This AP story tells us of this new website, representing "an online community of Christian Democrats." Among the folks who will be opining on this site are the ubiquitous Amy Sullivan, Mara Vanderslice (who had a very brief stint as John Kerry’s first Director of Religious Outreach), Randall Balmer (an evangelical so liberal he has become an Episcopalian), and Lauren Winner, who is a frequent presence on the pages of Books & Culture.
While it at the moment seems to be impossible to link to a particular post on the site (note to the site administrators: if you want to have a conversation with folks, make it possible!), Amy Sullivan did have a few interesting things to say on one post. And I quote:
A popular line of attack against Republicans has been the argument that Bush and his administration are in the thrall of religious fundamentalists and that our country is on the verge of becoming a theocracy. Books like Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy and Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming have promoted this thesis by exposing the extreme theologies subscribed to by some of Bush’s religious supporters.
It’s true that there are some disturbing theological views out there that need to be critically examined, and that Bush has been guilty of playing on those beliefs in order to mobilize his most right-wing followers. But aside from the troubling of area of public health -- in which religious views, and not science, have dictated policy -- there is no evidence that Bush’s actions have been influenced by religious conservatives. Is it hard to believe that he would have invaded Iraq anyway if fundamentalists didn’t have apocalyptic theories about the Middle East? Or that he would continue to oppose environmental regulation even if some folks didn’t believe that global warming was an essential part of the End Times? (For more on this, read Peter Steinfels’ excellent book review in this month’s American Prospect.)
The damning criticism of Bush is not that he is too religious, but that he is not religious enough. He used the faith-based initiative to reel in religious supporters and then slashed the funds available for faith-based and other service providers. He spent the campaign talking tough about protecting children from wireless porn and then backed down when cellular companies protested. And for all Bush’s talk about the culture of life, religious conservatives are starting to realize that the Republican Party doesn’t want to see Roe overturned. That’s what has damaged the GOP’s religion-friendly image -- not the idea that the party is made up of a bunch of theocrats.
She also calls attention to this rather measured review essay by the NYT’s Peter Steinfels.
There’s also some pablum served up by Bob Casey, Jr., with links to more detailed documents (unfortunately unlinkable from the site), as well as the promise of a major address on "Restoring America’s Moral Compass: Leadership and the Common Good," to be delivered at Catholic University of America on September 14th.
All in all, a worthwhile site.