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Given AJC's steadfast century long commitment to religious liberty and a dynamic pro for religion and public life, it should not be surprising to any of us that it touches the AJC agenda in so many ways and on so many fronts. Today it's about the role of religion in public life, a discussion with profound national and personal consequences. Whether we are discussing how the courts are to meaningfully interpret constitutional guarantees in the free expression of religion, or the prohibition on the establishment through government of any particular religion or our personal convictions and that our obligations to express our religious views or our concerns about exclusion, division and devaluation of those who do not share the majority views. We are taking on the core character of American life. Through these discussions and the many like them that I hope we have at our homes and in our communities, we are in fact engaging America. We have a wonderful panel to guide our discussion today. First to speak with us is Richard Parker and he is right there. Richard Parker is a Lecturer in Public Policy and Senior Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government which you know is at Harvard. He teaches courses on religion, politics and public policy and I hear from his students, he is quite a dynamic lecturer, speaker and an inspiring mentor. An economist by training, co-founder of Mother Jones I am particularly fond of that and author of such influential books as The Myth of the Middle Class and an intellectual biography of John Kenneth Galbraith. Parker speaks and writes regularly about the crossroads between religion and politics and we are delighted that he is going to share his insights with us today. Thank you. Well, first of all it's just a delight to be back at the AJC, I worked for your Board last year. I hope that was partially the basis for my re-invitation today. I will say that like my previous encounter, you set a high bar for your speakers. The list of questions that I was supposed to address today includes the role of religion in the political life of the nation in an ever more religiously diverse population. Religious discourse and political values, how to protect religious liberty and set the high wall of a short state separation. What will be the nature of our encounter with fundamentalism and the retreat from eternity, how do these issues predict the future social, religious and political fabric of American life and the nature of our society. Since I am neither the coming of the messiah nor even a sufficiently capable one man minion I am not going to try to answer those questions here today. I think that the question before is the shape of American religions and the impact they have on American public life and a shared concern that all of us in this room have for maintaining both the separation and a balance between those two enormous institutions in the public world today. It is an especially critical issue because there has been in the last 25 years, a cycle of rising conservative Christian evangelicalism and that I know has created concern among many in the community here and also in other communities. But as part of my comments today, I will argue that we need to be a little less concerned about it today not only because I will argue that its on a decline compared to 10 or 15 years ago. But rather that it's important to understand that its part of a cycle in American history. In fact Clyde Wilcox at Georgetown I think, has done an admirable job of explaining that this latest rise of evangelical Christian conservatism was just the third of the three major rises of such conservatism in the 20th century and while it's declining today we are likely to see it rise again. The important thing I think for you to carry your way as American Jews is a sense of being a religious minority in a country that's composed of religious minorities. That may seem an impossible concept to bridge when in fact as you understand 90 percent of Americans claim to be religious, over 80 percent claim to be Christian. How could he be talking about a religious minority country? But the fact of the matter is that the American Christian community is as divided and as denominationally disintegrated as any imaginable community. The Protestants alone, if to consult one standard directory of denominations, have more than 1,300 functioning Protestant denominations in the United States and as E.J. a Catholic, appear on this table, will tell you ethnicity serves a proxy for denominationalism in the Catholic Church and that the competition historically between Irish American Catholics and German American Catholics and Italian American Catholics looked an awful lot like, Baptist Presbyterians and Pentecostals were doing over on the Protestant side of that divide. The other thing to remind ourselves is that many of the predictions that get made about religion's force and impact turned out to be remarkably wrong. And I want to remind you one of the very earliest ones, made appropriately enough by a President of Yale University; I want to point of Harvard University. In 1796 when surveying the very first census of America which asks questions about religious affiliation, studied the matter very closely for a number of weeks and pronounced America's guaranteed future for the three grade, what he called religions of the country. The Congregationalists, the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians, the three great religions of America today. As you understand the three of them together make up barely six percent of the American population. Now I emphasized that as just one example of among the many that I could introduce concern that somehow we have been wearing toward a kind of theocratic state in the last here of errors of prediction. And today the error of prediction that concerns me most is a 20 years, as some of the most prominent critics of the tendencies within the Republican Party have shown. Kevin Phillips, American theocracy is a telling example of that, many of you may be acquainted with them. There is certainly a large literature on it. I come from what I would call the not the accommodations school, not the separations school in terms of American relationship between religion and politics but from the relaxation school. I would urge us all to relax a little bit more and not imagine that we are on the verge of some kind of gigantic religious war, either Christian against Jew or Christian against Christian or anything else of the sort. This is a nation which has practiced for over 200 years, a remarkable sort of religious tolerance. When one looks back on the experience of Europe, whether it has a Jew or a Christian, it is sanguinary history. And that's history filled with hatred and bloodshed and mayhem. And to look back on the last 250 years of American history and to trace out the lines of those kinds of sanguinary battles is to come up empty. One can talk about the the terrible things that we have done at Norwood Illinois, to the Mormons. One can talk about the Catholic monastery the Catholic seminary that was burned in Boston where the treatment of a small group of Italian Catholics, New Orleans have certainly the large number of incidents of anti Semitism, but to talk about religious pogroms or Americans being forced against their will to be confined to communities of only like peoples is to not honestly tell the story of what America has accomplished. And I think it's vital that we keep that history front and center as we confront both the present and the future of America's roles for religion and politics. We are not on the verge of tipping over. We are not to talk as if we were because the carelessness of that kind of talk encourages a kind of abandonment of the public square and a sense that all is already lost when nothing yet, nothing yet of importance to anyone in this room or on this stage has yet been lost in terms of the religious diversity and broad mutual tolerance that we have achieved in the United States today. We face as a nation a set of daunting problems internationally in the years to come, focused particularly on the Middle East and our radical elements with in the Islamic community. But that is not the same as addressing the issues of religious disagreement which fuelled debate within the American borders over the last 30 years. The truth is that the rise of the conservative evangelical movement in the 1970s as I mentioned earlier was just the third of three major rises in the 20th century and needs to be understood as part of a reaction which was entirely predictable to a struggle that went on in the 1950s and 1960s initially about civil rights. Because as we understand the core David can comment on this more but as we know the core of the white evangelical community still lies within the American self, within the old confederacy and the adjacent perimeter states. The fact of their experience isolated them as a community and gave a definition to their lives as that of the lost cause. But it was the lost cause that it attempted to rescue slavery as an institution. An impossible possibility for the nation to have accepted had it wished to go forward and become the nation that America became in the 20th century. Slavery had to be undone. But it struck at the heart of the organization of that culture and in the aftermath of the Civil War resulted in the imposition of racial segregation through out the South. The quality of the 1950s and 60s experience for so many of those white Southerners who were also Evangelical Protestants was of a new era of loss and a new sense of being alienated from the rest of the country. And while I do not here invite any of you to exhibit or profess sympathy with segregation in any form I do want you to understand that in the trauma of that transition, in the failure of those states to in some ways defend that white culture from the decision made by the majority of Americans who endorsed the Federal Legislation that was the crowning achievement of the Johnson administration and the struggle that had blown on for years before Johnson. That in their loss was created a movement in which religion came to the fore as that it has come to the fore in so many other situations. We have to understand that the institutional role of religion in cultures whether it is ours or it is in the Middle East or it is in South Africa or South America is when states collapsed to fill a void that viable states often fill. And that the absolutism associated with certain kinds of religious understandings in the situation of failed states necessarily gives rise to a kind of religious and political fundamentalism that is the nature of the fundamentalism that we are struggling with and will be struggling with for the next several decades internationally. But it is also important to understand that in the course of American history, each time that sense of loss is occurred, there has been a counter balancing force and reintegration of people and culture into the larger American mainstream. And what I think is happening now and David again can talk more about it from his experience, working for President Bush and as a quite evangelical himself - is that yellow evangelical, I am sorry That's okay, I was just joking. I heard that. Pale yellow. That's okay that's okay. My wife you know she calls me god's frozen people for being an Episcopalian so every body takes a little grief on the religion. Good to hear you, good ears. I have got two small boys, David, got to have good ears, excuse me excuse me. The emphasis on the self examination that is going on with in the white evangelical community today. It's a profound self examination. It does not mean that as a community which has cast its lot in last 30 years with Republican Party after a history of support for the Democratic Party that dates back Andrew Jackson, that this was a community who suddenly embraced the values Franklin Roosevelt, let alone Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. I don't mean to suggest that. What I mean to suggest however is that this is a community in transition and what might have seen fearful or dangerous to many of us in this room ought not to be seen as the same community today. What we need to be doing, if in fact we come here or we come together anywhere as people of faith is to recognize the differences that our faith creates between us. But as American's reach out to one another to try to restore the civility and balance that goes with an authentic American dialogue about religion and politics in this country. My hope is that the sense of the loss and abandonment that any minority religious community is capable of feeling is ultimately capable of being healed by the generosity of the vision of the pluralism and religious equality that has been at the center of this country since it was created. So my encouragement to you today is not live in fear, as part of a minority community facing the dangers of a majoritarian, one might someday turn against you. But rather to understand that you are one among many who consider themselves to be minorities in a country that is a country of minorities, in which none of us feel securely in any kind of permanent majority. And that that has become the gift - the gift of America, to all of us because it has caused us to see, to reach out to one another on the basis of pluralism, difference and dignity and equality and it is that which we need to leave here defending today, thank you. Our next speaker is David Kuo. David served as a Special Assistant to the President, under George Bush from 2001 to 2003. He has worked for numerous conservative leaders including John Ashcroft, William Bennett, Jack Kemp, Bob Dole, and Ralph Reed. He is the author of the, Good Morning America Book Club selection Dot.com: My Days and night at an Internet Goliath, that's a great dialogue. He currently serves as the Washington Editor at the Beliefnet network website, if you haven't seen it take a look. Just by the way of pointing out, I wrote a book last fall that was slightly critical of the Bush Administration. Tempting Faith there you go, available at book store now any way. I want to say that I am religious in racial pluralism. Just right here, my dad's Chinese. My mom is a descendent of Jefferson Davis. Father is Buddhist. Mom is a liberal Christian who worked on Inter Racial Christian Commune in America, in Georgia in the 1950s. So, you know I am either paranoid about everything or hopeful about everything. Let me also begin out of a state of great fear because he actually did answer all of those questions. And so I just I don't even want to raise the expectations that I am not even come close. Actually I want to pick up on a couple of things that you said, first just about the faith community that I am generally a part of and then I want to sort of broaden it a little bit to talk about faith and politics, but I want to talk about a little bit more from the spiritual perspective. Because I think there is a lot of talk that goes on about faith and politics but it almost always looks it from political perspective, that examining faith and I want to try and turn that around a little bit. First let me talk about the sort of my quasi faith group. And I say quasi because I am becoming more comfortable, little bit by little bit, saying that you know that I am an evangelical Christian. Now little bit by little bit, because you know up until recently that term suggested merely one thing, no, two things. Against gay marriage, against abortion rights, generally hateful towards minorities, I guess that's three and various other things that aren't terribly good. And so I have actually sort of refused to call myself in public a Christian because I didn't want those things I didn't want saddled with those things. I simply said that I struggle to be a follower of Jesus and I generally stick at it that last part is still true. But I will pick up voice here because mine is a faith tradition very much in political transition and in theological transition you know. The religious right grew to this great prominence during the 1990s in particular and I want to argue that it grew because of only two people. One was a man named Ralph Reed one was a man named George W Bush. Ralph Reed when he took over the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s did something that really hadn't happened in the religious community for very religious right community for a very long time. And that was he brought all of these warring dispirit factions together. Now he brought together the people who wanted to boycott Disney and the people who wanted to march on abortion clinics and the people who wanted to work on Supreme Court Justice, as he brought them altogether. You know he created an umbrella organization and he somehow managed to create a political coalition and he did this because he is a master of political strategies. He knew how to do it. He figured out modes and methods, score cards to rate voters, relationships with elected officials and to give himself proximity to power and the transition that proximity to power into credibility with the grass root Christian base and he left Christian coalition in 1997. It was it was at that time that the religious right community fell into a serious period of re examination, after the 1998 mid term elections where religious right leaders like James Dobson James Dobson, really truly predicted that Christian conservatives are going to take over even more on the heels of the Clinton impeachment. When that when that election didn't quite turn out that way they were sending, messages out saying, oh my god, America is going to fell in a hand basket, and that's actually a quote from several of the leaders. But it was right after that period of time, when the religious right was about to split up, that George W Bush appeared on the scene. And it was out of Austin, Texas that George W Bush and Karl Rove, pursued sort of the Amway strategy of religious right activism. And that was they was they brought people into to Austin, Texas and they didn't share with religious leaders George W Bush's political agenda. They shared with him them a single thing basically. He would tell his story of conversion, from being a drunk to being a follower of Jesus, to being aimless to having purpose and he would bring in the pastors and he would talk to them, he would share his faith and then he would say, go out and tell the people you know, kind of a modeling somebody else. You know, go tell to friends and they told their friends and they told their friends and so on and so on and so on. But that's exactly what happened. This is how you know in 2000 and in 2004 that the religious right community was so so much behind George W Bush. It was because he had been sold to them as their pastor in chief. Now the fact that from a biblical respective this is deeply alarming because Christians are supposed to have a prophetic voice towards power, that they should be able to speak truthful to power wasn't terribly important for the White House because of course they just wanted the votes. Now this isn't terribly unique, this is what people in power do, this is what politicians do. But now you know on the heels of 2004, on the heels of the Iraq, on the heels of Abu Ghraib and Walter Reed and the Justice department and the failure of compassionate conservatism, you are seeing Christian conservators take a fundamental reexamination of their approach towards politics. Now I was talking to a friend you know, few weeks ago, he is a political consultant and I asked I said, what do you think that the huge money difference was in the first round of money rising between Democrats and the Republicans for 2008. He said the Christians are staying home they are not giving. And he said why is that, or I asked him I asked him why he thought that was and he said because they just don't know what they are doing. And the anecdotal evidence behind that is huge, that you are seeing mega pastor after mega pastor simply pull back from politics. I will mention three names, one of which you probably know Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, simply the biggest selling hard cover book in American history somewhere around 27 million at this point of time you know. He has been criticized by people like James Dobson and Pat Robertson because he hasn't transitioned his his power in the politics, rather he has transitioned power into some thing else. Working in Africa, to try and build the churches there, to deal with the aids crisis, to deal with Malaria, to deal with poverty. He said I want to go where Jesus is and that's where will be you know. And so he is mobilizing a whole lot of people, a whole lot of money that have nothing to do with American politics, that's one. It's significant but I will tell two names that are far more significant because you have never heard of them. Well, what is a man named Joe Hunter; he heads a mega church in Orlando, Florida. He was actually going to take over the Christian Coalition but he pulled out because he said all they wanted to focus on was abortion and gay marriage. And because the movement now for Christians is a movement to live as Jesus lived and love his Jesus loved, not to try and figure out what Jesus's policies were. So he pulled back from that and he is now going around the country and speaking and there is a big movement of people who support that sort of movement, who support that sort of faith. He said you know, Jesus never talked about abortion; Jesus never really talked about gay marriage. Why are we defining Jesus that way? A third person is a man, he is a good friend of mined Jeff Perry, he has a mega church in Chesterfield County outside St. Louis, Missouri got a lot of money there, got a lot of people there. Fifteen thousand people on his rolls. Last fall, in the middle of the James Talent-Claire McCaskill race, the Republican Party wanted to get a whole of people from this church to go out and you know pass out ballots or you know, pamphlets and posters and all that sort of stuff and he thought about it. They wanted him to open up his pulpit to James Talent. Senator Talent was a decent - a really good man. And he said, no he said no, I would not have politicians in my pulpit in an election year. He said and I will not send out people from my congregation for politics, I am sending them back to Katrina. And so he had three or four teams of fifty people and they all went back to Louisiana. And I say this not because you know, this is happening all across America but because it is happening across America. But there is also war going on within this religious right community because there are people like James Dobson and Tony Perkins of Family Research Council who are launching a counter war, trying to get more pastors to sign people up their pulpits. So again you know, is it a war you know it's a debate, it's a divide, and it's a question about the nature faith. And let me just say a couple of other things because we are also at this dangerous and enormous bizarre with faith politics in America. Because if you look around at the Republican the main Republican candidates none of them want to talk about faith. Mitt Romney does not want to talk about his faith. He really doesn't, he does not want to be asked questions about silk underwear. Rudy Giuliani does not want to be asked about faith, he doesn't want to be asked well, you know how does your faith impact three marriages and an annulment. John McCain talks a little bit about his faith, but he talks about it with great reticence and he doesn't really want to be - doesn't want to deal with that too much either. Look at the Democrats though, I mean holy cow, we are not this looks like a competition for who is the better evangelist, I mean you got John Edwards talking that Jesus would be appalled by American selfishness, you got Hillary Clinton talking about teaching bible at Sunday school and then we got Barack Obama who compares himself to Joshua. It's a rather extraordinary thing because the Democrats have learnt a single lesson from George W Bush and that is convince the American people that you are going to be the pastor in chief. This is from my perspective an exceedingly dangerous lesson; it's an exceedingly dangerous lesson because it demeans people of faith. It says to people of faith, what you should focus on more than any thing else is whether some body is diligent in their faith whether some body read the right sort of scripture. Now I think that makes for bad politics because it makes for dumb electorate. From a spirit of perspective however I am far more concerned, because it compromises that faith itself. And I will close with with this talk and that is I am more and more concerned with the rise of spirituality, the rise of religion in American politics, more and more candidates being asked to talk about their faith and intricate details about their faith. That that this message is being sent somehow that politics matter more than faith, right? That faith itself needs to kneel before the god of politics you know, and I think that whether it is for my community, whether it is for the Jewish community or any other community there needs to be this absolute recognition that god is still god. That god and his work of spiritual life, spiritual transformation has a greater capacity to transform our lives and other lives than any sort of politics. I am not saying I withdraw from politics, I am saying a return to the first principle and that is that god is god. And this basing like something that's a very basic thing per se, but more and more in American politics, I am concerned that there is this race to elevate politics to a place that it has never had in American public life and that is a place above god and I just think that its important that we recognize the primacy of god in all of us, so thank you. Our third Speaker and I don't want to say our last speaker because we hope they continue to speak after they gave us their introductive marks, E. J. Dionne, as many of you know is a Syndicated Columnist for the Washington Post. His writings on the Competing Philosophies of American Politics and the shifting trends of Public Sentiment are well known to us all. His list of achievements is long, but most relevant for today's panel is his work that he has done for the Pew Forum Series, Dialogues on Religion And Public Life, an editor of the book, One Electorate Under God, public debate about religion and politics and I know have missed something since I have done that without reviewing back, welcome. Thank you so much, you know I do talk a lot about politics and that was so much more generous than the introduction I received recently which began, and now for the latest joke from Washington, here is E. J. Dionne, so thank you thank you very much for that. I very much want to thank the American Jewish Committee for two reasons. One is for having Richard Fulton in Washington, Richard and I have worked together for about 10 years now on a variety of projects and he is always there, he is always a blessing. He even came and helped teach my students at Georgetown for which I have always been very grateful. I also want to thank the committee for reuniting me with someone who goes way back in my life. I think I have known her since she was three years old. Robin Philips where are you, can you acknowledge Robin Philips from your staff. Robin's father Dave Rudovsky was one of my very first friends in the world. I lived in the middle of a block here. And David lived over here and our friend John Yudis lived over here and I always thought there was spiritual significance to the fact that my first two friends in the world were David and Jonathan and I didn't deserver that but I was very grateful for them. It is such a joy to see Robbin and I am on the panel with two of my very favorite people. I want to sell their books, Richard's book on John Kenneth Galbraith is a magnificent work that is not only a wonderful biography but its also very relevant to the future of American politics. Galbraith saw an opening for a new progressive departure back around 1959-1960. I think we are at a similar movement right now. So everybody should buy Richard's book and David Kuo's book Tempting Faith was honest, it was brave it was informative. David and I had also worked together for a very long time and I am just honored to be here with him and Richard mentioned the whole business about ethnic, hatred and sort of how people got along and you know on our hometown - there was a wonderful man who was a second father to me, my dad died when I was 16 years old. Then I was blessed both with the good dad and with somebody who became the second dad and his name was Burt Jaffee who lived down the street. Ran for Congress as an anti-war Democrat 1970, was an ex-marine, fought in [0:32:03] ____ but the point of my story here is about how you can only understand America one way to understand America is not by who loves each other but by who happens to dislike each other at a given moment and Burt grew up in Sparta, Georgia and Burk's classic southern thing as you know Burt's was the only Jewish family in Sparta, Georgia and they ran the general store and the town was actually divided between Baptist and Methodists and when Burt was about 16 years old he wanted to go out with a Methodist girl and her parents wouldn't let Burt go out with the Methodist girl unless he join the Epworth league which was the Methodist's youth group and so Burt without renouncing his own tradition, joined the Epworth League and proceeded to get elected president of the local Epworth Committee in Sparta, Georgia. Well as these things happen he and the Methodist girl broke up and he wanted to go out with a Baptist girl and as Burt tells the story they didn't give a damn that I was Jewish, what they couldn't stand is I have been president of the Epworth League. And as Yogi Berra said upon learning that the lord mayor of Dublin was Jewish only in America. Its really good to be with you today. I I always say that my slogan in life is God Looks Out For Fools and Democrats and I happen to qualify. I am both. And I was working on something this morning it was completely unrelated to my talk today and I happen to take down from my show Rabbi Jonathan Sacks's book To Heal A Fractured World. It's a book many of you might be familiar with. It was actually given to me by Nathan Diamond of the orthodox union. Nathan's here somewhere. I thank you Nathan for Jonathan Sack's book and I wanted to read the beginning and the end of the Jonathan Sack's book because I think it bears - has a lot of bearing on what we are discussing today. He begins by saying, he begins by the way with Victor Frankl's wonderful line being human means been conscience conscious and being responsible and Sacks goes on one of Judaism's most distinctive and challenging ideas is its ethics of responsibilities. The idea that god invites us to become in the rabbinic phrase his partners in the work of creation. The God who created the world in love calls on us to create and love. The God who gave us the gift of freedom asked us to use it to honor and enhance the freedom of others. God the ultimate other asks us to reach out to the human other. More than God as the strategic intervener, he is a teacher. More than he does or will he teaches us how to do his, life is Gods call to responsibility and Rabbi Sacks ends by writing Judaism is the guardian of an ancient but still compelling dream to heal where others harm, mend where others destroy to, redeem evil by turning its negative energies to good. These are the marks of the ethics of responsibility born in the radical faith, that god calls on us to exercise our freedom by becoming his partners in the work of creation that seems to me a life affirming vision. The courage to take the risk of responsibility becoming co-authors with God of the world that ought to be and I can't think of a finer set of words to begin in talking about the relationship of religion to politics both in the United Sates and around the world. I want to underscore something that my friend David Kuo said. I do believe that we are at the moment in our country when the religious winds are changing. I believe that religious engagements with American public life will not be defined by the events of the recent past. Beginning in the late 1970s much of the public discourses assume that religion lives on the right side of the political spectrum and that assumption is shaped how media how religion was covered in the mass media. Once the media paid much attention to a broad range of religious figures from Abraham Heschel to Reinhold Niebuhr or Paul Tillich and Carl Bard, John Courtney Murray, Billy Graham and of course Martin Luther King Junior. Beginning in the late 1970s the focus of the interest narrowed to be sure, Pope John Paul the second got his share of attention but in the United States the attention lavished on Pat Roberts and then Jerry Follen and then later James Dobson suggested that to be religious was to cling to a rather narrow and particular set of social and religious views. The public voice of religion as reflected in these supposedly liberal mass media with deeply infected by a very particular brand of Southern conservative evangelicalism. But I believe that in this new millennium, new religious voices are rising to challenge to stereotypical views of religious faith. They include the two speakers on their platform. They include Jim Wallace and Amy Sullivan, and Bod Edgar and others on the side of religious progressivism and there was also, as David mentioned, Rick Warren by the way anyone who has ever written a book. Rick Warren is very dangerous because he invites us all to commit the sin of cowardice ness because none of us can believe that Rick Warren sold 27 million or however many million copies he sold of the Purpose Driven Life. But in any event we try to resist that. And Rick is a religious and political conservative who as David said, nonetheless insists that if Christians do not care about the poorest among us in the world then we were not being true to our faith. There was Rich Cizik a loyal conservative official of the National Association of Evangelicals, some of you may have read about him in the newspaper. He insisted that a concern for life also entails a concern for stewardship of the earth and an engagement of the problem of global warming. There is as those of you like rock music or saw the American Idle recently Bono, who once said that he could be considered a man of the cloth only if the cloth was leather. He too challenged Christians to stand up for the poor and religious liberals who had spent so much time reacting to the religious right in the 1980s by arguing against religious engagement, in politics found their voices as people of faith insisting on a different interpretation of their tradition and of the scriptures. I worry a little bit that Democrats discovered God in the exit polls of the 2004 Election. On the other hand since God he can be discovered anywhere why not. I think the era of he religious right is over. Its collapsed, its part of a larger decline of a certain style of ideological conservatism that reached high points in 1980 and 1984 and collapsed in 2006. The end of the religious right does not signal, a declined in evangelical Christianity. On the contrary I think its is the sign of a new affirmation among Christians. Rick Warren and Richard Cizik are representative figures who are trying to disentangle the right movement from a political machine. This historic change will require liberals and Conservatives, believers and non believers alike to abandon their sometimes narrow view of who Evangelicals are and what they believe. Back in the 1960s, there was a term widely US called spiritual suburbanization and it was used with some disdain by critics left and right to refer to a kind of leveling down of spiritual demands, spiritual discipline, and spiritual authority. Yet the suburbanization of the United States has indeed created its own spiritual style much as the urbanization celebrated by my old teacher Harvey Cox was celebrated in his influential book 'The Secular City'. If the urban environment created distinctive approaches to spirituality, so has the rise of the suburbs in the exhorts. Much of what is interpreted in contemporary American Christianity as specifically what Republic in polities and conservative in ideology I believe always far more to traditions associated with southern whites who had found a safe home in the Republican Party since 1964. It was more to that tradition that to the growing dynamic parts of the Evangelical movement found in the new of a non denominational mega churches, suburban congregations more generally. Many members of these churches are to be sure moderately conservative in their political inclinations, many of them certainly voted for George W Bush in 2004, but their approach to worship, to faith, to church membership and their attitudes towards those do not share their own commitments, reflecting contemporary and decidedly middle of road style associated with the suburbs in new exhorts. On the whole as Alan Wolfe demonstrated in his important books, "One nation after all" and "Moral Freedom" it is the style that rejects being judgmental that emphasizes personal choice as Alan puts at the idea of people having the freedom to chose their own way of believing and insists again quoting Alan that any form of higher authority has to tailor its commandments to the needs of real people. The best word for this style was discovered by my friend David Brooks in a conservation with a Rabbi, who spoke in his book the 'The Bobos in paradise" of a earning for flexidoxy. Flexidoxy he defines this wonderful word as the hybrid mixture of freedom and flexibility on the one hand and the longing for rigor and orthodoxy on the other. I think by many definitions almost every American in every tradition is in some way or other flexidox. Richard Wuthnow one of the nations premier sociologists of religion offered data that supports David Brook's intuition. In his book American Ethos Wuthnow reported on the findings of his own survey on religion and diversity which noted that about 58 percent of American agreed and that I quote Christianity is the best way to understand God. Only 25 percent said it was quotes "the best way" for every body, and there are more these are more in the views of flexidox believers in moral freedom and then of a nation of theocrats intend on imposing a particular from of belief on everyone. In his earlier book After Heaven Wuthnow spoke off a subtle reordering of how Americans understand the sacred itself. He saw a new spirituality of seeking replacing the traditional spirituality of inhabiting sacred places. For seekers Wuthnow argued the congregation is less applicable to characterize it as a safe haven and than as a supplier of religious goods and services. Now one may react in various ways to this finding, but this approach is anything but authoritarian. The builders of the new mega churches notably the most successful such as Warren are closely attuned to the demands of the new style of believer. Warren had a very interesting conversation with a group of reporters a couple of years ago when he talked about a survey he did going door to door. Warren wanted to build the church so he didn't got the people who already went to church, went door to door asking people why they didn't go to church. If people did go to church, he have kept saying God bless you, move on and when people said no I don't go anywhere as Warren put it, he said perfect you are kind of guy that I want to talk to. This is great, don't go anywhere. So let me ask you a question, why do you think most people don't attend church and he wrote down the answers to his question. And the four biggest reasons he was given why people didn't go to church were number one. Sermons are boring and they don't relate to my life. So I decided I had to say something on Sunday that would help people on Monday. Number two, members are unfriendly to visitors. I feel like it's a clichÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©. Number three, they said most churches seem more interested in your money than you as a person and number four, they said we want quality children's programs for our kids. Now what's interesting to me, Warren said, he said out of the four biggest reasons why people said they didn't go to church none of them were theological. Indeed one might add, none of them was political. They were all sociological. And then again I can't quoting Warren, he said I had people say, oh its not that I don't like God, I like God, I just can't stand church. And so that's how Warren set up this great and enormous movie, this is a very American sort of story. It is in many ways, although not exclusively, a suburban story. The core concerns of the [0:45:39] un church that Warren brought back to church are basic. A desire for inspiring sermons, a friendly religious conversation, a pastor who did not seem greedy and a healthy concern for the lives of children. I would assure that this is not a story about right wing politics, it's not a story about Republican theocracy, it's not a story about Republican organizing and it's certainly not a story about extreme Christian orthodoxy. And I think it's impossible to understand the religious future without taking Rick Warren's testimony in that story very, very seriously. Now I have a long argued that and I am going to close in a moment, I have long argued that it's a terrible mistake to see religion living only on the right side of the political spectrum and these two people next to me, both of them have heard me, make this case many times. I have always loved the story of Mrs. O'Riley and it's a Catholic story and its all about as you might have guessed and its about Mrs. O'Riley being taken to the polls by her son on election day and her son had become upper middle class, he was voting for a lot of Republicans, Mrs. O'Riley still voted the straight Democratic ticket, this as a kind of annoyed her son, but he took her to polls anyway and he would always ask her how are you going to vote and she would always say straight Democratic and the son one day said, you know mom if Jesus came back to earth you would vote against him and Mrs. O'Riley looked at her son then said hush, why should he change his party after all these years. And I think to understand certain recent developments in American politics you have to understand there are lot of people who believe he has changed his party after all these years. But I believe that unless you are willing to delete Isaiah and Micah and Amos and the Sermon on the Mount from the Bible you cannot understand the religious roots of liberalism. The notion that religion should be disconnected from politics has always seem bad to me simply because I couldn't understand how you could separate the two, if religion mattered and if it was true it had to affect all you did. And if politics also mattered, the obligation of the believer was to sort out how politics and faith related to each other. The task was especially complicated for a believer who sees religious and political liberty as gifts, to be treasured and preserved. That means working out the relationship between ones own faith and politics in a way that respected the beliefs of others including those who reject faith as an irrational illusion. That's why the rise of religious conservatism in the 70's and 80's was to me both entirely understandable and peculiar. I once debated Ralph Reed and I said I will defend your right to bring your faith to bear on political questions always but you have to explain to me where in these scriptures you find an injunction to cut the capital game status? But because I believe that it will be hypocritical of me to say that, since I have decided that I am a liberal in part because of my faith I am no grounds for challenging the right of conservatives to root their own views in faith. The root of the word faith as a scholar Jaroslav Pelican wrote carries the connotations of trustworthiness, reliability and loyalty, still suggested in the English adjective faith. Surely these are virtues that believers and unbelievers alike would wish to see reflected more perfectly in our politics. Yet that's my argument with the religious right, as I said its impossible to see Jesus or Michael or Amos or I say as figures of the establishment, it is hard to imagine these revolutionary figures pursuing certain policies now so closely associated with religion, far more persuasive to me are accounts of Christianity offered by the Christian theology of Hope by by Sack's account of Judaism that stresses our obligation to heal where others hurt. Jurgan Moltmann one of the theologians who pioneered the theology of hope argued that Christianity teaches the passion for the possible and keeps at the forefront the idea of breaking with the old and coming to terms with the new. If religion means anything at least to me it means as Michael Walls who wrote about the exodus story that the door of hope always remains open. I began with Rabbi Sacks and I would like to close with the Modern Prophet I very much admire Abraham Joshua Heschel who argued that so the best way for us to characterize the proper approach to the world is to preserve a sense of radical amazement. Wonder rather than doubt is the root of knowledge Heschel insisted, doubts may be resolved, radical amazement can never be erased. I think wonder and amazement are an antidote to cynicism. They are an antidote to intolerance. They are alive to openness, to friendship and to the possibilities of Democracy. Wonder and amazement I think if we keep them in mind means that the future belongs not to the Prophets of intolerance and polarization but to Sacks and Heschel to Niebuhr and Martin Luther King and if I may say so to Parker and Kuo. Thank you very much.