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Why the left became hostile to religion

Why the left became hostile to religion

by J. D. Mullane
Bucks County Courier Times

A Roman Catholic campaigns for the presidency, pledging to keep religion separate from the duties of office.

Yet, upon being elected, the new president prominently makes the sign of the cross during the inauguration ceremony and shamelessly invokes God in his address to the nation.

Troubling?

To many liberals it is, if my completely unscientific poll over the last few weeks is an indicator.

"Worrisome, to me. That should never happen," a cutting-edge liberal Democrat told me last week.

But when I tell them that's exactly what John F. Kennedy did at his inauguration on Jan. 20, 1961, the spluttering commences.

Whaaaat?

Yes, JFK blessed himself twice and told the nation:

"With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."

The more intriguing issue is why, in the eye-blink of 44 years, did the left become so hostile to religion and people of faith?

How did it arc from championing the first Catholic president (signs of the cross and all) to tearing out displays of the Ten Commandments, declaring unconstitutional the Pledge of Allegiance because it mentions God and making war on the Boy Scouts of America because the Scout oath states that members are honor-bound "to do my duty to God and my country?"

Tony Campolo, ex-Penn professor, answers: "Liberals all went to the universities and they became pseudo-sophisticates.

"Somewhere in the university, they heard professors who made fun of the Bible, made fun of religious faith and they thought that was cool and thought they would come across as erudite and intelligent members of academia.

"The left just doesn't get it."

Campolo, an evangelical Baptist minister and spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton, is traveling the country speaking to liberal audiences on how the left can reclaim its lost language of faith and morals and, perhaps, reclaim political office.

Last week, he was in Warrington speaking to a mostly-left audience at the Bux-Mont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

He was tough.

The left is scripturally illiterate.

Liberals don't seem a bit curious as to what animates evangelicals, or why 83 percent voted Republican in 2004.

After the last presidential election, Campolo said he met privately with 37 U.S. senators, including Kennedy, Kerry, Boxer and Biden.

"They wanted to know what it means to be born again. Who are the evangelicals?" It's a stunning disconnect, he said.

Liberals still frame their issues in economic terms, which would be fine if it were 1974 and capitalists and socialists were struggling to dominate each other. But faith, not economics, is what defines and divides the world's people today.

Meanwhile, America was becoming more religious.

"The Democratic Party failed because it failed to understand how deeply spiritual America had become," he said.

Campolo said the only way the left will appeal to evangelicals is by knowing the Bible, sincerely talking the talk and framing its issues in moral terms.

He didn't say "gimme that old time religion."

But given the sad state of lefty politics, it wouldn't hurt.

END

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