic press is a pale thing that purports to reach most catholics but soft pedals and sidesteps
honest social conflicts in our divided society, settling for safe issues and pious affirmations. Make every Catholic household receive the "Catholic Worker" and see the fur really fly though there is nothing false or vile in any of its content.

There is no monopoly to be had except for the one that gets away with real murder- the media that defines religion and politics for us mere immortals. How much of this horsemanure would vanish with a slight appplication of rational and honest journalism? Then the real question is whether the Church will step up to its own members on something besides sexual control which is why any nutcase can lay claim to the moral center(because no one wants to go there).
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
58. You dont need to reclaim religion, but values...
Reclaiming religion is in fact rejecting those who are agnostic or atheist or even those who are not from the same religion (for me, being a religious person in one religion is believing the others are wrong, which is fine as a private thought and does not prevent from being a tolerant person, but does not have anything to do with public life).
I know this is not what you meant, but this is what the practical meaning is and how it sounds from many Democratic candidates who try to use the argument: "I am better because I believe in God".

You need to reclaim the right values (family values is not being against gay marriage and children out of wedlock, it is about allowing families to care for themselves with adequate revenues and healthcare, for example). This is not a religious notion, but this is a notion that many religious people as well as atheist people share.
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ieoeja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-28-05 02:12 PM
Response to Original message
62. No

Religion is religion.

Politics is politics.
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