Overview


John Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest and former U.S. Senator, offers a unique vantage point for examining one of the most conflict-ridden issues in America: the intersection of religion and politics. FAITH AND POLITICS explores the widening rift between left and right, conservative and liberal, believer and nonbeliever. Danforth takes on many of the hot-button issues that are polarizing: stem-cell research, Terri Schiavo, gay marriage, and others. He looks hard at the issues—some of which have touched him...
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Faith and Politics

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Overview


John Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest and former U.S. Senator, offers a unique vantage point for examining one of the most conflict-ridden issues in America: the intersection of religion and politics. FAITH AND POLITICS explores the widening rift between left and right, conservative and liberal, believer and nonbeliever. Danforth takes on many of the hot-button issues that are polarizing: stem-cell research, Terri Schiavo, gay marriage, and others. He looks hard at the issues—some of which have touched him personally—and addresses how we can approach them with less rancor. Arguing that the Republican Party has lost track of its core principles and that the Christian right-wing has lost track of the Christian message, Danforth's book is a much-needed clarion call to Americans for improving our lives as people of faith and as civilians. The paperback edition will have a new Introduction from the author, reflecting on recent developments.
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Editorial Reviews

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We'd be hard pressed to find anyone better qualified than John C. Danforth to assess the current debate over the role of religion in American politics. Throughout a lifetime of public service, this ordained Episcopal priest and former three-term Republican senator has advocated for reason, moderation, and reconciliation in all matters political. Now, in this eloquent critique, Danforth deplores the identification of his party with the religious right and castigates both liberal and conservative extremists for using "wedge issues" like gay marriage and stem cell research for political gain. He candidly admits his personal failings, explains the ways faith has influenced his political decisions, and offers a practical blueprint for returning the focus of government to the crucial matter of finding common ground.
Publishers Weekly
Danforth, a Missouri Republican as well as a lawyer and Episcopal minister, tended to avoid nasty partisan politics during his three terms in the U.S. Senate (with the notable exception of his defense of his prot g Clarence Thomas during U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings). After voluntarily retiring from the Senate in 1995, Danforth accepted appointments by White House Republicans, including ambassador to the United Nations and envoy for peace in Sudan. But the partisanship of President George W. Bush, a variety of other Republicans and quite a few Democrats has now led Danforth to urge political rivals to pull together to strengthen the United States, so the nation can in turn promote world peace. Danforth oozes sincerity and good sense as he excoriates "Christian conservatives" (naming James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, among others) for corrupting religious doctrine on reproduction and marriage and inappropriately inserting it in government. Conceding that he's an imperfect human being who sometimes failed as a student, husband, father, lawyer, minister and senator, Danforth comes across as a welcome paragon of virtue. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Few Americans bring more experience in both religion and politicsto the table than Danforth, an Episcopalian priest and a former senator, ambassador to the United Nations, and special envoy to Sudan, where he helped broker the accord ending a long civil war that had taken on overtones of a Christian-Muslim religious conflict. His current book is both a plea and a warning. Danforth wants American Christians to define their role in the world as supporters of a "ministry of reconciliation": building peace by overcoming differences and healing old wounds. With, as Danforth points out, a significant minority of Muslims embracing calls for a holy war against non-Muslims, this ministry is urgently needed. Turning to domestic politics, Danforth warns that an increasingly strident and intolerant Christian activism on the political right threatens the comity and tolerance that a ministry of reconciliation requires. That Danforth, whose political success was based in part on his reputation as a pro-life voice in the Senate, now warns about the undue strength of the religious right is a significant event in the politics of American religion. Clearly, as they look around the world for opportunities to launch a ministry of reconciliation, American Protestants should consider the possibility of addressing the splits in their own ranks that have so bitterly divided evangelical and liberal Protestants in recent decades. Having helped broker peace in southern Sudan, perhaps Danforth can now help Southern Baptists and Congregationalists learn to get along.
Library Journal
A former Republican senator from Missouri and an ordained Episcopal minister, Danforth argues that his party has taken politics too far from the mainstream. With an eight-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101218761
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/19/2006
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 264
  • File size: 519 KB

Meet the Author

John C. Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest, former three-term U.S. senator (R- MO), and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In 2001, President Bush appointed Danforth as special envoy for peace in Sudan, where he worked to broker a peace agreement that, in 2005, ultimately ended the twenty-year civil war.
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Table of Contents


Preface     xi
Are Christians Reconcilers or Dividers?     1
Christian Love and Practical Politics     22
A Quest for Certainty     32
A Look at the Wedge Issues     54
Public Religion     56
The Case of Terri Schiavo     69
Abortion and Judicial Restraint     78
Stem Cell Research     89
Gay Marriage     98
Family Values     110
Moving Forward Together     126
The Need to Speak Out and to Act     129
Blessed Are the Peacemakers     168
American Compassion Toward a Suffering World     181
Combating Character Assassination     200
Paul's Primer for Politics     210
Acknowledgments     235
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2007

    Excellent analysis of the divisions in faith and politics, caused by todays, 'fundamentalist' viewpoints.

    If someone had said I'd be reading a book on politics and religion, much less buying it, from a former Missouri Senator who is (or was) a Republican, as I'm a lifelong Democrat, I'd have told this person that he or she was not right. Anyway, this excellent book by the former Senator, and Episcopalian minister, is 'on point', with its analysis of how religion and politics have been [both] misused especially by the 'far right', i.e., fundamentalist, so-called, 'Christians'. In analyzing the problem, Mr. Danforth gives concrete examples of how this divide: between fundamentalists and the rest of us, weakens our nation. Further, he offers a 'path' to 'reconciliation'. I'm guilty as the next, characterizing people of the GOP, as he says: 'nuts', because they wouldn't agree with me on many issues, e.g., war, poverty, abortion, and others which he does not 'shy away from' these issues, which is good. Many might feel he has betrayed his 'GOP'/'Republican' principles, but he has (to me) attempted to distinguish his views from his colleagues of a more 'conservative' ilk. Compared to today's Republican party, which been 'hijacked' by a right wing element that is stronger than than even the one that elected the late Ronald Reagan in the 1980's to the Presidency. Familiar names, from those times, e.g., Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others, have become even more radical, and who see anyone, e.g., a moderate, or G-d forbid, 'liberal' Republican (not to mention Democrats and Independents) as 'godless'. He rightly says this does not help our country (the U.S.), much less contribute to 'true' 'Moral Values', e.g., which his book, and the one I plan to read (soon) by Robin Meyers, on the 'Religious Right', point out is a favorite 'buzzword' of the neocon, intolerant, practitioners of religion [particularly where it relates to politics]. He right says too, that to 'hate' anyone, which I'm guilty of but am trying to change [though I don't 'hate' anyone, even if I disagree with them], merely on religious and political differences, is wrong. People can agree to disagree without resorting to maligning people (especially those of us who call ourselves Christians. An excellent book, highly recommended to anyone who is willing to put the partisanship and the religious disagreements to one side, to move our nation forward, on those things on which all can agree (and there are some things, surely, that we can).

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