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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
(10:48 PM) | Stephen:
Religious Consultants Don't Help Us

I understand that campaigns require consultants and the expertise they bring. But it's getting out of hand. For Democrats to hire "religious political consultants" is utter stupidity.

Religion is not advertising. It is not blogs or PR or grassroots organizing. It's none of those things. Hiring a "religious consultant" means that you have a problem with religion. There's something wrong, some wall between your campaign and religious people, so you bring in an "expert" to solve the problem.

Is there a candidate for the Democratic nomination that hasn't made a statement or written a book or something detailing just how important their faith in Jesus Christ is? Is there anyone currently running who hasn't expressed how their political affiliation and priorities is directed by the Bible and their personal, deep, vibrant relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Bright and Morning Star, the Alpha and Omega?

No, there isn't. But these idiots are hiring "religious consultants" because they've bought into the lie that Democrats have a "God gap," a problem with religion. When are Democrats going to realize that Republicans do not want to help them? The GOP says we have a "God gap," so we hire religious consultants. They say we appear weak, so we hire people to make us more manly. They say we're boring, so we hire people to change our freakin' wardrobe. This is not a winning strategy.

And these consultants - whatever they're getting paid, it's two times too much. Look at this nonsense from Mara Vanderslice:
The Republican Party and the right wing in this country have had a strategy of reaching out to Catholics, white Protestants, evangelicals going back for 20 years. . . I had heard that [the Republicans] had at least 10 staff people in many of the key battleground states, paid staff people working on reaching out to the religious community.
Wrong. Look, the GOP is the conservative party, and religious groups always have a high number of naturally conservative people in them. It's a simple fact of the human psyche. Those "staff people in many of the key battleground states" were not "reaching out to the religious community." They were coordinating efforts among Republican party members who had already set themselves up among congregational lines.

Does this mean that Democrats are at a disadvantage when it comes to religious voters? Of course it does. But so what? The people who form the core of the Republican Party are the antithesis of everything that we Democrats believe. They are not going to support our candidates. They are not going to support our bills. They are not going to support our initiatives. Nothing is ever going to get them to switch sides.

The "God gap" that has existed for the Democratic party is not the fault of atheists, not the fault of Democratic politicians, is certainly not the fault of the potty-mouthed bloggers. Religious progressives, specificaly Christian progressives, have for too long abdicated their responsibility to speak up for their political beliefs. For too long they have tried to hold themselves above the political fray, to cling to some form of artificial righteousness by not getting involved in this country's political process. That's the "God gap."

And even now the problem is being solved. Religious progressives have started to organize. We've started to let our voices be heard on the internet, in the newspapers, to our representatives in state capitols and DC. Don't insult us by hiring people to teach you how to speak in religious catchphrases. Don't pander to the Religious Right and expect us to applaud. Quit spouting nonsense like:
we really need to engage in a more thoughtful debate on the abortion issue in this country. I can't tell you how many times I had conversations with people of deep faith [who] said, "I support you [and] everything you are doing on every other issue except for this one.
We religous progressives have our theological reasons for supporting a woman's right to reproductive choice - yes, that's right, very few of us are "pro-abortion." But we're all in favor of people being free under the law to make the hard choices of life, in consultation with family and clergy or no one at all.

It will take time for the religious progressives of this country to fully exercise their potential. But hiring religious consultants so that Methodist, Southern Baptist and Catholic candidates can "reach out to us" is only making it harder for all of us.

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