Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Democrats Can Come Clean About Their Liberal Religious Motivations


My colleague Ben Knoll and I were interviewed by Bill Goodman, of Kentucky Educational Television, for a podcast on religion and politics.

One development in this election that may shape the future of religion and politics: the explicit articulation of liberal Christian positions by the Democratic candidates.  Hillary Clinton has long said that her politics have been shaped by the Methodist Social Creed, which she learned from her youth group leaders as a teenager.  And Tim Kaine has exemplified Catholic Social Teaching, especially as propagated by Jesuits, all his life.  Both have made their faith, and their religious motivations, central to their story in this campaign.

The Christian ethic of "care for the harmed" has long driven liberal political action.  Usually, though, liberals who are religiously motivated don't say so publicly, for fear of "shoving their religion down other people's throats."  Which is, seemingly paradoxically, one of the defining religious beliefs of religious liberals.

I hope after this election that candidates in both parties will feel equally free to talk about their religious motives and religious conclusions in shaping their policies and commitments.

2 comments:

Dennis Evans said...

Do you mean that their fear of shoving their faith down others' throats is an article of their belief, or that shoving their faith down others' throats is their article of faith? Sorry for asking. In my preparation for the ministry in what is now the Presbyterian Church USA, I found the liberal members of the "preparation for ministry committee" were very hard on me because I was an evangelical. They described me as being too "narrow" to fit in our church. They said that if I was serious about going into the ministry I should consider another denomination. They got better as the committee evolved and changed some of its membership. But it was very hard. So I am inclined to interpret you in my favor. I think liberals have been very imperialistic. But I have not run away, nor have I changed much in my biblical interpretation or theology. I get so frustrated with the evangelicals for running away.

Gruntled said...

Actually, I think your story proves my point: they were worried that, as an evangelical, you would shove your beliefs down other people's throats - thus violating what they see as a basic tenet of the church.