On today's BradCast, the religious left fights back! [Audio link to show follows below.]
But first: It's little wonder Fox 'News' doesn't like it when celebrities on the left speak out about politics. Sure, it's fine when a Republican actor or TV celebrity with zero political background runs for and becomes President of the United States. But if a singer or comedian sports hero on the left dares have an opinion, they need to "shut up and dribble". Vote.org reports a huge spike in voter registrations nationwide and in Tennessee this week, following pop star Taylor Swift's Instagram endorsement of the state's Democratic candidate, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, for the U.S. Senate in his race against Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Yes, bravely speaking out about politics helps. No wonder the right would like folks like Swift to shut up, especially as voter registration deadlines hit across the country this week and next.
At the same time, as a Category 3 hurricane barrels toward the Florida Gulf Coast, Democrats are forced to sue the state again, as they did in 2016, to force the Governor to extend voter registration, which officially ended on Tuesday night in the Sunshine State.
Also today, up in Washington, D.C., U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, one of the few top officials in the Trump Cabinet not considered to be a complete wingnut (a very low bar), announced her plan to resign at year's end for reasons that remain shrouded in much speculation. As she announced her planned exit today at the White House with Donald Trump, she managed to argue that since Trump --- who was laughed at, out loud, in the U.N. General Assembly just two weeks ago --- took office, "now, the United States is respected." As we discuss, that claim flies in the face of demonstrable facts supported by actual recent polling around the world.
Next up today, after Republicans ignored a statement last week from the National Coalition of Churches --- the nation's largest such group representing 38 denominations, 100,000 congregations and 40 million Americans --- to withdraw the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh "immediately", a group of evangelicals are now hitting the road for a national bus tour to "Flip Congress for the common good."
We're joined today by Vote Common Good founder and executive director, Pastor DOUG PAGITT, to explain his group's attempted outreach to white evangelicals who may have previously supported Trump and his Republican Party. The non-profit, non-partisan organization's cross-country tour began in Pennsylvania last week and is set to hit Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico before wrapping up in California before the November 6th election.
Pagitt, the founding pastor of Solomon's Porch Christian Comuninity in Minneapolis (and who also hosts an afternoon drive time show on our Minneapolis/St. Paul affiliate, am950 KTNF!) tells me that there is a need for liberal and progressive religious community leaders on the left to speak out for Christian values in the dangerous era of Trump, even if it risks their tax-exempt status and even as white evangelicals have institutionalized their support of the Republican Party with millions of dollars over the past several decades.
"What we are saying is the Republican Congress has lost its ability, lost its moral compass, lost its spine, when it comes to standing up to the Trump Administration. Our need to flip Congress now is a bipartisan, non-partisan civic duty to put restraints on the Trump Administration," he says. "I think pastors and churches all over the country should be willing to risk their non-profit status in order to speak out about the Trump Administration because the Trump Administration is that dangerous. The idea that the thing that makes a Christian community a Christian community is that people don't have to pay taxes on the money they give to you, is the lowest possible level that a Christian community could be proud of. It's almost like the government is saying is 'if you speak up against us, we're going to make that a financial burden upon you'. And I think Christian churches should take on that burden. If you lose that 501c3 non-profit contribution status? Fair enough. Be like every other business that has to function in this society."
Pagitt details how he believes that many Christian voters have been conned into giving up their values and otherwise intimidated and frightened into voting against biblical teachings. He calls for the Christian left to build a political coalition to counter the long-entrenched, so-called Religious Right.
"We are trying to call the bluff on the evangelicals who, out of one side of their mouth, want to say that they follow the teachings of Jesus, and out of the other side of their mouth, are not just endorsing Donald Trump but seem to be wanting to move into a full embrace of Trumpism," Pagitt tells me, explaining why many evangelicals who know Trump represents the opposite of their beliefs, may still be afraid of voting for Democrats. "People confuse their identity with their tactic. Voting is a tactic to bring about the common good. Voting ought not be seen as our identity, but a lot of religious people have merged their religious and civic identity with the political Republican Party...and [it's difficult] to start to separate out your identities from your tactics. When someone realizes in their life that they have a misplaced identity, that takes awhile for them to get their heads around."
It's a fascinating (and long overdue) national conversation that I recommend you tune in for.
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report, as Hurricane Michael threatens Florida with catastrophic, global warming-fueled destruction and as the United Nations issues an alarming scientific report finding the worst impacts of climate change will arrive much sooner than predicted unless massive and immediate changes are made by the nations of the world...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)