Friday, July 13, 2007

Who's "Using Religion Now" ?

In my previous post I talked about how sickening it was to see Barack Obama trying to skillfully play the "faith" card as part of his campaigning strategy.

An article in this week's Time magazine shows that it's not just Obama's strategy, but a calculated Democratic Party strategy for the 2008 elections (and most likely beyond it). I'm sure they'll fool many people with this newfound emphasis on faith and values. But to me its a cynical attempt to appeal to people of faith by pretending to share similar values with them. They realize that the faith and values issue was a key to them losing to the Republicans in the 2004 presidential elections (according to to exit polling), so they've decided to have a more inclusive faith strategy going forward.

Their new game is simply: "See, we've got religion too!", but done in such a way that doesn't alienate the typical "secular progressives" who are the base and driving influence in the Democratic Party as a whole.

But thats all it is - its not genuine personal faith; its just a strategic ploy to appeal to people of faith. Sad and sickening is what it is, and its a shame that more people wont be able to see through this cynical strategy.
Left-wingers have long complained about conservative Christians and the political right wing supposedly using religion for political purposes. But really... who's "using religion" now?
Something tells me its going to be a long and disgusting campaign between now and November 2008.

From the article:

In this campaign season, if Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards are any measure, there will be nothing unusual in Democrats' talking about the God who guides them and the beliefs that sustain them. Clinton has hired Burns Strider, a congressional staffer (and evangelical Baptist from Mississippi) who is assembling a faith steering group from major denominations and sends out a weekly wrap-up, Faith, Family and Values. Edwards has been organizing conference calls with progressive religious leaders and is about to embark on a 12-city poverty tour. In the past month alone, Obama's campaign has run six faith forums in New Hampshire, where local clergy and laypeople discuss religious engagement in politics. "We talk about ways people of faith have gone wrong in the past, what they have done right and where they see it going in the future," says his faith-outreach adviser, Joshua DuBois. Speeches on everything from the budget to immigration to stem-cell research are carefully marinated in Scripture. "Science is a gift of God to all of us," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a debate on increased embryo-research funding, "and science has taken us to a place that is biblical in its power to cure."

The Democrats are so fired up, you could call them the new Moral Majority. This time, however, the emphasis is as much on the majority as on the morality as they try to frame a message in terms of broadly shared values that don't alarm members of minority religions or secular voters. It has become an article of faith among party leaders that it was sheer strategic stupidity to cede the values debate to Republicans for so long; that most people want to reduce abortion but not criminalize it, protect the earth instead of the auto industry, raise up the least among us; and that a lot of voters care as much about the candidates' principles as about their policies. "What we're seeing," says strategist Mike McCurry, "is a Great Awakening in the Democratic Party." ...

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