Naming Their Enemy: Elena Kagan or Glenn Beck?
Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about the past week.
Picking Their Battles
Christian political activists remained split this week over the bigger threat. Those on the Right focused on Elena Kagan, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Those on the Left took aim at FoxNews host Glenn Beck, who has waded further into debates over what it means to be a Christian.
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Kagan by a vote of 13-6. The only Republican to vote with the dozen Democrats on the committee was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Graham also voted for Obama's previous nominee, Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
In explaining his vote, Graham said that he would not have nominated Kagan, but he would vote for her because she was qualified. Graham said Obama "chose wisely."
This decision sparked a rebuke by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who said he was "repulsed" by Graham's vote.
"True, the President gets to pick, but the Senate has the power to confirm," said Perkins. "By abandoning conservatives, Sen. Graham pushed Democrats across the 60-vote threshold they need to stave off any procedural challenges. And by abandoning Americans, he may have pushed the court into a bold new era of political activism."
Citizenlink's judicial analyst Bruce Hausknecht agreed that if Kagan is confirmed, she will be "legislating from the bench."
"Every position she's held," Hausknecht said, "all of that is pure politics."
Hausknecht also pointed to a recent report by Americans United for Life, which questions Kagan's role in the debate over partial-birth abortion ten years ago.
Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life Action, said the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote "is clouded by outstanding questions regarding her role in manipulating the medical statements of two major organizations on partial-birth abortion … I strongly encourage Senators to closely examine our report and to formally investigate her role in the partial-birth abortion debate before bringing this nomination to a floor vote."
Meanwhile, those on the Left were busy responding to the latest from Glenn Beck. The FoxNews host has been criticizing "social justice" and "social justice churches" for the last several months. This week, he continued his commentary on faith issues by attacking liberation theology.
Criticism of Beck was the hottest topic on Sojourners' God's Politics blog:
—Rachel Johnson objected to Beck's criticism of those who find liberation in the crucified Christ. "Jesus wasn't a victim, he was a conqueror," said Beck. Johnson responded: "Glenn Beck is fond of lifting up the Nazis as the preeminent exemplar of evil in our time, and he is right. But when Christians were called to stand in opposition to Hitler's regime, it was not the principles of the free market to which they appealed, or an individualistic faith divorced from communal bonds."
—Julie Clawson thanked Beck for raising awareness of liberation theology. "It's hard to make a theology that bangs the drum of the preferential option for the poor sexy in our land of excess and wealth," said Clawson. The blogger was not impressed by Beck's portrayal of liberation theology, however. She said the only thing Beck got right was knowing the needs of his audience. "Who cares if you are ignoring scripture and rewriting Christianity, the best way to keep ratings high is to define right living and true religion as looking out for number one. Because, seriously, who needs a neighbor to love when we have ourselves?"