Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Faith and Democratic politics

I don’t have time to say much about it right now, but here are some accounts of an event held last night (you can find the video on this page). The three leading Democratic candidates spent a little time before a friendly audience answering basically softball questions on faith and politics. The campaigns will surely get some good footage to use for outreach to moderate and liberal Christians. I’d ask this: if one’s faith, or a precept derived from it, is a legitimate point of departure for a discussion about poverty policy, why isn’t it also a legitimate point of departure for a discussion of abortion, same-sex marriage, etc.? Another question: is it possible for people of faith to disagree about what policy faith demands for poverty and social welfare as--they would surely contend--it is about abortion, same-sex marriage, etc.?

In other words, if I were on the other side of some of these issues (as I, of course, am), I’d use the existence of a forum like this to focus, not on the faith, but on the substance of the issues, with all issues connected with faith being in play.

Update: Another question to which I would have loved to have heard the answer: "What do you say to people in your party who argue that religion doesn’t belong in politics, that it is divisive, regressive, and/or irrational?"

Update #2: Here’s a little more and here’s a lot more. Kuo’s advice strikes me as quite solid. Remind me: didn’t he recommend a fast from politics not too long ago?

Discussions - 7 Comments

Your update question is the best.


As to issues of the day and poverty, it is the only topic you mention that Jesus speaks to in any direct way. The poor ARE always with us.

My (Jesuit) parish hammers on this one all the time. They want us to call our congressmen to forgive 3rd-world debt, pass the immigration bill, give more money to the poor, etc. I did call my guys but with quite the opposite message.

What my parish or diocese or province knows about economics or sociology would fit into my pyx.

The answer is that what the "faith Democrats" want to talk about as religion is not religion, as Carol implies. They'd say that what is truly religion and what is truly Christian moral teaching is a "private" matter, while we can all share (because we all have bodies that equally suffer) in alleviating pain (dogs too?). As Carol points out, one can have real rational disagreement on the best fiscal policy or budget priorities. Not so with religious moral teaching or with REAL charity which, as Kate suggests, has nothing to do with eliminating poverty.

The problem with dragging Jesus into Governement work (and was there ever an area less suited to Jesus?)is people only want to use him selectively. It IS possible to disagree though, because the bible self-contradicts in numerous places. Especially if you use both testaments.

Better put: They don't like commands, but they're soft on humanity.

It all comes down to this: Boob bait for Bubbas.

What is ironic is that what is private eventually becomes public once one's sense of privacy has been violated in some fashion, which may help explain the madness the fundamentalist Muslims exhibits.

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