“Most Americans want to understand how religion plays a role in informing a leader’s character or moral bearings. How does their faith inform, not dictate, but inform, their public policy positions?” says Vanderslice.
However, Democrats and progressive religious leaders need to be careful not to cross the line of the appropriate role of religion in politics as the Religious Right has done for years. “We do not want to do the nasty tactics of putting deceptive fliers in church parking lots or walking into houses of worship and taking them over. That is not the goal of this work,” she says.
Rev. Gaddy asks Vanderslice about the nationally televised forum about faith and politics with Democratic presidential candidates this week. Vanderslice echoes Rev. Gaddy’s concerns that several of the questions asked at the forum, sponsored by Sojourners and aired by CNN, were inappropriate and irrelevant. For example, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien asked former Senator John Edwards to name the greatest sin he had ever committed in his life.
“There were a lot of us sitting in that audience who were very disappointed in the questions asked by CNN,” she says. Also, Vanderslice objected to questions from CNN about gay marriage, abortion, and evolution, saying that it paints a stereotypical view of Christian religious values, while ignoring poverty and other moral issues.
Also on the show: Blogger Rev. Chuck Currie; Kim Bobo, executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, on the New Sanctuary Movement.
Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.