Democrats' senior adviser for religious outreach quits amid "under God" controversy

Democrats' senior adviser for religious outreach quits amid "under God" controversy
The Catholic League's William Donohue is no fan of the "religion outreach" leaders for the Democratic Party and the Kerry campaign. Weblog earlier noted that he went too far in painting Mara Vanderslice, Kerry's director of religion outreach, as an extremist. But we've got to admit that the Democrats' new senior adviser for religious outreach, Brenda Bartella Peterson, was an odd choice for the position. As Donohue, The Washington Times, and a few other conservative outlets note, she was part of a interfaith group in February that filed a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court, asking it to remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Are they out of their minds?" Donohue asks rhetorically. "Would they hire a gay basher to reach out to homosexuals?" Peterson's appointment, he said, suggests "that either no one bothers to vet candidates for religious outreach or the elites making the choices are anti-religious."

Now wait a second. Again, Donohue is going way too far, and his "gay basher" comparison is ridiculous. Peterson is, after all, an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and was executive director for the Clergy Network for National Leadership Change (a group whose sole purpose is to rally religious leaders against President Bush's re-election). Her credentials are far deeper than Vanderslice's, who was more pulled into the position with the Kerry campaign simply because she knew where phrases like "least of these" come from. She's not anti-religious. Let's get that straight.

What she is, apparently, is against using ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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