The Use of Religion in Political Debate

February 23, 2012

Changing Lives at First Church BerkeleyFrom First Congregational Church of Berkeley, United Church of Christ:

As progressive Christians we are concerned about the way that religion is being used in the current political debate on several counts:

1. Statements are being made that suggest that one religious point of view is superior and others are being disparaged. We are a Christian congregation and we recognize that there are many ways that people practice their faith. We also understand and accept that many do not claim a spiritual tradition. In the public sphere many different points of view about religion must be honored.

2. Certain policy decisions are being debated as if they dramatically infringe on the religious freedom of some Americans. We consider this to be a misleading overstatement.

3. We are concerned that messages both overt and covert rooted in racism and sexism are being used as a wedge to divide us as a people. We believe in straightforward and honest debate and respect for differences.

4. Although our faith informs our politics, we recognize that if those two strands are too intertwined they strangle diversity and debate. We honor the long tradition of the separation of church and state and resist impulses to shape government policy based on a single religious point of view.

We call our politicians to civility, honesty, respect for diversity, and open-mindedness.

We invite your comments below.



  1. “Christian: Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus.” You are doing it right.

  2. Reblogged this on The Theological Wanderings of a Street Pastor and commented:
    More in the way of spiritual values summed up neatly, directly, and concisely. Looking for signs of life among fellow Common Sense Liberals.

  3. Your advocacy partners, California Council of Churches IMPACT and Alliance for Justice all have resources on faith advocacy’s legal basis. The issues of “holy manners” and principled disagreement are the foundational principles upon which we all can help lift these discussions and keep them from being destructive arguments. Thank you for making this a priority!

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