Tag Archives: Democrats

President Obama Wins A Landslide From The Religiously Unaffiliated

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created image of a Secular Vote logoPresident Obama carried Religiously Unaffiliated voters 70% to Mitt Romney’s 26% according to a report from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life exit poll data of the 2012 election. Although the President’s percentage was lower than in 2008, it still continued a trend of the nones supporting the Democratic candidates. The exit poll numbers were larger than a similar election poll in September when the President held a 65 to 27 lead on Romney.
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Jesus said we only have to love those who deserve it

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There are some cheap labor conservatives who like to display their religious beliefs on their sleeve. I didn’t know this but Jesus was also a cheap labor conservative. That makes sense. But then The Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A. set me straight. Jesus was a dirty liberal Democrat.

Jesus was always flapping his gums about the poor, but not once did he call for tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Romans.

If this going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

Jesus is a liberal Democrat

Or you can view the clip below.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> March to Keep Fear Alive

Atheists not invited to Democrat Convention opening event

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Austin Cline’s Atheism blog has a post about the lack of inclusion of atheists in the so-called “interfaith” religious service to kick off the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver this coming week. Not only were atheists not invited but were basically made unwelcome by the organizer of the event – Leah Daughtry, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee.

Ron Millar, Associate Director of the Secular Coalition for America, sent a letter asking the DNC if atheists would be welcome at the service and Daughtry responded to the Associated Press about “an angry letter from a secularist group”:

“Atheists speaking at an interfaith service … does that work?” Daughtry asked this week. “I don’t quite know. But they’re part of the party, you treat them with respect. I’ll give them an answer.”

At the Democrats’ party, a Pentecostal minister

As of 8/22/2008, Daughtry hasn’t responded to the letter nor has she invited an atheist for the service.

As Cline writes:

This is rather like trying to shake the perception that the Party is Jewish and so holding a special event where Jews are told to stay away, or trying to shake the perception that the Party is African-American and so holding a special event where blacks are told to stay away. It’s as if Democratic leaders are trying to draw more support from conservative Christians by saying “look, we can be bigoted and discriminatory towards atheists, too!” Why do they even want the vote of bigots, though? If you have trouble winning on a message of inclusion, then you work harder to get people to see the wisdom of that message; you do not shift your message to match the ignorance of bigots who aren’t voting for you.

Leah Daughtry: Atheists Aren’t Welcome in the Democratic Party

To be honest I don’t expect a political party or presidential candidate not to pander to the religious – it is after all a question of numbers – but I do expect some sliver of respect and the Democrats seem to want to piss me off with their attempts to exclude people like me from their party events.

That’s a gamble they take. It’s sad.

Religion comes up in CNN/YouTube debate

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The Democratic candidates for President of the US held a debate that was hosted by CNN and YouTube. Of interest to those who support the separation of church and state, is one of the questions about religion and government:

COOPER: In our remaining few minutes, the questions turn to two subjects — God and guns. First question.

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Zenne Abraham in Oakland, California. The cathedral behind me is the perfect backdrop for this question. This quarter reads “United States of America.” And when I turn it over, you find that it reads “liberty, in God we trust.” What do those words mean to you? Thank you.

COOPER: Senator Biden.

BIDEN: Religion informs my values.

BIDEN: My reason dictates outcomes. My religion taught me about abuse of power. That’s why I moved to write the Violence Against Women Act. That’s why I take the position I take on Darfur. It came about as a consequence of the reasoning that we’re able to do it.

You know, look, I don’t think they’re inconsistent. I don’t find anything inconsistent about my deep, religious beliefs and my ability to use reason. I think the coin’s got it just right. I think I have it in perspective.

COOPER: Here’s a question from the other side of the coin.

QUESTION: Good evening. My name is Stephen Marsh of Thousand Oaks, California, proud citizen of the United States of America that does not believe in God. However, the former President Bush said this statement was an oxymoron.

Now, I am worried about the amount of time given to evangelical concerns while secular voters are more or less getting a snubbed — the faith and politics forum.

So my question is this: Am I wrong in fearing a Democratic administration that may be lip service to the extremely religious as much as the current one? And if so, why? Thank you for your time.

COOPER: Senator Edwards?

EDWARDS: As president of the United States, we will embrace and lift up all Americans, whatever their faith beliefs or whether they have no faith beliefs, as Stephen just spoke about. That’s what America is.

Now, my faith is enormously important to me personally. It’s gotten me through some hard times, as I’m sure that’s true of a lot of the candidates who are on this stage.

But it is crucial that the American people know that as president it will not be my job — and I believe it would be wrong — for me to impose my personal faith beliefs on the American people or to decide any kind of decision, policy decision, that will affect America on the basis of my personal faith beliefs.


COOPER: Senator Obama?

OBAMA: I am proud of my Christian faith. And it informs what I do. And I don’t think that people of any faith background should be prohibited from debating in the public square.

OBAMA: But I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and I think that we’ve got to translate…


By the way, I support it not just for the state but also for the church, because that maintains our religious independence and that’s why we have such a thriving religious life.

But what I also think is that we are under obligation in public life to translate our religious values into moral terms that all people can share, including those who are not believers. And that is how our democracy’s functioning, will continue to function. That’s what the founding fathers intended.

Part II: CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript

To me Senator Edwards came out the strongest in support of separation of church and state while Biden and Obama were less definite. YMMV.

Republicans get their turn with this format on September 17th.

Your voice to be heard in historic debates

Obama says Democrats need to woo evangelicals

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There was an interesting story on CNN on Wednesday. It seems that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) wants his fellow Democrats to court the votes of Christian Evangelicals – who seem to be in the pocket of Republicans more often than not. Such talk causes me to pause because I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. What exactly does Obama mean when he said “Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters…”

I happen to agree that not every mention of God in public is a breach of the wall, however I take a more narrow view of what is appropriate. Obama notes:

“Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith: the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps — off rhythm — to the gospel choir.”

It is just as transparent as a politician going to county fairs and kissing babies or showing up at a shopping mall and buying a pair of socks. In order to be elected a politician has to look like they are “one of the people” even if they really aren’t. A politician who goes to a church, any church, with the press in tow and poses for photos with the minister afterward is transparent but it is an appropriate public expression of the politician’s religious views.

However it is walking a fine line and in some cases dangerous when a politician says that God told him how to act or a religious leader held more sway over them than an adviser with more expertise in whatever the issue was about.

Obama also said:

“It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase `under God’…”

Obama to Democrats: Woo evangelicals

But that isn’t the reason for the argument against the phrase. It is that school children are a captive audience and need extra protection from overt religion sponsored by agents of the state. Does Obama really think that school children have a real choice not to say it? Who wants the negative attention from being singled out for not saying the phrase? The worst thing in the child’s mind is to be thought of as different.

I would also challenge Obama to prove to me that a child knows what all the words in the pledge mean in the first place. I would bet that the only words they know is ‘under God’. The rest they might have a vague idea at that is all.

Obama also makes the mistake of thinking secularists want to rid religion from “the public square.” We don’t. We just want our elected officials to govern based on the laws on the books rather than their bible.

The whole CNN article bothered me because it would seem that Obama was suggesting that Democrats try to be more like Republicans – so I visited his website and read the full text of the speech. The context was one I could agree with overall. He said:

While I’ve already laid out some of the work that progressives need to do on this, I that the conservative leaders of the Religious Right will need to acknowledge a few things as well.

For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. That during our founding, it was not the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of this separation; it was the persecuted religious minorities, Baptists like John Leland, who were most concerned that any state-sponsored religion might hinder their ability to practice their faith.

Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

This may be difficult for those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.

Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God’s test of devotion.

But it’s fair to say that if any of us saw a twenty-first century Abraham raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know, be it common laws or basic reason.

‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address

I may not agree with some of his statements in the speech but the overall message – that government policy should be as universal as possible – is something I agree with.