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Thursday, December 02, 2004

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 The thinking faithful ponder moral values

Following a presidential race during which many voters contended that Republicans hijacked the language of morality to further their political agenda, Stanford University's deans for religious life gathered Nov. 22 to question whether "moral values" can be defined as conservative or liberal, and to discuss where the country is heading. Here are some choice quotes:
"No president nor other leader should ever think he or she has been given divine sanction—been blessed by God—no matter what he or she does, bad or good, as [conservative evangelist] Pat Robertson claimed earlier this year for George Bush," said the Rev. William "Scotty" McLennan, dean for religious life. "Religion should never be a trump card or a voting block."

[Q]uoting from Michael Feingold of the Village Voice, Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann, senior associate dean, said the religious right has achieved its might at the expense of its soul. "Make no mistake, this is the election in which American Christianity destroyed itself," Feingold wrote. "Today the church is no longer a religion but a tacky political lobby."

"In reality, 'values' and 'morals' are not red or blue," [Discussion moderator Elaine Ray] said, referring to the color-coded maps that depicted states President Bush won as red and those his Democratic challenger won as blue. "They are gray, because in many cases they are personal and in all cases they are complicated."

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