J Walking

Sen. Sam Brownback has an oped in the Washington Post today on what Republicans should be focusing on in order to win:

I believe the biggest threat to our future as a movement is a negative public face, when we don’t project a welcoming and hopeful message based on an authentic faith. The future of the conservative movement in our country will be strong if we can be moved by genuine faith and love for mankind, but not by political power.
On the campaign trail I talked about being pro-life and whole-life. This is, first and foremost, recognition of the fundamental dignity of every human person. It says that every person, at every stage and in every place, is a beautiful and unique child of God. It says that every life, everywhere, has value and is worth fighting for.

He goes on to say that being “pro-life and whole-life” means dealing with poverty and homelessness and Darfur and other issues of social justice.

The conservative movement in America will succeed to the degree that it is faith-filled. We must exude the virtues of authentic faith: joy, hope and love. Our movement must be more compassionate, loving and welcoming.

A few thoughts:
– The McCain camp can’t be thrilled. First, there isn’t any mention of John McCain’s name. Given Brownback’s endorsement of McCain last week, that is just a little odd. Second, what Brownback is describing isn’t exactly McCain’s platform. Oops.
– But if the McCain camp isn’t thrilled, the rest of the Republican field – save Mike Huckabee – has to be pretty pissed. Brownback’s oped is jab to nose and a moral indictment of the GOP field. No one, save Huckabee, is talking about compassion for prisoners or the poor or matters of social justice.
– Brownback is scaring me. The GOP will succeed to the “the degree that it is faith-filled.” Hello? The GOP will win if it is religious? What a terrifying, terrifying thought. If anyone needs further proof as to what the GOP will become if it tries to become a church, look no further than the current White House.
That is exactly and precisely wrong. America doesn’t need the GOP to be more faith-filled. It needs our churches to be more faith-filled. It needs individuals and families to be more faith-filled. It needs priests and pastors to be more faith-filled. It does not need a political party to be more faith-filled.
It is this fusion of faith and politics that is destroying both faith AND politics. We need our politicians to focus on being great political leaders who can run the ship of state. If they are faith-filled terrific. Great. If they aren’t but can do the job, great. But this notion that the two must be fused is one of the most noxious and frightening notions. Enough said.

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