A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Obama's Gay Problem

"We have had a faith outreach in our campaigns precisely because I don't think the LGBT community or the Democratic Party is served by being hermetically sealed from the faith community and not in dialogue with a substantial portion of the electorate."

This was Obama's response to the criticism of his decision to give a platform for his gospel campaign tour to a preacher who spoke of changing gays. What interests me is the view of religion and dialogue which is expressed in the above statement.

We have religion juxtapositioned against the glbt community. Given that the UCC, Obama's denomination, supports full equality for glbt folks, I don't see how a term like "faith community" can be defined as that which is cut off from the glbt community.

It is true that among many evangelicals, black and white, there has been an issue about gay and lesbians (let me suggest that it is an evangelical issue not a gay one ) but can a broad term like "the faith community" be used for a view that one religious segment seems has?

As for reconciliation: there have been gay groups working with churches for decades. I find it odd that a presidential campaign can lecture gay groups on this. In the first instance, churches and gay organizations voluntarily came to learn from each other.

In Obama's case he has taken his presidential campaign as a means of reconciliation (perhaps an unrealistic expectation of what campaigns can and cannot do?) But he does it on behalf of others. Without asking. And when these others objects he lectures them.

But you can't as a third party try force on others what you consider reasonable. It has to come from all those who are actually effected. And it's hard to see where there was any mutual give and take in a campaign stop where only the anti-gay voice was heard on stage.

There's a kind of liberalism that is eager to act on our behalf whether we asked for ir or not and sets the terms for this in a manner foreign for all involved. If Obama is embracing this, more the shame for his campaign and for us who hope to see a change in Washington.

Tomorrow: theological reflection, churches, and the elections. And is there too much religion going on in this election cycle in a way that negatively impacts our democratic discourse and the religious communities it is hoped that is reached by such appeals?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Some News

"When people talk about further destabilisation of the region and you read some American political advisers speaking of action against Syria and Iran..I regard that as criminal, ignorant and potentially murderous folly.

We do hear talk from some quarters of action against Syria and Iran. I can't understand what planet such persons are living on, when you see the conditions that are already there." Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, speaks out against plans to bomb Iran.

And in a disturbing news item, young people are less likely to identify with Christianity themselves but 91% agree that "anti-homosexual" defines Christian faith. The success of the religious right will end up being the generational death of Christianity.

I've noticed that the American Prospect has a new column, the FundamentaList, covering the religious right but they don't cover the religious left. We have the mainstream media and the democratic presidential candidates interested in the religious left.

Yet too often the liberal press and groups fail to take notice, always pitting religion against liberal values, not finding places of connection with people of faith. That's gotta change if we hope to build a movement, not just electoral success over the failures of Bush.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Women Bishops

The Anglican Church in Australia has given the go ahead for women bishops. Something to cheer about. In other news, I'll be gone for a trip to visit the author of Lonely Goth and participate in a job interview. *crosses fingers* I'll be back next week.