As a Christian intensely interested in politics, I make two points:
(1) I agreee with Ron that mirroring or mimicry on the part of the Democrats won't indicate a genuine understanding of the importance of religious conviction among much of the American electorate. That will simply be pandering.
(2) The Religious Right, in my estimation, is guilty of many things. But worst of all its sins, perhaps, is that the movement renders a cartoon caricature of Christianity for the non-religious public, appearing to boil faith in Christ down to a series of political do's and don't's.
This is salvation by works or performance, precisely the false kind of religion from which Christ came to liberate the human race. There was no group of people Jesus more roundly condemned than religious legalists, people who took the gifts of eternal life, forgiveness, and hope that God freely offered--gifts under God's control--and subjected people to a bunch of rules, agendas, and proscriptions that they could control.
Beware of any Christian, conservative or liberal, who claims that their political agenda comes from the Bible! That includes Pat Robertson, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, James Dobson, and Jerry Fallwell!
Of course, as a Christian, I like to see people in office who bring certain Christian sensibilities to their work. I believe that the country would be better off if authentic Christians were among our prominent officeholders. And though this it's a goal not politically pursued, I believe that the country and everybody would be better off if they enjoyed the kind of relationship with God that's available to all people through Jesus Christ.
But the moment people act as though their political ideology has come straight from Mount Sinai, you know that they're either manipulating voters or that they're suffering from a strain of Jim Jones-like megalomania! The Republicans and their Religious Right buddies have been doing it in recent years. I hope that the Democrats don't make the same mistake.
Monday, January 02, 2006
"Do religious ideas undermine democratic discourse?"
That's the question Ann Althouse asks today, based on an op-ed appearing today in the New York Times that looks askance at Democrats' efforts to dial into the votes of politically-concerned Christians. One commenter, Ron, pointed out that if the Dems were going to engage in "monkey-see, monkey-do" approaches to Christian voters, the strategy would blow up in their faces. I agree and made these comments: