The Dean Campaign’s “Take Back America” theme strikes a chord that also suggests tactics/communication strategies for the article below from which I include a quote. The efforts of the Bush campaign to “enlist Churches” to support their campaign and get their people signed up to vote makes it neccessary for NON-RIGHT-Wing Churches to call for balance, and to repudiate this naive assumption that many people have that it’s a foregone conclusion that “People of Faith vote for Bush”. Not if you have an ounce of ethical awareness, and hold political campaigns accountable for actual results. The major problem is that the “ethical issues” identified by the Religious Right are few and narrowly defined. The ability to find knowledgable defenses of economic , environmental, and social welfare, as well as international policies are virtually non-existent. In fact, the Religious Right basically “signs over” the ethical decisions like a blank check to the governmant on matters of national defense; citing the “magistrate passage” in Romans, saying that this means that God has given the government the reposnibility (true) but in our case , also the “blessing” (untrue) and all “good Church people” will trust God in this. This state of affairs has worsened after Bush said the magic words: “Christ changed my heart”. What more evidence is needed? The tougher questions around international relationships, and the conduct of nations, and the greater good, are all subsumed under the idea that somehow this claim to conversion automatically guides the decisions. But the evidence actually indicates that the decisions are driven by an ideology kept out of the public eye, and designed to benefit a very small segment of society, all in the extreme upper crust.
The best public contribution of religion is precisely not to be ideologically predictable nor a loyal partisan. To raise the moral issues of human rights, for example, will challenge both left- and right-wing governments who put power above principles. And religious action is rooted in a much deeper place than “rights– that being the image of God in every human being.