Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Religious Right Leadership

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, McCain’s pastor problems resulted from endorsements from high-profile pastors. I believe pastors and religious leaders have the right and duty to speak out on issues, but I question whether it is appropriate for them to publicly endorse candidates.

In addition, the so-called Religious Right’s leadership is changing in a number of different ways. The “old guard” is either dead (Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy), disgraced (Ted Haggard), senile (Pat Robertson), or losing influence (James Dobson, Gary Bauer). The conservatives are finally waking up to the fact that there are more issues facing this country and the world than just abortion and homosexuality. In the past, the conservatives let the liberals take ownership of most of the other important issues facing the nation, such as conservation, pollution, and various justice issues.

As a result, the conservatives were considered narrow-minded, uncaring, and out of touch. Moreover, because the Left had ownership of these other issues, the proposed solutions took on the flavor of the extremists rather than more moderate (and doable) solutions which require compromise. Because the extremists typically don’t compromise, most of these issues aren’t being adequately addressed.

Now the new “Religious Right” is taking on these other problems as well, which is great. Think about the serious problems this country is facing:
·high cost of energy (which impacts the poor disproportionately);
·dependence on foreign sources for oil (making us vulnerable to the whims of both the marketplace and unstable and hostile regimes);
·higher costs for food (again hits the poor hardest);
·lack of universal health care;
·unfavorable trade balance;
·running a huge deficit in the federal budget (which hits the next generation hardest);
·a social security system that will eventually be in big trouble;
·and high levels of air pollution that might be causing at least some of the climate change.

When you add all those up, abortion and homosexuality seem less important, yet Dr. Dobson a couple of months ago said he wouldn’t vote if the Republican candidate wasn’t pro-life. He has now changed his mind, and said of course he will vote – it’s his right and his duty. Let’s hope the conservative leadership continues to address the critical issues facing this nation, and get away from their narrow agenda.

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