Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Conservative Christians take on the Statehouse

Evangelical and conservative Christian organizing in Pennsylvania is nothing new. However, the Christian right has apparently formed a new Pastor's network to target our beloved General Assembly in earnest. According to a tucked-away piece in Saturday’s Inquirer (which you can read in its entirety here):

The new Pennsylvania Pastors' Network already has signed up about 100 ministers, most from the Philadelphia area. It was created by Let Freedom Ring, a West Chester nonprofit, with assistance from the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the Urban Family Council.

Former Chester County Commissioner Colin Hanna founded Let Freedom Ring last year to promote conservative causes.

The pastors' network furthers Let Freedom Ring's work during the 2004 presidential campaign to equip pastors to speak out on social issues while abiding by tax rules that require churches to be nonpartisan.

Pastors in the new network will get alerts and material so they and their congregants can press legislators toward conservative stances on abortion, same-sex marriage, gambling, and other issues, said Deborah Hamilton, a spokeswoman for Let Freedom Ring.
Luckily, the left has great people like Rabbi Carl Choper of Temple Beth Shalom in Mechanicsburg on our side who has been working to reinvigorate the statewide Interfaith Alliance. This national group has chapters in many states and Rabbi Carl is trying to get Pennsylvania’s progressive faith community organized. So far this year they have worked to influence Senator Specter on the filibuster issue and will hopefully delve into state level politics soon.

Progressive faith-based organizing is sometimes a low priority of the PA and Philadelphia Left, but when Focus on the Family is funding the other side to influence our state’s policies and laws it should be a wakeup call for all of us to get in touch with Rabbi Carl at the Interfaith Alliance and figure out how we can help.


At 7:13 PM, Blogger Rep. Mark B. Cohen said...

I agree that the revitalization of the Interfaith Alliance is an important project. I have emailed Rabbi Carl offering to help, and I hope others around the state do likewise.

Over the objection of myself and others (virtually all the Democratic Caucus and a few Republicans), the House yesterday passed House Resolution 177, which called for an investigation of college curricula and grading practices to make sure all viewpoints (especially conservative viewpoints) are adequately represented in state colleges and state-related colleges. This is part of a national effort led by the Scaife-funded right-wing ideologue (and one-time Ramparts editor and Black Panther aide) David Horowitz.

We need to do more organizing to develp the strength to take on the right-wing zealots and win more often. A revitalized Interfaith Alliance would be a strong positive step in this direction.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Dumplingeater said...

Rep. Cohen: Were there any Democrats from this area who voted in favor of this resolution?

At 7:30 PM, Blogger Rep. Mark B. Cohen said...

No. Rosita Youngblood initially was a sponsor of it, but she changed her mind after listening to the debate.


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