Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Christian Evangelical Left: Lindy Scott's Incarnation of Christ at the Office of Management and Budget

Unitarian Universalist Denominational leadership and clergy have a pretty monolithic and predictable set of political beliefs. Just check the polling over at Philocrates.

Evangelicals and theologically conservative Christians have always seemed more politically mixed and open to me. For example in Illinois we have Liberal-Democratic Congressman and ordained Baptist-Preacher Bobby Rush .

Now the Evangelical's Vatican: Wheaton College offers Prof Lindy Scott running as a Democrat in Illinois's 6th District congressional primary against Maj. Tammy Duckworth and Christine Cegelis.

Political Analyst Rich Miller profiles the candidates here. (Includes a link to a lengthy Chicago Trib interview with Scott.)

I was startled to see Scott may well come in second in the race because of a well funded grass-roots base of leftist Evangelicals from Wheaton.That's exactly the kind of political diversity and openness I expected from Evangelicals.

It would be unheard of to see the same kind of breadth of political thought at Unitarian Universalist seminaries of Starr King or Meadville Lombard.

I find the Evangelical Left invokes Christ into a secular political argument in a way seldom seen among politically conservative Evangelicals.

Here's Lindy on the Implication of the Incarnation where he drags Christ, with Bible cites and all, into the Federal Budget.

Scott tells us Federal Budgets are moral documents. I want to agree with him but a little put off by the direct intervention of Christ and the Bible. After all, it's an immoral world often requiring compromise with the immoral.

I can't imagine George Bush or any Conservative Evangelical using God on my side quit like this. There certainly is an Evangelical Left and it's social gospel often mixes God and State in a very direct way.

Conservatives will draw on their faith to form a political statement, but they way Lindy writes this stuff, it almost seems conversion to Christianity is a prerequisite. I never get that feeling from the right.

Footnote: I'm a member of Geneva's Unitarian Universalist Society. My blog gets picked up by the national UU feed and like to tweak them sometimes for mumbo jumbo they write like this.

A Zogby poll released on Sunday, January 29, found that 0% of African Americans surveyed supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito
Zogby must have omitted Sowell.

CP at Bill Baar's West Side


Lolo,  2:27 PM  

Yeah, when you say 0%, you really should include the margin of error, because there usually is 2% of any group who support anything.

Sowell's an interesting guy. He is quite sharp and I like the way he uses economic thinking to analyze political questions. However, his columns too often descend into blind Republican or anti-Democratic partisanship so that it's as hard to read him as it is to read a Democratic partisan like Molly Ivins.

Bill Baar 2:44 PM  

I'm interested by people who don't label well... gay conservatives, african american conservatives, or evangelical leftists like Scott...

I think there are more of all them on there than people realize.

Scott did plunge over into the deep end with the incarnation stuff though... he crossed some line for me there. A line I never hear Bush cross. I don't think Scott did anything praticulary wrong, but if I lived in the 6th, I'd be tempted to pull a Dem Ballot and vote for Duckworth. Unless the Republican race for gov really gets close.

Weird we can do that in Illinois.

Angry Patriot,  7:52 PM  

Bill, you said you voted for Bush because of your faith. Does your faith support torture like that in Abu Ghraib and a gross incompetence in running a war by a cretin like Donald Rumsfeld who cares more about his pet theories than actually winning a war and trying to minimize casualties?

I totally supported the effort to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein both because I believed there were WMDs and because I thought the area was ripe for liberation. In fact, if you had asked me in the middle of 2003 who I'd vote for in 2004, I would have emphatically said George Bush. However, after seeing the way that he and his idiot lackeys screwed up the war so badly by not having enough troops to win the Peace and kill any nascent insurgency, then allowing looting to take place, for not at all realizing that democracy requires order, for not adequately armoring the troops, for allowing the torture to go on at Abu Ghraib and not immediately firing Rumsfeld, for not protecting the weapons caches from insurgents stealing them immediately after the invasion (an example of mismanagement and not enough troops), for unnecessarily pissing off our allies by not offering contracts after the war, et cetera. There was no way I could vote for a President who has led a war that has been as badly planned as Viet Nam. The only thing that has prevented a total disaster in Iraq has been the bravery of the US and coalition troops, and the perseverance of the Iraqi people, both of which have amazingly stood up against their two common enemies, the insurgent terrorists, and the deadly incompetence of Bush's Pentagon and White House.

I voted for Kerry in 2004, because he did support the war like I did, and I realized that if we didn't punish the incompetence of Bush, he'd just continue on with it and thus we'd have a very real chance of losing the war.

George Bush will likely go down in history along with Grant and Nixon as one of the worst 2-term Presidents because of the disgraceful way his administration ran the war in Iraq. If you're not convinced, you should read some Andrew Sullivan, a fellow supporter of the War who has been disgusted by Bush's handling of it, and for my money, by far the best blogger on the web.

Bill Baar 7:59 PM  

No, my faith does not support what happened at Abu Ghraib.

What happen there did reconfirm my faith in the US Army.

Read the Taguba report and the citations to the troops who blew the whistle.

I'm convinced that could only happen with American troops in the American Army. My faith in the US Army one of my strongest faiths...

Angry Patriot,  8:07 PM  

The fact that Rumsfeld is still our secretary of Defense after the murder and torture of Abu Ghraib shows that despite the fact that the Army as a whole is an institution of brave patriots who believe in what America stands for, the Bush administration either doesn't care or doesn't get it. Those incidents cost us a lot of our moral high ground in Iraq and in the Muslim world in general, and any President with half a brain or heart would have fired his Secretary of Defense after that, even if it was a few bad apples (although released documents do show that the Bush administration has since the beginning of the war supported torture; while they never called for murder or sexual abuse, there is no doubt that such a lax attitude towards torture could only lead certain soldiers to take the next step and turn torture to murder). I really don't see how someone could oppose what happened in Abu Ghraib yet still vote for the man who did not enforce any accountability in its wake (unless you voted for him for reasons completely unrelated to the war).

Angry Patriot,  8:11 PM  

Just to be clear, I'm not a liberal wacko. I plan on giving as much money as I can to John McCain so that someone with a brain and a heart who really understands and cares for what America stands for is our next President. He is a true Patriot, unlike Bush who again, either doesn't care about actually bringing democracy to Iraq and the rest of the world, or just doesn't get that it actually takes work to do it, not just to give a cute little state of the union speech.

Angry Patriot,  8:12 PM  

I meant inaugaration speech.

Bill Baar 7:38 AM  

I worked as a civilian computer programmer at the Army's Finance Office in Zweibrueken Germany. I was 27 and considered old. I had four uniform troops working for me and at the end of the day they would do some Army training.

I'll never forget when they worked through "torture" doing case studies like your single Mil Advisor to Commadante X in the jungle. He and hsi platoon begin slicing off fingers of a prisoner. Who have no authority here... what do you do?

I've never been so impressed as I was listening to 18 to 22 yo men and women seriously work through this stuff.

You have to spend some with the Army to appreciate how serious an institution its become. And it's only gotten better.

Here's the cite from the Taguba report on the guys at Abu Gharib who blew the whistle. Sadly, I don't think you'll find this kind of quality at Illinois prisons...

4. (U) The individual Soldiers and Sailors that we observed and believe should be favorably noted include:

a. (U) Master-at-Arms First Class William J. Kimbro, US Navy Dog Handler, knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the MI personnel at Abu Ghraib.

b. (U) SPC Joseph M. Darby, 372nd MP Company discovered evidence of abuse and turned it over to military law enforcement.

c. (U) 1LT David O. Sutton, 229th MP Company, took immediate action and stopped an abuse, then reported the incident to the chain of command.

Angry Patriot,  11:35 AM  

I'm not saying anything bad about the army. In fact I'm praising them for keeping Iraq from descending into a civil war despite the horrible mismanagement and lack of leadership from Washington.

The fact is though, any one wanted to win the War or who really cared about spreading freedom worldwide in the most effective way would not have voted for Bush in 2004, unless they were totally blind to reality. He can give a cute little Inaugaration speech, but that and a dollar will buy you a candy bar.

Philocrites 6:28 AM  

Bill Baar points to my post about the political inclinations of Unitarian Universalist ministers. He failed to point to a followup in which I summarized the voting patterns in Evangelical churches. (Bill knew about that post because he responded to it.) That data show that, unfortunately, most Evangelical denominations are every bit as monolithic and predictable in their political beliefs.

Here's the data:

The book I cited, "Pulpit and Politics" (Baylor Univ Press), gives the following percentages of Evangelical ministers voting for George W. Bush in 2000:

98% of Evangelical Free Church clergy (no votes for Al Gore)

93% of Presbyterian Church in America clergy (no votes for Gore)

91% of Assemblies of God ministers

90% of Nazarene pastors

89% of Churches of Christ clergy (not to be confused with the "liberal" United Church of Christ)

87% of Lutheran-Missouri Synod ministers

86% of Southern Baptist clergy

79% of Christian Reformed Church pastors

Mennonite Church USA pastors were the only Evangelical group discussed in "Pulpit and Politics" that split its vote evenly between Gore (30%) and Bush (37%).

Bill Baar 6:54 AM  

Yes, but you still leave off the African American Evangelical groups... as I noted before. And they're almost always Democrats.

We have such vocal and visible one's in Chicago,

Rush isn't the only Illinois politician who does double-duty. In addition to Rush in Congress, ministers from the city's African-American Christian churches also serve in the Chicago City Council and in the Illinois General Assembly. Shirley Coleman has served as Chicago's 16th Ward alderman since 1991, and James Meeks has been the state senator for Illinois' 15th District (which covers Chicago's Far South Side and southern suburbs) since 2003.

"There's a lot of government officials in the Bible," said Rush, when asked about the novelty of being both a minister and a public servant. "Nehemiah was a government official. So was Daniel."

"[Being a minister and politician] is the same thing," added Coleman, an ordained minister since 1994 who is pastor of the Spiritual Wholistic Church of Faith and Love at 1838 W. 50th St. "The only difference is that being an alderman involves serving a community of different faiths."

I suppose you could argue they're not Evangelicals, but I'd sure call 'em Holy Rollers and they mix it up with God and Politics in a way George Bush or our Jill Stanek here on Illinoze never do. Minister and Politican is no different for them.

You have to respect the enthusiasm Lindy Scott is getting from kids at Wheaton too. Philocrates you have to admit that would never be tolerated in a Unitarian Universalist seminary. Republican seminarians led by a Republican Theology Prof and talking right-to-life and liberation of Iraq would not be treated well. Not at all.

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