Sunday, October 29, 2006

Faith and Values in Politics

There has been a lot of "buzz" in politics about how the Democrats are trying to appeal to the Christian voters by talking more freely about their faith and about their values.

Daniel Pulliam over at GetReligion posted an article this morning called Religious Democrats on the March, in which he starts off with a response to a recent Newsweek article with the cover teaser "Not Your Daddy's Democrats. " He points out that the Democrats are returning to their historical roots. It may not be his daddy's Democrats, but it seems to look more and more like his granddaddy's Democrats.

In today's Indianapolis Star, Russ Pulliam, Associate Editor, had this to say regarding the Democratic Disconnect on Faith and Values:
The story of William Jennings Bryan, founding father of the modern Democratic Party, offers a clue as to why Democrats are having a hard time connecting with faith and values voters.

It also raises the question of whether Democrats can recover Bryan's Christian faith and find a Bryan-like figure among their presidential prospects. One interesting possibility: Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is thinking about running.

A century ago Bryan lost three presidential races, but he paved the way for future successful liberal Democratic Party presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, and their bigger federal government initiatives. Losing at the ballot box, Bryan won the battle of ideas, according to a new biography, "A Godly Hero," by Michael Kazin. He did it by appealing to biblical truths.

William Jennings Bryan was a Presbyterian elder and found himself on the losing side not only in politics, but in the controversies of the 1920s over which direction the Presbyterian Church would take. He tended toward progressive beliefs in the political realm, but was quite conservative in his religious beliefs. He lost narrowly when he ran for moderator of General Assembly on a creationist platform. He died in 1925, not long after his involvement in the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee.

As I was composing this I noticed that both authors to whom I referred were named "Pulliam". I was leaning toward it being a coincidence, but when I checked Daniel Pulliam's profile on GetReligion, I noticed that he did an internship at the Indianapolis Star. It still may be a coincidence...

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