Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pew's study on Politics and Religion

The 16-point plunge over the last three years startles me.
The Pew Research Center's annual poll on religion and politics, released last week, shows that while 85 percent of voters say religion is important to them, only 26 percent of Americans think the Democratic Party is "friendly" to religion. That's down from 40 percent in the summer of 2004 and 42 percent the year before that—in other words, a 16-point plunge over three years.
xp at Illinoize

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Jesus rode a donkey

Jim Brown writing on the political summit at Iliff Theological Seminary.
The political summit at Iliff Theological Seminary in Denver drew Democratic Party leaders, academics, pollsters, and members of the clergy. According to Associated Press, some of the participants said Democrats do not need to change their position on abortion or same-sex "marriage," but need only to emphasize the morality of helping the poor or protecting the environment. A table at the conference was stacked with new books from the religious left, and bumper stickers that read "Jesus rode a donkey."
...the sponsors of the conference may have outdone themselves this time. "Here, in this case, we have the Democratic Party of Colorado actually holding an event on the campus of Methodist Iliffe Seminary there in Denver, brainstorming on how to attract religious people into the Democratic Party," he points out.

"I really would be hard pressed to think of any examples where the Republican Party has convened a similar event at a conservative seminary."

Friday, August 04, 2006

In God We Trust

Bush declares the 50th anniversary of In God We Trust as our National Mottoe although we've imprinted it on our coins since the Civil War.

Note we say we trust in God; we don't say God's with us.

A good read as to why we made that distinction (and Unitarians and Universalists were part of the it) is Harry Stout's Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War
In this bayonet charge on romantic notions of the Civil War, Yale religious history professor Stout addresses a difficult historical question--What is the source of the unique "civil religion" of American patriotism?--by attempting to answer an equally difficult and potentially painful moral question: Was the American Civil War a "just war?" --from Brendan Driscoll's review on Amazon
I think Kennedy got God's place in politics just right in his second inaugural when he ended with,
With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.
I don't think Bush out-of-step with Lincoln or JFK's thinking on this one. Not at all. It's our Civil Religion forged back in the Civil War.

Michael S. Hogue: Liberal Religion dysfunctional and unfaithful to its purpose

Hogue nailed this PDF on the home page at Meadville Lombard.

Here are the first four paragraphs. Strong stuff but in a nice Dutch tradition appropriate to a school founded in part by a Dutchman.

Now where Hogue is taking this reformation will be interesting to see,
Liberal religion is in crisis! It always has been and always will be, for crisis is part of the essence of liberalism as a place between extremism and complacency. But our current crisis-nature is nonetheless distinct.

Rather than standing against the hypermodern hubris of our North American individualism, liberal religion is entrenched within this same ethos. Rather than mediating the religious and political extremes in our world, we are paralyzed by our own internal divisions and do not have a theologically purposive vision with which to move beyond them. Instead of witnessing to the constructive increase of justice, love, and wisdom through interfaith community, our public footprint is much too small and we seem to be a register of the world’s religious and moral conflicts rather than a constructive example.

Our crisis is a tragic one, for it turns on an ironic reversal through which our strength, genius, and virtue has become our weakness, our arrogance, and our tragic flaw. As a result, we are failing our historic and contemporary prophetic tasks.

To move beyond our tragic condition, liberal religion needs to re imagine a public theology that is historically faithful and culturally relevant. And doing this depends upon heeding the summons to a New Reformation. For as the powerful hierarchy of the medieval Roman Catholic Church had become dysfunctional, unfaithful to its purpose, so also have we.