I think I'm going to puke...

Lucas Gonze lgonze at panix.com
Sat Dec 27 10:03:38 PST 2003

I'm not saying it's not true, I'm saying that it's a pointless angle.   
Who cares if Dean emphasizes religion in more-religious states?  Is  
there a candidate who doesn't?  There's no story there.

On Saturday, Dec 27, 2003, at 12:40 America/New_York, Joseph S. Barrera  
III wrote:

> 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:
> http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2003/12/25/ 
> seeking_a_new_emphasis_dean_touts_his_christianity/
> 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 philosopher.
> 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 future.
> 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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