« No Hope for Sen. Lieberman? | Main | A Generation Gap Among Evangelicals »

November 7, 2008

On The Religious Left, Great Expectations

The first priorities for Barack Obama's administration will be the economy and a variety of foreign policy issues. But the burgeoning religious left, which worked so hard to get Obama elected, expects some movement on its issues, including a robust White House office of faith-based initiatives, poverty reduction, and reducing demand for abortion.

Here's what Matthew 25 Network founder Mara Vanderslice (pictured) told God-o-Meter about this last issue:

I hope that an Obama administration is going to prove to religious Americans that supported him that he's going to provide common ground on the abortion issue. He spoke directly about wanting to reduce the number of abortions and it's one of the first things people are looking for: How is he going to legislate and lead on that issue?

I wish they had been more vocal on this intention to reduce abortion [on the campaign trail]. He [Obama] said it at different times and locations but the pro-life groups got their message out very effectively, painting Obama as an extremist on the issue. I don't think that's true but they had some success with that. So it's up to a new Obama administration to show us he's going to find that common ground.

Many in the religious left see such untraditional Democratic policy initiatives as abortion reduction not only as a genuine priority for their movement but also as a political necessity if Obama and the Democrats want to hold onto their gains among certain faith constituencies, from white Catholics and evangelicals to Latino Christians to black Protestants.

(Originally posted at Beliefnet's God-o-Meter)


Since "liberal" seems to generate real negative feelings in the Christian community, perhaps we can start to use the term "progressive" or "moderate" for Christians who are not extremely conservative. It might help with the tone of discussion. I believe it is the main stream moderate and progressive Christians that swung their votes behind Obama and hope support for a wide range of social programs of concern (poverty, pensions, environment, health care, etc.) will be addressed by the new administration.

With the economy in such bad shape, it's doubtful that Obama will be able to keep many of his promises regarding health care, poverty, etc.. I also doubt he will do much about abortion, because he will still have to cater to his base. Evangelicals have been used before and we are being used now.

The church needs to step up to the plate in helping to reduce abortion besides the rheortic of condemnation! Social and moral issues should not began with our government, but with the churches and in the homes! We don't hear preaching anymore about moral and social behaviors (abstince, purity, holiness, etc)!! Christians do have abortions also to hide their sin!! Where are the ministerial programs from the churches to help women with unwanted pregancies? It's easy to say you are prolife and yet do nothing!! Words but no deeds!! In the last 40 years the abortion rates has increased and Roe -v- Wade has not been removed! Therefore, what did former President Bush and Clinton do to reduce/impact these issues?! Why are we putting so much pressure on Obama, yet we didn't do the same with the former Presidents! Even if he changed policies on abortion, you can't make people NOT have an abortion! People are responsible for their bodies!! These people are the ones accountable to God!! We focus on Obama, but leave out the equation the two very important other people; the mother committing the act and the doctor!! No one ever mentions them!! Ministering desperately needs to go outside of the church walls! Most people you find in the church aren't the SAVED people having abortions whom we are to reach! Some are, but not most! Go back into the streets preaching the gospel of Jesus! Get outside the church walls beyond Sunday! Don't be a pro-lifer in word only!!

While Palin is reviled for her prayers, Christian Democrats proclaim how short we fall from the Biblical commands to help the poor. Collecting forced donations to help the poor, their democratic government is as fearful a theocracy as any. It is actually worse than Palin’s. Biblical justification for the Democratic platform is a thin fiction. Christian Democrats are the only ones who believe it. The reality belies their dream—universal healthcare for everyone but babies who survive abortions—where is that in the Bible?

Conservative Christians claim to have been used. If one examines the claim closely one would find that it is the Conservative Christians who have been the users. They make demands of social activities and support for laws they want but they want them their way.
This is a country that is very divergent and we don't need this group telling everybody else what to do and what they can have. I.E., Abortion. It still applies if you don't want an abortion don't have one but don't get in the way of someone else's life. You don't want to many a person of the same sex...don't marry a person of the same sex but keep your nose out of the business of others. Look to yourselves and wonder why you think two people who love each other and are married cause problems to your marriage.
Conservatives just join the rest of society and just get along.


We have contacted Prison Fellowship and pray Chuck Colson will see the need to build a partnership with the War Widows

As a Christian, and a democrat, I am offended by Ann's small-mindedness. The way to reduce abortion safely is to value life MORE. Where is the helathcare for the poor? Where is the education for the children? Who will buy their bread when their mothers cannot? Do not ask women not to abort if you cannot help provide for their offspring. Give the women a chance at a meaningful career, an opportunity to matter to their society, and they will busy themselves with other things than men. Women must be valued. If society at large does not, what inspiration does a woman have to carry on her children? She feels the weight of the world upon her - and does not want to burden them with that.
Abortion isn't about selfishness: it's about wanting to fit in. As long as there is societal scorn for struggling moms, there will be abortion. Help; don't criticize.

I thank Ann, who added her post on November 9, for voicing my heart on this issue. The very reason why the extremists who condemned Obama because of the abortion issue did not prevail is because clear thinking attests to how ineffective this stance has been for decades. If we, as Christians, are to hold and further the moral ground, we must preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the good news of forgiveness and new life... not judgment, condemnation and separation. Cal Thomas wrote an excellent, syndicated, post-election article on how Christians will be far more effective getting less into government and more into following Christ. We all know that people want what we have when they see us joyful, peaceful and loving - even in the face of the most difficult circumstances. And likewise, they disdain what we have when they see us angry, hateful and condemning. There is no better way to proceed on ANY issue other than to ask the one and only question which will give true Godly direction: WWJD?

Obama made it very clear that one of his first priorities will be to pass the Freedom of Choice Act which will insure women have the right to an abortion and more importantly remove the ban on partial birth abortions. How could the liberal Christians not know this was part of Obama's agenda?

In response to Ann...many churches have moved outside their walls on this issue. My church supports a Crisis Pregnancy Center which counsels young women on their choices and clearly demonstrates what actually happens in an abortion. Many in my church, including my own family have adopted children. The church is moving on these issues, but we cannot have a president and congress setting an atmosphere in which the horrible act of partial birth abortion is considered acceptable. Will the liberal Christians speak out when Obama removes the ban on partial birth abortions? I won't hold my breath waiting for their response.

CJ: Can you back up your statement " Biblical justification for the Democratic platform is a thin fiction. " How so?

"universal healthcare for everyone but babies who survive abortions—where is that in the Bible?" A blatant lie. Do your research.......thoroughly.

CJ: Can you back up your statement " Biblical justification for the Democratic platform is a thin fiction. " How so?

"universal healthcare for everyone but babies who survive abortions—where is that in the Bible?" A blatant lie. Do your research.......thoroughly.

Biblical Christianity provides a non political alternative to Obama's liberalism.

Data increasingly supports the conclusion that the well-worn idea that liberals do more to help the poor is a myth. Personal philanthropy is actually more the purview of religious conservatives, based on a heavily researched book by Dr. Arthur C. Brooks. In "Who Really Cares: America's Charity Divide -- Who Gives, Who Doesn't, and Why It Matters," Brooks uses hard data to show that, when it comes to philanthropy, conservatives are more generous in their personal giving than liberals, who are more inclined to be generous with the government's money.
Brooks identified four major forces responsible for making people charitable: religion, skepticism about government in economic life, strong families, and personal entrepreneurship. He states, "It is simply undeniable that today, conservative principles are most congenial to the four forces of charity. Even more, it is obvious that America's political left has increasingly developed a reverse polarity to these forces."
If you are conservative and actively participate in religious services you are more likely to give to charities, and not just church-affiliated ones. Religiously inclined, traditionally minded members of the working poor -- as opposed to the non-working poor on government assistance -- are among the most philanthropic people on the planet when giving is measured as a percentage of income.

I believe that the only time abortion should be used is when the mother's or babies life is at total risk. But I also hope that the mother can carry the child long enough to so if the child is born premature, the medical profession can help the child lead a fairly normal life when they grow up. Yes I believe that life begins at conception, but unlike many conservative Christians, I do not believe that life ends at birth.The conservative Christians do not believe in welfare, but how do they expect the mother to feed her child if she does not have a job or the mother only can get a minimum wage job? I think one way could help is if their particular church would "adopt" the mother and child.
In this way the mother and child could get some help the basic necessities like food for both and diapers and clothing for the child. But I think it should take it a whole lot more! Why not help the mother get vocational training like becoming a Certified nursing assistant, LPN or other training that the congregation could help pay for the tuition and books so the mother can get a good paying job to support herself and her child and not rely on welfare. I think the reason why they WON'T do it is because they think it would not only not help the mother and child but that it be ungodly if they did, because that is a moral issue that is not a biblical positions! I can only say that if you really read the Bible. that Jesus Christ HIMSELF often tells us to do this for others! So stop being so hypocritical and actually start DOING the right thing!!!

Liberal Christians are Christian in name only.It's a tag they pin on themselves in order to feel good.It has no foundation in the Biblical sense of the word.

True, born-again Christians didn't vote for the Baby murder.

I agree - I'm exactly the sort of voter that this appeals to. I'm disgusted by abortion, but believe it to be the right of the person whose internal organs are affected to make the decision. I would support some limits on abortion, but would really prefer initiatives to reduce the demand for abortion as a method for eliminating the act. I'd like to see a president genuinely treat a woman as if she had full control of her own reproductive system, but encourage and educate toward intelligent and responsible decision making...