Saturday, March 18, 2006


Faith, More or Less

After promising myself for weeks that I was going to writer shorter posts more often, here goes.

I came across an interesting debate online this morning about Democratic outreach to religious voters that I would encourage you to peruse. The best place to start -- and finish, really -- is with the always insightful Ed Kilgore over at New Donkey, who has been studying the role of faith of politics longer than most bloggers have been out of junior high.

While many progressive commentators are positing it is a waste of time for the Democratic Party to be courting people of faith, including evangelicals, Ed smartly argues that Democrats can and should compete for this major voting bloc without compromising our core convictions on religious and social tolerance.

[T]here are millions of voters attending "conservative" churches who are not in any meaningful sense part of the "Republican base." They do not, in fact, listen to Rush Limbaugh, or for that matter, James Dobson. They attend the churches they attend for reasons that have nothing to do with the agenda of the Cultural Right. They have all sorts of political, moral and civic beliefs that are entirely consistent with the values and policy positions of Democrats. But they have voted, and will vote, Republican if there's no real competition for their votes, and if they perceive, erroneously, that Democrats live in a different moral universe than theirs, or have contempt for their beliefs.

For more enlightenment on the subject, check out two excellent articles in the latest issue of the Washington Monthly from Amy Sullivan and Steven Waldman, who rank with Ed as among the most thoughtful voices on faith-based politics in the progressive community.

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