'Sorry - this isn't directly answering these questions, but I couldn't find anywhere else to voice my frustration that you and all the media seem to totally ignore the large number of Christians for whom other issues are FAR more important than abortion.
Listening to your program tonight I realized that even though you interviewed Amy Sullivan as an example that the media concept of an 'Evangelical Christian' is stereotyped and over-simplified, it still excluded me and millions of others by falling back on the common habit of equating all Christianity with evangelical Christianity.
The media is shortchanging the entire discussion of faith when they repeatedly discuss Christianity only in terms of abortion. Christianity and morality encompass many issues, and different individuals or congregations make different choices as to which issues are most important.
For me, some of the strongest teachings have been the belief that the 'Christian' thing to do is to take care of those who are in need (fortunately, that's a belief that's not limited to Christians). This is closely tied to the belief that all people are children of God - not just the ones who interpret His word in the same way I do.
I can't claim that I live up to those goals, but since my understanding of faith stresses these values, it leads me to political conclusions that are very different from the ones the media claims are 'Christian.'
I do not dispute anyone's right to make their own decisions about which religious beliefs are most important to them - but I strongly dispute the media's tendency to disregard the millions of people whose faith leads them to believe that the most important issues are concern, respect and help for others, and to make political decisions based on that belief. I'd really like to hear a discussion about that aspect of Christianity, and its affect on political choices.
It's not an either/or situation. I'm sure there are millions who would put some other portion of their faith above both the abortion issue and the concerns for the disadvantaged, and many of us try to weigh all of these. The bottom line is: PLEASE DO NOT USE THE MEDIA SHORTHAND OF IDENTIFYING A GROUP AS HUGE AND DIVERSE AS 'CHRISTIANS' ONLY IN TERMS OF A SINGLE ISSUE.
I've limited these comments to the Christian faith simply because that was the topic tonight, and that is the term that I think is being misused. However, there are many who are of a different faith, or no organized faith, but whose moral philosophy has a dominant place in their political decisions.
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