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Faith and Politics: How the "Moral Values" Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together [Unabridged]

By Senator John Danforth (Author)
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Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.22" Width: 5.54" Height: 1.33"
Weight:   0.57 lbs.
Binding  CD
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
ISBN  1593160895  
EAN  9781593160890  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
As a former three-term Republican U.S. senator from Missouri and an ordained Episcopal priest, John Danforth has watched the changes in his party and the church with growing alarm. Now he wants to voice his concerns and call for change. Danforth speaks out clearly against the religious right's conflation of their political agenda with a religious agenda. He argues that no one should presume to embody God's truth. He castigates the religious right for their focus on wedge issues that drive people apart and that create ?tests? for religious orthodoxy. In fact, Danforth looks closely at many of the major wedge issues of our day: abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, the Schiavo case, and public displays of religion. As a respected former senator, ambassador to Sudan, and priest, Danforth writes openly about political life, and ambition, humbly about his achievements, and above all with clarity and reason that both Republicans and Democrats hear all too little of.

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More About Senator John Danforth

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! John Danforth graduated from Princeton University, Yale Divinity School, and Yale Law School. He practiced law in New York City and St. Louis before serving as attorney general of Missouri, United States senator from Missouri, and United States representative to the United Nations. An ordained Episcopal priest, he is the author ofFaith and Politics and Resurrection: The Confirmation of Clarence Thomas. He lives in St. Louis."

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General   [22730  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Church & State   [1182  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Divide and Conquer  Sep 4, 2008
The Moral Values Debate Continues

Can anything good come from the man that played a key role the process that led to the confirmation of staunch conservative Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court? Politics aside, the short answer is yes. Danforth's background as special envoy to Sudan, where he worked to broker a peace deal ending one of the longest running civil wars in history, puts him in a good position to address the issue of religion as a source of reconciliation. So, too, does his long tenure in the United States Senate which saw the rise of the religious right within the Republican party and its polarizing effect on national politics.

The book will surprise many readers as Danforth speaks most forcefully from his priestly formation and with a prophetic voice against poverty. "Helping the poor is clearly a religious value... From the blistering condemnation of those who 'trample the poor' and 'lie on beds of ivory' in the book of Amos to Jesus' consignment of those who do not feed the hungry and clothe the naked to eternal punishment in Matthew, both Old and New Testaments are consistent in their message. Mistreatment of the poor is a grievous sin. So is ignoring them" writes Danforth.

Equally surprising to some may be his more moderate views on issues such as homosexuality and stem-cell research. Both wedge issues that divide the nation and churches as well. Having watched his brother's life destroyed by ALS, from a personal perspective, Danforth declares with passion "no theologian however learned; no church council, however authoritative; no bishop or archbishop, however holy will ever persuade me that protecting a frozen embryo that will never see the light of day should take precedence over my brother Don. Similarly, Danforth's show more moderation on the issue of homosexuality and family than most within the Republican party calling a constitutional amendment on marriage "gay bashing". He writes, "if allowed to do so, without the premature intervention of the courts, the opportunistic interference of politicians and the divisive interference of religious leaders, the vast majority of Americans would work out, in a mutually respectful way, how they deal with issues of sexual orientation. I believe the broad outlines of such an agreement would include the following:

Establishment of the principle that discrimination in all forms, including sexual orientation, is wrong and should be unlawful; Governmental recognition of committed same-sex relationships, including the creation of legal status with regard to property rights, pension benefits, insurance and inheritance; Development by religious groups of ways to bless committed same-sex relationships; A strong emphasis on the importance of committed, long-term relationships and the disavowal of sexual permissiveness, whether straight or gay; The honoring of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

Danforth acknowledges the fact that "nothing has matched gay marriage as an example of the emotional heat created by the mixture of religion and politics" but does not acknowledge the difficult fact that too many of our citizens just don't want to talk about it.

While I do not agree with many of his positions, I was among the hundred or so people who attended the public launching of Danforth's book at the Chicago' Union League Club last Fall and gained a sense of Danforth's humility. That humility comes across well in "Faith and Politics". Consistent with his citing Paul's admonition in his letter to the Philippians "to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, Danforth later writes in a quasi-creedal statement writes "while I am a believing Christian, I acknowledge the distance between God's reality and our perception of that reality. I do not believe that any faith, including my own, monopolizes human understanding of God. I believe that God created and embraces all humankind, and that religious bigotry against anyone is more than uncivilized, it is in opposition to Christianity."

We may know Danforth the politician, but this work made me wonder what we may have missed of Danforth the priest.
Like an auto mechanic discussing nuclear physics  May 9, 2008
Although Mr. Danforth may be an ordained minister it is obvious he is of the "unsaved" variety. Basically we wants the religious right to compromise their values to get along. Compromising values is what makes values worthless. A wishy-washy liberal mainstream protestant but obviously a politician first. The liberal elite will praise this book.
Boring Do not operate machinery while listening to these cd's  Sep 2, 2007
I very rarely review audio books. I have listened to 100's over the last 20 years. This has to be in the top 5 most boring. Its hard to believe people voted this guy into office. This audio book makes Al Gore look like wild man. This should have never been published. Shame on Penguin for putting out shuch dribble.
Moral Relativism at the Forefront  Jun 30, 2007
Danforth is indeed a career politician. He admits he was unsure of his career path into theology. Both of these facts come through strongly in this book. He is willing to compromise on any point. Although not stated, it appears Danforth would be of a mind that all religions are correct and atheism is not too bad either. Christians who take strong positions, who fight for what they believe is truth are divisive. In the liberal left world of moral relativism, truth is irrelevant. When a Christian takes a stand on a "wedge issue" that is just flat out wrong. Even though the Christian viewpoint is generally the majority outlook in this country on most of his wedge issues, it is the Christian who is driving the wedge, not the other side. It doesn't take "two to tangle" here, it is the conservatives who are the problem. Politician Danforth says they should cede to the minority so there is healing. When brutal forces oppress Christians in Cambodia or the Sudan, it is the conquered who are to love their enemy. When peaceful compromise fails, he does not blame the oppressor, it is the victims fault because they do not succumb to their tormentor's will. This line of thought probably works in getting some things done. But there is a cost in ignoring truth for political expediency.
A thoughtful book on uniting rather than dividing  Mar 12, 2007
John Danforth speaks from the heart in Faith and Politics, as he urges us to move forward together rather than fight over wedge issues.

In his career, Danforth has mostly been a lawyer and a politician -- both professions that generally reward aggressive, adversarial stances. Yet in this book, Danforth's thinking draws more on the accommodating, uniting position that most would associate more with his third, much more peripheral career as a priest. Tying those three viewpoints together in a thoughtful, personal discussion on a variety of issues makes for a book that is a pleasant but important read.

The chapters on abortion and gay marriage caught my interest the most. Danforth does not takes sides on these issues as much as question whether they should have the importance they do. That makes sense. Does it really matter to the vast majority of us how these issues are resolved? Not really. Given their relative unimportance, it seems that we could find a way to take the heat and anger, on both sides, away from these issues. A win by either side will, practically speaking, mean little to the losing side.

But as Danforth points out, "church fights" too happen all the time, and often over less than important administrative issues. (As he notes the most ferocious fighters on these battles over church issues are retirees, who presumably have little else to do with their time.) As many college deans and presidents have noted about faculty issues, the most heated battles tend to be on the least important issues. In politics too, the same applies.

As others have noted here, Danforth does not offer much in the way of a solution. And what he does suggest is not the value that this book offers. Instead, the way he thinks and the way he writes on these issues provide us with a wonderful guide on how we should address them as well. With compassion, not just passion. With thoughtfulness, not anger. And looking for areas on which to agree, not disagree.

As a model on how to discuss wedge issues, Faith and Politics has a value beyond what Danforth says on the issues themselves. The words are not too important. How they are said is.

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