New Liberal Faith Group Takes on Global Warming
By Jacqueline L. Salmon
One of the first efforts by American Values Network, the new progressive faith organization launched by Democratic faith outreach adviser Burns Strider and his partners, launched yesterday with an ad blitz on global warming.
The ads will air on Christian radio stations in districts in the South and Midwest represented by moderate and conservative Congressional Democratic representative who are undecided on the climate bill. Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Tom Perriello (D-Va.) joined military and religious leaders today to unveil the ads, which are narrated by megachurch pastor Joel Hunter.
The ad campaign "demonstrates that the faith and military communities will stand behind and encourage undecided members to support a climate bill that protects the most vulnerable and makes America more secure," said Katie Paris, spokesperson for Faith in Public Life, which cosponsored an accompanying poll.
By the end of the week, about 5.3 million e-mails will go out asking Americans of faith to contact their Congressional representative to urge passage of the bill, said Strider.
It is the first of several ambitious undertakings by American Values Network -- a name that conjures up images of conservative Christian organizations but which is solidly progressive. And it is a further sign that Democrats are becoming more sophisticated about speaking the language of faith in politics.
Strider, who spent part of his youth as a southern Baptist missionary, brought to the table his extensive e-mail lists and deep understanding of the language and faith of evangelical Christians. A soft-spoken Mississippi native with a reputation for playing political hardball when needed, he was the mastermind behind Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) campaign against then Republican Elizabeth Dole in which Dole unsuccessfully tried to paint Hagan as an atheist.
Next on American Values' plate: mobilizing the progressive faithful on other priorities of the Obama administration: reducing abortion, fatherhood issues and health-care reform, said Strider. The network plans to open state organizations to train activists on how to become involved in the local political process, said Strider.
American Values is clearly meant to be a counter to powerful, and effective conservative Christian grass roots organizations, such as the American Family Association.
Even the mission statement on its Web site borrows from their language: "enroll, engage, and enable faithful Americans and others of goodwill to stand up, speak out, and actively participate in building up the American family and community values that have always been at the core of our successful efforts to create a 'more perfect union.'"
"To the extent that it's similar to that, yes," said Strider. "To the extent that it's not, our issues are progressive. We're going to be working very hard to empower people to engage locally and nationally out there and build networks where they know they are not alone in where they are on these issues."
Jacqueline L. Salmon
May 5, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
God in Government
Save & Share:
Previous: Faith Group Supports Miss Calif. Despite Revealing Photos | Next: Local Bishops Skip National Catholic Breakfast
The comments to this entry are closed.