I think I'm going to puke...
geege at barrera.org
Sat Dec 27 10:00:06 PST 2003
"Christ was someone who sought out people who were disenfranchised, people
who were left behind," Dean said. "He fought against self-righteousness of
people who had everything . . . He was a person who set an extraordinary
example that has lasted 2000 years, which is pretty inspiring when you think
i have no problem with this. it's charitable, at least. it's a goddamn
sight better than "we are ordained by our christian god to kill evil doers."
From: fork-bounces at xent.com [mailto:fork-bounces at xent.com]On Behalf Of
Joseph S. Barrera III
Sent: Saturday, December 27, 2003 12:40 PM
To: fork at xent.com
Subject: Re: I think I'm going to puke...
Lucas Gonze wrote:
> Russell, this story is just a hatchet job by a highly partisan paper.
> There's nothing in it.
Here's the original article in the Boston Globe:
Seeking a new emphasis, Dean touts his Christianity
Southern campaign plans to increase religious references
By Sarah Schweitzer, Globe Staff, 12/25/2003
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Presidential contender Howard B. Dean, who has said
little about religion while campaigning except to emphasize the
separation of church and state, described himself in an interview with
the Globe as a committed believer in Jesus Christ and said he expects to
increasingly include references to Jesus and God in his speeches as he
stumps in the South.
Dean, 55, who practices Congregationalism but does not often attend
church and whose wife and children are Jewish, explained the move as a
desire to share his beliefs with audiences willing to listen. His
comments came as a rival, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut,
chastised other Democrats for forgetting "that faith was central to our
founding and remains central to our national purpose."
The move is striking for a man who has steadfastly kept his personal
life out of the campaign, rarely offering biographical information, much
less his religious beliefs. But in the Globe interview, Dean said that
Jesus was an important influence in his life and that he would probably
share with some voters the model Jesus has served for him.
"Christ was someone who sought out people who were disenfranchised,
people who were left behind," Dean said. "He fought against
self-righteousness of people who had everything . . . He was a person
who set an extraordinary example that has lasted 2000 years, which is
pretty inspiring when you think about it."
He acknowledged that he was raised in the "Northeast" tradition of not
discussing religious beliefs in public, and said he held back in New
Hampshire, where that is the practice. But in other areas, such as the
South, he said, he would discuss his beliefs more openly.
Some of Dean's competitors have made no secret of their religious
beliefs. US Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri regularly
describes his son's recovery from an illness as a gift of God, while
Lieberman takes pains to emphasize his inability to attend campaign
events on Saturdays because of the Jewish Sabbath.
On the Republican side, President Bush is outspoken about his religious
journey, which he has said began in 1986, when he gave up drinking and
recommitted his heart to Jesus Christ, whom he named as his favorite
Political analysts note that discussing religious beliefs could provide
an important link to Southern voters. Greater numbers of Southern voters
feel religion and politics need not be separate. An ABC/Washington Post
poll released this week showed that 46 percent of Southerners said a
president should rely on his religious beliefs in making policy
decisions, compared with 40 percent nationwide and 28 percent in the
East. The South is a potential problem area for Dean's campaign for the
Democratic nomination, particularly as rivals like retired Army general
Wesley K. Clark of Arkansas and Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
invoke their Southern roots. In recent years, the South has been tough
ground for any Democrat in the general election.
"If the Dean people are playing chess instead of checkers and are moving
down the board and trying to figure out how to win a general election as
well as how to win a nomination, they had best explain Dean to the
people in terms of religiosity," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow in
governmental studies at the Brookings Institution.
Hess added that Dean's public showing of faith could help distance him
from the issue of gay marriage, expected to be a contentious subject in
the 2004 political season. Dean, who backed the creation of civil unions
for gays and lesbians in Vermont, has said gay marriage should be left
to the realm of churches.
Just how much Dean will inject religion into his campaign, Hess said,
remains to be seen. He pointed to an appearance at an African-American
church in Columbia, S.C., as an example of what voters might hear in the
There, before nearly 100 parishioners, Dean said in a rhythmic tone
notably different from his usual stampede through policy points, "In
this house of the Lord, we know that the power rests in God's hands and
in Jesus's hands for helping us. But the power also is on this, God's
earth -- Remember Jesus said, `Render unto God those things that are
God's but unto Caesar those things that are Caesar's,' " a reference to
Jesus's admonition that the secular and religious remain separate.
Dean continued: "In this political season there is also other power. Not
as important or as strong as the power of Jesus but it's important power
in the world of politics and the world of Caesar."
Dean's own religious background is a complex mix. His mother is
Catholic, but he was raised Episcopal like his father, a warden in the
Episcopal church the family attended near their weekend home in East
Hampton, N.Y. Dean attended St. George's, a boarding school in Newport,
R.I., where he went to church "literally every day and twice on Sunday."
Religion was a private matter for Dean growing up. "My father used to
tell us how much strength he got from religion, but we didn't have Bible
readings. There are traditions where people do that. We didn't," he
said. "People in the Northeast don't talk about their religion. It's a
very personal private matter, and that's the tradition I was brought up in."
While attending Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, he met
his wife, Judith Steinberg, who is Jewish. The two were married by a
judge, and neither opted to convert, Dean said, because both felt
strongly about their respective religions.
"We considered becoming Unitarian as sort of a compromise that wasn't
going to respect either person's tradition," Dean said. "But you know,
our religions mattered enough that we didn't really want to change."
The couple's two children, Anne, a sophomore at Yale University, and
Paul, a high school senior in Burlington, were given their choice of
religion. Both chose Judaism.
Dean himself made a decision about religion in the early 1980s, opting
to leave the local Episcopal church when it sided with landowners
seeking to preserve private property in lieu of a bike path in Burlington.
"Churches are institutions that are about doing the work of God on
earth, and I didn't think [opposing the bike path] was very Godlike and
thought it was hypocritical of me to be a member of such an
institution," Dean said.
Dean chose Congregationalism -- a denomination, he said, that suits him,
because "there is no centralized -- almost no centralized authority
structure -- and I like that."
Dean does not attend church regularly, but he said he prays daily.
He is a steadfast believer in separation of church and state, he said,
and opposes the placement of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse, is
uncomfortable with a prayer invocation before a congressional session,
though he would leave the matter to Congress, and is not bothered by the
phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.
On the issue of a moment of silence in schools, Dean said, "Whatever the
courts say is OK with me." The US Supreme Court has struck down
state-required moments of silence in schools.
Of the president's faith-based initiative for social services, Dean
said, it is "overdone."
"It's not a bad thing to have churches involved in delivering social
services, but I think the president has used it to reward certain
churches and make it less likely for others churches to prosper," he said.
Asked whether a presidential candidate could win without talking about
religious faith, Dean said, "Dick Nixon and Ronald Reagan never said
much about religion. I think it's important, and you have to respect
other people's religious beliefs and honor them, but you don't have to
pander to them."
He added, "That's why I don't get offended when George Bush or Joe
Lieberman talk about their religion . . . I have a feeling it has
something to do with them as a human being, and they are entitled to
talk about what makes them human."
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