Today's Dialogue

November 29, 2005

If you get a chance today, head over to Talk To Action for a discussion on religion in American politics and society. Talk To Action | Reclaiming Citizenship, History, and Faith

The forum today is based on the December issue of Mother Jones magazine. Below are the links for the articles as well as a very brief summary. While many are talking about the mixing of church and state in terms of the danger it means for government, I am most concerned about how these individuals and groups are giving Christians—and thus Christ—a poor image.

The Great Debate of Our Season is the introduction piece for the special issue.

Original Intent by Susan Jacoby deals with the claims by many Christians that America was founded as a "Christian nation." She effectively dispels this myth (after all, the same people that make these arguments would not consider someone today with the beliefs of Thomas Jefferson to be a Christian).

I have always found this argument of supposed Christian foundations to be unnecessary. Even if the founders wanted a "Christian nation," that does not mean we should do everything like they did. Their "faith" led them to believe that blacks could be slaves and only count as 3/5ths of a person; my faith says otherwise. Their "faith" did not believe women were equal citizens; my faith says otherwise. I could go on, but the point is that we should not live according the standards set by the founders (they were after all fallible men).

A Nation Under God by John Sugg is a piece that should disturb you about the growing influence of some "Christians" in today’s politics If this article does not scare you about the dangers of mixing religion and politics, then I do not know what will. This is about a group of people (many linked to Roy Moore and other politicians) that wish to implement the death penalty for "women who commit adultery or lie about their virginity, blasphemers, witches, children who strike their parents, and gay men." If that is their vision of a godly America then I do not wish to worship their god or live in their nation.

Professing Faith by Karen Houppert is a great examination of some of the recent controversies at Baylor University. As a Baptist hoping to teach in higher education I found this article especially compelling. At several times while I was reading comments by Bill Underwood I found myself saying, "Amen!"

Rendering Unto God by Michael Reynolds is an interesting short piece on the money in Christian politics. It brings to mind the warning of Jesus that you cannot serve two masters.

Expanding Universe by Frederick Clarkson is a graphic representation of the religious right movement that includes links to the websites of the various organizations.

A Higher Frequency by Adam Piore is a piece on Christian radio. What was most upsetting about this article is reading how some Christians leaders have switched from focusing on preaching the Gospel of Jesus to presenting the gospel of Republicanism. Many seem to be trading in the Heavenly Kingdom for an earthly one.

Death Row Conversion by Sara Catania is thought-provoking article on the growing movement in the Catholic churches to oppose the death penalty as part of their pro-life position.