Religious Leaders Clash on ‘Meet the Press’

This is a New York Times article. If you want to read the whole thing you need to register, otherwise here are a couple of sections and my thoughts.

Focusing on the intersection of faith and politics, four religious leaders illustrated in a television appearance today just how passionate and difficult dialogues on such topics can be.

The sometimes heated discussion, which focused on abortion and gay marriage, played out on the NBC News program “Meet the Press” with the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority; the Rev. Al Sharpton, the minister-politician who ran in the Democratic primaries; Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine; and Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Commission.

The question of a moral divide has come more sharply into focus since the presidential election earlier this month. In an Election Day poll 22 percent of voters named “moral values” as the issues most important to them, and 80 percent of those people voted for President Bush. Critics, however, have argued that the phrase “moral values” is too ambiguous, covering everything from abortion to sexually explicit material on television.”

I don’t see any of these men as being representative of me and my religious beliefs. Since I am a firm advocated of a separation of church and state it doesn’t totally bother me. But since moral values seem to be such a key component of the current public arena I do like knowing where they stand.

“God is not a Republican or a Democrat,” Mr. Wallis said. “That should be obvious.”

I love it and agree completely. Unfortunately I have a feeling that for a while we are going to face a period of time in which religion is going to be used as a political tool to a much larger extent than it has been in the past.

Some of this may be cyclical, but it is just as important now as it has ever been for us to be vigilant in watching out for the rights of all people, not just those who claim to have G-d on their side.

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