July 1, 2005


From Gospel to Government: The Angry Left finds religion, and the result isn't pretty (JOSEPH LOCONTE, July 1, 2005, Opinion Journal)

With a membership of perhaps 6,000, the Christian Alliance for Progress qualifies as the organizational equivalent of a megachurch--but not much more. Nevertheless, its policy goals are ambitious, ranging from debt forgiveness to universal health care. It proffers an agenda "founded firmly on the teachings of the Gospel." Some students of the Gospel may be surprised at how neatly such an agenda fits the Democratic Party platform: The alliance supports stem-cell research, gay marriage and abortion; it opposes the Bush tax cuts, plans to privatize Social Security and the war in Iraq. [...]

"If the last election proved anything," notes a recent issue of The Economist, "it was that middle America found an overtly religious party much less weird than an overtly secular one." Religious progressives would agree. Yet despite their feeling comfortable with God talk, they share certain traits that may limit their appeal to other people of faith.

First, they're composed mostly of mainline clergy and church elites who are often culturally out of step with the rank and file. They're leaders with no obvious grass-roots constituency. Second, they treat traditional religion with either suspicion or outright contempt. Believers who raise concerns about complex social matters--such as embryonic cloning or the role of condoms in fighting AIDS--are dismissed as crazed theocrats. Third, religious progressives are often allied with left-wing partisans such as financier George Soros, MoveOn.org and Pax Christi, all of which loathe the Christian Right as much as radical Islam.

A final weakness of Christian progressives is one shared by some Christian conservatives: the impulse to leap directly from the Bible to contemporary politics. Few are as blatant as Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners magazine and a darling of Democratic leaders. In his best-selling book "God's Politics," Mr. Wallis discerns from a short passage in Isaiah a blueprint for government welfare spending. "The starting point to check how our society measures up to Isaiah's platform," Mr. Wallis writes, "is by examining our federal budget." Or, as the Christian Alliance for Progress argues, rather confusedly: "In his sermons and in his parables, Jesus teaches that poverty can certainly be an effective weapon of mass destruction."


Posted by Orrin Judd at July 1, 2005 7:55 PM

What angry left?KB

Posted by: KB at July 1, 2005 8:03 PM

The Religious Left is one of the reasons that Dutch prosperity collapsed in the late 17th century. Guilt over affluence sapped the will of the society.

Posted by: bart at July 1, 2005 8:13 PM

This reminds me of all the pictures of Hanoi John holding shotguns. That dog won't hunt.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 2, 2005 12:57 AM

"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Government".

Posted by: Noel at July 2, 2005 2:02 AM

bart -- my wife and my brother teach music to a lot of Dutch immigrants with large families. One of them is a very promising student and my brother was trying to convince her father to help her plan her music toward a degree and play in the local symphony.

At that he was aghast. His children were not going to do anything "competitive" or "show off" by playing in something like a symphony or they will be kicked out of their church.

This conversation was had through the rolled down window of the father's new Cadillac Escalade EXT.

Not showy, that thing!

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 2, 2005 2:48 AM

It might be interesting to ask someone like Mr. Wallis, "Who would Jesus abort? Who would Jesus euthanize?"

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 2, 2005 7:49 AM

leftists like everything about religion except morality and God.

Posted by: cjm at July 2, 2005 11:51 AM