Monday, July 04, 2005

What If The Christian Right Is In The Middle?

USA Today has an interesting look at the movement among evangelical groups to join forces with traditionally liberal causes. Specifically, in the areas of the environment and international justice issues. This does not mean that the "Christian Right" is giving any ground on traditional battleground issues, such as abortion or gay marriage, but it does serve notice to the politicians that there are some issues that have universal support. I found it interesting that a broad coalition of religious groups have been meeting weekly for a number of years now, since working together on the Religious Freedom Act. Early in their time together, the liberal religious leaders provided the group with access to the Clinton White House, but now the conservative leaders are returning the favor with the Bush White House. Madeline Albright's comment about the divide not being a straight line seemed to sum it up quite well.

Combine all of this with the report in the Scotsman News that religious groups in the US have given more money toward poverty relief than the governments of Britain and France, and the stereotypical image of religion in the US gets shattered quite quickly. Seems that a nation that has a strong economy and lower taxes also is able to encourage its people to give money to good causes. If the combined total of private giving to battle poverty in the Developing World is added up, the US total is more than FOURTEEN times greater than the European total. That does not include the money that immigrants send home to help their families (which is a larger number yet!), that is just looking at private donations. Go a step further and figure in Bush's commitment to increase US aid to Africa more than seven times over in the next five years, and that is a great deal of money being used to combat poverty.