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August 26, 2008

First faith caucus focuses on common good

Jim Wallis launched the Democratic National Convention faith caucuses this afternoon by listing the issues he believes is on the agenda of people of faith: poverty, climate change, immigration, the sanctity of life, Darfur, human rights, and Iraq.

"Let's be honest, religion has been used and abused by politics and by politicians. People of faith are those who should speak prophetically more than in a partisan way. It's important that we speak to those issues that are at the heart of God's heart, and try to make politics more of an accountable tool. In November, you won't be able to vote for the kingdom of God. It won't be on the ballot. There is a biblical basis for seeking the common good."

DNC CEO Leah Daughtry made a surprise, brief appearance and said she wants to make the faith caucuses a permanent part of the Democratic Party.

"I was talking with a reporter this morning, who asked about the separation from my faith from my work. I said there is no separation. My faith is part of who I am and it's not something I check at the door. Our faith walks with us through every part of our lives and it informs our decisions."

Rev. Jennifer Kottler, who has served as deputy director of Protestants for the Common Good urged those in the audience to lobby for raising the minimum wage. "A job should raise you out of poverty, not keep you in it," she said. "We have to make a difference in the lives of the least of these."

Rabbi Jack Moline of the Interfaith Alliance spoke on strengthening education and
Bishop Wilfredo DeJesus urged the crowd to support immigration legislation.

"We have failed to pass a law that respects family values, and Barack Obama respects family values, DeJesus said. "Let us support a system of bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows and into the mainstream."

Tim Roemer, former congressman from Indiana who sits Sen. Barack Obama's Catholic advisory council praised the Democratic platform on abortion and John Hunter spoke on prisoner re-entry into the population.

Comments

Yes, if we could only raise the minimum wage to $1,000 per hour, then we can eliminate all poverty!

Jesus says we will always have the poor. However, I think He wants the church to work towards shrinking the underresourced.

What people really need is the Truth that sets them free. Higher skills, better stewardship, freer markets, and LESS government coercion is what will reduce poverty. Why do so many who claim to follow Christ worship the god of Bigger Government?

Mr. Wallis said four years ago: "God is not a Republican." (In small print he also said he was not a Democrat.) Bravo! But his view of God sounds an awful lot like the Democratic Platform without the stuff he doesn't like or will not talk about with evangelicals who reject his view of the state. As always the devil really is in the details. What real evangelical would not agree with his basic points? The question here is not compassion vs. non-compassion. Surely we learned that from the rhetoric of the Bush campaign. The issue is simple really: "What is the role of government in solving these issues?" Wallis believes it should be larger than it already is and I think we need to get the government out of redistributing our incomes and our charity and make a society in which free enterprise and charity flow more generously from good people. A "good government" can never be a substitute for "a good people." Evangelicals should know better than anyone about this but the election season draws us like a magnetic field. Personally I do not trust the evangelical right but the evangelical left is more of the same, with more sympathy for a different ideology and political party. How about we get God out of the partisan political debate and discuss political systems and the ways to address our problems without demonizing one another and making the party the tool of the faith.