Dan over at tdaxp has an interesting post about a billboard that reads, "Jesus Cares for the Poor, so do We", pictured to the right. He writes:
"A good start by South Dakota liberals, if a hopeless one. The biggest 'liberal' church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is regularly ignored by its members and in terminal decline. The state Presbyterian Church (USA) [DEL: I believe he means PCUSA] worshipers are in loud revolt against the national leftists. The fastest growing churches are known for their conservatism -- the Catholics, Mormons, Orthodox, and 'Baptists.'
But at least they have some 4GPS2 force. After all, half of the battle is just showing up. (The other half is winning.)"
I wrote in the comments section of his post:
" I would imagine the billboard above makes most evangelicals laugh or bewildered rather than to think about how Democrats support religious values.
The best line of attack Democrats have regarding identifying with religion is caring for the poor. However, evangelical, socially conservative Republicans care for the poor as well. Both groups go about it differently. While Democrats often see Republican efforts to promote individual responsibility as cruel or uncompassionate, Republicans see mass social welfare as creating an entitlement, victim class.
Socially conservative, evangelicals also believe the church should be the center of providing aid to the needy, not government, which they often distrust from doing so properly.
I think it is better to teach a man how to fish than to give him a fish, as the old Chinese proverb says. Democrats are wasting money with billboards such as those above.
Your comments about the liberal American churches dwindling is very true. Most churches are more conservative than their leadership, because activists tend to be more liberal. This is very true of church networks. Those content with the status quo do not usually pursue larger church leadership positions.
I have attended 5 Presbyterian churches (PCUSA), all in Southern California, of decent size during my lifetime, and they are all far more conservative than what is reported in the news about the PCUSA leadership decisions.
Until Democrats stop working to remove the word "God" from all areas of life save when one is alone in private, the religious community cannot embrace the Democrat party. As your Sorosnet post describes, the areas with money and influence in the DNC are not the moderates. The Democrats will be in the wilderness for some time to come. I pray they find religion. But based on what lessons they choose to learn from Republican defeats (usually the wrong ones), I sincerely doubt it.
Thanks for the post.
I am curious what other readers and bloggers think about the campaign. Maybe Citizen Z will weigh in as well, being a Christian Democrat. Feel free to write in my "Comments" section below or cross post on Dan's site as well. I will update this link if we have a good thread of thought.
Update: John Gillmartin at Sheep's Crib has some interesting commentary here and also links to the orignal picture (thanks for doing the research).
Update 2: Sandi at Vista on Current Events has this post with a very witty analogy:
"A guy passes by a bake sale and sees a pretty girl, a real hottie. He goes over and feins interest in her pies, cookies and baked wares. The guy strikes up a conversation and talks at length about how much he likes her bake wares. He doesn't buy any of course because he is only interested in what she could do for him, and she understands that his drool is for her and not the wares.
That is just what this Democratic ploy is, and holding hands with Jesus will get Christian votes about as likely as the guy looking at the baked goods will get into the bakers nickers. Both ploys are about as transparent as a bay window."
She found the post from Lorie Byrd on PoliPundit. Lorie has this take:
"When I read this my first thought was about how the difference between the two approaches is often highlighted during elections when the tax records of the candidates are made public. I recall specifically the 2000 election when the charitable contributions of Bush and Gore were released. I don’t recall the specific numbers, but Bush had given a sizable amount to charity and Gore had given virtually nothing.
It is not fair for Democrats to say that they care more about the poor because they want to let government do the work, rather than individuals, churches and community groups. It is especially unfair to say that Republicans care less for the poor because they believe that churches and community groups can do a better job tending to the needs of the poor than some government bureaucrat."
Lorie also has over 70 comments on her post if you are interested in a larger dialogue than here. (May 14, 2005)
Update 3: Laer at Cheat-Seeking Missiles writes:
"It is interesting to try alternative headlines and see how they work:
Jesus Cares for the Unborn, so do We.
- Jesus Supported in the Death Penalty, so do We.
- Jesus Healed the Sick without Government Money, so do We.
- Jesus Told the Woman at the Well to Stop Sleeping Around, so do We.
- Jesus Believed He was the Living Son of God, Sent to Die and Rise from the Dead to Sit at the Right Hand of God, so do We.
...I don't think the billboards will hurt the Dem base much, though. Religious Dems will relate to the "Help the poor" line as both Christians and Dems. Unbeliving Dems will forgive the party its sins, knowing this billboard is more about politics than beliefs."
(May 15, 2005)