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Monday, March 27, 2006

 
The Liberal Clergy Gets Serious

by digby

We've had quite a few discussions about religion on this blog lately, which led me to believe that there is a serious need for the religious left to assert itself and make a case for Democratic religiosity. The Republicans simply do not own the church and they have no right to claim they do.

But I, being a non-believer, cannot make that case effectively. I can't even discuss it in terms other than dry pragmatic political language. So, I'm thrilled to read through Street Prophets that the United Church of Christ has teamed up with Media Matters to "fight the pronounced tilt toward the Religious Right in mainstream media news." Pastordan writes:

The conclusion is hard to escape: unless you're Jesse Jackson (and it's before 2001), if you're on Sunday morning television to talk religion and politics, you're almost certainly white, male and conservative, and you probably don't represent anyone other than your own advocacy group. Is it any wonder that public discourse about religion has become so distorted in the past few years? The news shows have stopped talking to people who do religion in favor of people who talk about "religious values," and usually from a particular perspective.

That's a real filter, and it doesn't just hurt faithful progressives. It hurts our churches, temples and mosques as well, by buying into the spin that conservative activists - who can give great soundbite on politics - represent the true face of faith in America. For that matter, it hurts all denominations, who are usually more interested in doing good than playing political footsie with the Republican party.

So thank God there's a way to fight back. The first action is a letter/e-mail campaign to ask ABC why it is there's such an imbalance on their news shows. Drop them a line, and let's get this party started. It really has been too long that we've allowed the hucksters and bigots to speak for us.


And the UCC will be running a new ad soon as well, if the networks will play them. Today's New York Times reports:

The church will return on April 3 with a second commercial, also from Gotham, titled "Ejector Pew." The spot depicts a smug, traditional-looking family looking askance as they are joined inside a church by worshipers who are significantly different from them.

Suddenly, the worshipers who are disabled or elderly, or who appear to be gay, Hispanic or of Middle Eastern origin, are forcibly ejected from their seats. "God doesn't reject people," the commercial says. "Neither do we."

This time, the campaign, with a budget estimated at $1.5 million, extends well beyond television. The intent is to stimulate conversation and debate with so-called viral efforts that are to include a substantial online presence, on Web sites and blogs; chain letters, in the form of e-mail messages; audio podcasts; posters; events at local churches; and even merchandise like decals, tote bags, pens and golf balls bearing the phrase "God is still speaking," which is the campaign's theme.


Smart stuff.


Click over to Street Prophets for links to the ad.



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