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nemov
Over the past year, the perception that the Democrat party is unfriendly toward religion has increased significantly. This has now become a major problem for the party especially if Democrats want to put a dent in the South and Mid-West which are becoming (if not already) Republican strongholds. It is also a danger with the increasing heavily Catholic Hispanic population.

QUOTE(Wash. Post @ Aug 30 2005, 08:00 AM)
Fewer people see Democrats as friendly to religion now than felt that way a year ago, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. That number has dropped from 40 percent in August 2004 who thought the Democrats were friendly to religion to 29 percent now.


Questions for debate:

Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?
Google
BoF
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

I have the greatest respect for Pew Research, but I find it interesting that you’ve used the word “perception.” I personally think, considering that most Democrats including John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, etc. claim religious affiliation, this is the case

I really think the idea of Democrats as anti-religion is something Karl Rove successfully implanted in the heads of people.

There is nothing quite so politically beneficial as convincing people that they are PERSECUTED.

Logophage said it best in a temporarily? closed thread.

QUOTE(logophage from another thread)
There is the tendency in American culture to "play the victim". It makes for good political hay. I think these folks need to take some "personal responsibility". Maybe, it isn't society who's after them... maybe, it's them.


http://www.americasdebate.com/forums/index...ndpost&p=165820

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

You know two phrases I never heard until Bush took office were “people of faith” and “faith based.” One poster in another thread even talked about “faith based man.”

Does this mean that “faith,” however one wishes to define it, is the overwhelming motivator? Where does it rank in the scheme of things? Is it more or less important than putting “food on your family.” Oops George, that should have been food on the table. Is it more or less important than putting clothes on one’s back, a roof over one’s hear or having adequate health care? In reality, which do we spend more time pursuing?

In the summer of 1984, I did some graduate work at the University of Wisconsin Stout in Menominee, Wisconsin. On the way back, I passed through Muskogee, Oklahoma. What a let-down. From listening to Merle Haggard’s song The Oakie from Muskogee, I envisioned a town with church steeples reaching for the sky on practically every corner. What a shock. On the Northern edge of the town was a bright orange building with a sign that proclaimed it “Muskogee’s Finest Massage Parlor.” Instead of finding a town full of churches, I found a dirty little place with an abundance of bars.

Muskogee:Merle Haggard::Alleged Democratic Anti-Religion:Karl Rove

How does one fight an illusion? Perhaps someone is intentionally confusing separation of church and state and "faith" in the public mind.
VDemosthenes
QUOTE(nemov @ Aug 31 2005, 11:15 AM)
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?
*



1.) Personally this story makes me laugh... whistling.gif

Well, in the strictest terms? No. The Democratic party will never be successful again if this misconception continues. Now, I have no love for the Democrat's (even though I love them personally... some of them) but they are not Satan ( devil.gif). When we let ourselves stereotype Democrats or Republicans as good/evil it seems to be nothing more than a bid for power and never in sincerity. Are the liberals godless? Some of them, perhaps. As a whole? No. Can they be successful again? Sure; solution: try to silence those who are anti-religious (such as Dean and his white, right-wing Christian party comments). thumbsup.gif


2.) Try not to be so uber-anti prayer or holy readings in public venue. People do have this amazing power to tune something out, I don't support telling someone they can't read or do something. Nor do I support someone imposing their religion on someone else, but if a person does have this little talent at tuning things out it would stand a logical reason that they can, gee, I dunno... walk away or refocus their mind for a few moments while the religious-based practice is underway?


3.) Not too bad, I am thinking. Typically it international/domestic issues for mid-term elections. When '08 comes round the corner I expect it to be a bigger issue.


DaytonRocker
I have to agree.

There are a few things that keep me changing my affiliation from Republican to Democrat, and this is one of the biggest (abortion being the biggest). And I'm not even that religious.

To me, democrats are just anti-God. We're talking well beyond the separation of church and state. But generally, they seem to lay blame on religion every chance they get. Of course, this is only my opinion, but I don't seem to be alone.
Eeyore
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

I think so. I think this is an issue that could swing back the other way. A few more questionable Pat Robertson Comments, more exposure of the Justice Sunday speakers and people might be embracing our separation of church and state again.

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

The Democrats are not anti-faith. They should pursue policies of good governance.

I think the best thing the Democrats could do would be to help find solutions that are Constituitonal that would stem the tide of devout Christians pulling their children out of public schools.

The Democrats could also find a more effective pro-choice message. I am pro-choice on abortion but I wish it was harder to get an abortion than it was to buy a gun. I think the pro-choice political movement comes across as making abortions sound like a good thing. There is a way to say that abortions should be allowed in our society while also pointing out individually that one thinks each abortion in the United States represents a failure of some kind. Launching a campaign to reduce abortions while keeping them legal sounds like one such way to me.

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?

It may. But I think the message has been spun well against Democrats. I am not sure I can think of a Democratic official who is anti-religion.

The Democrats need to spin back, They need to find their version of faith-based and people of faith that resonates well and shows a dedication to upholding traditional American values of governance.

psyclist
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?
Maybe. I think we're seeing a movement of social liberalism such as becoming more accepting of gays, sex (thanks MTV thumbsup.gif), and other ideas that were once considered "immoral." This trend may put the Democrats in power for a span of time but I believe that the morals of society are like a pendulum and eventually we'll swing back to a more "conservative" society.


What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?
Stop trying to appease the ultra liberals and have a huge PR campaign that gets over this notion that the Democratic party is unfriendly to religion. I don't believe we have to change our stance on anything really, just find a better solution. For instance:

Abortion
I know a lot of liberal Americans that wont vote Democrat just because we're pro-choice. Instead of looking at this from a pro-life/pro-choice perspective, let's look at a goal that both sides can agree on: reducing the abortion rate. We don't have to use laws to do this it can be done with actions such as focusing on the problem of teen pregnancy, offering support for low-income women, and adoption reform.

Poverty
I believe poverty is mentioned 3,000 times in the Bible. Thankfully Howard Dean on the Daily Show finally brought this up. The poverty issue, in my opinion, is what we need to hammer home on. We have to remind Christians of the importance of fighting poverty. Then we need to show them that the Democratic party is for helping the poor through programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare, Head Start, affordable housing to those who would otherwise have none. We have to also come ready with a strong plan to fix/tweak some of these programs as some are not as effective as they should be. Ask people, "How do tax cuts for the rich help the poor?" Raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Who is really losing in the War in Iraq? The poor. All this of course applies on a global scale when talking in terms of helping the poor in Africa, fighting AIDS/HIV, helping countries modernize.

A Consistent Ethic of Life

I think emphasizing a "Culture of Life" as Pope John Paul called should fight "single issue voters" such as those who vote Republican solely for their stance on abortion (pro-life) yet ignore their stance on capital punishment. Abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, nuclear weapons, poverty, racism, peacemaking, and protecting the environment are all included in having a consistent ethic of life. We have to remind people that being pro-life is more than just your stance on abortion.

Family/Moral Values
Again we have to stop playing political football with the gay marriage issue and focus the attention of the American people on the big picture of parenting, regardless of the family arrangement. Middle to low income families have to work longer hours to make ends meet and often times both parents have to work. The lack of parenting for children lead to a life of violence, crime, and immoral behaviors as no one is there to guide them. Economic pressures are often times a cause in the break down in a marriage as well. The Democrats need to help parents be parents first and professionals second.


These are probably the "bigger issues" that the Democrats need to come out swinging with and while they're probably not perfect, they're a start. It's time the American people realize that being a Christian and being a Democrat are not mutually exclusive.


Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?
I think it does every time people go out and vote.
Artemise
I believe Democrats are not unfriendly to religion, they are unfriendly to people pushing their religion on others. They are unfriendly to prayer in schools and religious monuments on public property and other issues of separation of Church and State. If they can get this message out effectively they will be ok.

Church, faith, religion is not a political issue any more than what I feed my family for dinner or where we spend our weekends, in a park, at the beach or at church, its 100% personal business, not government business, and truthfully I believe many Republicans feel the same way. I dont think the middle of the road republican really wants the religious right making government policy.
So, religion , while being advanced rapidly by the right in this admin is not such a huge government issue for your average american. In fact, most people are modern enough to understand that the government has its job and churches have theirs and its a bad idea to mix them up.
The issue of a religion was exagerated by the fake anti-gay marriage amendment.

We have a few ultra-right religious types that are making this job easier as Eeyore mentioned. If the Religious Right and some other ultra's continue to talk crazily as they have been, and this President doesnt pull his head out of his behind and start adressing the problems facing the nation, folks are going to get sick of the dung slinging non- issues and religion is going to be the last thing on peoples minds come 2006.
hayleyanne

Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

No, they can't. This is a major problem for the democratic party. They need to remedy this. America is a nation that is fundamentally more religious than its European counterparts.

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

They can continue with how Clinton handled it-- He was always reaching out to church leaders. Likely alot of it was for "show"-- but it wouldn't hurt for them to follow his lead.

On a more substantive note-- the democrats should reconsider their platform position on abortion. They alienate many americans when they support an extreme position in the partial birth abortion debate.

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?

The democrats have a reputation for being elitist. They alienate red state voters for this reason. All the rhetoric that ensued after the election ex. "Jesusland" certainly did not help in this regard. There are fundamentalist christian democrats out there, I am sure -- but we don't hear from them. The party needs to give them a more visible platform in the party.

nemov
QUOTE(BoF @ Aug 31 2005, 05:36 PM)
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

I have the greatest respect for Pew Research, but I find it interesting that you’ve used the word “perception.” I personally think, considering that most Democrats including John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, etc. claim religious affiliation, this is the case

I really think the idea of Democrats as anti-religion is something Karl Rove successfully implanted in the heads of people.

*



I used the word perception because I do not believe the Democrat party is "anti-faith." This perception problem started long before Karl Rove left Texas. Standing behind Partial Birth abortion is one area that I believe Democrats are being killed on. I do not want to get into the specifics of that debate, but the perception is reality.

Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

This depends on the election. I believe the Democrats can still find national candidates to win presidential elections. Other issues beside religion are larger factors.

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

I think there is a door open for Democrats to become the security party. If Democrats had a plan to stop the massive illegal immigration they would have a shot at the South and the West. Democrats just need to change the frame of the debate and be more accepting of Pro-lifers. I think if Democrats made it clear that abortions should be avoided, but the right should still be in place they could help themselves.

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?

Yes, until there is a change in perception it will be difficult for Democrats to win in Red states. Over the past year the perception has gotten worse, that is not good news for Democrats that are already having trouble in those states.
Artemise
You know whats really interesting about this debate? Its the assumption that Democrats really care about being Democrats. I think most of us would go third party if we had the chance to win, but its a two party system and we must choose only one of two sides.

The cruelly named Partial Birth abortion issue was fought because the bill did not make provisions for the health of the mother. Republicans have demonized the issue and lied about the reasons Dems were against. No woman wants this. I repeat, no woman wants this procedure. It is done in extreme cases of birth defects or the mothers health, NEVER as a method of birth control or by whim. Doctors just will not do it. Democrats do NOT advocate this because they are evil and like to kill viable fetuses, there were reasons to defeat this bill, if anyone would just stop and read the information. (Not expected anytime soon.)
Abortion has been legal in the first trimester for half a century, ok? Get over it.
Its not even an issue if the extreme right would just let what is already in place stay in place.

Fox news is the biggest detriment to Democrats. Not religion, not abortion. Clinton was elected for two terms in a US in which abortion was legal. Fox News is the only station most people in the mid US have for news without cable and they are increasingly caustic liars on issues.
I love the Elitist comment, it just goes to show how perception is not reality because the Bush's are as east coast elite as a family can get.

As we speak, the situation for most americans is worsening to backbreaking levels. The perception of what is important changes with personal hardship.

I dont see such a problem in 2006 with side issues, social issues. I think its going to be about money and stability and the Iraq war
Google
nemov
QUOTE(Artemise @ Sep 1 2005, 09:45 AM)
Fox news is the biggest detriment to Democrats. Not religion, not abortion. Clinton was elected for two terms in a US in which abortion was legal. Fox News is the only station most people in the mid US have for news without cable and they are increasingly caustic liars on issues.
I love the Elitist comment, it just goes to show how perception is not reality because the Bush's are as east coast elite as a family can get.

*



Blaming Fox news is absolutely absurd. It is this type of statement of denial that is at the root of the problem. Democrats have not faired well in national elections since Johnson. He is the last Democrat to receive over 51% of the vote in a presidential election.

Bush is not perceived as being an east coast elite BTW. Given the amount of "Bush is stupid" comments, I read since 2000 I am not sure how you fail to recognize the reality of the situation.
BoF
QUOTE(nemov @ Sep 1 2005, 07:53 AM)
QUOTE(BoF @ Aug 31 2005, 05:36 PM)
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

I have the greatest respect for Pew Research, but I find it interesting that you’ve used the word “perception.” I personally think, considering that most Democrats including John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, etc. claim religious affiliation, this is the case

I really think the idea of Democrats as anti-religion is something Karl Rove successfully implanted in the heads of people.

*



I used the word perception because I do not believe the Democrat party is "anti-faith." This perception problem started long before Karl Rove left Texas. Standing behind Partial Birth abortion is one area that I believe Democrats are being killed on. I do not want to get into the specifics of that debate, but the perception is reality.


Then we agree on about "perception."

The Pew article does not mention "abortion." Neither does your original thread. So, we have a bait and switch going on here.

Faith does not necessarily equal pro-life or pro-choice.

The perception may or may not have started with Rove, but he used the issue to its max to sell people the equivalent of swamp land stocked with alligators, crocodiles and other swamp creatures.
Lever
QUOTE(Lever @ Sep 1 2005, 08:33 PM)
QUOTE(nemov @ Aug 31 2005, 11:15 AM)
Over the past year, the perception that the Democrat party is unfriendly toward religion has increased significantly.  This has now become a major problem for the party especially if Democrats want to put a dent in the South and Mid-West which are becoming (if not already) Republican strongholds.  It is also a danger with the increasing heavily Catholic Hispanic population.

QUOTE(Wash. Post @ Aug 30 2005, 08:00 AM)
Fewer people see Democrats as friendly to religion now than felt that way a year ago, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. That number has dropped from 40 percent in August 2004 who thought the Democrats were friendly to religion to 29 percent now.


Questions for debate:

Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?
*


*




First, Yes there has been a trend towards this perception, however, this is more readily corrected than many of the potential issues which will arise soon.

To combat and reverse the perception of Democrats being anti- religion we need to be proactive as well as defensive. The proactive approach needs to focus on the anti-religious behavior of their beloved Republicans. We must do better at pointing out to the religious right that their Christianity based house of cards is on fire due to their actions and words. Pat Robertson is a very good example to draw from. I have also read unconfirmed stories of Bush's foul mouth reportedly relayed from his own staffers. I truly wish the American people could see this first hand.

The second approach is our usual defensive posture. We need to get better at defining our positions on the issues in ways that unite Americans rather than the usual us vs. them rhetoric. Republicans used the issues of abortion, gat marriage and war very effectively last cycle. To break their stranglehold on power we have to beat them at their own game and show John Q. Public that we are the best friend he has religionwise based on the actions we have seen under Bush's regime.

Where are the cries from the religious groups over the senseless killing in Iraq, the deceit that led us there, the greed that fuels the war? What of the moral implications of proclaimed Christians and the death they are dealing to another nation while calling abortion murder?

The Republicans have given Democrats and Independents all the ammo they need to defeat them if used with common sense and the compassion and truth that should be the hallmarks of the religious base in America regardless of the religion one subscribes to.
hayleyanne
QUOTE
Then we agree on about "perception."

The Pew article does not mention "abortion." Neither does your original thread. So, we have a bait and switch going on here.

Faith does not necessarily equal pro-life or pro-choice.

The perception may or may not have started with Rove, but he used the issue to its max to sell people the equivalent of swamp land stocked with alligators, crocodiles and other swamp creatures


Bof-- I don't understand what your point is here. Please clarify. I think the abortion issue is very relevant when it comes to whether people perceive democrats as religion friendly. You say that "faith does not necessarily equal pro-life or pro-choice." But the point that I was making has to do with an extreme "pro-choice" position -- the support of partial birth abortions. I think you would be hard pressed to find people of faith who are supportive of partial birth abortion except when the LIFE or PHYSICAL HEALTH of the mother is threatened. But democrats do not hold this position. They agree with the holdings of some federal courts that the federal ban on partial birth abortion is unconstitutional.

QUOTE
Where are the cries from the religious groups over the senseless killing in Iraq, the deceit that led us there, the greed that fuels the war? What of the moral implications of proclaimed Christians and the death they are dealing to another nation while calling abortion murder?


Lever, I agree that democrats need to convince Americans that they are religion friendly. However, they will not be successful if the strategy is to engage in a comparison of apples to oranges (abortion vs. the Iraq war).
Lever
haleyanne,

My intent was not a comparison of apples and oranges but rather to list several issues which can be used to cement a more favorable image for Democrats with those of faith.

The right wing used the abortion issue to their advantage in 2004 by calling it murder and genocide.

I pointed out that the killing of Iraqi's over lies is really no different to most people of faith than their position on abortion. Neither are acceptable to a True Christian, but the President is trying to send the message that one is more loathsome than the other.
BoF
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Sep 1 2005, 08:34 PM)
QUOTE
Then we agree on about "perception."

The Pew article does not mention "abortion." Neither does your original thread. So, we have a bait and switch going on here.

Faith does not necessarily equal pro-life or pro-choice.

The perception may or may not have started with Rove, but he used the issue to its max to sell people the equivalent of swamp land stocked with alligators, crocodiles and other swamp creatures


Bof-- I don't understand what your point is here. Please clarify. I think the abortion issue is very relevant when it comes to whether people perceive democrats as religion friendly. You say that "faith does not necessarily equal pro-life or pro-choice." But the point that I was making has to do with an extreme "pro-choice" position -- the support of partial birth abortions. I think you would be hard pressed to find people of faith who are supportive of partial birth abortion except when the LIFE or PHYSICAL HEALTH of the mother is threatened. But democrats do not hold this position. They agree with the holdings of some federal courts that the federal ban on partial birth abortion is unconstitutional.


Read a little more carefully. I did not say abortion was irrelevant. I said that faith and the abortion issue are not synonymous.

Maybe I should have learned from John Kerry that being nuanced doesn’t always work. sad.gif

Don't you think your accusations against Democrats are a blanket gneralization. See blue portion. How many Democrats? Exactly which Democrats are you talking about? Is it all of them or some? Does the part represent the whole?
hayleyanne
QUOTE
Read a little more carefully. I did not say abortion was irrelevant. I said that faith and the abortion issue are not synonymous.


And I understood that point Bof. However, my point was that one's position on partial birth abortion is synonymous with "faith". To the extent that democrats do not support the federal ban on partial birth abortion, they distance themselves from those who consider themselves religious.

QUOTE
Maybe I should have learned from John Kerry that being nuanced doesn’t always work.


I don't think your statement was nuanced-- it was a very broad statement.

QUOTE
Don't you think your accusations against Democrats are a blanket gneralization. See blue portion. How many Democrats? Exactly which Democrats are you talking about? Is it all of them or some? Does the part represent the whole?


Which statements of mine? that most democrats do not support the federal ban on partial birth abortion? I think that is the perception that most people have-- and that is what we are talking about in this thread-- perception.
BoF
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Sep 1 2005, 09:33 PM)
And I understood that point Bof.  However, my point was that one's position on partial birth abortion is synonymous with "faith".  To the extent that democrats do not support the federal ban on partial birth abortion, they distance themselves from those who consider themselves religious.


Partial birth abortion may be synonymous with some people's faith.

Here’s your statement after nemov injected the partial birth abortion issue:

QUOTE(hayleyanne)
Bof-- I don't understand what your point is here.  Please clarify.  I think the abortion issue is very relevant when it comes to whether people perceive democrats as religion friendly.  You say that "faith does not necessarily equal pro-life or pro-choice."  But the point that I was making has to do with an extreme "pro-choice" position -- the support of partial birth abortions.  I think you would be hard pressed to find people of faith who are supportive of partial birth abortion except when the LIFE or PHYSICAL HEALTH of the mother is threatened.  But democrats do not hold this position.  They agree with the holdings of some federal courts that the federal ban on partial birth abortion is unconstitutional.


Now here’s your new statement.

QUOTE
Which statements of mine?  that most democrats do not support the federal ban on partial birth abortion?  I think that is the perception that most people have-- and that is what we are talking about in this thread-- perception.


Your original statement about Democrats did not contain the qualifier "most" or "some" or anything like that. It seems to have all the earmarks of a blanket generalization.

Nor did you say anything like this in post #8 on this thread.

http://www.americasdebate.com/forums/index...ndpost&p=166329

BTW: It's BoF not Bof
quarkhead
QUOTE(hayleyanne)
Lever, I agree that democrats need to convince Americans that they are religion friendly. However, they will not be successful if the strategy is to engage in a comparison of apples to oranges (abortion vs. the Iraq war).


I'm sorry, but this statement really frightens me. Apples and oranges? As if. Republicans who adopt the moral high ground and the 'sanctity of life' argument are suffering delusions if they can somehow make this an 'apples and oranges' comparison. Where in the teachings of Christ are murder and terror sanctioned? A political decision was made to invade a country. That decision involved the knowledge that a large number of innocent civilians would be killed; there is no wiggle room on this.

Democrats need to stop waffling around trying to talk Republican-lite. It is time to make a true stand. We need to take the offensive, because liberals hold most of the high ground when it comes to following the teachings of Christ. It is liberal policies that have consistently shown compassion for the poor, for minorities, for women. Democrats need to get righteous on this because it is dirty spin on the part of Republican polemicists who are turning the position which disagrees with the idea of a theocratic nightmare state, into some sort of anti-religious culture war. The very idea is incredibly ridiculous. The American people are not stupid, and what we need is a charismatic liberal leader who will stand up and actually be liberal. Not like Clinton and Kerry, but actually liberal. Someone who is not afraid to stand up and say, "ok, let's talk about Christianity. Let's talk about compassion, forgiveness, and love. Christianity isn't about a bunch of archaic laws from Leviticus about all the people we're gonna stone to death for being gay or adulterers or people who wear mixed fabrics - it is about being messengers of the Prince of Peace. It's not about making it easier for multimillionares to avoid taxes, it's about how we treat the least of our brothers. It's not about bearing a sword, but bringing an olive branch."
AuthorMusician
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

I don't see why not. The assumption here is that most voters make their selections based on a generalized idea of what political party favors religions over the other. That depends on the election season in question.

In 2004, the Republicans might have received enough votes from the religious-voting bloc to win, but I doubt it. I think it is more reasonable to assume that these were Republican-voting people anyway, and a small minority at that.

The more reasonable perception about why people voted the way they did was an expectation that the Republicans would fix the Iraq situation. As polls indicate today, a majority of people are becoming impatient with the progress in Iraq.

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

Nothing. If people want to feel that Democrats are against religion, that's their problem. I know of no legislation originated by Democrats that would make worshipping in any way you see fit, as long as this worship does not infringe on other citizens' rights, illegal.

I can point to Republican legislation that attempted to remove other citizens' rights, based on religious dogma.

How can Republicans get rid of this perception, and is it important to winning elections? It might be in 2006.

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?

No, and that's my perception. It is based on current polling numbers about the dissatisfaction with the way we are currently being governed. It is based on local perceptions about how the Republicans have messed up school districts and the state budget.

Faith has little to do with how we are governed at the dollars and sense (pun intended) levels.

As far as national elections go, this question might be more irrelevant in 2008. The south-eastern states have some soul-searching to do. Why does God hate them so much that she sent Katrina to visit?

(My answer: God does not hate, nor does she stop storms because we would like her to do so. This could be a harsh lesson in learning how to love one another, or it might simply be the way the world works. I tend toward the latter explanation.)
nemov
QUOTE(Lever @ Sep 1 2005, 08:47 PM)
To combat and reverse the perception of Democrats being anti- religion we need to be proactive as well as defensive. The proactive approach needs to focus on the anti-religious behavior of their beloved Republicans. We must do better at pointing out to the religious right that their Christianity based house of cards is on fire due to their actions and words. Pat Robertson is a very good example to draw from. I have also read unconfirmed stories of Bush's foul mouth reportedly relayed from his own staffers. I truly wish the American people could see this first hand.
*



So Democrats are going to point out Pat Robertson and discuss unconfirmed reports about Bush's language? That does not really sound like a recipe for success, but more of a statement of denial. It does not address the root of the problem, or find the root of the problem.

QUOTE(quarkhead @ Sep 2 2005, 01:34 AM)

The American people are not stupid, and what we need is a charismatic liberal leader who will stand up and actually be liberal. Not like Clinton and Kerry, but actually liberal. Someone who is not afraid to stand up and say, "ok, let's talk about Christianity. Let's talk about compassion, forgiveness, and love. Christianity isn't about a bunch of archaic laws from Leviticus about all the people we're gonna stone to death for being gay or adulterers or people who wear mixed fabrics - it is about being messengers of the Prince of Peace. It's not about making it easier for multimillionares to avoid taxes, it's about how we treat the least of our brothers. It's not about bearing a sword, but bringing an olive branch."
*



I guess this is if you truly believe that liberal policies are actually beneficial to those in poverty. Your statement is based on the false and insulting assumption that conservatives “do not care” about the poor. No one is advocating the “stoning of gay people.” Most Christians believe homosexuality is a sin. That is not the result of Republican deception.

QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 2 2005, 05:59 AM)
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

I don't see why not. The assumption here is that most voters make their selections based on a generalized idea of what political party favors religions over the other. That depends on the election season in question.

In 2004, the Republicans might have received enough votes from the religious-voting bloc to win, but I doubt it. I think it is more reasonable to assume that these were Republican-voting people anyway, and a small minority at that.

*



I suggest you take a look at the exit polls from 2000 when compared to 2004. This is a problem that is getting worse every election for Democrats.

QUOTE
This shift toward Republican identification among white evangelicals came in two stages. In the late 1980s, white evangelicals in the South were still mostly wedded to the Democratic Party while evangelicals outside the South were more aligned with the GOP. But over the course of the next decade or so, the GOP made gains among white Southerners generally ¬ and evangelicals in particular ¬ virtually eliminating this regional disparity.

The second stage began in 2000, coinciding with Bush's election. Since then, there has been rapid growth in Republican identification among both Southern and non-Southern evangelicals. Nationwide, Republican identification among white evangelicals increased from 39% in 1999 to 48% today. In 2004, white evangelicals made up 23% of the population, and 37% of the Republican Party 
hayleyanne

Lever wrote:
QUOTE
My intent was not a comparison of apples and oranges but rather to list several issues which can be used to cement a more favorable image for Democrats with those of faith.

The right wing used the abortion issue to their advantage in 2004 by calling it murder and genocide.

I pointed out that the killing of Iraqi's over lies is really no different to most people of faith than their position on abortion. Neither are acceptable to a True Christian, but the President is trying to send the message that one is more loathsome than the other.



Quarkhead wrote:
QUOTE
I'm sorry, but this statement really frightens me. Apples and oranges? As if. Republicans who adopt the moral high ground and the 'sanctity of life' argument are suffering delusions if they can somehow make this an 'apples and oranges' comparison.


Lever and Quark--

The topic of this thread relates to the political effects of democrats being viewed as less than friendly toward religion. I said I thought that the perception that dems are not friendly toward religion exists-- and Lever suggested that democrats should respond to this perception by pointing out the hypocrisy of the republican positions : pro-life but also pro-war.

I think you guys misunderstood my point. My "apples and oranges" comment related to the strategy that democrats might use in pointing up this "hypocrisy". If democrats do nothing more than point out the hypocrisy (which is the approach I thought Lever was advocating), they will not get far. Finger pointing about inconsistencies in party positions usually gets nowhere IMO. Mind you, I am not saying the hypocrisy exists-- just that a simple comparison will fall prey to the "apples and oranges" response and will also put a lot of people on the defensive. The better strategy would be to try and acknowledge the fundamentalist christian views and use them to emphasize how the Iraq war and the killing of innocents is contrary to Christ's teaching.

BoF: Regarding my speaking in "generalizations"-- I know that nothing is ever completely black or white. That ALL democrats or ALL republicans do not believe one thing or another. However, in discussions like this, where we are trying to figure out how to address a particular public perception, It is easy to slip into a discussion using generalizations. Flip the issue: If the question asked how republicans could alter the perception that they do not support gay rights, republicans would have to acknowledge that there is a segment of their base that views homosexuality as a sin. Not ALL republicans hold this view, but a significant number holds the view in the religious right wing such that it needs to be addressed.

Perhaps my response could have been better worded to indicate that I was responding to a segment of the democratic party. With all the time I have spent on AD-- I guess I should have known better than to slip in a broad generalization without being called on the carpet for it. cool.gif flowers.gif
Bill55AZ
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?


Dems can be successful if they say the right things to enough people to get their votes. That probably means moving more toward the center of the political spectrum. Moving further to the left may satisfy the liberal extremists, but it certainly will not help the Dems regain the presidency.
Religious issues are used by politicians as bait. Ask any of them if they attend church regularly, and if they say yes, then ask them how long have they been doing so, just since announcing candidacy, or all along? Almost all of them will choke on that one. Of course, church attendance is poor proof of actual Christian thought. Even the KKK members attended church regularly.

Dems/liberals, are probably more in line with the actual teachings of Christ than Republicans/conservatives. The thing to do is make the public aware of that, and it can be done by quoting from the 4 gospels where Christ addressed the issues of how we should be treating each other. A lot of what Paul writes is in contrast to what Christ said, and many, if not most, Christian religions teach Paul's writings almost to the point of excluding those teachings of Christ that dealt with how we treat each other. Dems can counter the perception by quoting one verse, Matt. 7:16, (by their fruit ye shall know them).
If they can publish a list of their pro-Christ (vs. pro-Christian) accomplishments and compare that list to one the Republicans might produce, they might come out looking pretty good. It should be very easy, even if controversial, to show that Christ was a liberal in thought and action. The conservative power structure of the day was the Jewish church leadership, and they loved money, were contemptous of the poor, and were certainly out of touch with basic human kindness just as much as current Christian "leadership".

Gray Seal
When I read the poll, I focus on the word 'friendly' in the question. Knowing it is being used to provide contrast between political views, I take it to ask the question whether the Democratic Party has a different approach to religion compared to the Bush administration. In other words, the Bush administration is the definition of 'friendly towards religion'. My opinion is that the Bush administration has a poor concept of the separation of religion and government.

So the question is whether or not the Democratic Party does.

Whether or not respondents in the poll were tasking some aspect of this thought process in to answering the poll, I do not know. Many probably did. It would have been interesting if there was a question asking this same group of respondents to the poll whether they think political partys should be friendly to religion.

I would not be leaping to the conclusion most are assuming here that the poll represents a bad thing for the Democratic Party. Maybe more people in the country are recognizing that government should be neutral towards religion and not friendly.
vsrenard
It is interesting to me the number of posts that have focused specifically on Christianity as the meter by which to determine whether a political party is religion- or faith-friendly. Yes, I understand American is primarily a Judeo-Christian country. However, what I would really like to see is the Democratic party demonstrate its affinity for religion by promoting the belief that you can be moral whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. I, for one, do not feel the Democratic party is anti-religion but the reason I feel that way is because I am Hindu. I am tired of having Christianity as the meter for morality in this country; this is not a knock on the religion but simply a desire to see affirmation that people with other religious beliefs are welcomed. I believe it is a travesty that whether Lieberman's religion in the 2000 election was a factor in the race was even a question at all. Not to mention that it will be a long time before we see a non-JudeoChristian running for the White House.

The point being is that Democrats could score on the religion issue if they emphasized their willingness (over Republicans) to welcome all religions over promoting just one.
Artemise
I think a misconception here is that one party can win more votes by trying to be more like the other party that is already winning votes.
This is what the conservatives tout as the solution to our liberal problems.
If we would just stop being 'us' we could win. We therefore need to trash our belief in evolution, accept prayer in schools, stop demanding separation of church and state and deny our belief in a womans right to choose we shall certainly prevail, at least sometimes, because we will be seen as 'friendly to religion and the values of the American public.

I reject this entirely. The pendulum always swings.
I believe the American public is reasonable. I think most modern americans have some belief in science. I think they do not desire the government meddling in their spiritual beliefs, family morality or governing on the basis of religion.
I think conservatives/republicans have been voted into office based on a specific set of circumstances that have to do with a terrorist attack, and always (in the past) economy and tax cuts. With that we have had to ENDURE a conservative agenda of faith based initiatives and much too much God bearing down on our lives because of religious and moral majority inclined goverments; added to that FAKE agendas which have moved people to vote by fear of things they feel cannot accept (homosexuals as our married neighbors). A selective spin has created the godless democrats and holy republicans which is so utterly bizarre as to make the thinking amongst us just laugh in the face of profound stupidity. No accounting for the age you live in. Gallileo knew this, as did many others.

Republicans may always get more votes because they are (allegedly) the party of least taxation and fiscal responsibility. That DOES NOT MEAN that americans condone all the other social/relious agendas put forth, they just care more about their money.

Liberals cannot just 'change' who we are ideology-wise to fit the program of least resistance, although Hillary Clinton seems to think its alright for her. If I must protest on a local level I will, never to allow my children to be subject to christian prayer in school or if 'fantasy' is taught as the beginnings of man I will teach my children that the schools are WRONG, just as I protest McDonalds 5 food groups at my kids school right now. Corporate/Religious corporate indocrination is all the same to me. Ill fight for my freedom one on one. I dont need a President to do it for me.

Rationality does prevail eventually. I dont mind one smidgen not being the person or party of the least popular. Everything is not about winning. Its about being true to ones values.

The values are clear in the Constitution the way I see them. Intent. The intent was, to me, that religion and government remain separated for the good of all people, in that all may worship in their belief system and government remain free of religious bias .

On that I will never waver even if I do not see another Democrat as President in my lifetime.

Once Democrats get a backbone about their hearts and minds and agenda it will be their power point. If they keep buying what people are selling, which is selling out their souls, they will keep losing.
AuthorMusician
QUOTE
I suggest you take a look at the exit polls from 2000 when compared to 2004. This is a problem that is getting worse every election for Democrats.


Nemov,

Yes, well trends do change. Colorado's state legislature went Demo in 2004 (remarkable reversal), and the governorship (currently Republican) is up for grabs in 2006. I don't see any reason to don the cloth of the evangelical just to win elections. The demand for competent governing looks (to me) to be stronger than the demand for religion in government.

The Demos have traditionally kept religion as far away from government as possible, which has been twisted to mean that Demos don't like religion. Some might not, as some Repubs might not either. But we are talking perceptions here. Perceptions can be, and often are, wrong. And perceptions can change quickly.

So what is perceived as a Demo problem is actually a Demo strength. Make government work; let religion take care of itself. My perception is that the Demos will continue winning on the plank of competence versus wishful thinking.
Robert B
QUOTE(DaytonRocker @ Aug 31 2005, 06:36 PM)
To me, democrats are just anti-God. We're talking well beyond the separation of church and state. But generally, they seem to lay blame on religion every chance they get. Of course, this is only my opinion, but I don't seem to be alone.
*



Unfortunately, this absurd misconception is shared by many Christian conservatives in the US. And until the Democratic Party finds a way to pander to conservative Christians' sense of entitlement as visibly as the Republican party has done, the Democrats will be at a disadvantage.

AuthorMusician
QUOTE(Robert B @ Sep 11 2005, 12:40 PM)
QUOTE(DaytonRocker @ Aug 31 2005, 06:36 PM)
To me, democrats are just anti-God. We're talking well beyond the separation of church and state. But generally, they seem to lay blame on religion every chance they get. Of course, this is only my opinion, but I don't seem to be alone.
*



Unfortunately, this absurd misconception is shared by many Christian conservatives in the US. And until the Democratic Party finds a way to pander to conservative Christians' sense of entitlement as visibly as the Republican party has done, the Democrats will be at a disadvantage.
*



Robert B,

I very much disagree and see the pandering to Christian conservatives, for example James Dobson, as being not only phoney for Democratic Party (gonna get used to using that from a Casual Conversation thread) candidates, but a huge mistake as the grand ship of political perception changes course.

Since President Bush was reelected with only a 2% spread, the Dobson types have been pounding the podiums to claim the victory as their own. In other words, they think that they reelected President Bush, and now they want their paybacks. The swing voters who really did the reelecting are paying more attention to this, so it seems.

Then we have the oddballs reveling over how God is destroying this great country of ours piece-by-piece, and some who go orgasmic if it looks like the end of the world is close. I don't think this helps, although I do see it as the actions of fringe groups.

Perhaps more to the point is that conservative government in general is looking to be incompetent government, and that's the chink in the armor that the Demos can use to win elections. Trying to be Republican Lite hasn't worked, or if it has for past elections, then the resulting compromises make the Demos look as bad as the Republican leadership, so keep quiet. Thinking about going into Iraq here and how Kerry's vote for that action hurt him during the last election season.

Well, we'll see how this pans out in the 2006 elections, and probably the 2008 national campaign. Being religion-neutral while demonstrating a strong desire to get government working again could be the ticket. Incompetence -- does being religious excuse this in government?

It shouldn't. We'll see.
nemov
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Sep 12 2005, 03:05 PM)
Perhaps more to the point is that conservative government in general is looking to be incompetent government, and that's the chink in the armor that the Demos can use to win elections. Trying to be Republican Lite hasn't worked, or if it has for past elections, then the resulting compromises make the Demos look as bad as the Republican leadership, so keep quiet. Thinking about going into Iraq here and how Kerry's vote for that action hurt him during the last election season.
*



This topic keeps drifting off the point. Christians (for whatever reason) increasingly perceive the Democrat party as hostile to their beliefs. As the initial poll showed, there has been a dramatic shift in this perception since the last election. The quote above does not address this perception but discusses an alleged perception of “incompetent government.” I believe most conservatives would agree government is inherently incompetent maybe liberals will figure this out eventually.

As for “Republican Lite,” can someone point to a true liberal democrat that has been successful running for President the last 40 years? It wasn’t Carter and it certainly wasn’t Clinton. I am not sure it can be argued that Johnson or Kennedy qualify either.
BoF
QUOTE(nemov @ Sep 12 2005, 02:19 PM)
Christians (for whatever reason) increasingly perceive the Democrat party as hostile to their beliefs.


You use the term "Christian" quite loosely. Christians run the gamut from conservative to liberal and all shades in between.

I would suggest that whatever segment of Christianity you are talking about is the victim of a gigantic snow job--perhaps one unparalleled in history. rolleyes.gif

And just so I don't upset anyone, I won't use Karl Rove's name in connection with this. innocent.gif

Edited for clarification:

I did not say this perception stated with Karl Rove, but I will say that it has been orchestrated by Rove and company and the avalanche from this "snow job" has spread the perception.
EGVB
The Democrats and various nonpartisan liberals push the notion that Christians are oppressive, extreme right-wing Republiklans which are the cause of many of the nation's ills. I don't see how this can but distance the Democratic party from Christians in general. Seeing as how the majority of the country is Christian, alienating many of them does not spell success.
quarkhead
QUOTE(EGVB @ Nov 2 2005, 08:43 PM)
The Democrats and various nonpartisan liberals push the notion that Christians are oppressive, extreme right-wing Republiklans which are the cause of many of the nation's ills.  I don't see how this can but distance the Democratic party from Christians in general.  Seeing as how the majority of the country is Christian, alienating many of them does not spell success.
*



You've got this backwards. Many liberals believe that extreme right-wing Christians behave oppressively. It is the right-wing media that paints the picture of liberals being anti-Christian. The truth is the majority of liberals are also Christian. The perception you seem to have, if hammered into the people by a conservative media, may indeed be bad for the Democratic party - but not because it is actually true. Political parties have always tried to find ways of demonizing their opponents. The Democrats were very successful for a long time in painting conservatives with a broad brush as racist and insensitive to the poor. Republicans have in recent years found what might be a trump card - if they can convince enough people that liberals are anti-religion, they will retain power. We have seen this working in recent elections - where people have voted based on appeals to seemingly cultural values, and against their own economic interests.
Victoria Silverwolf
QUOTE(EGVB @ Nov 3 2005, 12:43 AM)
The Democrats and various nonpartisan liberals push the notion that Christians are oppressive, extreme right-wing Republiklans which are the cause of many of the nation's ills.  I don't see how this can but distance the Democratic party from Christians in general.  Seeing as how the majority of the country is Christian, alienating many of them does not spell success.
*




You do realize that the vast majority of Democrats are Christians, don't you?

Here's a random statistic:

Link

QUOTE
Most progressives are religious. For example, in 2000, 81 percent of Gore voters professed a religious affiliation. That’s within shouting distance of the 89 percent of Bush voters who professed a religious affiliation (2000 National Study of Religion and Politics [NSRP]).


Or consider the stated religious affiliation of members of Congress:

Link

To make as strong a case as possible for the notion that the Democratic Party is not "religion-friendly," let's assume all the members who are listed as "Unspecified" are Democrats and that they are all atheists (very unlikely.)

That's four members out of 154 -- 0.7% of Congress. Compare this with the figure for the general population of the USA -- 13.2%

The non-religious are under-represented in Congress by a factor of nearly twenty. The only possibility is that the United States government is extraordinarily "religion-friendly," and that includes both major political parties.

This simple fact makes me wonder why it should be seen that the majority of Democrats would attack something they believe in.

I suggest that the explanation is a simple one. The Democrats are not less "religion-friendly" than the Republicans, at least not by any meaningful amount. The major difference is that the Democratic Party is more willing to welcome the non-religious as well. The plain fact is that non-religious Americans are more likely to be liberal. (There are certainly non-religious conservatives as well, of the Ayn Rand type.) There's a huge difference between this fact and the perception that the Democrat Party is less "religion-friendly" than the GOP.

Can we spell out what the real truth is? Obviously, liberals are not going to be "friendly" to the Religious Right movement. If there were a significant "Religious Left" in this nation, conservatives would not be "friendly" to it, either. This is simply common sense.
quarkhead
QUOTE(victoria)
Can we spell out what the real truth is? Obviously, liberals are not going to be "friendly" to the Religious Right movement. If there were a significant "Religious Left" in this nation, conservatives would not be "friendly" to it, either. This is simply common sense.


Oh, there is a significant "religious left" in the US. They tend, however, to spend their time and money feeding the hungry and working for social justice, instead of using it to seek political hegemony.
kalabus
Speaking of religion and oppression did anyone watch Trading Spouses tonight?....Okay stop laughing at me for watching Trading Spouses...

Anyway that morbidly obese woman with the 3 inch gap between her teeth was what I see as everything that is wrong with southern christian mentality and how southern christians are oppressive to the non-religious or in this case less religious.

This insular obese woman I am talking about went on a tirade and broke down bawling because someone brought a guy claiming to be a psychic on a radio show. Her answer for any life problem was pray. Her friends were smug jerks who smirked and ridiculed the other spouse for belonging to a Unitarian church after having the audacity to allow that to be the first thing they asked her and then when she obviously views religion as a private thing they became insulting towards her.

I would say that it is the religious and religious organizations in this nation who oppress not simply the very small minority of non religious but oppress those who are not overtly religious while simultaeously falsly claiming it is they of all people who are being persecuted. Name me one atheist or agnostic in congress. It is fodder for the Bill O Reilly's of the world to stir the christian conservative masses. Playing this deceitful and dishonest game that it is the religious of all people who are persecuted by secularists. It is the insular and rightious religious who believe they speak for god who oppress others.
Julian
QUOTE(quarkhead @ Nov 3 2005, 06:49 AM)
QUOTE(victoria)
Can we spell out what the real truth is? Obviously, liberals are not going to be "friendly" to the Religious Right movement. If there were a significant "Religious Left" in this nation, conservatives would not be "friendly" to it, either. This is simply common sense.


Oh, there is a significant "religious left" in the US. They tend, however, to spend their time and money feeding the hungry and working for social justice, instead of using it to seek political hegemony.
*



Quite right, Quarkie

Plus, I'd say the "left" part of their philosphy makes them more likely to think that their religion should not be imposed on other people, certainly not through the political process.

Just as the very idea that media should attempt to be neutral is essentially a left-leaning one, the idea the church and state should be kept rigorously separate is also (I think) an essnetially left-leaning concept.

This would certainly seem to be the case in practise, anyway. It isn't generally the woolly, sandal-wearing liberals of Anglicanism (Episcopalianism in the USA?) that try to put religious symbolism on court house steps, or constantly refer to God in their political speeches.
still
QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf @ Nov 2 2005, 10:36 PM)
You do realize that the vast majority of Democrats are Christians, don't you?

It may be the biggest problem for Democrats that such things have to be pointed out. The fact that you had to quote statistics to prove this only goes to show how effective the radical right-wing media machine has become.

I, for one, would like to see Democrats attempt to drive a wedge between Right-Wing Christians and mainstream Christians. Highly paid campaign consultants would know better how to do this than I.

I don't agree with the philosophy of letting the far right wing of the Republican party self-destruct on its own. Sure, it may do that. But the Democrats are currently seen only as the minority party, the one that criticises because it is able to do nothing. It has not effectively communicated any sort of message that might be seen as an alternative to Republicans, it has only pointed out the flaws in the Republican system. Even if the right wing implodes, the result won't be that the Democrats will appear in shiny armor behind the smoke. (see: the temporary demise of the Moral Majority). They need a coherent nationwide campaign not unlike the Contract on America in 1994 to actually carry off the election.

It's my feeling that most people who are getting uneasy with the Iraq War, for example, are not willing to vote Republicans out of office on this issue because Democrats have not offered a viable alternative.

Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?
No. The distinction between being "friendly" toward religion and "tolerant" toward all faiths is huge to most people in the current climate.

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?
Emphasize those aspects of the Democratic platform that are in accord with mainstream Christian values. Have a coherent response to anti-abortion baiters. The radical right has been attacking for over twenty years, shouldn't someone have been taking notes? And would someone please get Howard Dean a spokesperson?

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?
It always has a negative impact on people who vote with their hearts and not with their brains.
Roswell
Personally I believe that the whole "moral" vote thing has been blown way out of proportion. The vast majority of the people in this country are religious and it spans all party lines.

There are just some issues that are flashpoints, gay marriage and abortion being the top on the list. There is a fallicous sterotype that if you support issues like those, then you are not very moral. And I think it is the reason why the myth of democrats being less religious friendly exists. I for one do not buy in to it.

I think the main problems that democrats face though is in the people that get all the publicity for the party. The Hollywood parade of moral degenerates does not help the image of the party as God-fearing in any way. Bill Maher openly ridiculues anyone that is religious and democrats worship him like a demi-god.

When the presidential candidate for the party has fundrasiers with folks like Whoopie Goldburg that turn into drunken profanity laced insults of the sitting president, it is to be expected that the party will not be taken serious as having moral authority.

It doesn't matter if the every-day democrat is religious if the image the party puts out is filled with behaviour that is opposite of that.
Gray Seal
I tried checking the original link today but it was out dated. I am not totally positive but I think the same study said 59% of the respondents thought Republicans were religion friendly. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Several people have attempted to put a left or right label to this issue. This is not constructive. Brights and people of various beliefs can be found all over the spectrum which is not just left and right. The only label which seems to be constructive is labeling the Republican Party as the home for those who wish to end the separation between church and state (and specifically their church).

The 30% difference seen between the Democrat and Republican Parties in the poll could be well attributed to this group. For all others(70%)the difference is a wash.

That 70% best be wary because of that 30%.

nemov
QUOTE(Gray Seal @ Nov 3 2005, 05:40 PM)
I tried checking the original link today but it was out dated.  I am not totally positive but I think the same study said 59% of the respondents thought Republicans were religion friendly.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Several people have attempted to put a left or right label to this issue.  This is not constructive.  Brights and people of various beliefs can be found all over the spectrum which is not just left and right.  The only label which seems to be constructive is labeling the Republican Party as the home for those who wish to end the separation between church and state (and specifically their church).

The 30% difference seen between the Democrat and Republican Parties in the poll could be well attributed to this group.  For all others(70%)the difference is a wash.

That 70% best be wary because of that 30%.
*



I believe the original link went to a Washington Post story. Here is the link to the Pew Results that the article cited. As I used to hear in Georgia, there is more data there “than you could shake a stick at.”
Gray Seal
Thank you for finding a link to the survey data.

I was off a tad on my memory. The Republican Party is friendly to religion by 55%, not 59%. The gist of my comments holds.
UriahFan
I find it almost impossible to side with Democrats on much of anything these days.
It appears that the party is laden with people that relegate Christians to voodoo priests.

No strike that, voodoo priests are far more welcomed.

It boils down to the concept of morality. The things that Christian ministers warned would happen so many decades ago, are labeled as diversity groups and civil rights issues by the "Left," that makes up so much of the shrill chants at most Democrat functions.

Unfortunataely the Republicans make Christians feel that their future is less harrassed by "conservatism." But the reaction to a non ivy-league supreme court nominee Harriet Miers, by the elitist right-wingers should hopefully wake up Christians to the fact that they are welcomed in the GOP, but it is clear as second class citizens.

Still, the Democrats led by the kinds of people like Ted Kennedy, is not going to win Christians over anytime soon.

Dingo
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?
Well the Democrats have generally been more successful at playing the Santa Claus card side of religion. Back in the days of Martin Luther King the democrats were definitely the place to be as a Christian. The Civil Rights Movement took on a Sermon on the Mount, "The last shall be first, as thou treat the least of these...", quality. But religion also has an exclusivist us-and-them quality which more or less appeals to folks desire for special club status. "I'm going to heaven and you're going to hell because you don't believe in the right God." Jerry Falwell is particularly focused on the exclusive country club religion approach and I think the Republicans attract this country club religion mentality, which is in the saddle now. Also the Republicans now have the overt theocrats, which was alluded to earlier.

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?
From a cynical standpoint they ought to take a cue from Sistani and issue something like a Fatwa, saying folks who don't vote democrat are going to hell. The Republicans already have a kind of unstated Fatwa going the other way. They are of course for "family values", which generally means no gay marriage and no abortions and prayer in the schools and the like.

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?
Well the Santa Claus side of Jesus is playing badly with the Republicans, what with New Orleans and all. It would be interesting to poll "which party is more in the spirit of Jesus?" The church as an institution and the spirit of faith are often treated differently. It remains to be seen how the religion card will play in 2006. I would guess that Christianity as a mark of status, particularly the bigoted, fundamentalist, exclusivist, theocratic variety, will continue to ride high. That should play to the Republicans.
johnlocke

QUOTE
Christianity as a mark of status, particularly the bigoted, fundamentalist, exclusivist, theocratic variety, will continue to ride high. That should play to the Republicans.


Ouch. Any evidence to support that notion???
Dingo
QUOTE(johnlocke @ Dec 6 2005, 07:26 PM)
QUOTE
Christianity as a mark of status, particularly the bigoted, fundamentalist, exclusivist, theocratic variety, will continue to ride high. That should play to the Republicans.

Ouch. Any evidence to support that notion???
*


Geez, there are a cornacopia of links. Here is one.

GOP as a religious cult
QUOTE
1980 -- A Watershed Year
Paul Weyrich, speaking in Dallas in 1980, captured the spirit of this new movement. He said,

"We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context."

Jerry Falwell, who became the leader of the Moral Majority said: "get them saved, get them Baptized, and get them registered."
--------------------------
Thousands of fundamentalist preachers participated in political training seminars that year, and by June, more than two million voters had been registered Republican. Their goal was to register 5 million by November. In the 1980 elections, the newly politicized Religious Right succeeded in unseating five of the most liberal Democrat incumbents in the U.S. Senate, and provided the margin that helped Ronald Reagan defeat Jimmy Carter. The year 1980 was the year that a sleeping giant was awakened, and the political landscape of the United States was dramatically altered.

Many other organizations formed in the eighties. The Reverend Timothy LaHaye founded the American Coalition for Traditional Values -- a network of 110,000 churches committed to getting Christian candidates elected to office.

<snip>

A year later, LaHaye was co-founder and first president of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a secretive umbrella group of far right leaders who meet regularly to plot strategy designed to advance a theocratic agenda.

"No one individual has played a more central organizing role in the religious right than Tim LaHaye," says Larry Eskridge of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, calling him "the most influential American evangelical of the last twenty-five years." (Rolling Stone, January 28, 2004.)

<snip>

James Dobson, host of the radio show Focus on the Family, founded the Family Research Council in 1983 to act as the political lobbying arm of his radio show. Because an estimated four million listeners tune into his radio show daily, the Family Research Council has remained a formidable lobbying organization.

And the highly secretive Council for National Policy was founded in 1981 to conduct three-times-a-year strategy sessions. The CNP was and still is an umbrella organization of right-wing leaders who gather regularly to plot strategy, share ideas and fund causes and candidates to advance the theocratic agenda. more

<snip>


You can mine google to your hearts content. Here might be a good place to start. There are over 4 million links.
Christian Republican right-wing


Edited to conform cited material to forum Rules.
KivrotHaTaavah
Dingo:

Bigoted? I saw nothing in your links that would support such a claim.

I otherwise found this quote from Bill Moyers most enlightening:

"True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American laws and morals ... it's the American way, encouraged and protected by the First Amendment. But what is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of America's great political parties. The country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is, and they are driving American politics, using God as a battering ram on almost every issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation, energy, regulation, social services and so on."

All concerned with have to forgive and/or indulge me, but is that Bill's, it's okay if they're house nigggers, and house niggers only, speech? But now that we've let them in the house, they've become a tad bit too uppity, and are starting to think that the political system is as much for them as it is for King Bill? Sorry again to all concerned for my use of the English language, but that's what he's saying, since while it's the "American way," the subject persons cannot "take over" one of America's "great political parties" but must instead know and keep their place.

Here is the reasoned response to King Bill and the miscreants over at Theocracy Watch:

http://www.cornellsun.com/vnews/display.v/...f3?in_archive=1

I trust that you can see the rather glaring hypocrisy involved, yes? They speak of dominion as a bad thing when that is the very thing that they aspire to. Orwell wasn't otherwise speaking of some far off time when he wrote 1984, as it was here then and it is here now, and so we have The Ministry of Condemnation of Dominion, which purportedly preaches against dominion while being the very embodiment of it....

Lastly, let me leave you with:

http://www.studentsforacademicfreedom.org/...jihad040604.htm

Sorry, one more. Back to bigots. Why? Because we do not advocate, endorse, and/or support homosexual conduct and/or homosexuality? Sorry, but that doesn't make us bigots, just humans, and humans who have a rather clear understanding that humans are a sexually reproducing species and so those who advocate, endorse and support things homosexual [as it were] are dehumanizing us [now, if we reproduced homosexually, then we heterosexuals would be the dehumanizers (as it were)]. Oh, and note that I didn't so much as once have to refer to any religious text to make the point. So it isn't my faith that you need be concerned with.


still:

There is no response on the abortion matter. And, again, we aren't radical. We understand human reproduction. A single cell that contained all that I ever was and am to become, or should I say, the expression of information, that's all that I am, and it was all there in a single cell, which if left to its own devices with no intervening calamity, would express itself to the fullest.

Welfare. Still a believer in chattel slavery, are you? Thought so, I mean, why else would you think that any person would have some prior claim on my body, which is what it means to claim that you have a right to the fruit/product of my labor and can tax me accordingly. Don't get me wrong, any Christian worth her or his weight in salt should be, in Pauline terms, living for the other and not for self, but as soon as we use the police power of the State to enforce that MORAL obligation, (1) your whole argument re faith and politics breaks down to the absurdity that it is, and (2) you find yourself an advocate and devotee of chattel slavery, at least in part. And so you don't have to hear it only from white me, the words of Themba Sono:

http://seattlecentral.edu/faculty/jhubert/sono.html

"In a free society, every person has the absolute right of property, first in his own person, and secondly, in the previously unowned natural resources that he finds, transforms by his own or hired labour (which latter he contracts for a mutually agreed fee) and then exchanges with others.
***
Some, in their inadequate understanding of the free market, have denounced it as a "right-wing" ideology characterised by great inequalities of wealth. Inequalities in a free market economy are, of course, based on the concept of rights — if I, or any person, have earned my money, it is mine alone to dispose of as I wish. It does not belong to those who have not earned it, even though I may choose to share it with them. That is, only I have the right to divide my wealth with whomever I choose. No person has the right to divide up other people’s earnings in the pursuit of his own goals."

I would lastly suggest that you use their faith for other purposes, since you will never get a sufficient number of them to see things your way re abortion, homosexuality, etc. But going back to "dominion," you might try equating the same with "stewardship" and then have those handbills and posters of that polluted lake, river, landscape, etc., bearing the caption Is This How God Would Treat This Lake? But instead of playing to them re issues that you could "win" on, you guys take the assured losers and then demonize them for being bigoted, fundamentalists, and that's a rather complete recipe for one long failure.

You might otherwise not lump us all in together, as the "dominion theocrats" are presumably best represented by the late Mr. Rushdoony, and as he himself said, nine-tenths of his opposition comes from the churches themselves.

Edited to add:

If this article paints an accurate picture, the Dems are in trouble:

http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/219...005-483525.html

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/106/54.0.html
Dingo
Bigot: A person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed, opinion.
Bigotry: Intolerance.
QUOTE
KT. we do not advocate, endorse, and/or support homosexual conduct and/or homosexuality?

If by that you mean that homosexuals should not have the same rights under the law as heterosexuals then I would say that is clearly bigotry. Your private feelings about homosexuals are as irrelevant as perhaps your distaste for the color purple. But if people want to wear purple I would say your distaste should not escalate to the level of denying them their legal rights to wear purple.

As for abortion and other matters, reasonable people can disagree. I simply note that those who take a biblical opposition to abortion, that is abortion is wrong because the God of the Bible says it is wrong, are imposing revelation as an argument within the public political sphere. That is known as theocracy. The founding fathers, from what I learned, wanted to see open debate on the rational merits of the issues. If one is simply declaring oneself to be the mouthpiece for God there isn't much room for rational debate is there?

Your comments on welfare and I guess socialism I think are getting pretty far afield so I won't bother to respond.

As far as our being the "stewards" of God's creation I find that frankly very appealing and would have no problem with that. I think you might have a much greater problem selling that to the armageddonists who think we are near the end times and therefore a long term stewardship of God's natural wonders is really irrelevant to the narrative they see unfolding. Recall anything coming from Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson or any of the rest of those generally rightwing fundamentalist Christian Republicans waxing poetic about preserving God's creations?

Your links, except the last, seemed mostly like narrow advocacy strawman pieces directed to the already converted. They didn't provide much meat to argue about. Feel free to extract some compelling point if you wish to get a response.

Finally why not address a religious imposition issue that has been in the news recently. That is the insistence that "intelligent design" ie. creationism be taught on an equal basis with evolution in biology classes. That to me is religious fascism of a dangerous order. Science is about evaluating evidence, not preaching the WORD. That's why we have tax free (ie. publicly supported) churches and sunday schools. No one is forcing you to promote Darwin in your sunday school classes.

The Schiavo case would be another example of where there appeared to be a religious divide. We can discuss that if you like in the context of predominantly republican and democratic religious politics.

To get focused on the subject of this thread, the advocacy of coercive religion is clearly on the conservative republican side of the ledger and as such works to the advantage of the republican party as you suggest. You can call the alternative a religion called secular humanism if you wish but until you clearly define what you mean by that I will just have to chalk that up to being a diversionary smoke screen employed to serve an implied if not stated theocratic agenda.

From a purely political stand point should democrats speak to evangelicals in the born again language that they understand as Mullane suggests? Probably. A votes a vote. If the balance of power were in the hands of the communists then they no doubt would be smart to learn to be sensitive to the belief that religion was, as Marx said, "the opium of the masses," employed by the ruling class to divert their thinking from their oppressed economic and social condition. As I said a votes a vote.
Jaime
CLOSED FOR STAFF REVIEW

REOPENED.

Let's be sure to be constructive and avoid inflammatory language in our debates.

TOPICS:
Can the Democrat party be successful if this perception persists?

What can the Democrat party do to improve its image with people of faith?

Will this have a negative impact on Democrats in 2006?

Dingo
QUOTE(KivrotHaTaavah @ Dec 14 2005, 07:49 PM)
 
I otherwise found this quote from Bill Moyers most enlightening:
*Note converted previous "......" to the quote function.
QUOTE
True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American laws and morals ... it's the American way, encouraged and protected by the First Amendment.  But what is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of America's great political parties. The country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is, and they are driving American politics, using God as a battering ram on almost every issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation,  energy,  regulation, social services and so on.


All concerned with have to forgive and/or indulge me, but is that Bill's, it's okay if they're house niggers, and house niggers only, speech? But now that we've let them in the house, they've become a tad bit too uppity, and are starting to think that the political system is as much for them as it is for King Bill? Sorry again to all concerned for my use of the English language, but that's what he's saying, since while it's the "American way," the subject persons cannot "take over" one of America's "great political parties" but must instead know and keep their place.

I think Moyers is simply pointing out the obvious. The main political players on the religious stage are Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and a host of others of their ilk who believe in theocracy, like OBL, and are a powerful influence in the republican party. Arguably you can say that they constitute the republican edge in recent elections for president and congress. And, apropos of this thread, the democrats are going to have to learn to speak their language to a degree if they want to have future electoral success. It's interesting that the last two democratic presidents, Clinton and Carter, both employed a language that appealed with some success to that crowd.



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