Democrats Running Ads on Christian Radio

There's been a lot of attention paid here at BlueOregon to the growing sector of "Faithful Democrats" nationally and in Oregon. Jim Wallis visited in September, and contributors Jeff Alworth and Steve Bucknum have explored the role of religion in politics. At the DPO Convention this summer, a religious outreach workshop was organized and there is now a faith caucus in the state party.

Now it seems that House Democratic candidates Rob Brading and Chuck Lee have both been running radio ads on Christian radio stations - discussing their own faith and how it informs their values.

“My father taught me that living by God’s Law makes life easy—all you have to do is tell the Truth and you’ll be fine. But he also taught me that the Truth needs courage and firm convictions to survive.”

-Charles Lee, Democratic Candidate for House District 25

"As a preacher’s son, my family’s faith sustained us. It instructed us, comforted us and ultimately forged a set of values that became the foundation of my life."

-Rob Brading, Democratic Candidate for House District 49

Listen to the Brading ad (mp3), and listen to the Lee ad (mp3).

Learn more at the Oregon House Democrats blog. Discuss.

Comments

  • K (unverified)
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    It's about time.

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Amen.

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    It's a sad, even ironic comment though, that progressive candidates have to "advertise" on christian media in order to dispel the myths the GOP has built around religion and faith-based issues and begin the long process of showing conservatives that Democrats believe in God.

  • Sponge (unverified)
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    The only thing "sad, even ironic" about this is the fact that this niche audience has been largely ignored by the progressives, up to now, giving nominal credence to the myth that they shun religion.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    This is further evidence of the Democratic Party’s slide to the right in an effort to broaden support for the party. The likely result will be to alienate the core Democratic base which will view this as pandering to the evangelical fringe which the Repubs already have sewn up.

    In one sense it is a smart move since religious voters are more motivated and more inclined to actually cast a vote in an election unlike the under 40 crowd who the Dems courted in ‘04, to disappointing results. But the likelihood of convincing religious voters the party has suddenly “gotten religion” is hard to swallow.

    In addition this confirms the idea of the two parties being basically the same in the view of independent voters. A lose-lose strategy for the Dems, no mater how you slice it.

    The Dems would do better to grow a spine and accentuate historical distinctions between themselves and the Repubs instead of trying to beat them at their own game.

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    Hey, way to assert that only Republicans are people of faith, Buckman. Too bad it's a freaking lie. How would it backfire with Democrats, particularly those of faith? How is acknowledging spiritual belief a move to the right?

    BOOO--false framing alert!!

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
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    Buckman Res:

    I disagree with your assumption that Christianity is somehow right-wing. Of course there are Christians who are die-hard Republicans. And of course the Democrats are never going to woo them.

    But there are a lot of Christians who hold, well, Christian values like honesty, kindness and charity. And those Christian values are also progessive values.

    If the Democrats don't reach out to progressive Christians, progressive Christians won't realize that, at heart, they're Democrats.

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)
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    There is a sense that the Democratic party has been hijacked by secular progressives, much like the religious right infiltration of the GOP. There's some truth to both arguments, though both are overblown IMO.

    I personally know more than a few church going, christian folks who consider themselves progressives and vote Democrat. Last I checked, Jimmy Carter was still teaching Sunday school in the Southern Baptist Church. You would be hard pressed to call the political views of people like Jim Wallis anything but liberal progressive. Also know plenty of conservative leaning types who I'd classify as agnostics and detest the influence of the religious right in the Republican party. I think the late Barry Goldwater summed it up best: "Every good Christian should line up and kick Jerry Falwell's ass."

  • LT (unverified)
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    Great comment, Joe!

    My brother has a saying "Love God, trust your neighbor, never mistake opinion for truth". My brother supported Kerry.

    The people who say "secularists supported Kerry" or such rhetoric are just driving away people who think for themselves.

  • truffula (unverified)
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    growing sector of "Faithful Democrats"

    Growing sector? We've been here all along, it's just that now the Democratic Party has an interest in labelling us. I've never seen numbers but I imagine that a majority of elected Democracts consider themselves religious and attend religious services. These ads seem like a good start at getting that message out to an audience who's probably been told something quite different.

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    Posted by: Joe12Pack | Oct 26, 2006 1:47:23 PM There is a sense that the Democratic party has been hijacked by secular progressive

    How is having a platform which welcomes both people of faith and those who are atheist, and protects freedom of religion 'highjacking' the Democratic Party?

    So atheists and free-thinkers are not welcome in any party and if they do participate that makes them high-jacking said party?

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)
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    "So atheists and free-thinkers are not welcome in any party and if they do participate that makes them high-jacking said party?"

    Well that's just silly. Ideally, a party can pull off the big tent thing, drawing in people with divergent spritual beliefs who share common political goals. Easier said than done, of course.

    However, it's high time the Democrats and left-leaning christians stood up and challenged the false perception that all progressive-minded folks are "godless liberals".

  • Bill (unverified)
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    The tough thing about believing in God is that it requires one sometimes to patiently suffer the scorn of members of one's family, friends, church or political party (whether dem or repub) when they find you disagree with them and are labeled a communist or fascist. Then one needs courage. Then we find out what we're made of and whether we believe in God or whether maybe the party or popularity is our real religion. As the Teacher warned us: "woe to you when all people think well of you."

  • LT (unverified)
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    However, it's high time the Democrats and left-leaning christians stood up and challenged the false perception that all progressive-minded folks are "godless liberals".

    TRUE! But it is also important to realize that this has been going on for the lifetime of some of the younger BO folks.

    Jimmy Carter reportedly has written about this in some of his books--he has spoken about it in book interviews. If it were solely about religion, why was a Baptist Sunday School teacher turned on by the likes of Falwell?

    What some of us remember was that a segment of vocal people (mostly of the evangelical/ S. Baptist persuasion) who turned on Jimmy Carter because they didn't like his politics. Some people forget that the 3rd party candidate in 1980 had been challenged from the right for his previous Congressional election. No secularist he--a former Evangelical Layman of the Year! But like many others not of the "Moral Majority" or the "Christian Right", he thought for himself and didn't think the divorced and re-married movie star should be the nominee of the Republican Party.

    And early in the 1980s, there was a debate over organized school prayer where some clergy and church members who took the first several verses of Matthew 6 (before the Lord's Prayer) seriously and thought it should be a private matter rather than public prayer, and the "Moral Majority " types who wanted a prayer they had written (or a moment of "silence" where it would be OK for a teacher to tell students what to think about as they were silent) in all public schools because they said so.

    I tell all this history to say YES, it is important to be polite to everyone (don't say you don't agree with another person's religion or make a face when they say they can't come to something on Sunday morning because of church or their vote is based on their religious belief).

    However, this "Democrats are hostile to religion" nonsense is propaganda, and never forget that.

    There were those who criticized Howard Dean's choice of local church--he was supposed to stay in the church he'd grown up in or some such rot. Why is that a question for politics? And there were claims that the church he attended (a denomination famous in New England history) was somehow "secular". Look up the definition of "secular". I think it means not belonging to a church--so how can a church be "secular"? Because it is not approved by evangelicals? (And I don't mean all evangelicals, just the Falwell/ Robertson crowd who have alienated many religious people who find Billy Graham closer to what they believe.)

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    We Democrats are the ones, whether we are personally secular or religious, who believe in defending everyone's freedom of religion, no matter what their religion or lack thereof.

    Hostility to theocracy is not hostility to religion.

  • Zak J. (unverified)
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    Jesus is a liberal.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    If a person disregards the politics of religion one finds that most religions espouse a core idea very similar to the Dem Party's. I don't find it incongruous to advertise on religious radio. I do find it offensive to state that "I'm a good candidate because I am religious." There's a difference between saying my policies have congruence with your faith and your faith is my policy.

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    I agree that the Democrats have done little to dispel the myth that they are a "godless" party. One of the groups I belong to is Faithful America. They help to bring to light some of the issues not being dealt with and encourages people to email legislators.

    When you let someone walk all over you on a single issue, then it's no wonder your party starts taking a bad rap in terms being viewed negatively.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    My brother has a saying "Love God, trust your neighbor, never mistake opinion for >truth".

    But belief in god (and which god? Zeus? Baal? Yahwe? That pagan trio, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost? Brian?) IS an opinion. There's no evidence to support the actual existence any of these imaginary friends.

    And while Americans have the absolute right to express their unsupportable beliefs and to assemble to discuss them, I look forward to a day when voters spouting such evidence free fantasies - many of them violent, homophobic and misogynist - are NOT pandered to by Democrats or allowed to set public policy (e.g., bans on stem cell research, unequal application of Constitutional protections, dumbed down science teaching in the public schools, etc.).

    If you have no evidence for your beliefs, you have simple prejudice, and prejudice - even religious prejudice - does not deserve Democratic support, or public respect.

    Entertaining, informative, and critically important - biologist Richard Dawkins speaks and writes a lot more eloquently on this subject. He'll be at Powell's Books downtown tonight, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27th at 7:30pm. Check him out.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Good point, Chuck.

    I think the difference is between "My faith compels me to vote this way" (fine as far as I am concerned) vs. "My faith tells me you should believe..."

    The first tells you the politician's thought process and then leaves the decision to you about whether to support that politician. The second comment is too close to theocracy for me.

    And I think Bill gave us a great definition of secular.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    I think the difference is between "My faith compels me to vote this way" (fine as far as I am concerned)

    "I'm voting for Ted Kulongoski because I have faith that Zeus would like him, too."
    Hmmm...still makes me wary

    And most religions - if you read their texts - demand a choice between unquestioning evidence-free belief and killing the infidel... I love the moderates, though - they'll just pick and choose (based on what?) which evidence-free Bible/Koran/Odyssey quotes to buy wholesale. No stoning. But hmmmm...Baal says lesbians can't marry. I'll pick that. Let's amend the Constitution.

    And I think Bill gave us a great definition of secular.

    Cheers! Bill

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    But belief in god (and which god? Zeus? Baal? Yahwe? That pagan trio, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost? Brian?) IS an opinion. There's no evidence to support the actual existence any of these imaginary friends.

    Nor any evidence against, for that matter. As my college astronomy instructor once noted when pressed, "It's true, no information crosses over the big bang."

    And while Americans have the absolute right to express their unsupportable beliefs and to assemble to discuss them, I look forward to a day when voters spouting such evidence free fantasies - many of them violent, homophobic and misogynist - are NOT pandered to by Democrats or allowed to set public policy (e.g., bans on stem cell research, unequal application of Constitutional protections, dumbed down science teaching in the public schools, etc.).

    It's hard to keep in mind given the world we live in today but while religion has been the inspiration for much of the worst in humanity it has also been the inspiration for much of the best.

    We all believe things that are not provably true. "All men are created equal" and other value judgments are fundamentally matters of belief, not science.

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)
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    "Jesus is a liberal."

    Christ is neither liberal nor conservative, yet he is both.

  • Bill (unverified)
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    But belief in god (and which god? Zeus? Baal? Yahwe? That pagan trio, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost? Brian?) IS an opinion. There's no evidence to support the actual existence any of these imaginary friends.

    From Doretta:

    Nor any evidence against, for that matter.

    But the stunning improbability of these beliefs, from which people claim authority to kill, to deny basic civil protections, to deny healthy sexual relationships, for example, to priests, to restrict access to knowledge, healthcare and scientific discovery - makes them dangerous and deserving of little public respect.

    Bertrand Russell once wrote that the world may be run by an omnipotent little spinning teapot circling in the asteroid belt - and you can't prove him wrong! That's basically your response to utter ridiculousness of these religious ideas.

    Doretta also wrote...

    We all believe things that are not provably true. "All men are created equal" and other value judgments are fundamentally matters of belief, not science.

    I'd argue - with evidence - that efforts to grant equal civil protections, and expand opportunity for all Americans, have improved our society. Evidence-free (and nutty) religious attempts to dehumanize others, from African Americans to interracial couples to gays and lesbians, are a big problem here.

    And pandering by Democrats and Republicans never helps.

  • gbraymond (unverified)
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    I am not religious, didn't grow up in a religious home, but so many Democrats and Independents are, and it makes sense to me that the Party would want to have relationships with all its constituents, whether groups or individuals. The big tent Democratic Party has always been most important when it makes some of us uncomfortable in action.

    I appreciate hearing from some Democratic candidates who talk about their faith in public that it is an integral part of what also makes them Democrats. Speaking about their faith and how it can be a resource for ethics and goodwill in putlic helps communicate who they are and how they will act in office. To me, a non-religious voter and Democratic volunteer, hearing how their faith inspires them to do good work gives me a better sense of who they are, and when they speak honestly, I have more reason to trust they will make the decisions what I want my elected offical to.

  • ed Garren (unverified)
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    I'm glad that Democrats are finally talking about our faith and spiritual values. For too long, conservatives have expressed an attitude that implys that God favors their side. While making show of their religion, they have taken food and health care away from the poor, tried to reduce minimum wage, funding for public education, while sending our young people away to die in a bogus war for oil greed.

    I am a Christian. From what I've read in the four gospels, Jesus had a lot more to say about greed and economic injustice than anything else.

    Thanks, Ed Garren

  • Steven Lucas (unverified)
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    I love some of your ideas but I vote based on true principles and values that I would like to see sustained through our future as Americans. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice." In my view, the party wants the faithful to vote but seeks to stamp out Christianity at every turn. Is the party now for prayer in school? Is the party now in support of marriage as designed by God; one woman and one man? Is the party now for the rights of the defensless unborn? Does the party now support Creation Science as a teachable origins theory? I respectfully disagree with Charles Lee's father. Life is not easier when we live by God's law. It is impossible to live by God's law. That is why we are all in need of Jesus Christ. We all fall short of the Glory of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of God's law. He paid the price for all of our past, present, and future transgressions of God's law. Let God be true and every man a liar. When the party truly adopts time-tested Biblical values, that truly respect the sacrifice that our Savior paid, I will be the first to make the switch to the democratic party. I congratulate you on winning the House of Representatives. I applaud your hard efforts.

    <h2>Sincerely, your friend from a different perspective. Steve Lucas</h2>
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