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Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Beam in the eye.

Why does lunatic-fringe Judge Moore get all the religion-in-the-news press when the governor's religious campaign to repair Alabama's egregiously regressive tax structure — the state-wide vote is today — gets almost none? Gregg Easterbrook (with a new TNR blog) offers a simple explanation:

Because the snarling judge and his intolerant followers show Christianity in a bad light; by granting them attention, the media make Christianity look bad. Gov. Riley's crusade to help the poor shows Christianity at its luminous best. Therefore the media ignore Riley.

It turns out that liberal Christianity may prove to be only the next-best kept secret in American religion; the real best kept secret is progressive Evangelicalism.

Francis Wilkinson writes (for the liberal American Prospect Online) that the Evangelical movement that is trying to reform Alabama's tax structure challenges a deeply-held liberal bias:

For the first time since black ministers and some of their white brethren marched arm in arm in the civil-rights era, a group of Christians in the South are championing social and economic justice for the dispossessed as a matter of spiritual imperative . . . But as if determined to defy the most cherished stereotypes and bedrock prejudices of enlightened liberals everywhere, the primary actors in this campaign are the kind of white, conservative, Billy Graham evangelicals to whom Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed his Letter from Birmingham Jail . . .

And lest you think that a divinity school paper can never make a difference in American politics, consider this: Wilkinson explains that a Beeson Divinity School thesis, published as the pamphlet The Least of These: Fair Taxes and the Moral Duty of Christians, launched this political movement and converted Gov. Riley. So take heart, seminarians, and good luck, Bob Riley!

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 9 September 2003 at 12:49 PM

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September 9, 2003 10:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

Riley's tax referendum lost resoundingly.

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