Watching Christmas being Celebrated in Europe

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 20 December 2006 0 Comments
Please login with your account to read this essay.


Please comment on the very recent book by John Danforth, "Faith and

Politics: How the Moral Values Debates Divides America" I realize it will

take a while to get to this, but I eagerly await your views on his views.


John Danforth is a rare combination in American politics. He

has been a Republican senator from Missouri, the ambassador to the United

Nations and an ordained priest of the Episcopal Church. He actually served

as the clergy chair of the Committee to nominate a new Bishop for the

Episcopal Diocese of Missouri just a year ago. As a senator, he stood in

that wing of the moderate Republican Party that gave us Nelson Rockefeller,

William Scranton, Thomas Kean, John and Lincoln Chafee, Susan Collins and

Olympia Snow. His one departure from that noble tradition was a significant

one when he served as the Senate floor manager for the nomination of

Clarence Thomas for his seat on the Supreme Court. Justice Thomas has been

undistinguished at best and out of the mainstream at worst.

Senator Danforth's book states what I believe are the core

values of this nation but he develops them in contradiction to the "values"

that seem to emanate from America's vocal religious right. His faith is

deeply informing of his life and of his public service, but the narrowly

focused religious agenda that marks today's Republican party is the target

of most of his book.

I believe that the Rev. John Danforth has been an effective and

competent public servant in both his Church and his political career. His is

the voice of reason and sensitivity. He escapes the stridency of today's

brand of politicized religion that repels me as deeply as it repels him.

His book is a solid contribution to the current religious and political

debate. I wish Christianity could produce more John Danforths and fewer Pat

Robertsons. I wish the Senate had more John Danforths and fewer Sam


John Shelby Spong




Leave a Reply