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The blog of Frederick Clarkson

Archive for the ‘Democratic Party’ Category

Inside vs. Outside the Beltway?

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Religion scholar Mark Silk, writing in response to Sarah Posner’s article at Religion Dispatches,  mischaracterizes Dispatches from the Religious Left:

A new book, Dispatches from the Religious Left, rounds up a bunch of outside-the-Beltway lefties to make the case for themselves. I don’t have a problem with their case, and I understand their annoyance, but that doesn’t seem to me sufficient grounds for scorning those toiling in the spiritual vineyards of Democratic Party politics.

The mischaracterization is that I rounded-up a bunch of Outside the Beltway lefties.  (Not that there would be anything wrong with that.)  As a matter of fact, contributors Carlton Veazey and Barry Lynn operate inside the beltway, and stay true to their values and fight the good fight.  

That said, unlike many other contemporary books on religion and politics, Dispatches is neither by nor about Democratic Party consultants and other Beltway Insiders kissing-up to moderate and conservative evangelicals and calling that the foundation of a new religious left.  There is more to progressive religion and politics than this.  And part of the role of this book, is to show how that is so. 

Written by fred

December 11th, 2008 at 9:40 am

Battling for the Soul of the Democratic Party

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That’s the title of an important article by Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches.  The article critiques the activities of various Beltway Insiders and contrasts their approach with that of several contributors to Dispatches from the Religious Left. 

The religious left is still struggling to find an organizing and base-building model, while the center-right continues to dominate the conversation and capture the attention of politicians. A new book, Dispatches from the Religious Left, edited by the journalist Frederick Clarkson, attempts to start the conversation—though by its own admission it’s merely a start, not a blueprint.

Part of that start, of course, is debunking the notion that the centrist evangelicals represent a religious left

Written by fred

December 10th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

Support the PDM Half Dozen!

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Tomorrow is Democratic Primary day in Massachussetts, and five of the six candidates endorsed by Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts as part of the PDM Half Dozen are on the ballot.

The Democratic primary election is Tuesday, September 16.

The PDM Half Dozen are the 6 candidates endorsed by PDM in important legislative races where your financial and volunteer support can make a real difference—and 5 of those races may be decided on Primary Day!  Our work and donations will matter in these campaigns and we urge you to get involved.

  • Carl Sciortino (34th Middlesex – Somerville, Medford) – Carl was one of the original PDM Half Dozen in 2004.  Although he’s the incumbent and responsible for much progressive legislation, he is running a sticker campaign.  His challenger is a longtime Somerville alderman.  Carl needs our help, especially on Primary Day.  http://www.electcarl.org/   617-628-2008
  • Astrid af Klinteberg (5th Essex – Gloucester, Rockport, Essex) Astrid was a founder of PDM, and she is in a three-way contest against a DINO incumbent and an extremely well-funded challenger who was a Republican until just before this race.  http://www.voteastrid.com/  978-884-6851
  • Ken Donnelly (4th Middlesex-Arlington, Lexington, Woburn, Burlington, Billerica) is seeking to fill Jim Marzilli’s former Senate seat  and facing a tough primary contest.  Donnelly is more consistently and outspokenly progressive than his opponent and has a strong proven track record working complex issues on Beacon Hill for firefighters union.   http://donnellyforsenate.com/  781-648-2008
  • Jim O’Donnell (22d Middlesex – Billerica) is running against a conservative Democrat incumbent. This is a chance to support a candidate who leans progressive and would represent real change for Billerica. http://voteforodonnell.com/  978-663-9965
  • Doug Belanger (2d Worcester – half of Worcester and suburbs) Primary race against a more conservative candidate and general election contest to fill the Senate seat vacated by a strong progressive, Ed Augustus.  http://www.belangerforsenate.com/   508-797-Doug (3684)

Written by fred

September 15th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Gov. Deval Patrick’s Stand at the DNC

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On the apparent eve of a more progressive era, there are a lot of Beltway Insiders who want the Democratic Party and its candidates to pander to the Religious Right.  But Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, addressing a gathering of the Stonewall Democrats at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, urged them to fight.   The Boston Phoenix reports

“This is your party, and this is your country,” he told the GLBT gathering. “And don’t let anybody push you to the margins.”

Patrick went on to ask the GLBT community “to remember that there are others too, in whose struggle you have a stake… who have been pushed to the margins,” including racial minorities, the disabled, and the poor. “There is an awful lot of unfinished business in the fairness agenda” Patrick said.

Written by fred

August 25th, 2008 at 10:45 am

Catholic Bishops Too "Cash Strapped" to do a Mailing

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The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops is too poor, according to The Boston Globe, to send to its local parishes, its traditional instructional mailing on how to approach politics and public policy. The Globe did not explain why the Bishops are broke and buried the point in the last paragraph of the story — but we can guess that it probably has something to do with the massive payouts the church has made to settle lawsuits related to the priest pedophilia scandal.

Traditionally, the document has been mailed to all parishes in the United States; this year, to save money, the cash-strapped bishops’ conference will e-mail the document to parishes and post it on a website.

However, the Globe headlined the story, O’Malley draws line with Democrats: Backing abortion rights candidates ‘borders on scandal’.

The Globe reported:

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, saying the Democratic Party has been persistently hostile to opponents of abortion rights, asserted yesterday that the support of many Catholics for Democratic candidates “borders on scandal.”

In his sharpest comments about the political landscape since he was installed as archbishop of Boston four years ago, O’Malley made clear that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers.

“I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church’s position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues,” O’Malley said.

The Globe continued:

O’Malley’s predecessors as archbishop of Boston were also staunchly antiabortion. Cardinal Bernard F. Law called a news conference to criticize a Republican governor, William F. Weld, for his support for abortion rights, and Law had the lieutenant governor at the time, Paul Cellucci, also a Republican, disinvited from a Catholic high school for the same reason; Law also blasted Geraldine A. Ferraro, the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1984, for her support of abortion rights. Law’s predecessor, Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros, in 1980 tried unsuccessfully to persuade Catholics to vote against two Democratic congressional candidates, Barney Frank and Jim Shannon, because of their support for abortion rights.

Interesting, but I don’t recall — and the Globe does not mention — any Catholic official ever having blasted any Massachusetts Republicans in recent years for their positions on abortion — suchas the formerly prochoice Gov. Mitt Romney or continuously prochoice Lt. Gov and later gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey — although I suppose I could have missed something.

It is interesting too, to see the Cardinal attack the Democratic Party as a whole, as if it had a lot of say, or should have a lot of say over who the membership picks as its candidates, and who the voters ultimately choose as its representatives.

[See the expanded version of this post at Talk to Action.]

Written by fred

November 16th, 2007 at 10:15 pm