Founder’s Pointe

You know, Barack Obama wants Democrats to court deeply religious voters. He wants Democrats to start talking more about how faith impacts their lives.

Any conversation about morality, religion or, God forbid, a “culture of life” and doesn’t address this is a fucking waste of oxygen and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

Sirko and her children, Eden, 14; David, 12; and Natalia, 11, live in DuPage County, where the median household income is roughly $70,000. Their basement apartment is just down the road from Medinah Country Club, with its breathtaking mosaic rotunda and lush greens.

The state’s surge in poverty, as documented in the bipartisan Heartland Alliance’s 2006 Report on Illinois Poverty, can be traced to a combination of factors: the loss of more than 225,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 15 years, soaring housing costs and cuts in social services due to the state budget crisis of the past several years.

For Sirko, as for most people in poverty, a confluence of personal and societal factors caused her financial fall. She grew up poor in Maywood, dropped out of high school, never learned budgeting skills or opened a savings account.

In 2004 she lost child support from her estranged husband, and problems with emphysema became dramatically worse.

The state’s economy also declined. Sirko was no longer able to find the well-paying factory jobs making pinball machines and video games that she’d had previously. For a while in 2005, she worked at a carwash for $8 an hour.

Seriously, I’m about fucking done with pop-culture theology that assesses the amount of “faith” in our society by the number of asses in church pews and movie theater seats. I’m about fucking done with people who talk about how much better God has made them feel, how much more they love their families now that Jesus is in their lives, how much better it all is down on the cul-de-sac since they were reborn in Christ’s love. I mean, whatever floats your boat, honestly, but don’t tell me that’s the sum total of Christianity, don’t tell me that’s all there is.

You want to have a Democratic conversation about religion, Senator? You want to take the religious question back? You want to use religious imagery in order to give your party some sense of moral force?

Then you have to talk about more than your personal Dashboard Jesus, more than just your own quiet time with the Lord. You want God to be public? Then you take Him public, damn it. You take Him into the public arena not by quoting His words but by dedicating the party to doing His work and then not mentioning one fucking word about His holy name until somebody touched by your obvious moral values flat-out asks.

For a long time now the quote over Robert’s blog has been the best definition I can think of for how my own faith impacts my political affiliations. If certain Democrats are truly, sincerely looking for a way to communicate the impact of their beliefs, they could do worse:

“Religion is responsibility, or it is nothing at all.”

–Jacques Derrida

You want to make the Democratic party a place where Christians feel more at home than thousands and thousands of them already do? Then you shut the Bible and you pick up a shovel and you pick up a hammer and you pick up a pen. You help those people in that story above, and all the hundreds and thousands like them.

And in case you’re thinking it’s not that easy, in case you’re thinking it can’t happen, in case you’re wondering how it’s done, this is how it’s done. And this. And this.

I’m flat-out sick of defining a religious conversation as one that forces me to take sides in a court case that does not and never will affect me one whit. I’m tired of defining a religious conversation as one that centers on a review of Mel Gibson’s latest movie. I’m positively exhausted by discussions of moral values that are all about my sex organs and never, never, about my head or my hands or my heart.

You want to have a Democratic conversation about religion, Senator, you have that conversation. The next time somebody complains in your face about a giant lump of marble with the Ten Commandments on it, and how OMG SO MEEN!!11! people are for making some guy move it someplace, you ask them what they’ve done for Judy Sirko lately.

And not for nothing, Senator, but in a speech about how we shouldn’t condescend to the religious among us, talking about my “secularism” because I don’t want to spend all my time carping over one guy’s lawsuit someplace while bunny-hugging the right wingers’ Buddy Christ? Well, I’m sure there’s something out there more condescending than that but I can’t think of it just this moment.