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May 24, 2010

Where's the Democratic Faith Outreach?

The Democrats were all about faith in the 2008 election, sponsoring official faith-based panels at the Democratic National Convention and nominating a candidate who spoke openly about his faith. In contrast, the Republicans held one unadvertised prayer breakfast with muffins and plastic cups of orange juice in a renovated bar-turned-church, and their nominee rarely spoke about his faith.

Leading up to the 2010 elections, however, the Democratic National Committee's faith staff of more than a half-dozen has shifted to one part-time employee, Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post reports.

[Former Virginia Governor Tim] Kaine, who chairs the DNC, and other party leaders say the decrease in paid faith staff reflects a change in how the party does outreach -- not a shift away from religious voters. The party, at the behest of the White House, has reshaped how it reaches out to all constituency groups and has opted to expand its network of grass-roots volunteers and shrink its national staff of organizers who were in the past broken down by race and religion.

Although a party spokesman said its faith outreach staff had been dismantled when Obama took office, Kaine said that a staff member who also does African American outreach has been assigned to oversee faith as well but had been on a medical leave. The party will be hiring more faith staff and crafting a faith outreach plan as the fall election season gets closer, said Kaine, who rejected the idea that the effort was diminishing on his watch.

Boorstein reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent more than $82,000 on faith outreach in 2008, but a spokesperson couldn't name expenses for 2009 or 2010. The Eleison Group, which does faith consulting, worked on more than 40 campaigns in 2008, but it has no 2010 national campaign contracts right now.


Your article on the theology of Glenn Beck captures why many people are leaving Christianity. I have a brother who is an Evangelical missionary and have raised my kids as Lutherans. At this point, though, only my husband has not been alienated from what Christianity is becoming. I and my daughter and son now are 'eclectic' and share spirituality based in the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, the Gospel of Thomas and Buddhism. I have never felt more whole, happy or at peace.

I hope you all decide to take on the Testament according to Fox News or you'll find more people choose to leave the fold. Be aware that liberals are not leaving the Church as much as the 'church' is leaving liberals. I saw statistics recently that shows that there is a large and sudden drop off in Christian beliefs and practice among young people through age 25, a demographic that voted overwhelmingly for Obama. If you want the link, please just let me know.

Thank you and God bless.

After the Evangelical vote delivered the 2006 election to Bush, the Democrats declared war on Evangelicalism. Subsequently, the Evangelical consensus self-destructed as "radical" evangelicals shifted the base to the left. In the meantime, core evangelical issues have been ignored as traditional Evangelicals have been vilified as an evil, homophobic, anti-environmental, self-righteous obstacle to the democratic agenda and the world. Perhaps, the president assumes he has the religious vote and does not have to work for it. Time will tell. I sense that evangelical votes have realized that they were used and are looking for an opportunity to correct the situation.

Wow, I'm so incredibly sorry to see Auriandra's post on how she and her family mix Jesus and Buddha. You cannot follow both, the gate to heaven is narrow. There is only one way--Jesus. If Buddha can save you, what's the meaning of the cross? Do you believe that Jesus is a prophet and not the Son of God? If so, you are not reading the New Testament.

The Bible is explicit in its rejection of idols, of which Buddha is one. Many "spiritual" people would not get this, but Christianity and "sprirituality" are not the same. Many people reject Christianity and set up their own belief system because they cannot accept the sin in their own lives. They also want to believe that they, own their power, can fix what it wrong. This is a rejection of the ultimate sacrfice of the cross. We need God in our lives, all day long. We have to acknowledge that we cannot do it (overcome sin) ourselves, which is why Jesus Christ was sent. God loved us so much that He didn't want us to be eternally separated from Him. God is creator, not a mere man, like Buddha.

And, I wonder why Auriandra inserts Glenn Beck and Fox news into her religious viewpoint? Since when did Glenn Beck (who I happen to like) become the messenger on Christianity? He's an entertainer, who happens to mention his faith (mormonism). And when did Fox news
(which I happen to watch) become the outlet for Christianity? I'm afraid there's some convoluted thinking going on here, and it's dangerous because it leads this family down the wrong path.

When it comes to following up on his promises about the importance of faith in public life and the need for abortion reduction, this president is, to borrow a phrase, all hat and no cattle. Evangelicals who voted for this secular, pro-choice liberal, it's time to admit that you were duped. But don't worry; the next time Mr. Obama needs your votes, you can rest assured he will come around again, hat in hand.

The issue is Christians are allowing their theology to be influenced by politics, rather than politics being influenced by their theology. Whoever pays Christians (of which I am one) attention is who is all of a sudden who they should support. Yes, we want people to represent our interests, but we have become selfish. Going to JFK, ask not what our elected officials can do for us, but what can we do for them? Put in the words of Jesus, it's time we love our neighbor and quit seeking what we can get out of them.

Robert, augh. First, let's define what is "theology". The word “theology” comes from two Greek words that combined mean “the study of God.” Christian theology is simply an attempt to understand God as He is revealed in the Bible.
Now, explain to me how that relates to your comment? If I view God as He is revealed in the Bible then it will influence how I vote. Politicians are servants of the people, and in my opinion they are the ones who have been serving their own self interests for far too long. They love themselves not their people or their country. It's time we took back this country for God and that will most definitely be influencing my vote in the coming elections.

Also, please note. In theology when you study about God, love is one aspect. Judgment is another. So is logic and sound reasoning. You do not take one aspect of God, such as love, and highlight it to the exclusion of the other aspects of God.

Christianity has done more in the name of love, mercy and kindness than any other religion. But do not ask Christians - conservative or otherwise - to allow this country to disintegrate under the guise of love. We refuse to set aside our sound reasoning and our love for this country, so that our enemies might prevail.

Why are some people so concerned whether a specific political party is making an outreach to people of faith? It's not as if any political party is God's representative in this world.

Also, if a political party does have so-called outreach to people of faith, how do you measure that? For example:
(a) If one political party spends $1 million on religious outreach and another political party spends $900,000, is God happier with the party that spent $1 million?
(b) If one political party printed 3 million brochures and mailed it to people of faith, and then another party printed 6 million brochures, which party is "better" in the eyes of God?

Also, do people think that if one political party makes a huge ruckus on who better represents God, does God say, "Wow, that political party really EARNED my blessings! Yup, ya gotta earn my grace!"

While I am certainly NOT arguing that political parties should not get involoved in religion, I don't believe that anyone can measure any party's (let alone an individual's) faith. That's a question we should leave up to God.