Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Democrats must reclaim moral ground

Jim Kelley of Atlanta has written a nice op-ed piece for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here are some excerpts:

...Our country has definitely shifted hard to the right. By appealing to people's fears, right-wing religious leaders and political operatives — such as Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Karl Rove — have redefined what is mainstream in America. The political center has disappeared and what were only a few years ago considered right-wing fringe positions are now accepted as mainstream.

So what are liberals to do?


In order to be significant and to make a difference, the liberal wing needs to become the most vocal and outspoken part of the Democratic Party. We cannot be afraid to be called "liberal." It is not a four-letter word. We need to be true to our own moral values and articulate our views in calm and clear ways that will appeal to the voter.


As long as we remain a secular left instead of a religious left, we are doomed to be on the fringe of American society. It is not enough for our political candidates to "find religion" just to grab a few more votes. The voters will see through that in a heartbeat. Liberal religion must come from the heart. Liberals must begin articulating our own positive "moral values."

Jesus would not have thought it fair to give a tax cut to the ultra-rich while giving crumbs to the poor.

Jesus would be appalled with the lies that we were given as reason to invade Iraq and would condemn the modern-day religious crusade that we have started.

Jesus preached inclusion and compassion and included people who were considered outcasts in his society, such as lepers and prostitutes, among his followers. I am sure that he would have had compassion on gays and lesbians and would have condemned the recent effort to use the law to restrict their full rights as citizens.

Jesus was never afraid to criticize the politicians of his day but he never supported one faction over another. The intertwining of religion and politics that we have now and the corrupting influence that it has on both our church and political leaders would appall him.

The radical religious right feels that it has a monopoly on morality. It does not. We need to remember that and not be afraid to speak out about our values. People might not always agree with us, but if we have the courage to remain true to our convictions, they will respect us.


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