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Friday, July 20, 2007

Democrats and Religion

Time wrote a story titled, "How the Democrats Got Religion." It appears that this will be a theme of the 2008 campaign. Will the Democrats be able to use religious people in '08 as effectively as the Republicans did in '00 & '04.

First, I really hope that the Democratic Party and various faith communities are able to open a dialog about shared goals such as promoting human dignity, protecting the environment, working for peace, and addressing poverty. This is not about liberal or conservative Christians (or other faiths, although I really don't know much about liberal/conservative Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc.). These are values that all Christians share.

Second, I hope the Liberals who are Christians [FN1] learn a lesson from our conservative brothers and sisters. The Church, like the prophets, should always be critical of government. It should never become the arm of one party or another. That is an easy way to become irrelevant, losing both our moral authority and our influence.

Third, I hope Liberal Christians recognize the tremendous evangelism opportunity working toward these goals can have. Many people believe that to be Christian you have to think narrowly about political and spiritual issues. And a weirdo they want to college or law school with who happens to break the mold wont change that. However, when a whole church is working with unchurched people to oppose torture, promote recycling, encourage peace, and feed the hungry, it is an opportunity to open a conduit of communication. It may convince someone listen long enough to be surprised so many Christians don't take it as an article of faith that gays are damned; or that so many question doctrines like virgin birth; or that so many find a spiritual fulfillment that is more than accepting things unseen.

I'm connected to movements that emphasize each of these, but my passion is with the third.

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