September 17, 2003


>God Help the Democrats (John H. Bunzel, September 14, 2003, LA Times)

Millions of Americans do not believe in God. They do not invest moral authority in a transcendent source such as the Bible, or deal in absolutes of right and wrong, or divide the world into simplistic categories of good and evil.

Such people, and I include myself among them, have tended to find themselves more comfortable in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party, where a marked strain of Christian fundamentalism runs strong.

I sometimes wonder, though, whether we nonbelievers are good for the party.

As political analyst Michael Barone has noted, Americans "increasingly vote as they pray, or don't pray." By a wide margin (87% in a 2002 survey), U.S. voters say religion is important to them.

The Democrats, therefore, cannot afford to be perceived as the party of irreligion or as inhospitable to committed persons of faith. We should remember that the only Democrats who became president in the last 35 years were Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, both of whom spoke openly about their strong religious beliefs without compromising the principle of church-state separation. [...]

Secularist Democrats and even many religious voters are particularly hot and bothered by President Bush's regular religious references. But presidents have always talked about God. In speaking about the interrelatedness of all humans, President Clinton said in 1997: "It is not enough to say we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are also all connected in the eyes of God." Secularist Democrats are much more annoyed by Bush's invocation of the Almighty (with its undertone of "America has God on its side") because they feel his religious convictions do not influence his policies on such issues as health care, the needs of the poor and the environment. But they attack his religious views at their peril.

Fully aware that the Republicans have become the party of religious conservatives and seeking to put Democrats on the defensive, the president understands that if religion becomes a wedge issue in the U.S., it's the Republicans who will benefit.

Don't people who don't believe in morality or good and evil deserve a party too? And isn't that the Democratic Party?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 17, 2003 12:24 AM

Mr. Judd;

He's not complaining about having a political party for him, just having one that doesn't win.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 17, 2003 9:59 AM

Move to France--they're all anti-moral.

Posted by: oj at September 17, 2003 10:04 AM

One of the most religious sub-communities in the US today is the Afican-American community. Why do they continue to support the atheist party?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 17, 2003 11:29 AM

But going to an African-American church just before an election (as Bill Clinton did on Sunday) has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with entertainment and seduction. Would the service have been as exciting if Condi Rice or J.C. Watts (both of whom have much better 'religious' credentials than any leading Democrat) dropped in to speak? Until some leading African-American church figure repudiates Clinton and Jesse and "Rev." Al, the seductions will continue.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 17, 2003 2:50 PM


Free money.

Posted by: OJ at September 17, 2003 7:16 PM

And rampant racism among Republicans.

Posted by: Jimmy at September 18, 2003 3:24 PM


Sounds like you like the seduction just fine. Will you be supporting Herman Cain for US Senator in GA?

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 18, 2003 4:24 PM