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Live Blog: Faith and Politics

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8:15 a.m. The Humphrey Institute's America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention kicks off this morning with a panel discussing 'Faith and Politics.' Moderated by Krista Tippett, Host and Producer of Speaking of Faith, the panelists are Richard Land (President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention), Steven Waldman (Co-founder, CEO and Editor, Beliefnet.com), and Jim Wallis (Editor, Sojourners).

8:25 a.m. Tippett states that the role of religion in presidential campaigns has been turned on its head in this campaign, with the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, quite comfortable talking about religion, while the Republican nominee, John McCain not so comfortable.

8:27 a.m. Wallis says religion is no longer a monologue by the religious right -- simply on issues like gay marriage and abortion. He says its now a dialogue also raising issues such as poverty, war etc. Wallis says the religious right is not a monolithic movement.

8:38 a.m. Richard Land says Evangelicals are 'absolutely giddy' over the selection by John McCain of Sarah Palin for vice-president.

8:41 a.m. Wallis says religion has been 'used and abused' at political conventions. In fact, according to a late June CBS poll, nearly half of registered voters nationwide (48 percent) believe it is inappropriate for political candidates to talk about their religious beliefs as part of their political campaigns, while half (50 percent) believe it is appropriate.

8:46 p.m. Waldman says that at the 2004 DNC there was one forum on religion, but in 2008 he said there more than he could attend - at least a dozen. He characterizes the Democrats moving in 'baby steps' towards a pro-life position. Land disagrees -- he says the Democratic platform is now more pro-choice.

8:50 p.m. Wallis says Democrats should make more of an effort make abortion reduction a priority.

8:53 p.m. An August ABC News / Washington Post poll found 54 percent of adults believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 44 percent believe it should be illegal in most or all cases.

9:02 p.m. Wallis says you don't get to say you're pro-life and then start more wars.

9:11 p.m. Waldman says the spread of the lie that Barack Obama is a Muslim (which a double-digit number of Americans believe) has been 'diabolical.'

9:20 a.m. Land believes McCain helped himself with the selection of Palin, although he had been getting a substantial number of Evangelicals in the Republican primaries. Evangelicals had lingering problems with McCain for the McCain-Feingold bill.

9:28p.m. Waldman believes when we look back at this era one of the greatest failings of religious leaders is their failure to come out strongly against the use of torture.

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1 Comment


  • Thank you for raising the question of the response of U.S. churches to the use of torture by the United States. Having listened to torture survivors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru, and having observed that very often their torturers were government employees, the tactics of some in the U.S. government are all too familiar. It has been clear that torture has been used by members of the U.S. government.

    The lack of comment by American churches and the American Medical Association has been notable and tragic. It shows a lack of understanding of the role and forms of torture. Torture is not used to obtain information. The goal of torture is to intimidate the public and maintain the status quo of those in positions of power. The lack of respect for individual human rights and the desire for control lead to justification of physical and psychological tactics long identified as torture by those who study the topic.

    Limiting freedom of speech, intimidating citizens to reduce the size of public protests, and holding people without charge or evidence are behaviors of governments that often coexist with the use of torture. Are we on guard for use of these tactics in the U.S.?

    The U.S. has lost the moral high ground. We can no longer effectively challenge other governments who use these anti-life tactics. We need the legal community, the medical community, and the Churches to strongly come out against acts of torture and intimidation. Let's hold our elected and appointed officials responsible for maintaining a truly democratic society.

  • Leave a comment


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