Consultant Urges Left Not to Mimic Religious Right

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Washington, D.C. – On this weekend’s “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy interviews the founder of a consulting firm that advises Democratic candidates to speak more openly about their faith.  Mara Vanderslice of Common Good Strategies tells Welton that while Democrats should not be afraid to discuss religion, they should not replicate the tactics of the Religious Right.


“Most Americans want to understand how religion plays a role in informing a leader’s character or moral bearings.  How does their faith inform, not dictate, but inform, their public policy positions?” says Vanderslice.


However, Democrats and progressive religious leaders need to be careful not to cross the line of the appropriate role of religion in politics as the Religious Right has done for years. “We do not want to do the nasty tactics of putting deceptive fliers in church parking lots or walking into houses of worship and taking them over.  That is not the goal of this work,” she says.


Rev. Gaddy asks Vanderslice about the nationally televised forum about faith and politics with Democratic presidential candidates this week.  Vanderslice echoes Rev. Gaddy’s concerns that several of the questions asked at the forum, sponsored by Sojourners and aired by CNN, were inappropriate and irrelevant.  For example, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien asked former Senator John Edwards to name the greatest sin he had ever committed in his life.


“There were a lot of us sitting in that audience who were very disappointed in the questions asked by CNN,” she says.  Also, Vanderslice objected to questions from CNN about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution, saying that it paints a stereotypical view of Christian religious values, while ignoring poverty and other moral issues.


Also on the show: Blogger Rev. Chuck Currie; Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, on the New Sanctuary Movement.


State of Belief is religion and radio, done differently.  State of Belief explores the intersection of religion with politics, culture, media, and activism. Through interviews with newsmakers and celebrities, reports from the field, and his own commentary, Rev. Welton Gaddy shows how religion and freedom are compatible and how the religious right is wrong for America and bad for religion.