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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:32 PM
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Can the religious left sway the '08 race?

Can the religious left sway the '08 race?
Democratic presidential candidates are speaking openly about faith, competing for 'values voters.'
By Linda Feldmann | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Page 1 of 2

Washington - John Edwards spoke about how prayer helped him get through the death of his son and his wife's cancer diagnoses. Barack Obama repeatedly invoked the biblical phrase "I am my brother's keeper" as he spoke about poverty and injustice. Hillary Rodham Clinton credited her faith with getting her through her husband's infidelities.

This was no garden-variety political presentation by the top three Democratic presidential candidates Monday night on the campus of George Washington University, in the shadow of the White House. The forum, sponsored by the progressive Christian group Sojourners, represented the boldest indication yet that the "religious left" is building as a political force, no longer willing to cede "values voters" to the religious conservative movement that has long formed the activist base of the Republican Party.

The candidates' easy willingness to appear at the forum also represents a watershed for the modern Democratic Party: Intimate discussion of faith, and how it informs policy views and personal behavior, is no longer an arms-length proposition at the party's highest levels.

"It's an important strategic move for all these people not to say their faith isn't genuine," says Jim Guth, an expert on religion and politics at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. "But I think they recognize that in a very closely divided electorate, any ability they have to peel off moderate religious conservatives or centrists, by making it clear they're comfortable with the language of faith that's a political advantage and wise strategy and maybe good policy and good politics."

In an ironic twist following a 2004 election in which white Evangelicals went 80 percent for the Republican, President Bush today's top Democratic contenders may be more comfortable fielding questions on religion than today's top Republicans. On the GOP side, Rudolph Giuliani is a Roman Catholic who is on his third marriage and who takes liberal positions on social issues; John McCain is an Episcopalian, but, like Mr. Giuliani, rarely mentions his faith. Mitt Romney describes his Mormonism as central to his life, but it's a religion that leaves many voters uncomfortable and could make him an awkward fit for conservative Evangelical voters. The three top Republicans have been invited by Sojourners to appear at a forum in September.

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:36 PM
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1. I'm hoping that, after 2008,
our faith or worldview becomes, once again, our own business and not that of everyone. As a caller on Ed Schultz said today, what's important is not wearing your religion on your sleeve, but rather showing that you have values--and it doesn't matter if those values came from a religious source or not. In other words, walk your talk.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:37 PM
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2. But if one's walk and talk are based on religious values,
are they wrong to acknowledge this?
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 08:10 PM
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4. Not necessarily
For example, Jesus told his followers that they would be known by their works, and put down those who would make a show of their faith. That's the sort of thing we're seeing now--people who bleat about being Christian, but doing very un-Christian acts. It's the values that should be stressed, rather than the faith, as there are values common to many, if not all, faiths--such as looking after those who are less fortunate than you, working on your own faults before judging another's actions, etc, etc. As is said in the prayer Khatoum--"Raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide us." You do this by acting, and not labeling an action the result of one particular philosophy.
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LBJDemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 05:38 PM
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3. YES!
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CBHagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 10:44 PM
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5. You know what I want?
I'm less interested in the power of an identifiable religious left (although I consider myself a part of that) than I am moving the debate to issues that affect people of all faiths and should be of huge concern to voters who would otherwise be duped by pundits' labeling of the GOP as the "daddy party" or "compassionate conservatives" or similar. Though individual members of the GOP may be progressive on unions, the environment, or health care, the party as a whole displays in its platform an astonishing contempt for ordinary Janes and Joes juggling all the painful issues of jobs, health care, and so forth. We can all agree that a civilized society needs certain things. That, as Howard Dean has often observed, transcends political labels.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 10:52 PM
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6. Read moiv's post at Daily Kos
It is very long, but it is filled with tremendous research. Yes, they can do just like the religious right did to the GOP.

Read this statement from the post by Jim Wallis.

"The Religious Right and the secular Left both lost on Election Night," Wallis said. The goal now? "We have to hold the new Congress accountable."

I am part of the secular left, and I want to hold the party accountable but not to religious standards.

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illinoisprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-05-07 11:03 PM
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7. the Religious left is not like the right. they don't influence our politics.
You guys gotta quit worrying. they are not the right. not like them at all. They want to take our country back and make separation of church and state. Bring religion back to it's real self.
But, with something like 80 percent of people being religious we have to learn to walk with them. Even howard Dean is making attempts to court them.
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