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Mike McCurry Interview on Democrats and Faith

Excerpts from a Religion and Ethics Interview with Mike McCurry, former Clinton Press secretary...I really agree with his accessment that the Church as one of the few places left where folks with different political viewpoints actually can meet up and connect:

Q. Do the Democrats have a problem with religion?


Photo of Mike McCurry A: They don't have a problem with religion; they just don't know how to dance very well. That's the problem, I think. Many Democrats are not accustomed to speaking of their faith and relating their faith to political action. This is something that's just not part, hasn't been part of the culture of the party. So it's a new vocabulary for many Democrats, and I think that's what we're getting used to.

Q: Is it important that they learn this language?

A: It is because, I think, increasingly, as politics are debates about values and what matters to you, your faith life informs the way in which you approach many issues important in the public domain. And I think communicating that clearly, making it clear that Democrats don't cede any ground at all to the other party when it comes to how religion informs the work we do in politics ... that's a very important part of our debate.

I'm struck by the fact that churches are one of the only places left in America where people of different political persuasions gather under one roof every week and listen to each other and talk to each other. That's very important to preserve. And I think if Democrats can create spaces for healthy dialogue and that happens in and around communities of faith and churches, that's a real opportunity. It's an opportunity to ... get more votes but also an opportunity to make more people aware of the good news that we spread prophetically because that's part of our religious calling.

Q: What are some values, to use a buzzword right now, that Democrats...espouse that might have appeal for people of faith?

A: I think there's talk about war and peace issues.
First, the way in which we use force and take up arms, which is a very troubling and deeply conflicted thing for those who are in the Christian faith. But talking about wars that are just and how you can appropriately defend yourselves, there's a whole rich vocabulary and moral reasoning that I would think is appropriate and would lend some real substance to the debate about Iraq. So that's one place.

Another place is just, if we think prophetically of the Gospels and the Christian tradition and the call of Jesus to minister to those who are poor and dispossessed. If we look at the stories of who Jesus' ministry was aimed at, you know, you can't help but think, "Well, there is really the way in which we Democrats feel like we bring and inform the debate, with our own commitments to the poor and the homeless and the dispossessed." So, you know, those are places where I think we encounter real, live, active faith that would really speak to Americans now, and we ought to talk more about that.

This debate about red state, blue state Americans, the divisions that exist -- I mean, we have too much division in our political life as a country already. And the thing that strikes me about the church and most churches is that they are places where folks of different political viewpoints come together every week. And I think that if we can create a place for dialogue there about important issues, that will be a healing thing in our political system, which is very badly broken right now."
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