This magazine has long straddled the world of religion and politics, convinced that political awareness and engagement are part of faithful Christian living. We do so knowing full well that this territory is highly contested. One of the ways we gauge success is by whether we get criticism from different ends of the political spectrum. That happens a lot.
On the presidential campaign trail, Senator John Kerry (D., Mass.) is using the New Testament’s Letter of James to imply that the Bush administration may be long on expressing faith but lacks compassionate deeds in dealing with hunger and joblessness. Following Kerry’s appearance in a St. Louis church, a White House spokesman decried the ploy as “exploitation of scripture.”
In 1976 Jerry Falwell got a phone call from Jody Powell, special assistant to Jimmy Carter—a call that launched the Religious Right. Powell asked Falwell to tone down his criticism of Carter’s interview with Playboy magazine.
The release of President Bush’s “roadmap” to peace in the Middle East, designed to lead to a Palestinian state by 2005, brings to mind the famous New Yorker cartoon in which a scientist, after filling a blackboard with a complicated mathematical formula, ends with the words “and then a miracle happens.” A colleague observes: “I think there’s a problem with your last step.” In the case of th
Despite the size and historic importance of mainline churches, say sociologists Robert Wuthnow and John Evans, “their activities and the ways in which they seek to influence public policy are poorly understood.” Compared to the noisy political activity of conservatives and evangelicals, tha
I am not immune to the seduction of being invited to a White House briefing, nor of being called a “religious leader,” so I flew to Washington in mid-October (at my own expense) and showed up as instructed at the Executive Office Building. There were more than a hundred of us. I recognized three Presbyterian peers, pastors of large churches.