Un-dead-ing a beaten horse? Bono at the Nat'l Prayer Breakfast

Profuse apologies if this was already blogged here (or at dKos' religion thingy, which I don't really keep track of); I did a quick search and didn't find anything, but searching non-legal databases is not my expertise.

I have no desire to beat a dead horse.  I actually think the constant, perennial cries for "values talk" and "the Left learning how to talk about Religion." I think that Liberation Theology is a better guide, not framing politics in religion, but vice versa (not in a blasphemous way, though Pope Benedict apparently believes Liberation Theology is a bit blasphemous, but in the way that as a philosophy, religion IS political).

In fact, I'm not even "religious," whatever that means.  But enough disclaimers from me.  I came across Bono's speech at the Nat'l Prayer Breakfast (here: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=soj omail.display&issue=060203&cooki es_enabled=false#3) that took place earlier this month.  It was really good.

Excerpts below.

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National Catholic Reporter Blasts the Bush Budget

National Catholic Reporter is not exactly a mouthpiece rag of the religious right. Despite recent flirtation with conservative politics, Catholicism is still largely a progressive religion, at least in so much as it openly values nonviolence, as well as social and economic justice. This latest editorial from NCR on the Bush budget highlights said commitment to the latter.

Even more devastating than the mounting burden for our children and grandchildren, is what the budget proposal will mean for children right now, especially the disadvantaged. Again, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, cuts in child care funding for children from low and moderate income families will total $1 billion over the next five years, and "at the proposed funding levels, the number of children receiving child care assistance in 2011 would drop by more than 400,000 as compared to the number who received assistance in 2005." And that would occur as more stringent work requirements are placed on single mothers receiving welfare.

The cuts would also include significant drops in funding for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as a cut of $500 million, or 30 percent, in 2007 to the Social Services Block Grant program, which provides funding to states for social services for low-income and other vulnerable populations.

Sr. Simone Campbell, national coordinator for Network, the Catholic social justice lobby, describes the budget proposal as a sign of the "ultimate market impact on government."

"This is not at all about giving a hand up to those at the bottom. It is not about care in any of the ways any religion thinks about it. They've made government a market available for selling and buying," she said. "If you can pay for the cost of campaigns, access, vacations, you get the benefits of tax breaks or government contracts."

The point has been made again and again, but it's one worth repeating. There is nothing "Christian" about the rightist assault on those in need. To be blunt, if Christ hadn't already risen from the dead, the Republicans would have him turning over in it. And yet, again and again, the media narrative is that Republicans are friends of faith and Democrats are its enemy. It's a lie that's been drilled into the heads of Beltway pundits for the better part of the last three decades, if not more.

The answer to this isn't bending to fit the mold of conservative Megachurchism. There is nothing Democrats have to do policy-wise to convince churchgoers that their political ideology is more in line with Christian teachings than that of the GOP. I would suggest, as I have on matters of foreign policy, to simply address the issue, and act naturally when you're doing it. I hate to say it, but there's nothing more obvious than hearing certain Democrats call out specific passages of the Bible to support their views. Some -- Bill Clinton, John Edwards -- can get away with it and sound authentic. Others sound forced, contrived and insincere. However, there's no reason every Democrat shouldn't constantly be pointing out that, no matter what your religion, the economic policies of the Republican Party are absolutely immoral.

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Don’t Do Unto Others As They May Decide to Do Unto You

American Christians are quite vocal in the belief they’re oppressed, but it’s hard to feel their pain. They’re the overwhelming majority in this country. Virtually every member of every legislative body and every elected representative is Christian. Their lobbies are as potent as any on K St. The government funds them by not taxing them. They routinely work to defeat bills clear majorities want and that deprive citizens – sometimes other Christians – of their civil rights.

If that’s oppression, sign me up. It sounds like a sweet deal.

However, there are persecuted and oppressed Christians. For example, many countries with real zero tolerance for anything other than their God and prophet. They sometimes force Christians from their homes, turn them into refugees, or kill them.

Meanwhile, American Christians busy themselves with important issues like the proper etymology of Christmas v. Holiday. Living in their secure homes and working in their secure jobs they feel it’s their God-given right to rewrite history books, let pedophiles escape unpunished, or denigrate science because it doesn’t completely jibe with their Bible.

There’s no doubt the intolerance against Christians in countries like Iraq is awful. It’s the tyranny of the majority directed against the few. But except for the degree of modern persecution (the Christians don’t exactly have a bloodless history either), how is that any different from the tyranny of the American majority against the minority here?

I’m not a Christian and I’m sure there are many Christians who’d argue I have no right to an opinion about their religion. However, I’d point out that by the same logic, Christians have no right to an opinion about Islam or me or Druids. But, they never seem shy about exercising the same freedoms they seem unwilling to share with anyone other than themselves.

It is the Christian Sabbath, the last one before the holiest of Christian holy days. Whether you call it Christmas, the holidays, or Festivus, it seems like a good time for Christians, indeed everyone, regardless of religion or the lack thereof, to borrow the concepts of peace and harmony espoused in the Bible, the Quran, and most other religious texts in the world.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!





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