John Podesta, David Saperstein, Jim Wallis, and A. Knighton Stanley

John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judiasm, Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace (l. to r.), and the Rev. A. Knighton Stanley, senior minister of Peoples Congregational Church of Christ in Washington, were Monday's guests. They discussed faith and progressive policy. Here are excerpts from their remarks:

On faith and the left:

(Podesta) "The public dialogue has been out of kilter. Religion and conservatism have become synonymous in the way politics is covered. It's a political strategy on the part of the right. We want to remind people of the strong historical tradition of religious voices in the progressive social movements of the 20th century."

On the 2004 campaign:

(Wallis) "We have a broad spectrum in the churches saying that issues like poverty, the environment, a just foreign policy, an unjust war, these are religious issues and must be issues in this campaign."

On church-state separation:

(Saperstein) "The idea of religious morality is at the core of what the great American experiment is all about and has animated almost every aspect of American life. One of the crucial reasons that the Founders created the wall that kept government out of religion was to allow religion to be a moral goad to the conscience of this nation."

On Abortion and catholic lawmakers:

(Podesta) Catholic clergy have a right and indeed an obligation to speak to the moral issues that face the country. But communion shouldn't be used as a political weapon. I worry about the impact this will have on the Catholic Church itself as much as on the Kerry campaign.

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