S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Religion and politics mix volatile

Today is Easter Sunday for Christians. Millions of people will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. They will be putting on their best clothes to go to church, getting together with family they have not seen in a while, hiding Easter eggs, eating at the buffet, noticing Spring, and thinking about politics. After all it is Sunday in the United States is "talking head" day. And most of the pundits will be mixing religion and politics with their all-knowing comrades or guests. And many of them will not have a clue. Ever since the ascendancy of the religious Right, the radicalized Muslim terrorists and the push-back of Moderate Christians, there has been a more pronounced blurring of the previous lines between church and state. To gain some perspective, it is important to listen to all sides and then make up your own mind.

What the smart people say today about mixing religion and politics --

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report (3/22/08) posts, "This Week in God," a discussion of the IRS investigation of the entire United Church of Christ (the Rev. Jeramiah Wright's) denomination. To quote:

As we’ve discussed, the IRS probe seems almost inexplicable. The law prevents tax-exempt ministries from intervening in political campaigns, but all the UCC did was invite Obama to give a speech at its annual convention about his
perspective on the role of faith in public life. It wasn’t a campaign event, and
the church did not endorse him. (Indeed, campaign volunteers who were on hand
for the event were told by UCC officials that they could not enter the building.) Nevertheless, in an extremely unusual move, the IRS has launched an investigation into the entire denomination anyway.

Andrew Sullivan contributed to the discourse with a couple of good blurbs. It turns out that Mikhail Gorbachev is a Christian. And Sullivan posts the full text of the Reverend Wright's post 9/11 sermon, so that people can read it for themselves and decide. Sullivan, with this post, "Laughing at Evil," also credits another writer who brings perspective to the latest Osama bin Laden tape.

At Firedoglake's Book Salon, David Neiwart wrote a revealing review of John Gorenfeld's new book: "Bad Moon Rising: How Reverend Moon Created the Washington Times, Seduced the Religious Right and Built an American Kingdom." The author himself dialogued with commenters about his work. One of the very interesting angles is the part the mainstream media plays in sanctioning developments that are damaging to the United States citizens' best interests. To quote from the review:

But Moon's operations would not be possible without the complicity of the mainstream media -- and the ostensibly mainstream conservatives who enjoy his largesse and fear his wrath. David Brooks, now writing at the New York Times, dismisses discussion of the Bush family's ties to the Moon empire as "bizarre." Jan Schaffer, when confronted about her participation in the 2005 WMA conference, briefly answered: "Clearly you have a point of view," and then hung up on her questioner. Nearly every journalist who works at the Washington Times adamantly denies that Moon influences the newsroom directly -- but Gorenfeld in fact illustrates clearly that the paper's top management in fact reports directly to Moon or his lieutenants and guide the paper according to his dictates.

Mixing religion and politics is risky business. Blurring boundaries gets people into trouble; sometimes the trouble is warranted, sometimes not. Note Obama's former pastor with his sermon, his denomination with the IRS, and the Reverend Moon with the Washington Times newspaper. My recent series on radical jihadis explored the place that religion has or has not influenced that movement, whose leader is still on the loose. Smart people can help us figure out where the lines are in most cases. But, in any case, we still have to think about it on our own as well.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

People who read your comments must think I can't agree the sum is shining in the morning, I disagree with some part of what you write, so much. And I'm going to again.

Re the religion Easter stuff: "To gain some perspective, it is important to listen to all sides and then make up your own mind."

I don't agree. I think All that's necessary is live your life as you want it, and shut up (not you) about your choices, for they are ONLY your choices.

What's that old saying..."you attract more bees with honey......"? It's true. A program of attraction will always "out sell" mind numbing blather about why "I'm right and you're wrong." Let your life show how good your ways are. Then, if asked, certainly. Share your beliefs.

Carol Gee said...

Hi Future, my friend. The neat thing about our dialogue is that I never feel put off by any of your comments. You are never disagreeable when you disagree with something I am asserting.

As for the phrase you quoted, I went back to read it and realized that it was clumsy writing on my part: it was merely a bridge sentence to the examples of mixing-of-church-and-state quotes from bloggers I look to for wisdom.
It was not a maxim for life, which means I totally agree with you about "staying in your own back yard." It goes to what we both have often said about personal responsibility.
Thanks for your always welcome comments.
I hope the sun shines brightly on your forehead today, Future. :)