Thursday, September 28, 2006

Faith and Politics and Taking A Stand

John Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, has written a book called “Faith and Politics.”

In an article entitled Danforth Warns of Christian Right but Says Tide Will Turn, Peter Slevin of the Washington Post writes that the book “describes religion as a divisive force in the United States today and accuses the religious right and its political supporters of creating a sectarian party.”

From the story:
“The problem with many conservative Christians is that they claim that God’s truth is knowable, that they know it, and that they are able to reduce it to legislative form,” Danforth writes. “The popular question, ‘What would Jesus do?’ can be difficult enough to contemplate with respect to everyday interpersonal relations. It is mind boggling when applied to the complex world of politics.”

Slevin is right about one thing when he writes, “His book emerged by design in a political season in which the organizing strength of conservative Christians is expected to be tested by motivated Democrats and moderates dismayed by the country’s direction.”

After laying low for most of the present administration’s tenure, I have decided that every opportunity I can find, I will work to change this direction. The Right-Wingers and their toadies can ridicule former President Bill Clinton all they want, but his interview with Fox News is only the tip of the iceberg. Democrats and some Republicans are finally saying ENOUGH.


Awakening said...

I believe I will learn much from reading your blog. I had a comment to look at a site called Creative Design....I did a quick search this morning. But now my interest is really peaked and I am going to check it out. It sounds like something connected to what you are writing about. I begrudge no one for their beliefs. But it was only last November that I had tripped over another Human Service Worker, who in the work place, assumed out loud that I hadn't received the 'Miracle.' This comment was made after she had mentioned how much she wanted to tell her client to kneel with her and pray. I must of given a look of sheer surprise. Compelled to defend myself, I happily stated that I had witnessed many miracles in my life and excused myself politely. I'm the type of person that gets excited about seeing a frog, snow falling, a flock of geese flying over head and talking with all people. I had to avoid her as much as possible after that. Something felt weird about her approach, very invasive. I will have to work on my reaction if this ever happens again, cuz it was one of the most unsetteling signals I can recall. It also felt rude to avoid this person. But I did it to perserve my professional work space and to protect my private beliefs, in a very public job. Thank you so much for this post. It is such an important issue, at a critical moment in our country and in our lives.

Sheila said...

I appreciate your thoughts. I, too, have been in situations where I just don't know what to say when people bring up some part of their faith that is to me so personal and private. I don't feel compelled to defend or explain my beliefs. Yet, I try to show respect for others even if they overstep my boundaries. Much as you say, I see the miracles of nature everyday. I am normally private person, but one might wonder about that with this blog. I most admire those who live their faith by quietly and without fanfare acting to help others. Those who loudly squawk that they know best, rarely do.

Tim said...

Thanks for this article, Sheila. Coming from a strong Baptist background and now being a freethinker, of course I have very strong feelings and thoughts about this particular issue in the U.S., but I normally try to steer away from it, since so many of my very close friends and family members are Christians, though normally the personal and private sort.

I have so very often become enraged with the Right-Wingers and religious extremists that when I have spoken out, I had a habit of going a little bit overboard. Thank goodness my friends and I keep one another well ballanced with discussion, understanding and "loving debate". :)

That, and my lovely wife is so much more open minded than I, since she comes from a completely religious free background, where as I am cooling down from my former near-Pentecostalism days and settling into my atheist with love, patient and understanding future - although I would like to take a ball bat to Pat Robertson and the American Athiests both. There's a group of self-righteous morons on both ends of the spectrum.

Ok, I have went on long enough. Study time. :)

Sheila said...

As always, Tim, I like to hear your take. I share a similar faith tradition in that I grew up attending a little country Southern Baptist Church. I'm no longer a Baptist. I'm a Unitarian. One day I might write a bit more about that.

I'm curious about Norway. Maybe some time you can write about what your adopted country's folks think.

At any rate, I was happy to see former Senator Danforth speaking out. If we have learned anything, it should be that religious extremism, American or Muslim, doesn't make for a healthy society.

Awakening said...

I really appreciate both of you sharing. Your views bring great logic to the reason that 'Separation of church and state,' should be protected and maintained. I could never have said it as well. Thank you!

Sheila said...

Hear, Hear, Awakening. You just did. Every time we speak our thoughts and beliefs, we are bringing light. Of course, it sounds like we all pretty much agree. I'd welcome someone with a different view to respond as long as it was reasoned and polite.

Jayhey said...

This is a good post. I agree with your perspective.

Like Senator Danforth, I am an Episcopal priest. He's probably a bit more conservative than me, but he rightfully recognizes that world politics is indeed complex.

Simplistic solutions are for simplistic minds.

Sheila said...

Christianity isn't "owned" by the Right. I guess that's what gets my dander up. Religion is divisive here in the U.S. as well as in the Middle East. You are right. It's complicated world. But we are all humans first before we are anything else. Why do we forget that so often?

Brandy Kinch said...

As a Christian woman, I find the most appealing candidate this time to be Barack Obama. Despite what gets passed around, he's a strong Christian, but a humble Christian. I miss humble Christians.