June 21-22, 2008, weekend
June 24, 2008

June 23, 2008


This column in the Chicago Tribune asks a good question: If all the gay people are getting married in California, why is God punishing the Midwest with awful weather? Or did the goofy televangelists get in wrong before? That is, was Hurricane Katrina not really punishment for the sins of New Orleans (where I just spent four days -- more on that later)?

* * *


The conventional wisdom about presidential politics in recent elections is that people who identify themselves as conservative or evangelical Christians mostly vote for the Republican candidate. Further, Democrats have had trouble even knowing how to talk about religion without seeming to be engaged in a subject about which they knew precious little.


Well, the picture always was more complicated than that, but a new survey designed by some folks at Calvin College suggests that this whole picture may be changing for the 2008 election. For a Calvin press release about this, click here.

As the release notes, one of the most intriguing results, at least to me, is the change in members of Mainline Christian churches (the Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, etc.). These folks historically have voted pretty reliably Republican. But now they are more lined up behind the Democrats.

I tend to be skeptical of all political polling and all of these kinds of surveys for many reasons, but they can sometimes provide a snapshot of how things may be, and they may help us understand more clearly what is happening in races that are dynamic and complex.

At the very least, they help to remind us that reality is much more complex than our prejudices, stereotypes and assumptions.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Today's religious holiday: Sacred Heart of Jesus (Catholic Christianity)


Joe Barone

People get what they vote for. I am always amazed that present polls show two-thirds of the people think G.W. Bush has been an ineffective president. Yet, a bunch of them must have voted for him.

If you vote out of fear or one issue, you get the whole package, not just the one thing.

Maybe political opinions are changing because people have come to understand that.

PS I think the changes cut both ways, not just in favor of Democrats.

Joe Barone

Another short comment on political elections. I wonder why religious people aren't addressing the matter of the ethics of certain forms of campaigning. That seems to me to be a religious issue. Again, this cuts both ways, but to use obvious examples--the "Obama is a Muslim" emails, the present "Michelle Obama used the word 'whitey'" emails, or the charge that McCain is totally funded by lobbyists. No "whitey" tape has surfaced and until one does,that email is just a racial attack on the candidate's wife. And according to factcheck.org less than two percent of McCain's funding comes directly from lobbyists.

All anyone has to do is to go to a reputable fact checking web site to find out the truth or falsity of the charges. Any preacher could suggest that to his or her people any Sunday.

If religion really played a bigger part in politics, churches of all stripes would rise up against advertising like the Willie Horton ads which I see as starting it all. Maybe one reason opinions are changing is that people are tired of this kind of unethical behavior.

Joe Barone

Let the one without sin cast the first stone. We should be glad God doesn't zap evil people directly as some very fundamental preachers have suggested. If that were the case, we'd all be goners.

Just Thinking

Why do you give such things press, Bill? Shame on anyone for using the misery of Iowans as a way to make any kind of point at all, and shame on those who give it a voice. It's as reprehensible as what that gluttonous pig Jerry Falwell used to do. The good news: Jerry Falwell is still dead, and I still smell the faint smell of roasted pig as a reminder of his seething hatred of his neighbors, and resultant total destruction in hell. Only the smoke remains as a reminder. Pulled pork, anyone?


Hmmm, I wonder what Jesus said about connecting acts of terror and natural disasters with people's sinfulnes?

Luke 13:1-5 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

Dolores Lear

Voting patterns of people in the USA are changing as our Society has changed, in the last 100 years, since the High Tech Science Revolution, and educating children in college.

Children usually are raised in a family, that had laborers or Union members, and were mostly Democrats, and their Environment made an impact. They usually followed in the parents patterns, no matter what church they attended.

Children that were raised by parents that went to college, and their environment, usually followed their parents, and voted Republican, no matter what church they attended.

There are Democrats and Republicans in all religions, and as a person's lifestyle changes, they do change parties, as President Reagan did.

As Humans graduate from high school or college, the people they associate in their lifestyles, and their jobs, will reflect how they vote, also.

So why Religion plays such a part, comes from religious teachings that our Leaders are appointed by God, and Humans expect their leaders to hold up their Faith teachings.

Most Governments in the past all had a religious God, and this seems to be the same today. With all the High Tech Correspondence today, Religion is also making problems for all people, in the same government, or in other governments.

How can the World Unite in One Government for All People, since we have Planetary Communication, with Humans who have so many different Gods to keep them Divided, in Word and Deed?

Each God religion is Evil to another God religion. Religion divides Humans. When will Humans Unite under One God, besides After Death? Or is that Different Places also?

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