Sunday, January 29, 2006

Southern Dems Pull the 'God' Card

From a couple days ago: the New York Times reports on a disturbing development among southern Democrats—pushing "non-partisan" school Bible study legislation in a bid to solicit votes from Christian values voters. Their proposals purport to "teach the Bible as literature," as opposed to similar GOP bills which would support using the Bible as the primary text and (as implied in the article by Alabama state senator Eric Johnson) require or encourage the teachers to be observant Christians (!). Leaving aside the question of whether or not this is a sound idea in principle for Dems, it seems as though such a Third-Wayish approach to religion will probably backfire both with secular liberals who feel it goes too far and with cultural conservatives who feel it doesn't go far enough. Tim Kaine showed that faith can be successfully woven into Democratic electoral campaigns if it's perceived as sincere, but somehow I doubt the ecumenical tack adopted by the aforementioned southern Dems will come off as such, especially with the GOP offering evangelical hardliners a much juicier alternative.