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Nov 5 2008
Interesting view by Prothero on future of church/state sep

You might be interested in this blog at the USA Today website by BU religion chair Stephen Prothero. He definitely has a different opinion than me on many church/state separation issues, but I thought he made a few interesting and good points in this piece about the consequences of the Democratic party's increasing use of religious rhetoric. For instance:

Those who lament the promiscuous mixing of religion and politics over the past few decades will continue to have much to complain about. To ascend to center stage in presidential politics, candidates will still have to prove their bona fides as people of faith, but as religion becomes something that Democrats and Republicans alike discuss, there will be less to gain from discussing it. In their runs for the White House, candidates will be talking less about Jesus and more about jobs, less about God and more about government.

I suppose it is crass to talk of religion as a pawn in contemporary American politics, but it is crasser still to enlist God in our political projects, as if we really knew what Jesus or Yahweh or Allah would do about the stock market or the war on terror. So while those who favor the strict separation of church and state might have something to cheer about as all this talk of God makes talking of God less politically expedient, those who want to let God be God might have something to cheer about, too.

Nov 7 2008
Re: Interesting view by Prothero on future of church/state sep

Interesting...but maybe wrong. If the idea is that the Democrats won this election because they finally learned the importance of "God Talk", then the data does not necessarily back that up. Check out the following quotes from this Guardian article:

So how did God vote this time? Time magazine quotes James Dobson, leader of Focus on the Family, as telling Sarah Palin on his radio show a fortnight ago: "God's perfect will be done on November 4th," in which case He's let the religious right down rather badly this week.

On the other hand, the early polling evidence is that, despite the fact that Barack Obama's team tried considerably harder to attract the Christian vote this time than Kerry who employed one part-timer and a student to do "outreach" in 2004 and despite widespread suspicion of John McCain among religious voters and lack of enthusiasm for him as a candidate remember he called them once "agents of intolerance" regular evangelical church-goers remained largely loyal to the Republicans.

Initial analysis by the respected Pew Forum polling organisation seems to show that about 73% of born-again evangelicals voted for McCain/Palin down from about 79% four years ago while non-church goers voted in similar proportions for Obama.

Perhaps, then, the Democrats would do just as well politically if they stopped pretending that they are clergy and focus their attention on governing the country.

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