David Kuo: When it Comes to Faith, Partisan Lines are Blurring

It is a political world turned upside down. Republicans running away from religion and Democrats acting like evangelists.

Last night in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidates were long on conservatism and short on compassion. On immigration, on Iraq, on virtually every issue, the consensus was that America hasn’t been tough enough. No compassion for anyone ”” particularly those 12 million Americans who got here illegally.

When it came to the hungry ”” or, more precisely, those the Bush Administration has categorized as “food insecure” ”” there was silence. So, too, on issues like poverty and youth violence and the epidemic of the uninsured. There was, in short, no evidence of the compassionate conservatism George W. Bush once promised would be his governing philosophy.

And Jesus made only the briefest appearance ”” first from Wolf Blitzer’s lips in a question to Rudolph Giuliani and then from Mormon Gov. Mitt Romney, who declared his love for Jesus.

Romney doesn’t really want an in-depth examination of his Mormon faith. Ex-mayor Giuliani certainly doesn’t want to explain his penchant for marrying in a religious context. And Sen. John McCain, who once called religious right leaders “agents of intolerance”, isn’t leaping at the chance to play pastor, either.

How differently the Democrats are behaving. Monday night, the progressive religious organization Sojourners hosted the three leading Democratic presidential candidates at a forum on “faith, values, and poverty.” It was a Jesus fair.

Read the whole thing.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

26 comments on “David Kuo: When it Comes to Faith, Partisan Lines are Blurring

  1. bob carlton says:

    amazing how the Bush Regime has made faith such a complex issue for the gop. it was moving to hear huckabee & bownback – the front runner, espcially rudy & mccain, seem almost alergic to talking about how faith impacts their lives

    on the dem side, it was quite moving to hear edwards talk about how faith carried him thru the loss of a child, clinton talk of how prayer sustained her during a troubled time in her marriage and obama talk about lessons learned as a faith-based community organizer

  2. DonGander says:

    “Romney doesn’t really want an in-depth examination of his Mormon faith. Ex-mayor Giuliani certainly doesn’t want to explain his penchant for marrying in a religious context. And Sen. John McCain, who once called religious right leaders “agents of intolerance”, isn’t leaping at the chance to play pastor, either. ”

    Quite insightful and funny line!

    My observation is that it is merely polititians being polititians.

    Could a real statesman please stand up?


  3. bob carlton says:

    Don Gander, I’d suggest you look at Clinton’s excahnge on adortion for a sense of statemanship:

    At a forum this week sponsored by the evangelical social-justice group Sojourners, the Rev. Joel C. Hunter of Florida asked the New York Democrat about abortion.
    “I know you’re pro-choice, but you have indicated that you would like to reduce the number of abortions,” he said. “Could you see yourself, with millions of voters in a pro-life camp, creating a common ground, with the goal ultimately in mind of reducing the decisions for abortion to zero?”
    Mrs. Clinton nodded, telling attendees of the nationally televised event: “Yes, yes.”
    She repeated a line she has been using for nearly two decades that she wants abortions to be “safe, legal and rare.”
    “And, by rare, I mean rare,” she said, to applause. “The pro-life and the pro-choice communities have not really been willing to find much common ground. … That is a great failing on all of our parts. … There are many opportunities to assist young people to make responsible decisions.”
    The former first lady said there is “a great opportunity” that requires both groups to cast aside the “suspicion and the baggage that comes with people who have very strong, heartfelt feelings.”

  4. DonGander says:

    No matter what Mrs. Clinton says, (good or bad) how can I believe her?

    No, when we vote, we can choose the lesser of two evils, or, we can vote for Mrs. Clinton.

    She is no statesman.


  5. MattJP says:

    “There are many opportunities to assist young people to make responsible decisions.”

    The problem is – pro-choice people think that in some cases abortion can be a “responsible decision.” I will never vote for a pro-choice candidate. The problem is, I don’t like some things republicans have come to stand for either. I guess maybe I just won’t vote.

  6. bob carlton says:

    Don, I feel much the same about the Bush Regime – they have lied and spun and killed and lost an entire generation of world respect. The evil of two lessers – there is no more fitting description of Bush & Cheney.

    But if it is someone deliberately avoids a short term political gain for them or their own party, choosing instead to take an alternative course of action for the benefit of their nation as a whole, I’d suggest you consider Obama, whose wisdom on the Iraq situation was early & on target, or Edwards, whose passion for the poor has cost him the support the rich corporations & fat cats.

  7. azusa says:

    ‘particularly those 12 million Americans who got here illegally.’
    What about those 6 billion ‘Americans’ who haven’t managed to get here illegally yet? Where’s the COMPAAAAASSION?

  8. Jim the Puritan says:

    Any time someone tries to sell you the propaganda that the Democrats are Christians or “friendly to faith” (of which they and their allies in the leftwing media such as this are trying mightily to persuade people at present), remember that this is the party that wants to outlaw the Boy Scouts because of its requirement that members believe in God, and has successfully done so in a number of “progressive” parts of the country.

    A closer examination will show there is little or nothing to back up their supposedly new-found “faith.”

  9. MattJP says:

    Unfortunately, Jim, I think many people are buying the democrat’s newfound “faith” hook, line and sinker.

  10. Jim the Puritan says:

    Maybe they should look at some of these articles:

    “The Party of Jefferson vs. The Boy Scouts?”

    “Boy Scouts attacked in Congress; Supporters force vote on revoking youth group’s charter”

    “California politicians reject Boy Scouts”

    Why would anyone assume their attitude would be any different regarding Bible-believing Christians?

  11. Tikvah says:

    “particularly those 12 million Americans who got here illegally” … what did I miss? If they’re here illegally, how can they be Americans?
    Personally, I think Fed D. Thompson is by far the best choice (and I’m sure he’ll announce his candidacy fairly soon). He presents himself more as a leader than a politician, and we very much need a leader who removes himself from ‘politics as usual’. Ultra conservative, yes, along the lines of our founding fathers it would seem. He actually believes that our ‘rights’ are given to us by God, rather than the government.

  12. Sarah1 says:

    This was an entertaining article by NPR, which is indulging in fantasies again.

    Evangelical Christians are certainly moving away from “Republicans” alright. The “Republican” candidates aren’t conservative for one thing, and other than Mitt Romney, aren’t men of faith either.

    And the “Jesus Fair” was simply a hoot for any evangelicals who listened. My favorite phrase was Clinton’s “prayer warriors” — wonder how much her handlers looked for just the best phrase for her to memorize — and that was a good one. ; > )

    Because of Mr. Kuo’s own manifest bias, he’s entirely wrong when he says: “What an odd political legacy President Bush is beginning to leave — Democrats as evangelists and Republicans running scared from faith.”

    Evangelical Christians know exactly the scam that Democrats are trying to pull — and I don’t think for a minute they’re going to buy it. And the “Republicans” that are running aren’t “running scared” from faith, they simply don’t have the, er, **** to fake it like the Democrats are trying to do.

    What most evangelical Christians want is a conservative candidate who is a Christian. Barring that, I’ll take a real conservative candidate.

    Right now, it’s looking bleak.

  13. AnglicanFirst says:

    “…particularly those 12 million Americans who got here illegally.”
    These “12 million” are not Americans by any process that prepares them for citizenship.

    They are here illegally and their personal loyalties are to their paychecks and to their countries and cultures of origin.

    Blanket amnesty for their crime of ‘illegal entry into the United States’ will not resolve the fact that they are not U.S. citizens by any sort of knowledge or inclination towards our political process. They will merely be transplants from cultures and political systems that don’t practice our self-governance and often are antagonistic toward the United States.

    Meanwhile, people who have been and are waiting ‘in line’ to immigrate to the United States will be taught a lesson.

    ‘If you want to become an American, jump the line and break the law, because American law enforcement is laughable and you won’t suffer any negative consequences.’

  14. Steven in Falls Church says:

    The Kuo piece is the analog to stories that pop up in advance of every election about GOP attempts to reach out to African American voters. It seems that, whatever efforts the GOP makes, the Democrats still win the AA voting bloc by a ratio of 8:10 to 9:10. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing happened with the religious values voters–with the GOP winning that bloc by the same margin it was won in the past. For example, Senator Clinton’s faith statements are undercut by her vote against the partial-birth abortion ban, which for a significant proportion of self-identified evangelical and religious values voters makes her a non-starter. Certainly if she is the nominee the GOP will remind evangelical voters of that at every possible opportunity, and any fruits of her campaign’s outreach to those voters will wither.

  15. Philip Snyder says:

    “No, when we vote, we can choose the lesser of two evils, or, we can vote for Mrs. Clinton.”

    I remember a few years ago (2000, election I think), I saw a bumper sticker: “Vote for Chuthulu! Why choose the lesser of two evils?” 🙂

    Phil Snyder

  16. David Fischler says:

    Re #3

    Bob, that “safe, legal, and rare” line is now 15 years old, with Mr. Clinton using it in his first campaign, then doing absolutely nothing in the course of his eight years in office to bring that about (his most important action on abortion was repeatedly vetoing the partial birth abortion ban). So hearing it now from Mrs. Clinton does nothing for me but provoke Walter Mondale’s response: “where’s the beef?” Where’s the substance? Where are the actual proposals that will make abortion rare? Until we hear that, her words are of no more account than her husband’s.


    #6. I’d suggest you consider Obama, whose wisdom on the Iraq situation was early & on target.

    The problem for Obama is his record of opposition to the Born Alive Child Protection Act. Unfortunately, Mrs. Clinton’s backing for partial birth abortion places her on a morally equivalent footing to Obama. The anti-life attitude displayed by these two candidates disqualifies both from consideration by Christians. One cannot choose the cleanest of two dirty socks when both are filthy.

  18. bob carlton says:

    I oppose abortion, so I find some trouble with the dems as well. This leads me to find issue with Romney, Thompson & Rudy

    I also oppose the Iraq war, so I find the Bush Regime to be troublesome.


    In Iraq, what’s done is done. In the current situation it is far from clear that a rapid withdrawal of US troops, and the abandonment of that country to even greater chaos, is morally superior to staying on to stabilize the situation —for which the US is partly responsible. Whether or not we stay in Iraq many innocent people will likely be killed. Such deaths are unintended by the U.S. military.

    On the other hand, the killing of unborn children by abortion is an intentional moral choice. Moreover, those who support this “choice” advocate such killing into the infinite future —there is nothing paralleling the concept of a “withdrawal” date. In this respect, the issues of abortion and that of the Iraq civil war are far from being morally equivalent.

    By the way, I too have problems with many of the Republican candidates on pro life issues. Although he does not yet have much support, Sam Brownback seems to have the strongest pro life policy.

  20. bob carlton says:

    what’s done is done ? what’s done is done ? c’mon that tired talking point can not just to justify the slaughter of folks in iraq

  21. DonGander says:

    Mr. Bob Carlton, what do you think of our involvement in Kosovo?


  22. Tikvah says:

    I read an interesting opinion piece by an ex-Mormon regarding Romney for president. You can find it here: http://www.christianworldviewnetwork.com/article.php/2125/Andrew_Longman.

  23. Tikvah says:

    Bob Carlton, how do you defend against the slaughter of innocents by Moslems, over and over again since 1979? And that just against our nation, to say nothing of the slaughter, rape and slavery of untold millions in other nations. Dialog certainly hasn’t brought cessation. – T

    Nov. 4, Tehran, Iran: Iranian radical students seized the U.S. embassy, taking 66 hostages. 14 were later released. The remaining 52 were freed after 444 days on the day of President Reagan’s inauguration.
    Lebanon: Thirty US and other Western hostages kidnapped in Lebanon by Hezbollah. Some were killed, some died in captivity, and some were eventually released. Terry Anderson was held for 2,454 days.
    April 18, Beirut, Lebanon: U.S. embassy destroyed in suicide car-bomb attack; 63 dead, including 17 Americans. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
    Oct. 23, Beirut, Lebanon: Shiite suicide bombers exploded truck near U.S. military barracks at Beirut airport, killing 241 marines. Minutes later a second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers in their barracks in West Beirut.
    Dec. 12, Kuwait City, Kuwait: Shiite truck bombers attacked the U.S. embassy and other targets, killing 5 and injuring 80.
    Sept. 20, east Beirut, Lebanon: truck bomb exploded outside the U.S. embassy annex, killing 24, including 2 U.S. military.
    Dec. 3, Beirut, Lebanon: Kuwait Airways Flight 221, from Kuwait to Pakistan, hijacked and diverted to Tehran. 2 Americans killed.
    April 12, Madrid, Spain: Bombing at restaurant frequented by U.S. soldiers, killed 18 Spaniards and injured 82.
    June 14, Beirut, Lebanon: TWA Flight 847 en route from Athens to Rome hijacked to Beirut by Hezbollah terrorists and held for 17 days. A U.S. Navy diver executed.
    Oct. 7, Mediterranean Sea: gunmen attack Italian cruise ship, Achille Lauro. One U.S. tourist killed. Hijacking linked to Libya.
    Dec. 18, Rome, Italy, and Vienna, Austria: airports in Rome and Vienna were bombed, killing 20 people, 5 of whom were Americans. Bombing linked to Libya.
    April 2, Athens, Greece:A bomb exploded aboard TWA flight 840 en route from Rome to Athens, killing 4 Americans and injuring 9.
    April 5, West Berlin, Germany: Libyans bombed a disco frequented by U.S. servicemen, killing 2 and injuring hundreds.
    Dec. 21, Lockerbie, Scotland: N.Y.-bound Pan-Am Boeing 747 exploded in flight from a terrorist bomb and crashed into Scottish village, killing all 259 aboard and 11 on the ground. Passengers included 35 Syracuse University students and many U.S. military personnel. Libya formally admitted responsibility 15 years later (Aug. 2003) and offered $2.7 billion compensation to victims’ families.
    Feb. 26, New York City: bomb exploded in basement garage of World Trade Center, killing 6 and injuring at least 1,040 others. In 1995, militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 9 others were convicted of conspiracy charges, and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of the bombing. Al-Qaeda involvement is suspected.
    Nov. 13, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: car bomb exploded at U.S. military headquarters, killing 5 U.S. military servicemen.
    June 25, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: truck bomb exploded outside Khobar Towers military complex, killing 19 American servicemen and injuring hundreds of others. 13 Saudis and a Lebanese, all alleged members of Islamic militant group Hezbollah, were indicted on charges relating to the attack in June 2001.
    Aug. 7, Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: truck bombs exploded almost simultaneously near 2 U.S. embassies, killing 224 (213 in Kenya and 11 in Tanzania) and injuring about 4,500. 4 men connected with al-Qaeda 2 of whom had received training at al-Qaeda camps inside Afghanistan, were convicted of the killings in May 2001 and later sentenced to life in prison. A federal grand jury had indicted 22 men in connection with the attacks, including Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, who remained at large.
    Oct. 12, Aden, Yemen: U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole heavily damaged when a small boat loaded with explosives blew up alongside it. 17 sailors killed. Linked to Osama bin Laden, or members of al-Qaeda terrorist network.
    Sept. 11, New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa.: hijackers crashed 2 commercial jets into twin towers of World Trade Center; 2 more hijacked jets were crashed into the Pentagon and a field in rural Pa. Total dead and missing numbered 2,9921: 2,749 in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon, 40 in Pa., and 19 hijackers. Islamic al-Qaeda terrorist group blamed. (See September 11, 2001: Timeline of Terrorism.)
    June 14, Karachi, Pakistan: bomb exploded outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12. Linked to al-Qaeda.
    May 12, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners. Al-Qaeda suspected.
    May 29–31, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists attack the offices of a Saudi oil company in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, take foreign oil workers hostage in a nearby residential compound, leaving 22 people dead including one American.
    June 11–19, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists kidnap and execute Paul Johnson Jr., an American, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 2 other Americans and BBC cameraman killed by gun attacks.
    Dec. 6, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: terrorists storm the U.S. consulate, killing 5 consulate employees. 4 terrorists were killed by Saudi security.
    Nov. 9, Amman, Jordan: Suicide bombers hit 3 American hotels, Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn, in Amman, Jordan, killing 57. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.
    Sept. 13, Damascus, Syria: an attack by four gunman on the American embassy was foiled.
    Jan. 12, Athens, Greece: the U.S. embassy was fired on by an anti-tank missile causing damage but no injuries.

  24. bob carlton says:

    #22 – I regret that this NATO action was so savagely carried out.

    #23 – extreme islamic groups have indeed fostered violence – that said, we ave no option but to match our military efforts with diplomacy

  25. DonGander says:

    ” I regret that this NATO action was so savagely carried out. ”

    I would suggest that your position should be that it never should have happened. Where are the mass graves? Did Clinton lie to us?



    Bob Carlton, I am curious as to whether you consider that remaining in Iraq and supporting abortion are morally equivalent.