Politics

Poverty IS an Electoral Issue

Four years ago, Call to Renewal conducted a 12-day "Rolling to Overcome Poverty" bus tour to say that poverty was a religious and electoral issue. Despite our best efforts, the word was rarely spoken in either campaign, or in the presidential debates. This year, it's already different.

On Wednesday, John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama, which, of course, made headlines across the country. But at the Grand Rapids, Michigan, rally where the two men spoke, something even more important [...]

An Evangelical Manifesto

The church has a serious image problem. A recent book, unChristian, by Barna pollster David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons reveals much about how Millennials, the emerging generation - both those inside and around the church - view Christianity. The results weren't good. An overwhelming majority of young people view Christians as hypocritical, too judgmental, too focused on the afterlife, and too political in the worst sense of the word. And that image is often particularly true of [...]

Wright Ex-Factor

Over the last several days, I watched Rev. Jeremiah Wright in discussions of faith, theology, history, and culture on television. The three-plus hours I devoted to PBS and CNN amounted to some of the most sophisticated and thoughtful programming on American culture and racial issues that any news station has offered in recent years. And, for those who really listened to Rev. Wright, he moved from [...]

Immature Media or Mature Faith?

No two events in this political season stand in starker contrast than last night's ABC Democratic debate and last Sunday's CNN Compassion Forum.



Rather unbelievably, ABC anchors used 50 minutes of airtime attacking Democratic candidates on tabloid issues, including a line of questioning from George Stephanopoulos lifted from right-wing pundit Sean Hannity. Almost as an afterthought, the final questions turned toward actual issues including the economy and war. The ABC Web [...]

Questions of Substance at the Compassion Forum

Last evening, I was privileged to be one of the religious leaders asked to participate in the Compassion Forum, sponsored by Faith in Public Life and broadcast by CNN from Messiah College. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama participated; Sen. John McCain declined.


The religious leaders asked questions of real substance, focusing on difficult and important policy choices. We are not so much interested in the personal testimonies [...]

Exciting SBC Alternative Not Without Shortcomings

During the closing days of January, more than 15,000 Baptists from 30 different Baptist denominations gathered together at the Convention Center in Atlanta. Although all Baptist groups were invited to join in what was called The New Baptist Covenant, official representatives from the largest Baptist group in the U.S., the Southern Baptist Convention, were conspicuously absent. [...]

The Rev. Wright Effect; Rice on Race

We were never likely to get away with "transcending" race in this election as the early Obama campaign suggested to some. The demons of race in America simply run too deep and were bound to eventually rear their ugly heads. And so they did with the now infamous taped sound bites by Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the furious media response to them. I've said before that the constant replaying of the tapes has become a metaphor for the continual replaying of our old racial tapes in this country. [...]

Engaging with "A More Perfect Union"

Like many (I hope most) people, I was deeply moved and impressed by Senator Obama's speech on race. Almost as interesting as the speech itself have been the responses to it, which usually come in the form of opinions:the speech was good or bad or didn't go far enough or went too far, and so on.


Opinions often don't tell us much about the content of the speech - it's truth, beauty, or goodness - they tell us more about the perspective, bias, fears, hopes, and interests [...]

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