Okay, let’s get this out of the way right here and right now. I hate how embedded religion is in our politics. I truly do. Not being a particularly religious person myself, I happen to think that you can run the country without being the world’s biggest Bible thumper.
But that’s the way things are.
I know it’s the liberal ideal, a politics without religion, without pandering to the religious, etc. I know we all dream of an America where you don’t have to be religious, and if you are religious, your faith doesn’t come into play when running for office, but sadly, that America doesn’t exist. There are other countries that purportedly don’t enslave their political system to one faith or another, but I don’t live in those countries.
I live in this one.
And keeping religion out of politics will remain, until the day I die, a key focal point to my political endeavors.
That all being said, I also find myself more than a little bemused by the fact that while we all sit around complaining about how religion and politics don’t mix, the Republicans stand up there and say, “LOOK! I got me a Bible! And I READ it too! Man, me and the big Jebus we’re like bestest friends ever, and… Oh my blessed Lord, I see you HAVE A BIBLE TOO! Man, you and me, we’re so alike you should vote for me!”
I’m a little over that.
Which is exactly where Obama is going with his new Matthew 25 Network. For the non religious types, of which I am one, Mark Kleiman gives you background on the Matthew 25 reference (I, uh, recognized the parable from an Aesop Rock song, so there you go).
In a general, non-technical, sense, it would look as though the group would be specifically targeting younger voters while, perhaps, on a broader sense, attempting to begina realignment in the way that American religous groups connect with politics.
As Democrats, we know the story. It’s about abortion and gay marriage, and we’re never going to win values voters over that way, but if we can force a realignment where key issues would be things such as poverty, and a more dovish foreign policy for starters, not only would we gain what has proven to be a loyal and formidable voting bloc as an ally, but we would be taking it straight out from under the Republicans.
As Kleiman further points out, Brody, of CBN’s own news blog, employs a tone that should bother Republicans very much:
Folks, this is an important development. It shows that the game has changed. Old rules don’t apply. We’re in uncharted territory. John McCain’s religious outreach team has to now step to the plate and work hard for faith voters. It’s not automatic.
Indeed, I have dropped by CBN and Brody’s blog on occasion, and I must remark on the fact that while CBN is by no means kind to Democratic candidates and liberals in general, Brody has not just recently, but throughout the course of the primary been uncommonly decent towards Obama; possibly indicating a sea change among what was once a core part of the Republican base.
And, who knows, if we can lure them onto our side, maybe one day we can pull them aside and explain that wall of Church and State, and why it’s good for them, too.
Ps. In answer to Pam’s question (linked above); how about the International Transcendantalist Movement?