Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Back on the Campaign Trail

After a three-week hiatus, I am back on the campaign trail. Luckily, NY senator Hillary Clinton has left me with ample biblical bread crumbs to find what she has been up to.

"No one can read the New Testament of our Bible without recognizing that Jesus had a lot more to say about how we treat the poor than most of the issues that were talked about in this election," Hillary told a crowd at Tufts University in a speech that accused Demorats of failing to understand religious voters.

Hillary's choice to use the Bible to carve out a space for dialogue about poverty is one to watch closely. Jesus has long been one of the most effective mascots for change (in America's rhetorical kitchen, Jesus is the chef knife) but the task of turning Americans heads away from the crusades and towards the Soup Kitchens may only be achievable by a visit from the Superstar himself.

At the very least, should Hillary win the nomination and then the election next November, expect a new wave of academic journal articles exploring the new twist in the American religious character. Academics can be forgiven for seizing the opportunity to observe the shift from the personal inspiration of the Evangelical tradition that guided President Bush to a president who admires Protestant theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Is the social justice message of the Bible strong enough to inspire Christians, even out of the mouth of a pro-choice President? Should any of the top three Democratic contenders win the election, we will not have much longer to find out. Sorry secularist, it looks like it will be longer before you see a like-minded president in office.

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