God's Politics

God's Politics

Video: Larry King, Jim Wallis, and Others on Faith in Politics

We posted video of CNN’s announcement of our presidential forum at Pentecost 2007 from this show earlier this week, but now we thank our friends at Faith in Public Life for posting video of the entire show, which included Rev. Albert Mohler, Jr. of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, David Kuo, former Deputy Director of the Bush Administration’s Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and David Gergen, former White House Adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton.

Here’s the opening segment, and you can click here for the rest of the show.

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posted May 18, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Rev. Wallis, I thought you made an excellent appearance on this show. However, you didn t directly respond to Barry Lynn when he made this comment: LYNN: people don’t want their politicians acting like they’re resolving these issues on the basis even of the Holy Scripture, which 80 percent of Americans claim is their holy scripture. They want reason, God given or otherwise, to play a role in deciding the most contentious issues of our time. Would you take a moment and respond here? I thought REv. Lynn made another insightful remark about John Edwards addressing the moral leader question at the Democratic debates: LYNN: I think it’s reasonable for someone to ponder, as John Edwards did, and to say this is why the lord means something to me, but, also, be clear, as John Edwards frequently is, that he knows that his personal religious beliefs cannot trump the values of the constitution, cannot trump the commonly shared values that all of us have as Americans. When he speaks personally, he says I’m speaking personally. Would you agree that Lynn makes a great point about the kind of person of faith voters want to see? There s a clear difference between Obama and Edwards, for instance. Edwards lets his authenticity flow more naturally whereas Obama s presence is often strong enough that people just enjoy hearing him speak. Obama articulates his faith very well, but he maintains a tough posterior sometimes almost too business like. He often tries to conjoin a new moral vision with metaphors about past spiritual social movements. He s very good at this and that s what we all like about him. He s like a rock star as many have said. But this doesn t necessarily mean he s endeared himself to the public. It means he s got a powerful image and speaks sternly about his convictions, which is very admirable. And let me say I definitely believe we need this kind of leadership in our next president. But, in my opinion, voters are drawn to more than enthusiasm. They can learn various history lessons and identify with whichever spiritual movement they wish, along the way.My point is that we ought not forget what ultimately ingratiates a candidate to the voters, which brings me to Edwards. Edwards is quickly appearing more wholesome than any other candidate, in the eyes of the public. There s a sense of openness and vulnerability about Edwards and it s clear that he wants to take all of us along with him in a kind of shared spiritual journey. My question to you is: even though we re going through a social paradigm shift in society, isn t it more important for the public to experience this change organically, together, with the example someone like Edwards is setting? I agree that we should draw on past examples such as the Civil Right s Movement to help guide our moral compasses today. But the touch of spontaneous sincerity in Edwards is something I don t think Obama has yet to hone in on. And this is ultimately what I believe voters will connect with and be inspired by.

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Mark P

posted May 20, 2007 at 9:51 pm

Jim, By saying that what’s important about Romney is not what his faith is but how it impacts public life, you seem to be falling into the idea that religion is important for what it can do socially for a nation. In other words, religion is useful and good because people get fed and society operates smoothly… and that’s what’s important. That’s the sort of uninspiring pragmatic, utilitarian approach to faith that will inevitably — in the long run — lead to social boredom and disillusionment with Christianity. I hate that pragmatism is the rule of the day in America on both sides of the aisle. Whether something works ought to be subservient to whether it is good, true, and beautiful.

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posted May 21, 2007 at 12:50 am

I personally think that you are comparing apples and oranges, Mark. Face it, good/true/beautiful, these are subjective. Whereas whether something works (people have the basic necessities) is objective. In other words, one can demonstrate that people have what they need, while any judgement of good/true/beautiful is a matter of perspective. Yes, even truth is a matter of perspective.

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Mark P

posted May 21, 2007 at 1:56 am

“Face it, good/true/beautiful, these are subjective.” -To quote theologian Michael Bauman, “Shovelling babies into the back of a pickup truck is not beautiful, no matter what the beholder thinks.” -Good, true, and beautiful are NOT subjective, and it’s that line of thought that created the most deadly century in the history of the world. “Yes, even truth is a matter of perspective.” -Than so is whether something works. What is a basic necessity? Without truth, you’re left thinking that basic necessities are food, water, and shelter. Without truth, you have no idea what people need. -Based on your presuppositions, that truth, beauty, and goodness are subjective with no objective reality… we have absolutely nothing to talk about, ever, because rationality and reason have no place in your system.

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Mark P

posted May 21, 2007 at 1:57 am

Oops, the full Michael Bauman quote is: “Shovelling babies into the back of a pickup truck *with a pitchfork* is not beautiful no matter what the beholder thinks.”

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posted May 21, 2007 at 7:58 pm

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29) This message thread has been visited by a God’s Politics Blog moderator for the purpose of removing inappropriate posts. Click here for a detailed explanation of the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct: which includes: Help us keep the conversation civil and respectful by reporting inappropriate posts to: 2

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Mark P

posted May 21, 2007 at 10:41 pm

What’s the problem? I just ask so if I’m the violator I’ll know exactly what you consider inappropriate. Thanks for your work guys.

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posted May 22, 2007 at 4:23 am

Dear Rev. Wallis Why are there no Republican candidates at this event? If God is not a Republican, or a Democrat, why no Republicans? Greg

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