Obama Says Faith Community to be a Priority of His Administration

Barack Obama privately met with religious leaders in Chicago today. His spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on the campaign plane today:

Reaching out to the faith community is a priority for Barack Obama and will be a priority under an Obama Administration. This is one of several meetings he will have over the coming months with religious leaders....He's done it before. He'll do it again.

He did it in South Carolina, here's his mailer(pdf).

As for who was present at the meeting, it was a combination Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants and Catholics. Among them: [More...]

Mega-pastor TD Jakes and pro-life Catholic constitutional law professor Doug Kmiec...Rich Cizik with the conservative National Association of Evangelicals, best selling Christian author Max Lucado, Luis Cortes, Paul Corts, Cameron Strang, Bishop Phillip Cousin, Rev Stephen Thurston, Glenn Palmberg and Dr T Dewitt Smith.

The meeting lasted two hours during which they prayed. The Christian News Network is thrilled:

This is one more example of how Obama is not just bringing in the 'religious left' into his coalition. He wants to bring in conservative figures, too. McCain has some work to do.

As for anti-choice law prof Doug Kmiec: "Kmiec is pro-life and has come out in support of Obama. "

Kmiec served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush during 1985-89 as constitutional legal counsel (Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice).

Here's a list of his writings.

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    Alrighty....he needs to be stopped....this is (5.00 / 25) (#1)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:41:16 PM EST
    gwb redux!

    It is a mistake to assume ... (4.50 / 2) (#23)
    by cymro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:59:14 PM EST
    ... that everyone in the "faith community" is a right-winger. There is a Christian left. See, for example, Jim Wallis.

    Google some of these guys.... (5.00 / 17) (#41)
    by ap in avl on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:06:23 PM EST
    the are NOT the Christian Left.  Rich Cizik is anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-stem cell research.  He describes himself as a Bush conservative.

    Okay yeah sure (5.00 / 8) (#43)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:06:36 PM EST
    you bet.

    Of course there's (5.00 / 15) (#46)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:09:09 PM EST
    A Christian Left,  He's not a republican party George W. Bush.  He's a Democratic Party George W. Bush.

    Wallis is good but got sucked in by Bush on the (5.00 / 6) (#74)
    by sallywally on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:23:22 PM EST
    faith-based stuff. He discovered the truth soon enough and loudly said so.

    Was he at the meeting?

    Is Obama meeting with him or other progressive Christians?

    We don't need any faith-based crap in our own party. This could be a deal-breaker for me.

    How about John Shelby Spong, the retired Episcopal bishop who ordained the first gay priest in the E. church?


    And was the Christian Left represented (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:38:05 PM EST
    in their prayer group today?

    No (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by americanincanada on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:51:10 PM EST
    Not from what I have seen.

    I am a big fan of John Shelby Spong, have read all his books. I would be curious to find out who, if anyone, he endorsed.


    As far as I can tell, Spong's religious (5.00 / 2) (#164)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:04:25 PM EST
    beliefs are indistinguishable from atheism.
    He's a good guy.

    I'm glad you like him BUT he still (4.00 / 4) (#163)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:03:06 PM EST
    has no place in a faith planning session for an "Obama Administration".

    Tonight I will go to bed with this prayer on my lips (yup, I'm a believer...but not in terms of my government being involved):  

    "Please please dear God, let Obama stumble and fall flat on his face in the next 30 days....please God, I promise to be good.  Amen"


    Heh (5.00 / 18) (#2)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:41:37 PM EST
    Whoever it was that whined in the other thread that the DNC outreach was about a political party and therefore not technically a "church-state" issue will need to find a new rationalization in this thread.

    I'm kinda hoping he doesn't even find this (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:43:29 PM EST
    thread... :)

    Do you think his time might be better spent (5.00 / 24) (#3)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:42:49 PM EST
    honing his foreign policy, uhc, fixing the economy skills instead?

    Well, they'll probably (5.00 / 16) (#10)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:54:02 PM EST
    pray for the economy and foreign affairs, etc.

    That's worked so well during the Bush years, hmmm?

    This is NOT my Democratic Party.


    ummm hmmm, bush doesn't even have (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by PssttCmere08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:55:52 PM EST
    his shill James Dobson to fall back on anymore.

    He might better spend his time (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:41:15 PM EST
    using his brain.

    What economy skills? n/t (5.00 / 3) (#131)
    by mg7505 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:49:53 PM EST
    The Economy Skills (5.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:52:34 PM EST
    People believe he has because the last Dem president was pretty good with the Economy.

    But (5.00 / 13) (#5)
    by Emma on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:44:21 PM EST
    don't worry!  Obama is pro-choice!

    Hey, I have a bridge I'd like to (5.00 / 5) (#113)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:41:58 PM EST
    speak to you about.

    NARAL is so screwed.  Serve them right!


    you'd prefer a president who has (4.00 / 2) (#196)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:18:10 PM EST
    ... this on his website?

    Overturning Roe v. Wade

    John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.

    Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.

    Go read. Learn. (5.00 / 1) (#206)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:21:24 PM EST
    My goodness, if I weren't voting against Obama for (5.00 / 17) (#6)
    by Calvados on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:46:44 PM EST
    other reasons already, this would have been the straw that broke the camel's back.  I can only hope that the superdelegates are as disgusted by this turn of events as I am.  This might even be enough to turn some of the so-called pledged delegates.  If I wanted this, I'd vote for the Republicans.

    Come to think of it, I guess I will if nothing drastic happens at the convention.

    In another thread, someone jokingly (5.00 / 7) (#18)
    by FemB4dem on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:56:35 PM EST
    suggested that we disaffected dems should consider trying a take-over of the republican party.  If these -- um, how about -- undesirables, are going to become Obamacans, maybe the waters are safe again back at the GOP for centrist, moderate folks who love their civil liberties, including that silly little wall between church and state.  

    Now if only McCain would offer Hillary the GOP veep slot.  Now there's a ticket I could get behind!


    That's pretty funny.... (5.00 / 6) (#20)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:58:35 PM EST
    ...then we could call ourselves the party of Lincoln.

    And the party of Roosevelt, (5.00 / 6) (#31)
    by FemB4dem on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:02:32 PM EST
    both Franklin and Teddy!

    I suggested it weeks ago (5.00 / 14) (#35)
    by samanthasmom on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:03:07 PM EST
    It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, and I was feeling sad about where the Democratic Party was going. If the evangelicals are moving over to the Dems, my current exile from the Democratic Party will be permanent.  This is scary.

    Makes me angry (5.00 / 3) (#137)
    by americanincanada on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:54:18 PM EST
    that he waited until after Hillary dropped out to start this crap.

    It wouldn't surprise me in the least (5.00 / 7) (#57)
    by RalphB on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:16:35 PM EST
    if McCain gets elected, I imagine he may throw the radical right under the bus in a heartbeat.

    That could transform the GOP and maybe those centrists would have their voice back.


    As Long As They Believe That Obama (5.00 / 12) (#66)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:21:26 PM EST
    can keep the money rolling in nothing he does will disgust the Super Ds.

    Doncha mean (5.00 / 11) (#72)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:22:50 PM EST

    Tell me again (5.00 / 19) (#8)
    by stillife on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:51:27 PM EST
    why I should vote for him b/c of the Supreme Court?

    This is no wink wink!!!!! (5.00 / 6) (#63)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:20:00 PM EST
    I have been posting this all over blogs for a couple of months now.  Prof. Kmiec endorsed Obama and Kmiec has the credentials to be a serious contender for US Sup. Ct.  Consider these words from Kmiec and his quotes of Obama:

    For those unfamiliar wiht Prof. Kmiec, he is a noted legal scholar, and ardent Roman Catholic. He has the credentials and standing to become a serious nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Also, he is a member of the IL bar, and has written for the Chicago Tribune. I know of no other link to Obama.
    IN writing on Obama, Prof. Kmiec has quoted Obama's positon on abortion as:
    As he [Obama] writes, "I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."
    Note, one COULD view Obama's personal position on abortion as influencing his "present" votes on a woman's right to choose while an IL state senator.
    Prof. Kmiec reconciles his endorsement of Obama (not McCain, who is adamantly pro life) by citing to the offical bishops' edict on voting and abortion:
    "a Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position." But voters should not use a candidate's opposition to abortion "to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity" -- such as, say, the invasion of a foreign nation leading to the sacrifice of the lives of our own troops and of thousands of others."
    Prof. Kmiec also posits the following question/statement:
    "[B]ut here's the question: Does Obama's thoughtful appreciation of faith mean that he would work toward the protection of life in all contexts even if that protection cannot be achieved in a single step?  I am inclined to think so . . ."  
    Interesting endorsement, no matter how you read it. However, note further that Prof. Kmiec had endorsed Mitt Romney, just 6 months prior.


    Endorsed Mitt Romney (5.00 / 2) (#75)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:23:33 PM EST
    now I feel better now.  thanks.

    Kmiec the next Scalia? (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by RalphB on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:27:03 PM EST
    Harrop had an interesting (5.00 / 3) (#82)
    by Valhalla on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:28:57 PM EST
    opinion piece on McCain and SC appointments today.

    I'm not very familiar with her work but I've seen it linked to from TL before, so I took a look.

    She argues that while McCain is anti-abortion, he's unlikely to make putting more extreme anti-abortion jurists on the SC a big goal of his presidency, were he to have one.

    It's still too close for comfort for me (to vote for him, that is), but I did find it interesting.


    I actually think Harrop's right, (5.00 / 7) (#173)
    by FemB4dem on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:09:23 PM EST
    that McCain is a pretty safe choice re: Roe v. Wade.  First, despite what the Obama hordes are trying to sell, it seems unlikely McCain would have any Sp. Ct. vacancies to fill in his single term.  JPS shows no signs of slowing down -- remember, the 80s are the new 60s.  Second, being strongly anti-abortion has never been McCain's thing.  Remember when he got attacked in 2000 when he answered the question about what he would do if his (then) teenaged daughter got pregnant?  The right-wingers went bonkers because he said the family would sit down and decide on the best choice for her, and if that was abotion, so be it.  I think that was really him talking.  Once he's in, since he's not running for re-election, he won't owe anything to these folks, who I'm guessing he still holds responsible for how he was savaged in 2000.  If he does get a Sp, Ct. vacancy, revenge may be sweet.  Another Souter anyone?

    As for Obama, he would be running for re-election from the get go.  I see no reason to trust him on choice, particularly after this latest "reaching out."  


    what are you talking about?!? (3.00 / 1) (#212)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:22:51 PM EST
    First, despite what the Obama hordes are trying to sell, it seems unlikely McCain would have any Sp. Ct. vacancies to fill in his single term.

    Stevens will be just shy of his 89th(!) birthday by inauguration day.  You think it unlikely that there will be a vacancy?!

    Secondly, read McCain's own web site:

    Overturning Roe v. Wade

    John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.

    Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.

    These aren't scare tactics -- these are facts.


    Frankly I would expect (5.00 / 6) (#188)
    by RalphB on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:15:31 PM EST
    nominees like Sandra Day O'Connor from McCain.  She was a good fit with his traditional western GOP views.  In any case, the Democratic senate could quash any really right-wing types.

    may i suggest an edit to your post? (4.90 / 10) (#214)
    by dws3665 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:26:02 PM EST
    In any case, the Democratic senate could quash any really right-wing types...

    if they had any moral fortitude.


    We need 100% (5.00 / 15) (#9)
    by JustJennifer on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:52:20 PM EST
    separation of church and state.  Anything else is just a perversion of what this country was founded on.

    Never had it... (3.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Artoo on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:54:43 PM EST
    There's always been some gray area there. Don't both chambers of congress employ chaplains? The military does too.

    Ok then (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by JustJennifer on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:56:26 PM EST
    as close as we can get.  

    I am just uncomfortable with Obama doing this as I have been with Bush.  


    What I'm wondering is.... (5.00 / 10) (#26)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:00:36 PM EST
    ...how many more core beliefs we will have to gloss over in order to be "good democrats" in this election. I thought that the Obama wing of the party was the idealistic one. You guys are starting to sound a like like Bill Clinton. LOL.

    your analysis is dead wrong (5.00 / 13) (#42)
    by angie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:06:24 PM EST
    having a chaplain or the words "In God We Trust" on the dollar is NOT mixing religion with politics -- mixing religion with politics is making political decisions based on tenets of a religion -- which is what W has done and, it seems, Obama plans to co-opt for himself.

    Agreed (4.92 / 13) (#81)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:28:10 PM EST
    I've learned to accept them ending their speeches with "G-d bless America" but more than that and I'm uncomfortable. Will the Ten Commandments on government property be making a comeback too? With another Supreme Court it might.

    that was prior to Constitutional Amendments (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:23:08 PM EST
    Just an earlier custom.  Read this link.  Founding Fathers were not all that religious; that is a myth, at best:



    You're equating (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by pie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:34:05 PM EST
    chaplains saying a prayer in Congress with implementing policy?

    I doubt it.


    I'm confused (5.00 / 13) (#11)
    by Coldblue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:54:27 PM EST
    I thought that it was Obama's 'old-style' political opponents that would say anything to get elected.

    Can someone enlighten me?

    So what is the churches view (5.00 / 5) (#13)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:54:51 PM EST
    On torture! On a day when the Senate Judiciary Committee is looking into our use of torture, Obama announces how he is going to incorporate church and state. There are major issuesfacing this country that require answers, not dreams and speeches.

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (5.00 / 4) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:18:23 PM EST
    website here, has progressive views opposing  torture, opposing the death penalty and immigration reform. Here's what they said about the anti-gang bill:

    On Thursday, May 5, the USCCB sent a letter to the entire House asking members to oppose provisions in the bill that would expand the use of the death penalty, treat juveniles as adults and impose mandatory minimum sentences (see attached). House members now need to hear from you that the current version of the House Gang Bill will not help to combat gang-related violence because it emphasizes severe punishment over reform.

    Of course, they oppose abortion and gay marriage.


    I'm all for them (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:25:25 PM EST
    opposing capital punishment.  But we're never going to get 100% from ANY religious group.

    which is why (5.00 / 11) (#83)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:29:00 PM EST
    voters should pick a party based on which most supports their views on issues, not their religion.

    Problem is that if we continue (5.00 / 10) (#103)
    by Florida Resident on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:37:26 PM EST
    with the way I see this party going I get a feeling that it is no longer supporting many of the issues I find important.  Now, I have never been to sure what Obama stands for, but this party sure went all out to make him the nominee.  And by this Party i mean the so called leadership, not it's constituents. Just worried that when I changed from Republican to Democrat this Party may be taking a turn to what made me quit being a Republican.

    But if this candidate is making religion (5.00 / 7) (#167)
    by Cream City on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:06:44 PM EST
    a "priority," that's a major issue for me.

    This is hysterical. (5.00 / 16) (#19)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:58:08 PM EST
    Obama's entire Christian life includes being the member of one church.  Wright's church.  Which I assume was for political gain.  This is just so funny.  It's to be expected.  He ran under the GWB banner "uniter not divider".  Mission accomplished?

    I have a screenplay (5.00 / 4) (#61)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:18:28 PM EST
    To sell to David Geffen.

    It's about a politician who resigns from his church reaching out to the religious community.

    Think he'll buy it?


    I didn't see McLurkin on the list (5.00 / 9) (#25)
    by angie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:59:34 PM EST
    he & his homophobia helped bring SC home for Obama -- I'm sure it's just an oversight by "staff." btw -- his use of McLurkin in SC is where Obama lost my vote forever.

    Maybe Daily Kos (5.00 / 10) (#33)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:02:50 PM EST
    will change it's name to  (our) Daily Bread?

    Daily Kos has a (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:20:24 PM EST
    second site called "Street Prophets."

    Well, alrighty then (5.00 / 14) (#100)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:36:23 PM EST
    The mirror image is complete.  The Left has religious groups and crazy ministers to match the Right, sexists to match their racists, and at least one overheated cable news bloviator. Not to mention the corporations buying luxury suites at the convention.

    I guess there is change in there somewhere...oh yeah, the sexism.


    Wow! (5.00 / 2) (#143)
    by Dave B on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:55:18 PM EST
    That's all I can say is just Wow!

    When did that little site take off?  A Daily Kos Community!  Wow!

    I'm Roman Catholic and seeing that gives me the willies.


    Un-holy guacamole! (5.00 / 13) (#36)
    by wurman on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:03:09 PM EST
    Anytime great rascals get together, they begin by talking about god.

    Then they pray.

    Then they prey.

    Thank you, Jeralyn (5.00 / 18) (#48)
    by stillife on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:10:05 PM EST
    for keeping it real. I understand that you and BTD are supporting Obama, but I trust you to call him out on his BS.  And this is BS.  

    He's using religion just like the Republicans do.  It may be a "smart" political move, but is this a new kind of politics?  What's the point of being a Democrat if they are turning into Republicans?

    there isn't (5.00 / 16) (#51)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:11:46 PM EST
    IMO.  that's why SO many Dems are tearing up their voter registration cards, sending them to the DNC and registering as Indies.

    I have considered doing that (5.00 / 4) (#56)
    by stillife on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:16:01 PM EST
    but NY has closed primaries and I have a sentimental attachment to being a Democrat.  However, I have no more loyalty to the Democratic Party.  They are dead to me!

    True, this is a problem (5.00 / 2) (#189)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:15:35 PM EST
    In NY, especially in the city, most of the action in local politics takes place in the Democratic primaries.

    That was the reason I registered Dem in the first place.

    It's a quandary.


    He's trying to follow Hillary's lead (3.00 / 4) (#181)
    by riddlerandy on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:11:50 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton speaks of faith in face of adversity
    Sunday, May 25th 2008, 1:23 PM
    HORMIGUEROS, Puerto Rico - Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday offered a spiritual defense for continuing her presidential campaign despite the long odds of overtaking rival Barack Obama.

    Speaking to a full congregation at the Pabellon de la Victoria evangelical church, Clinton spoke in measured terms about faith in the face of adversity.

    "There isn't anything we cannot do together if we seek God's blessing and if we stay committed and are not deterred by the setbacks that often fall in every life," Clinton said.
    Clinton is campaigning for Puerto Rico's primary on June 1, which offers 55 pledged delegates to the national Democratic convention. The New York senator is expected to win the contest, thanks partly to her ties to the large Puerto Rican community in her home state.

    Clinton spoke of her determination to stay in the race despite trailing Illinois Sen. Obama by nearly 200 delegates, with 2,026 needed to win the party's nomination. Obama was about 50 delegates short of the number needed to clinch - and Clinton says she will keep going until one of them does.
    "If I had listened to those who had been talking over the last several months we would not be having this campaign in Puerto Rico today," she said, alluding to calls during the past few months for her to drop out of the race.

    "But I believe this is an opportunity unlike any in recent history for the needs and interests and diversity of the people of Puerto Rico to be in the spotlight. This is an opportunity to educate everyone about this wonderful place," Clinton said.
    Clinton took the stage after more than an hour of joyful noise - religious singing and dancing, led by an eight-piece band and 16-person chorus. Women and girls in bright red, blue and white dresses danced in front of Clinton, shaking tambourines as parishioners clapped and waved their hands.

    "I believe in all my heart that what is happening in this church today is part of God's purpose and part of the community of believers that can in ways large and small transform lives," she said.


    That's a personal statement, not (5.00 / 12) (#185)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:14:03 PM EST
    a political philosophy of mingling religion and politics to create policy.

    Exactly. (5.00 / 5) (#200)
    by shoephone on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:19:39 PM EST
    Oh man (5.00 / 7) (#215)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:26:47 PM EST
    I'm reminded of nothing so much as right-wingers trying to create the false equivalence between Bush consulting religious leaders on Supreme Court nominations, and John Kerry giving a speech or two in a church.

    Do you seriously think giving a speech in a church is the same thing as vowing to give "faith" a prominent place in your administration?  Are there any progressives who care about secularism any more?


    do not reprint articles here (5.00 / 3) (#217)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:27:52 PM EST
    link in html format and quote a bit. It's a bandwidth hogger and a copyright infringement and against our site rules.

    Truly we are becoming what we used to scorn... (5.00 / 17) (#54)
    by Berkshireblue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:14:46 PM EST
    I think this is a sorry road to go down. The problem with "religion" in politics these days is that we all know that "religious" voters, values voters, aren't about religion or "Christian values" but rather about bigotry and curtailing civil rights, teaching "creation science" in schools, praying in schools and insinuating religion into all facets of public life, inserting their religious tenants into law. Why on earth would we want to appeal to these people. Plus, we're 20 years or so too late to that party and it looks so calculated and blatant and antithetical to what Democrats have stood for-or what they used to stand for.

    Why do the Repubs love religious voters? Because they are more likely to accept authoritarian rule.
    Our founding fathers knew this. As Jefferson said on this subject: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty." and a personal favorite: " Priests...dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight...". Can someone throw Obama the Constitution?

    that's why we should (5.00 / 20) (#67)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:21:55 PM EST
    not refer to them as the Christian right but the radical right. There is nothing Christian about bigotry and intolerance.

    I will spead that (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:30:53 PM EST
    info on my blog.  I am SUPER careful to never use the radical right's language (example: partial-birth abortion...NO such thing).

    Thanks for the heads-up JM.


    Has Obama used that phrase, btw? (5.00 / 1) (#187)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:15:04 PM EST
    (partial birth abortion).

    what I find alarming about this (5.00 / 12) (#69)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:22:23 PM EST
    is not so much that he's reaching out to religious groups (or "faith communities", ish), which I'd expect of any presidential candidate. Political necessity, I'd say.

    It's that, as the article quoted in the post says, he's reaching out not only to the left but to conservative religious as well... people who share very little of the values we hold dear...

    ...while, may I remind you, he's not seeing any reason to reach out to the long-time Democratic voters he's managed to alienate, which includes a lot of people like me who are truly on the left (and, may I add, a religious Jew).

    I'm waiting, Obama, I'm waiting...


    This is honest-to-God truth: (5.00 / 2) (#222)
    by Molly Pitcher on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:38:27 PM EST
    "we all know that "religious" voters, values voters, aren't about religion or "Christian values"

    Quite correct, from the standpoint of this Christian (slightly heretical Christian, maybe.  But then Jesus was a slightly heretical Jew to my mind.)

    Jeralyn, are you really comfortable with this candidate?


    Pay attention: this is NOT about Obama vs. McCain (5.00 / 12) (#58)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:18:11 PM EST
    It's about letting OUR PARTY know it's SCREWING UP when we're as "freaked out" about Obama as we are about McCain.

    Pretty Obama rhetoric, we have learned the hard way, means precious little.  While he's saying one thing at the microphone, he had authorized his campaign to frequently do something diametrically opposed.

    Wonder what Richard Dawkins thinks of this.

    It's our party too and they'd better damn well start paying attention.

    Obama is just reaching out to another (5.00 / 6) (#68)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:22:13 PM EST
    group which he will put under the bus later, when it suits him.

    Heaven forbid they reproduce :-) (5.00 / 2) (#70)
    by RalphB on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:22:31 PM EST

    Cynicism (5.00 / 3) (#88)
    by jb64 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:30:47 PM EST
    Pandering to religious groups, or sincere attempt to find areas of agreement? Either way, its a dog that won't hunt with most "religious" values voters. Particularly after you left your church when it became politically expedient to do so.

    Re (5.00 / 6) (#99)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:34:59 PM EST

    Pro-choice is going to be the "issue" (5.00 / 17) (#101)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:37:17 PM EST
    that Obama plays Kumbaya with...I can feel it in my bones.  Whether it's related to "kind-of" conservative judges or modifications to Roe v Wade we are going to be scr*wed.  And if you're a lesbian, gay or transexual...watch out!

    This is unacceptable on so many levels that I was having a hard time not sputtering and stuttering as I told my husband about it.  He, a nice Jewish boy from NY, is furious.

    A long time ago I thought that (5.00 / 12) (#112)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:41:45 PM EST
    Obama must have a secret plan for rapprochement with the right---that he could not be so certain of getting their votes unless he was going to offer something concrete. My idea at the time was that he would craft a "grand compromise" on abortion.
    Later I thought SS was the bone he would toss to the right wing. Who knows, maybe he will do both---one before the election and one after.

    Well, (5.00 / 6) (#117)
    by pie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:43:39 PM EST
    we have that in common, too.  My husband is also Jewish.

    This religion thing has totally changed the picture.


    Maybe that's why they needed to... (5.00 / 11) (#124)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:46:33 PM EST
    ...put us old feminists in our place????

    Blah, blah, blah. (5.00 / 15) (#106)
    by pie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:38:45 PM EST
    Shoo, fly.

    He was endorsed by NARAL because he promised to give them money.  The state affiliates disavowed the endorsement.

    Hillary has a proven record.  He doesn't, and people saw through the endorsement.

    You can rationalize it away (5.00 / 1) (#166)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:05:30 PM EST
    But to attack Obama from the left on this issue is utterly absurd.

    By the way, I am not a fly.  My support for a host of progressive candidates has hit my bank account fairly substantively this year.


    The rationalizing occurs when (5.00 / 7) (#170)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:08:09 PM EST
    people excuse Obama's voting record on reproductive rights.

    Isn't Obama inviting future interference (5.00 / 3) (#108)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:40:00 PM EST
    by the RCC? What I mean is that if he backtracks from his wink and nod towards the pro-life movement, then parishioners will be told they should not vote for Obama, just as happened with Kerry in 2004.

    Obama is playing both sides. (5.00 / 4) (#125)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:47:01 PM EST
    While politically Obama votes with pro-choice, personally he is pro-life. That is evident in Obama's writings as quoted by Prof. Kmiec.  See the following Obama quote:

    As he [Obama] writes, "I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."


    I had not read that (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:58:34 PM EST
    Is that in one of his books?  

    Is he out and about asking people of all faiths to find him an acceptable reason to seek a law banning abortion?


    Funny. (5.00 / 5) (#109)
    by pie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:40:27 PM EST
    Digby posted his most recent comments yesterday if you care to check it out.  

    Really funny.

    Ha. Love it. (5.00 / 4) (#118)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:44:01 PM EST
    Very knowledgeable about the leftie blogs, I see.

    Obama on religion and public policy (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:44:16 PM EST

    Please watch this and then decide if this is someone who's views are somehow alarming.  

    I watched clip (5.00 / 4) (#138)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:54:38 PM EST
    Does explain a bit.  However, it is a prepared verbal presentation.  I try not to listen to what is said; I rather watch what is happening.  Often in life there is a disjoint between the two.  Words, just words.

    Obama was the guy (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by Baal on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:59:26 PM EST
    who is getting called a closet Muslim.

    He has the right to meet with people of any kind of faith he wants to if it helps build bridges.  There are a host of issues that need addressing and McCain is on the wrong side of all of them.  

    I am personally a fairly strident atheist.


    This is not the same thing (5.00 / 6) (#177)
    by sallywally on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:10:37 PM EST
    as meeting with folks to get the facts of his biography straight.

    This is a suckup, unnecessary and inappropriate and very distressing.


    Can we vote "present" in November? (5.00 / 9) (#122)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:45:02 PM EST

    I think you can vote "present"... (5.00 / 4) (#151)
    by EL seattle on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:58:49 PM EST
    Just go to your local voting site, get your oficial ballot, and turn it in unmarked.  Your vote will be added to the tally, but won't help any of the candidates.

    If you'er the only one who does it they'd just think you're crazy.  Nut if a million people do it, they'll think it's a movement.  

    Arlo told me so.  Sorta.  But I trust him on this one.


    Arlo?! (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:01:22 PM EST
    You skipped over what they'll think if it's just 2 (5.00 / 4) (#186)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:14:32 PM EST
    And I think Arlo thought only three were needed to make it a movement.

    Oops, we're revealed as Hippies for Hillary.


    Absolutely (5.00 / 6) (#174)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:09:47 PM EST
    Leave the top spot blank.  Or vote for one of the 3rd party candidate.

    But for goodness sake, make sure and vote in down-ticket races and for ballot measures.  Don't let this suppress your attendance at the polling place.


    And in the choice between a (5.00 / 8) (#128)
    by mg7505 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:48:26 PM EST
    real Republican and a Republican lite, we know whom voters will choose. Say hello to President McCain.

    This is another perfect example of the Obama campaign neglecting the Democratic base in their Race To The Center. Forget women, the elderly, minorities and the lower-income bracket -- nay, we're going after rich white Evangelicals. Next up: Beverly LaHaye, and Tim too if we're lucky. Also keep an eye out for Ted Haggard, Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell's ghost. Maybe Obama's speech at the convention will just be a prayer. That's all he'll have left at this rate.

    Yes (5.00 / 3) (#169)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:07:19 PM EST
    Democrats often make this terrible mistake.  

    Faith no more, please... (5.00 / 3) (#135)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:52:25 PM EST
    Jeralyn, in a preceding related post you asked a good question:

    I wonder why faith gatherings weren't held at prior Democratic conventions? Perhaps because politics and religion should remain separate? That's my view.

    You're certainly not alone in your views on the separation of church and state. It's particularly noteworthy that Democrats have managed to rigorously preserve that fundamental tenet over the past 25 years since the tyrannical religious right came to full power during Regan's Presidency. So, what has changed?

    I would suggest that there will be "faith gatherings" at the upcoming Democratic convention because the theology of the declared nominee's faith is proving to be considerably more controversial than that of any other Democratic nominee.

    JFK's catholicism posed some problems for his candidacy, but Obama is looking at a different order of magnitude altogether.

    IMO, the faith gatherings of the 2008 Democratic convention are contrived for the cynical, politically-expedient purpose of neutralizing the ongoing, and impending, fall-out over Obama's 20 year association with a church that is widely perceived to be outside the mainstream.

    Those prospective, all-inclusive, Democratic "faith gatherings" will prove to be jolly good sport for the GOP arbiters of fundamentalist/mainstream religion who, evidently, thought Mitt Romney's Mormonism was beyond the pale for the man at the top of the ticket.

    So it really is just like Kerry's (5.00 / 3) (#144)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:55:42 PM EST
    reporting for duty skit of 2004, but with a different aim in mind. Gosh, that worked out well.

    Isn't this (5.00 / 6) (#195)
    by chrisvee on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:17:35 PM EST
    just inviting the media to revisit Obama's list of rapidly disappearing spiritual advisors? I'm concerned this is an invitation for swiftboating.

    I think BTD is right - Media Darling (5.00 / 5) (#199)
    by bjorn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:19:36 PM EST
    CNN was eating this sh!t up...Oh McCain should be scared Obama is poaching religious voters, I am not kidding.  I think Obama will be able to say or do anything he wants and the press are going to act like he is manna from Heaven.

    Keep in mind - the religious right (5.00 / 4) (#141)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:54:59 PM EST
    thinks McCain is too liberal.  Obama doesn't seriously think he is going to peel off those voters.  This is a religious initiative of his own.

    I've voted for R's in the past. (5.00 / 6) (#142)
    by davnee on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:55:09 PM EST
    But the religious right is one of the reasons why I don't do that anymore.  I'm trying to get away from these people and Obama is setting out the fine china and hors d'oeuvres for them.  What am I supposed to think?  At least once upon a time McCain called these people hate merchants.  Looks like I'll have to take what I can get.

    Why the evangelicals... (5.00 / 14) (#152)
    by elmey on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:59:06 PM EST
    I don't understand this at all.  For the first time in years, the evangelical right has begun to lose some of its grip on power--they couldn't stop the nomination of McCain and were wavering in their support of the Republicans.  This group, even in its "kinder & gentler" form, has had a toxic effect on American politics, why are we giving them a foothold in the Democratic Party?  They are not inclusive and have no intention of changing, do we really want to give them an opportunity to start an assault on the democratic platform--and they will start that assault.

    I guess I really don't understand why Obama is trolling for votes among this group before making any gesture to get women and blue collar whites back in the fold. It's disappointing.  

    If he's so honest, above board and ethical, (5.00 / 6) (#155)
    by sallywally on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:59:56 PM EST
    why on earth does he have to do something like this? This is no new politics, at least not in any positive sense.

    Very scary.

    Ugh (5.00 / 7) (#168)
    by chrisvee on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:07:07 PM EST
    I don't know what worries me more...if he's serious about this or if he's using them.

    I've thought for a while that the entire Obama campaign was about adopting the Rovian/Bushian playbook in order to win.  But the question is, will we know who we are when we're done? Or will we get lost along the way?

    I'm an atheist and I appreciate the secular focus of the Democratic Party. I definitely will leave if this trend continues. I don't like it. YMMV.

    Since you did not hesitate to mention (5.00 / 3) (#171)
    by standingup on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:09:04 PM EST
    Do you mind providing a source for the allegation that some of Hillary's staffers are helping to spread smears that he is a closet Muslim?  

    And for future reference, I don't base my vote on anger.  I examine the issues/policies of the candidate.  

    Jews? Muslims? (5.00 / 11) (#175)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:09:55 PM EST
    I'm searching everywhere in these articles and in the list of attendees for any indication that Obama is defining "the faith community" as anything other than strictly Christian.

    WTF is going on here?

    Do we know anything (5.00 / 5) (#176)
    by joanneleon on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:10:22 PM EST
    about Doug Kmiec's reasoning on supporting Obama even though he's staunchly pro-life?  Does he have any reason to believe there will be any compromises on it by an Obama administration?  Or is it possible that he has decided it is more important to join the coalition and put his pro-life interests aside?

    As for anti-choice law prof Doug Kmiec: "Kmiec is pro-life and has come out in support of Obama. "

    Timing of this and the Joshua stuff is interesting (5.00 / 8) (#197)
    by sallywally on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:18:43 PM EST
    AFTER he gets the nomination, not before, no statement that he'd be doing this if nominated....

    I wonder what the primary results would have been if people had known he'd be doing this....clearly, he probably expected the results would be bad, or he'd have been doing/saying he'd be doing this.

    There is a rumor that Clinton has asked her delegates to endorse him, preventing a roll call at the convention. On the thread of that piece was this. Another Obama creation?

    The Rumor is FALSE.

    I have just received an e-mail message from Mary Boergers, a former Maryland State Senator and a pledged Clinton delegate. Mary was on the conference call with Hillary Clinton last night, and she has given us permission to publish her message in full:

    "I was on that conference call and there was nothing in Hillary's comments to indicate that she was releasing her delegates and urging them to vote for Obama on the first vote in Denver. In fact what Harold Ikes said was that the campaign would like to keep Hillary's delegates together so that she can more effectively fight for issues like universal health care to make sure it is included in the party platform."

    One of the super delegates who was in London in fact complained about the strong arm pressure from the Obama campaign to immediately (last Friday before Hillary's speech) switch their vote to Obama.

    So to me the strategy is clear. The Obama folks want to try and prevent us from nominating Hillary at the convention and voting for her at the convention. We need to STOP this. Historically losing candidates always have their names put into nomination, give a great speech and then there is a roll call vote. The presumptive nominee gets the majority and then there may be a call to make it unanimous.

    We need to make sure that people are aware of this procedure. Once again the Obama people are trying to change the rule of the game, pretending that they were always the rules in order to push Hillary aside. We must keep them from succeeding.

    To me this is the most important thing that we can do right now. We need to attack Howard Dean for saying that he hopes there isn't a role call vote at the convention.

    This pressure, heavy handed tactics and "shot gun" marriage effort must end. This is the fight that we need to continue!

    Mary Boergers, Super Delegate

    To repeat Mary's call to action: We need to attack Howard Dean for saying that he hopes there isn't a role call at the convention.

    Contact Howard Dean:
    Phone: 202-863-8000
    Fax: 202-863-8174
    E-mail: HowardDean@dnc.org

    Thanks for posting this (5.00 / 4) (#216)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:26:49 PM EST
    sorry to get a bit OT here, but:

    I keep emailing MoveOn when they ask me for money or to get involved in their "elect Obama" efforts, fruitlessly I'm afraid, but I keep writing because I'm afraid that by endorsing him they've effectively made it impossible (practically speaking) for them to have any leverage at all over him.

    In fact, I fully expect him to throw them under the bus with me at some point.

    I'm glad to hear that Senator Clinton intends to keep her leverage.


    I was reading a link at No Quarter (5.00 / 8) (#201)
    by dianem on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:19:43 PM EST
    ...okay, they are as bad anti-Obama as Daily Kos is pro-Obama. I'm not a member. But they had an interesting link to an article reporting about how Dean used an astroturfing strategy in 2004 and theorizing that the same technique was used for Obama in 2008. I've been a big promoter of the "Axelrod Astroturf" idea, but I find myself wondering if it was entirely Axelrod?

    And Yes, this is on topic, because Obama is doing exactly what he has promised he would do - reaching out to the right. And thisis likely to offend a significant number of his supporter's, but they will be wrong to be offended, because they are getting exactly the candidate they voted for. If he is elected, he will "reach out" to the right, and probably will govern in a way that is far to the right of what everybody expects. And the only  reason he won, I sincerely believe, is that the strategy Dean tried out in 2004 has been perfected. People have no clue what they voted for. They simply voted for a personality with no idea of what his platform, beliefs, or strategies would be. They voted for "change" and "unity" and they will get it. Obama will change the Democratic Party into an organization that can unify with the Republican Party. He will "reach across" the lines to embrace those who are anti-choice, intolerant of homosexuality, and anti-government. He will find compromises to ensure that the right wingers who fear Muslim terrorism will be comfortable - even if that means threatening to start a war with Iran or keeping troops in Iraq. He will embrace those with different religions - even if those religions demand that the lines of separation between church and state be blurred. It will be "change".

    Please let me be wrong about this.

    I get the feeling that 1.8 million Democrats (5.00 / 6) (#202)
    by ap in avl on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:19:46 PM EST
    will be starring in the next volume of "Left Behind" series.....

    Hmm ... (5.00 / 11) (#203)
    by FemB4dem on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:19:49 PM EST
    "Obama is probably the only candidate who has made rational comments about a reasonable role for religion in society ..."

    Would that be the rational comment about bitter, small town Americans clinging to religion because they are xenophobic?

    The litmus test (5.00 / 1) (#210)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:22:00 PM EST
    will be my fundy brother in law.  We'll see him at the end of the month. He is ENTRENCHED in the fundie culture. If he likes Obama, then Obama is going to win the fundies.

    So are far right religious voters... (5.00 / 8) (#211)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:22:24 PM EST
    like part of the "creative class"?

    Sorry to say (5.00 / 4) (#213)
    by Cream City on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:24:39 PM EST
    I told you so.  Why is this a surprise?  It has been evident in Obama from the start. . . .

    TalkLeft:  Voters read that correctly; it worked
    by Cream City on Wed Mar 05, 2008
    in its context -- that once it was clear that McCain was to be the GOP nominee, the Dems would need a nominee to match his strength, his experience. [snip] She can win it.  Obama cannot. Btw, he might have been the pick against the Reverend or the Mormon, because of Obama's religiosity . . . although, polls showed last week that she draws far more churchgoing voters. So maybe even that would not have helped us with him as the Dem nominee.

    DailyKos: I hope I don't have to vote (0+ / 0-)
    for Obama, but because of his religiosity.  Not his race.  [snip]]

    "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon
    by Cream City on Mon Dec 17, 2007

    Local blog: posted by Cream City on 10/23/2007
    Hillary hasn't come here hardly at all, compared to Obama. If and when she does (as Wisconsin with its late primary will not see as many candidates), watch out. . . .  Obama's religiosity makes a lot of Wisconsinites quite uncomfortable.

    Okay, so I got the last one really, really wrong.
    And imagine that last fall, a mid-February primary looked like a "late" one. :-)

    Do you know (5.00 / 3) (#218)
    by EMC2002 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:28:33 PM EST
    From an outsider looking in,it looks like Iran the american way.

    Here's what I think: (5.00 / 1) (#219)
    by shoulin4 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:28:37 PM EST
    Obama is trying to find some inkling of common ground with the religous groups, particularly the right because they are defecting from McCain. This sounds like that same thing McCain is trying to do concerning the most ardent Clinton supports, particularly women, when he a (and Obama both) had little spots during the commercial break during the show "Army Wives."

    The more people on his side, the better chance Obama has to be elected. It's that simple. You don't have to agree with absolutely everything that they believe in, but if you can find some common ground, at least you might be able to get something you agree on done, and work on the disagreements later.

    As an effort to step away from the cynicism, he said that this was one of many meetings that he'd be having with people of faith. He didn't say that he'd be meeting with these exact same people. Also, no one knows for sure exactly when on during that meeting except those that attended. For all I know, it could've been another "Religious Forum" that was on TV with an added segment of group prayer.

    Besides, when he has to fight against being a Muslim or a racist radical Christian, he'd probably want some religious leaders convincing his followers that he's neither (please note that I am neither approving nor denying either of these preceptions, thank you). Of course this country was founded on separation between church and state, but when you've got people voting against you because they think you're a Muslim, a radical Christian, or even, heaven forbid, the anti-Christ himself, you have to address it somehow. To be Obama and simply ignore religion all together would be the absolute dumbest of mistakes.

    And if he chooses to address religion, he'd better cover all his bases before the "radical right" feel alienated/special and start circulating pictures of him wearing a turban and calling him a closet Muslim working for Al-Qaeda, bent on destroying Western civilization as we know it . . . oops, too late for that :-) Maybe that's why he met with the "radical right" in this particular meeting . . . eh, I don't really know, I wasn't there, and I'm not his campaign strategist. Nevermind.

    Obama's hypocrisy is showing (5.00 / 8) (#220)
    by stefystef on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:30:08 PM EST
    When Hillary talked to the religious right and gave an interview to CBC (Christian Broadcast Company), she was accused of pandering to the religious, right-wing organizations and its followers.

    Now Obama does the same thing and he's a genius and a unifier?


    Watching his campaign makes me sicker everyday.

    gosh, this sounds real (5.00 / 5) (#226)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:52:54 PM EST
    familiar. let me think now. think, think, think! oh, the thinks i can think! who else do we know that did something similar? oh, wait, i know!

    yeah, our "dear leader" hisself, gb. striving mightily to blur the line between gov't and religion! in business since 2000!

    hope and change alright. what was it the man said?

    "patriotism and religion are the last refuges of the scoundrel."

    reaching out to the religious (5.00 / 1) (#227)
    by phoebecaulfield on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 02:24:57 AM EST
    I am an  atheist, but  most moderate religious organizations are LIBERAL.   Even the church I was raised in was liberal.  All the sermons were on helping the poor, doing good to your neighbor,  The ministers were antiwar activists that volunteered in prisons and helping the poor.  Now the biggest supporters of places like Darfur are religious leaders.  I work in an inner city slum, many of the social programs we have are supported by religious people, (not folks inflicting their religion, just folks supporting the poor and disenfranchised).

    If you have read about Hillary, she states she got her interest in social issues from her religion.  
    Obama is not going after the religious right, he is going after the religious folks who really have liberal beliefs but have been alienated by the democratic party. (and maybe some of its supporters from the posts here).  

    It is not a surprise, he made it clear this was his intention in several major speeches. "In other words, if we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, then the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyeses will continue to hold sway."

    This is ironic... (5.00 / 2) (#229)
    by Perry Logan on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 06:06:48 AM EST
    ...since Obama recently jettisoned HIS WHOLE DAMNED CHURCH!

    Not reaching out to liberal religionists (5.00 / 1) (#231)
    by sallywally on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:52:53 AM EST
    Didn't you see who was at this meeting? One thing to get the facts about his personal religion straight, one thing to clarify that real Christian - and all other religions' - values are exactly consistent with real liberal values. That is to say they "should" be liberal.....

    Another thing to go beyond even pandering to bringing them into his administration.

    And the thing is, it is still hard to tell what he really has in mind, but these new initiatives, taken only after Hillary dropped out, tell us we really don't know what he plans to do and that he has no problem just doing whatever he damn well pleases without regard to Democratic values.

    There was a piece a while ago that said that in an underground way, he had recreated the Dem party apparatus to give himself all the power in the party. There's been nothing more about this but I am wondering if it's true and where this part is going also. It doesn't sound like he listens to anyone's drummer but his own, and that smacks of - dare I say it - too much power in one person's hands.

    George Obama or Barack Bush? (4.87 / 8) (#90)
    by davnee on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:31:43 PM EST
    Which is catchier?  Because now it is patently obvious that Obama is the Left's recreation of GWB.  It really is an open question to me now as to whether McCain or Obama is the true heir to GWB's third term.  McCain might more closely track Bush on policy, but when it comes to all the trappings like character and campaign and modus operandi, Obama is 100% Bush.

    I thought Naral endorsed him because (4.80 / 5) (#119)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:44:05 PM EST
    of he tolerated turning away rape victims at Catholic Hospitals who wanted pills to stop pregnancy. Gosh, maybe that wasn't Obama, but that sure was someone that NARAL supported. Gotta love their strong pro-life stance!

    That Was Joe Lieberman (5.00 / 7) (#145)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:56:11 PM EST
    You are right that NARAL did endorse him even after he made that statement.

    As far as I'm concerned a NARAL endorsement has become worthless.


    Lieberman, Obama---I find it hard to (5.00 / 7) (#147)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:57:43 PM EST
    tell them apart.

    In fact (5.00 / 5) (#156)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:00:32 PM EST
    Obama endorsed him also.

    Lieberman's the one (4.50 / 2) (#223)
    by Iphie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:47:55 PM EST
    who taught Obama everything he knows about party unity.

    NARAL (5.00 / 7) (#180)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:11:46 PM EST
    seems to have become a very Upper West Side sort of organization.  They seem to care exclusively about defending the rights of the well-off liberals who send them money, but in my view they've lost all sight of the problems faced by the poor for whom access to legal abortion is much more of a life-or-death issue.

    I've been disappointed in NARAL for years, as have many progressives.  It's really wild how some people assume that NARAL was universally loved right up until the moment they endorsed Obama.


    Will some official deists be there? (4.66 / 3) (#47)
    by EL seattle on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:09:11 PM EST
    In body at least.

    From the sounds of it I doubt if any of the old school deists will be there in spirit.

    Reality Check please (4.50 / 2) (#225)
    by Dax on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:21:56 PM EST
    I'm a secular Jew and have been uncomfortable, to say the least, with where the religious right has helped to take our country.  But I don't see any reason not to believe Obama when he says, as he has for the past several years, that he intends to reach out to folks who are not natural allies and try to make the case that he can work with them on issues where there is a possibility for common ground (climate, war, poverty, etc.) despite the existence of other areas of profound disagreement where he will not compromise core democratic principles (choice, gay rights).  I'd be concerned if I saw the slightest signs that Obama is suspect on democratic social issues, but frankly the guy is not even moderate.  He's pretty much as left as you can be and still be a viable presidential candidate.

    Couple quick points on this:

    1.  Gay rights.  Obama is I believe the only major presidential candidate to repeatedly and vocally press for the repeal of DOMA, as recently as this week.  (I think Kucinich is the only other one this cycle to do that, but he wasn't exactly viable).  Obama has also repeatedly, from the pulpit in black churches, talked about the homophobia in the black community and the need to respect and promote equality for "our gay brothers and sisters."

    2.  Choice.  The guy has had a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, or very close to it, for over ten years running and long before he was famous or had his money machine.  (On the present votes in Illinois, I don't see how one can in good faith ignore that the then-director of the state Planned Parenthood is on record as saying that they asked Obama and a few other safe liberals to vote present as part of PP's strategy to provide cover for other senators who were vulnerable -- which wouldn't work if the vulnerables were the only ones to vote present.  I understand NOW disagreed with that strategy, but Obama couldn't simultaneously adhere to both groups' requests.  He went with PP's request and I don't see how you can hold that against him on choice).  But Obama clearly is going to try to make common cause with pro-lifers on reducing unwanted pregnancies (which, by the way, is what Doug Kmiec is saying about his reason for backing Obama, even though he understands that Obama is solidly pro-choice).  Nothing radical or suspect about that; Bill Clinton practically invented that approach -- make abortions "safe, legal and rare."

    3.  As Bill Clinton and Kerry showed in opposite ways, democratic presidential candidates apparently need to be able to talk the language of faith to win.  I don't get it, but I accept that as political reality.  Religious folks have been saying Obama has shown an ability to talk the language of faith pretty good for a liberal democrat, so he should use it as best he can, again just like Bill Clinton did.

    4.  The muslim/Wright stuff.  These two issues -- one of which is a disgusting smear and the other of which is a legitimate problem -- are another reason for Obama to talk faith if he can do so credibly.  In this context, it's part of his political defense as much as offense.  If he can talk about his christianity in a way that is natural and not forced (and it looks like he can), then he's got to do it in part as an effort to counter the damage done by Wright and the muslim smear -- i.e., so certain folks can try to relate to him on some level despite the fact that they obviously don't relate on other levels.

    5.  "The Most Liberal Senator."  There's a reason the repubs are attacking Obama as "the most liberal member of the senate."  That National Journal number is obviously suspect for a number of reasons -- Obama's not more liberal than Bernie Sanders or Russ Feingold, and frankly you can't be as liberal as they are and be a viable presidential candidate -- but as Baal noted up-thread, Obama and Clinton are the two most liberal viable candidates to have run in a generation.  Of all our great candidates this year, Obama and Clinton are probably the only two who could talk about faith a lot and not concern me about where it "might lead" (and Kucinich, of course).  

    Obama (4.00 / 1) (#77)
    by TheRealFrank on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:26:19 PM EST
    He sure knows how to pander. He's a politician, so I expect pandering, but he really goes for it. Just like his "the US is the Saudi Arabia of coal and that's why we must stick to it" comment.

    I'm not worried that he'll be another Bush in this regard. He's just pandering really really hard, like he has done in other regards.

    Obama did have Muslim training (3.66 / 3) (#115)
    by befuddledvoter on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:42:43 PM EST
    as a young boy.  That has been verified over and over.  I never cared about that, to be quite honest with you.  I do care about mixing church and state and emulating the worst aspect of Republicans in using religion to dictate votes.  I find Obama far more threatening than Bush when it comes to religion.  Obama has followers, not supporters.    

    I get it, you're all against this... (1.83 / 6) (#7)
    by Artoo on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:50:52 PM EST
    But can any of you see that thsus at least a smart political move? Something like 90% of Americans believe in God. Most of us don't compartmentalize our faith and our politics quite so easily as the commenters here. If most Americans' politics are informed by religion, shouldn't the Democratic party be able to respond to that?

    It may be (5.00 / 10) (#14)
    by stillife on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:55:36 PM EST
    a smart political move, but it doesn't help to distinguish him from the Republicans.  SCOTUS is a prime argument for Obams supporters, and this does not inspire confidence in pro-choice, pro-gay rights voters.

    You think it's smart politics (5.00 / 13) (#28)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:00:54 PM EST
    to draw attention to Obama's past connections to religion?  To Wright?  To the church he just dropped out of?

    This is nuts.

    Nuts, I say.


    I agree (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by stillife on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:22:44 PM EST
    but I suppose he's counting on the OFB to not raise the issue.  If I were Obama, I'd stay as far away from religion as possible, but I think he can't resist.  Perhaps it's a misbegotten effort to get the "hicks" to vote for him?

    belief in God (5.00 / 18) (#16)
    by dws3665 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:56:10 PM EST
    and identifying with evangelicals are not the same thing.

    what is it about that that people don't get? It's not like he's attending church here. this is an attempt to appeal to fundies.

    i have been hectored that there is more to fundies than abortion politics, and seeking common ground is a savvy strategy, but please forgive me if i don't trust people who have made a career during my lifetime of telling me that i shouldn't exist or have rights to live my life the way i want to.

    in light of mcclurkin, i am just very uncomfortable with this.


    to respond (5.00 / 27) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:59:08 PM EST
    would be to acknowledge. They are catering to it. That's far more than a response.

    Evangelicals are the radical right. They don't belong in the Democratic party, they don't share our values. If they become Democrats they will have a voice in our policy. We won't recognize our party after a while.

    I do not want to attend political events and be led in prayer.


    No disrespect Jeralyn (5.00 / 17) (#27)
    by angie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:00:49 PM EST
    But I'm already having a hard time recognizing the Dem party right now.

    Respect has to be earned, (5.00 / 7) (#34)
    by oldpro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:02:53 PM EST
    Angie...it can't be demanded.

    Jeralyn has earned it.  The Democratic Party...losing the little it had....


    Maybe it's time (5.00 / 16) (#37)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:04:54 PM EST
    that Democrats who want to dutifully tow the party line re-think this.  Seriously, as a non-believer this makes me not walk, but RUN from Obama.

    Being gay, it makes me sick.


    well (5.00 / 10) (#50)
    by boredmpa on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:11:06 PM EST
    i'm a f@g and my mom's a UCC minister and this pandering of his, for like the 3rd time, really really ticks me off.

    He's in the pulpit, despite the fact he is NOT a lay leader (if he's to be believed about his lack of knowledge about wright) and is therefor being utterly dishonest about his faith (through the visual representation). (In the vernacular, that means he's lying in a church mailer...I wonder if other church affiliates are as po'd as i am.)

    How much more dishonest can you get about your religious credentials?


    One of the crowd here (5.00 / 12) (#84)
    by MisterPleasant on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:29:36 PM EST
    I won't repeat the post I left in yesterday's Joshua diary, but it disturbs me greatly that Obama falls back on his religion to justify his opposition to gay marriage.  Quite a few gay organizations were unhappy with Hillary's stance, but at least she never stated that she was opposed to it, only that it should be a matter of each state to decide.  And in the  end, she was probably correct because that seems to be how it is playing out.

    Whichever religion (if any) a politician takes part in is his/her business, and I am fine with that.  Even TUCC, although I certainly do not agree with some of their theology.  But pandering to the religious crowd is another thing entirely.  What expectations will they have if they come onboard to support?  The differences between the Republicans and the Democrats are already too blurred.


    As a lesbian (5.00 / 11) (#209)
    by americanincanada on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:22:00 PM EST
    I am right there with you. Obama angered me beyond reason with the Mcklurkin thing and now this. I am not surprised though.

    I just wish he would have pulled this before Hillary suspended her campaign.


    These attitudes hurt the Democrats' cause (5.00 / 4) (#55)
    by cymro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:15:31 PM EST
    In contrast, I believe there's a lot of truth in this statement by Jim Wallis:

    ... Democrats, if they ever want to win an election, must learn how to talk about moral values, indeed, to talk the language of moral values, in a way that remains true to the party's principles.

    The American Right has been able to define "moral values" narrowly, almost exclusively in terms of wedge issues like abortion and gay marriage. It doesn't have to be this way, Wallis argues. Drawing on more than 30 years of work combating poverty, as well as an intimate knowledge of the Bible, Wallis, an evangelical Christian, argues that moral values encompass actions and attitudes toward a host of issues, including poverty, the environment, criminal justice and war.

    For more on this point of view, see God's Politics: An Interview With Jim Wallis.


    For me (5.00 / 13) (#65)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:21:03 PM EST
    no one has to dictate or lecture to me about morals.  Thanks to my mother and my extended family, I have them.

    If Democrats would lead by example and stay true to core concepts that this party is founded on, there would be NO need to defend or accentuate our points.

    One only has to point to FDR and LBJ about how we appealed to the better sides of people in America to bring about real change that benefited many.

    People who want or need their morals lectured upon the masses are just mere fascists-in-waiting.


    I'm not suggesting that ... (3.00 / 1) (#121)
    by cymro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:44:32 PM EST
    ... the Democratic Party should lecture you. I'm saying that the Party should speak to voters using language they will respond to. In my opinion, Obama's failure to do this effectively during the primary is the reason why Hillary won the popular vote, and should be the nominee. But that's a separate discussion.

    Most of us posting here agreed that Obama's weakness was inability to appeal to the Democratic Party's base. We also saw that one of Hillary's strengths was her appeal to moderates and to Republican women. Now we have a case of Obama speaking in ways that connect with people who normally might not vote for a Democrat. It seems inconsistent to argue that Obama is wrong to do so.

    Are people saying, "We don't need those Christian votes"? If so, how is that any different from hard-core Obama supporters saying, "We don't need those Appalachian votes"?


    In that case (5.00 / 3) (#132)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:50:44 PM EST
    this goes along with Donna Brazile's line about a "new coalition".  I know A LOT of radical right people here in Texas.  And if Obama thinks that he can get them to crossover to his side after the Wright and the catholic priest flap good luck.

    Southern Baptists reluctantly are supporting McCain.  Does Obama really think that he can get them if a republican can't...and he's view as a 'liberal' (McCain).

    My uncle is a Southern Baptist.  In his church their pastor said that Obama's middle name meant "destroyer", which I quickly corrected him.  But it's too late.  The real right radicals are out in full force spreading mis-information about his religious background and his questionable religious alliances.  Obama may be running offense on this but the R's are the masters of political manuevering in the realm of religion.

    To also note, he will not spend a lot of time on core Dems, who, if he was really as good as he thinks he is, would have NO problem winning them over.  But he will go for these fundie types who are pretty imbedded with the R's.  Hmmm, maybe there is a method to his madness and all those red state wins.

    But being a realist, it ain't gonna equate to electoral victories on the levels the R's have seen in recent memory.


    Your comment supports what I have (5.00 / 3) (#139)
    by MarkL on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:54:41 PM EST
    suspected, which is that the "obama is a muslim" smear and its relatives have already taken a strong hold among Republicans.
    Is this another example of the Democrats ignoring what the Republicans do under the radar, in their mailings? What we read in the media is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Republicans are hearing in their homes---I know this from conversations I had back in 2004.
    And of course, I would be truly shocked if these mailers are not discussing in great detail what they imagine Obama was doing for recreation in his teens.

    exactly (5.00 / 4) (#153)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:59:16 PM EST
    so this religious courting will seem to be nothing but smoke and mirrors to them.  it's not enough to assuage them about his background.  i hear more than anything that people say, "who is this guy?"  "Where did he come from?"  "What do we know about him?"

    Maybe Obama thinks if he comes off as a candidate that wants input from faith-based groups he can cut them off about his street cred with respect to religious types.  However, the cannons will be out this fall and two words will come to haunt him...Reverend Wright.

    And, if an astute reporter (yeah, that's a laugh) would actually ask him why he left his church after 20 years and where does he attend services now?


    I'd like to see him connect to half the party (5.00 / 13) (#150)
    by ap in avl on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:58:38 PM EST
    before he tries going after the Radical Right.

    Just my opinion, though.


    Sorry txpolitico67 (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by ap in avl on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:00:36 PM EST
    you said it better and faster :-)

    ah, gee (5.00 / 7) (#178)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:10:50 PM EST
    thanks!  i try!  i cannot believe that we are all sitting here debating a DEMOCRATIC candidate pandering to the radical right types. ugh.

    You can speak to people (5.00 / 8) (#160)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:01:26 PM EST
    Without inter-weaving a political strategy with religion.

    I hear Clinton got some Catholic votes.

    She got them without doing these kinds of organizational things.  


    Very few people in this thread (5.00 / 17) (#193)
    by mg7505 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:17:17 PM EST
    have claimed that we don't need religious folks' votes. What they HAVE said is that religion as Obama is putting it forth should not be "a priority" of any administration. Partly because it doesn't do anything to solve the most pressing problems facing this country. And partly because it invites the kind of discourse (and participants IN that discourse) that steer us in the wrong direction. These folks shouldn't be excluded, but they also shouldn't be given any kind of leverage re: faith being "a priority."

    I ask myself why Obama is pushing faith so much. Why doesn't he push the environment in the same way? Why not get Al Gore on board? Instead of Joshua Generation for young folks, why not a Green Generation? I'm scared because a huge amount of Dems' energy is being expended screaming at Obama rallies, without being directed to activist causes that we've fought for tooth and nail. And when the young, charismatic leader of our party puts those causes on hold for political expediency, we've truly lost.


    There's nothing wrong with morals or even with (5.00 / 3) (#85)
    by Calvados on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:29:40 PM EST
    reaching out to those who are so bitter that they cling to their religion.  I respect what Wallis has to say to a large degree.

    On the other hand, making religion a priority of an administration is a very different thing, and is not the business that the Constitution has defined for the government.

    I'm really sorry that Charlton Heston died.  He would have made a great photo-op for the next Obama target group.  Is there an organization he could approach to attract the xenophobes?  He may have Appalachia covered sooner than I expected.


    The problem with generalizing morals (5.00 / 7) (#184)
    by mexboy on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:13:32 PM EST
    is that everyone has a different moral compass.

    The fundamentalists believe theirs are the only ones that are Godly. Therefore their mission is to enforce their morals on all non "believers".

    If you think these religious fundamentalists will not expect their agenda codified into law, you are sadly mistaken.

    Morals are as private and intimate as making love, and politicians should take their dirty hands off them.


    Here's the thing (5.00 / 23) (#87)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:30:21 PM EST
    Jews like myself traditionally vote Democratic because our cultural notions of "social justice" fit very nicely with the Democratic platform.  But somehow, the Democrats have gotten these votes without running around waving a Torah.  There's religious outreach and then there's something less acceptable.

    well said (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:33:09 PM EST
    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#94)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:33:34 PM EST
    Well said, Steve.

    Catholics (5.00 / 9) (#179)
    by chrisvee on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:11:16 PM EST
    can be appealed on social justice and anti-war issues as well. As can other religious groups. This over 'faith outreach' is not necessary IMO and frankly sets a bad example. We don't need to adopt the Republican playbook.

    Not only is it not necessary (5.00 / 5) (#205)
    by A little night musing on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:21:19 PM EST
    I'd find it offensive if a politician did try to reach out to me by "waving the Torah" (as Steve said).

    I'd find it offensive in kind of the same way I'd find it offensive if a politician tried to "reach out" to me by complimenting my appearance (but more so). It's something personal and that just doesn't belong in that context at all, and the politician is just not a person who should be going there...

    I have to think that there are a lot of Christians who feel the same way, since I've worked with some of them in the course of my anti-hunger activism.


    Your bigotry is showing (5.00 / 9) (#95)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:33:35 PM EST
    I deeply resent your implication that those who are secular or support the Democratic principle of church/state separation are unable to talk about moral values, poverty, the environment, justice and war.  

    I strongly agree that Democrats must talk far more strongly about values.  We should loudly proclaim we are values voters.

    Here's the part some of you keep glossing over:  RELIGION does not equal VALUES.  Good people with decent values can be EITHER religious or secular.  Equating the two is RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY.  This party is OPPOSED to religious bigotry... remember???

    The neo-Dems are, apparently, one by one, taking on the bigotries of the right.  Oh, it's just POLITICS we're told.  Pay no mind, don't take any of it seriously.  But it IS serious, and this isn't a game.


    The lady doth protest too much, methinks (4.00 / 1) (#204)
    by cymro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:20:17 PM EST
    Not all Christians are right-wing bigots. The notion that anyone seeking to communicate with them is "taking on the bigotries of the right" is itself a bigoted position.

    I completely agree with you that "good people with decent values can be EITHER religious or secular". So too can bigots. And accepting means the same thing, regardless of one's own beliefs.


    How? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:39:25 PM EST
    "to talk the language of moral values, in a way that remains true to the party's principles".

    I don't see how this can be accomplished. In the eyes of the evangelican, be gay is not an option. There are too many hard line differences that are in direct conflict with each other. And whose moral values do we use?


    It can be done (5.00 / 5) (#130)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:48:43 PM EST
    Core Democratic principles are in fact moral values.    Economic and social justice, opposition to unjust war, caring for the environment, loving and caring for one another... this is fundamental human morality.  We can and should claim the moral high ground on these matters.  The religious framing is an unnecessary and unproductive veneer masking a fundamental humanistic philosophy.

    Things are not as black and white ... (5.00 / 2) (#162)
    by cymro on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:03:04 PM EST
    ... as you assume. There are many Christian churches and other organizations that do not fit your stereotype. Here's an example I found on the first page of a Google search: Accepting Evangelicals. I'm sure you could find many more if you did your own research.

    It is just not correct to assume that all Christians are bigoted, pro-life, anti-LGBT etc., etc. That is itself a bigoted point of view.


    Hold it... who said all Christians are bigoted? (5.00 / 3) (#172)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:09:07 PM EST
    It is just not correct to assume that all Christians are bigoted

    Is it possible to have this discussion without the Christian victimhood red herring?


    No (5.00 / 6) (#208)
    by dws3665 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:21:58 PM EST
    This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

    LOL (5.00 / 1) (#221)
    by mexboy on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:32:14 PM EST
    thank you for the belly laugh!

    boy I needed it.


    no one said they were (none / 0) (#207)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:21:52 PM EST
    Wallis (5.00 / 7) (#123)
    by standingup on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:45:07 PM EST
    wants to increase the religion in politics.  I prefer Americans United for Separation of Church and State:

    As a non-sectarian, non-partisan organization, AU's membership includes Christians, Jews, Buddhists, people with no religious affiliation and others. Democrats, Republicans and independents have joined our ranks.

    Americans United is an independent organization with no ties to any larger group or political movement. We are a true grassroots organization. Thanks to your support, Americans United is able to defend separation of church and state in the courts, educate legislators, work with the media to inform Americans about religious freedom issues and organize local chapters all over the country.

    Religion and government are very important institutions that need to remain independent of each other.  Let candidates talk about their faith but that is where it should end.  


    If Obama had been talking (5.00 / 4) (#146)
    by Emma on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:57:40 PM EST
    to the Christian left, you might be right.  He didn't seem to be doing that.  He seemed to be talking to the radical right.  Maybe next week he can get even  more inclusive and pray with Hagee.

    Absolutely, Jeralyn (5.00 / 6) (#161)
    by stxabuela on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:01:41 PM EST
    I call them the RRR (Radical Religious Right.)  I have relatives who have fallen victim to it.  Totally intolerant, totally hateful.  They delight in telling those who do not completely agree with them that they will burn forever in Hades.  I've had relatives tell me that I would suffer eternal condemnation because I voted Democratic.  

    I am heartbroken and afraid.  What happened to my (former) party?  


    Take a broad brush (none / 0) (#224)
    by Rojas on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:50:36 PM EST
    and paint the town red.

    I might suggest "Deer Hunting With Jesus" for a little insight.

    And every little go to meeting here starts with a prayer. I respect 'em out of common courtesy, but no one ever led me.


    Heh (5.00 / 13) (#24)
    by Steve M on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 08:59:21 PM EST
    Of COURSE it's a smart political move.  Do you really see that as the most important issue?  Bush has done a lot of things that violated the Constitution but were probably "smart political moves" from his perspective.

    Now, personally, I don't have much problem with religious outreach at all.  My problem with Bush's faith-based initiatives is not so much the principle as the fact that they're just a disingenuous component of the Republican political machine, a way religious leaders can deliver evangelical votes in exchange for government cash.  I'm a fan of religious folks on the left like Pastor Dan.

    No, the real problem I have on this issue are the people on the progressive blogs who used to rant and rave at any sign of entanglement between church and state, but are now silent and complicit because it happens to be Barack Obama doing it.  It just sickens me to see the progressive movement lose all sense of self-criticism.


    These folks are not religious people on the (5.00 / 7) (#30)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:02:17 PM EST

    Yes. (5.00 / 10) (#80)
    by pie on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:27:57 PM EST
    No, the real problem I have on this issue are the people on the progressive blogs who used to rant and rave at any sign of entanglement between church and state, but are now silent and complicit because it happens to be Barack Obama doing it.  

    I've been ranting about this since I read about the Joshua generation.  My husband, who insisted we had to vote for Obama, has now taken a step back.

    My formerly favorite blog, which used to post about religion and politcs, has had nothing to say about this development.  How disappointing is that?


    Now I'm curious (5.00 / 4) (#148)
    by BoGardiner on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:58:16 PM EST
    Mind saying which blog is that?  I've been noticing a similar silence on some liberal church-state separation sites.

    Secularists and feminists are being divided.

    This is not good.  The shadow of a polarizing figure looms over this discussion.


    Sure (5.00 / 11) (#29)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:00:54 PM EST
    They should respond to it by saying that religion has no place in politics. And then explain how all of the good things these people say they want for the poor and the environment, justice, etc, can be accomplished without bringing religion into government.

    Is there any chance (5.00 / 10) (#38)
    by standingup on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:05:10 PM EST
    that some of the problems we as a nation have could be in part because "Americans' politics are informed by religion?"  

    Our good founders new the importance of establishing the freedom to practice religion while at the same time keeping it separate from our government.  

    I am not anti-religion or anti-faith.  But I don't need to know that a president believes he is "Answering the Call" or "Called to bring change" or "Called to serve."  Now I have to question why make this a part of his campaign.  I don't have an objection to a someone expressing their own personal service to God.  But as part of a campaign for the president, I am more interested in how he will serve the nation.  What change is he called to bring?  Is this a change that came from a divine source?  Can't you see how people might get a little concerned with this?    


    "Smart political move" (5.00 / 4) (#39)
    by FemB4dem on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:05:36 PM EST
    Oh no, isn't that -- gasp -- politics as usual?

    So, this is the NEW politics? (5.00 / 16) (#49)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:10:09 PM EST
    Only a clueless, cave-dwelling political newcomer would say so.  EVERYTHING coming out of Camp Obama/Axelrod is a poor man's version of Bush 2000.  

    The Democrats are really bankrupt on ideas.  But then again, Obama was praising Reagan for his shrewdness and his ability to move people past their own interests.

    Political hoodwinking and con man is what it adds up to in my world.  


    It's just a Political Move (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:19:34 PM EST
    He doesn't believe in what he's doing?

    Then Obama is a liar (5.00 / 5) (#114)
    by txpolitico67 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:42:11 PM EST
    and should finish out his first term in the Senate before he takes on g-d and country.

    I don't think (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:47:52 PM EST
    Pols are pols is going to work when you're talking about people's faith.

    No. You can have faith anywhere (5.00 / 6) (#183)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:13:02 PM EST
    you want it BUT NOT IN MY GOVERNMENT.  Or so I thought.

    I believe in God but I am a staunch believer in the separation of church and state....you know...you'll find it in our Constitution.


    Offensing Christians (1.00 / 1) (#228)
    by Oceandweller on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 05:43:34 AM EST
    Here we go again, some posters rant against their fellow democrats, after the ones who said being a woman obliged them to select HRC now we have some probably another group who states you must be an atheist to be a democrat.
    well, no sirree on both counts
    we can ba well to do, wee can be gender free we even can be christians and daring to say it, quite happy faith based democrats who are not ashamwed to be christians
    so now that is the new unwritten rule we must not be christian or jew or I suppose Jedi knights as apparently 10000 british citizens answered as their faith on a governement admin form.
    how can you be so intolerant, on what ground do you deny me a liberal agenda, being a christian denies me the choice to be pro choice
    my faith is not easy, I make choices, possibly wrong choices I believe in redemption and I believe yes, that I can That I AM  WRONG
    but where do you see me ranting at you telling yopu being an atheist makes you unfit to be a democrat
    so  Obama has a faith , good for him because he must know first hand what it is to deal with the every day every time struggle to follow the rules of our faith and that is not easy
    christian faith is comprising so many standards it is about impossible to follow them all at the same time
    I dont mind a leader to have a faith
    I ;ind very much people who believe having a faith makes me less human
    shame on you

    Do you think that all religious people (none / 0) (#104)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:37:50 PM EST
    ... are into "hate"?

    Of course not. The issue is that Obama (5.00 / 14) (#110)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:40:33 PM EST
    is saying that he's going to make "faith" an important issue in an "Obama administration" (GAG).

    We have something called the separation of church and state - a principle that when GWB trashed we all screamed bloody murder.  What do you think Obama is suggesting?


    The overt religiosity (5.00 / 20) (#134)
    by otherlisa on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:51:37 PM EST
    of the Obama "movement" has been one of the things that disturbed me about it from the beginning.

    This just caps it.

    I am sick and tired of this kind of religious influence in our political lives.


    "love your neighbor" (2.33 / 3) (#182)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:12:30 PM EST
    think we can use that message a bit more?

    Absolutely - but NOT WITH REGARD (5.00 / 11) (#192)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:16:57 PM EST
    TO OUR GOVERNMENT.  It's simply unacceptable.

    Obviously you don't have a problem with this (5.00 / 14) (#194)
    by otherlisa on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:17:29 PM EST
    I do.

    "Love your neighbor" is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about potential influence by evangelicals who in many cases do not share our values as progressive Democrats. Against choice, homophobic, suspicious of feminism.


    so, it's OK to meet with (2.50 / 4) (#127)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:48:00 PM EST
    leaders of Iran and Syria, but not religious leaders in our own country?

    Simply meeting with them is not tearing down the separation of church just as much as meeting with Syria and Iran is not appeasement.


    You didn't read the post, did you? (5.00 / 6) (#165)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:05:02 PM EST
    Your guy's spokesperson said:

    "Reaching out to the faith community is a priority for Barack Obama and will be a priority under an Obama Administration. This is one of several meetings he will have over the coming months with religious leaders....He's done it before. He'll do it again."


    yes, I did read the post, thanks (3.00 / 3) (#190)
    by A DC Wonk on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:15:57 PM EST
    I still don't see the problem.  What's wrong with meeting people that disagree with you on the issues?

    There is after all some common ground.  Some religious leaders think that protecting the earth ought to be a higher priority than the current Admin has been giving it.  Some think that care for those who are born are at least as important as the care for the unborn.

    Not all religious leaders are like Robertson or Hagee (even though the media likes to portray it so).


    Kumbaya my lord, kumbaya. (5.00 / 12) (#198)
    by Shainzona on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:19:00 PM EST
    Oh lord, we are doomed...if you don't see the difference between faith and love of neighbor and the golden rule outside of government versus being hyped by our President.

    Oh, I forgot....it's Obama doing it so it's OK.

    NO IT'S NOT!


    What are his intentions? (5.00 / 10) (#191)
    by joanneleon on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 10:16:28 PM EST
    I have no problem with him meeting with almost anyone.  But I want to know what he means when he says that the faith community is going to be a priority in an Obama administration.

    What exactly does that mean?

    Once I know what he means by it, I can make a decision about whether or not I agree with it.  All of his high level and vague statements are problematic to me.  It has the potential to be a big deal.  Maybe it is, maybe it's not.  Tell us more.


    Not at all but (5.00 / 15) (#116)
    by ap in avl on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 09:43:35 PM EST
    a lot of the representatives who prayed with Obama today are Radical Right.  Anti-choice.  Anti-gay.  How would you characterize them?  Loving?  Hating?

    Do you think Obama is converting them into accepting left-leaning beings?  That by praying together they will see the error of their ways?  Whose moving closer to whom here?


    We are a nation of laws (none / 0) (#230)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 08:50:20 AM EST
    that permits freedom of religion.  We are not a nation of religion that permits freedom of laws as many other nations are and have problems with. It seems we are tempted to devolve.  I'm sick to death of this overtly religious political B.S. as well as ashamed of my political leaders.......all of them now!

    Faith Community (none / 0) (#232)
    by Andy08 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 10:27:12 AM EST
    where did I hear that before?.... Ah yeas, it was GW Bush; his idea was that they are the ones helping the poor and communities. You know,  instead of the Gov.

    BO's pandering to these people makes me ill.  

    But is it pandering or is it real?  Just as with TUCC, Wright, Pfleger and Meeks I still do not know...

    Kmiec? For crying out loud ...