If there was ever an event to drive liberals mad, it was the “Justice Sunday” event. The political Left just can’t believe that Christians are using churches to get their message out about what’s happening in the Senate over the choice of judges and what’s taking place in the courts in general. If the fashionably outraged were consistent, they would have voiced similar outrage when former President Clinton appealed to the members of the Full Gospel AME Zion Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, to help him pass a crime bill. Clinton’s appeal was no different from the political efforts of conservative Christian leaders today: “I ask you this whole week to pray for me and pray for the members of Congress. Ask us to not turn away from our ministry."[1] Our ministry? Does this not clothe politics in religious garb?

On September 25, 1994, Bill Clinton returned to the pulpit to stump for the former Democratic governor of New York, Mario Cuomo. “Rocking to resounding gospel strains, President Clinton went to a black church in the heart of Harlem today to rouse a vital constituency to turn out its vote for Gov. Mario M. Cuomo."[2] Clinton went to the Bible in his appeal to the members of Bethel AME Church in an effort to reelect the embattled Democratic Governor. Clinton told the congregation: “Do not lose heart. Show up, talk to the people in your neighborhood, tell them to show up. Scripture says we’re supposed to be good citizens, too. Mario Cuomo is the heart that you must not lose."[3] An Associated Press report called the President’s antics “Bible-thumping politics”[4] but didn’t seem to condemn it. Clinton’s message was decidedly religious and partisan, as was Governor’s Cuomo’s remarks as he “also cited religious themes and maxims."[5]

Why didn’t the press, the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and People for the American Way cry foul?[6] Weren’t Clinton and Cuomo, along with other Democratic attendees, engaged in mixing religion and politics? Where were the trumpeting cries of “separation of church and state”? Why didn’t Michael Gartner, who wrote a column for USA Today on why religion and politics do not mix, criticize Bill Clinton for mixing religion and politics?[7] A perceptive letter writer noted the oversight: “Where is the outrage from the national media and the American Civil Liberties Union? Gartner’s omission was just the latest example of the conspiracy of silence?"[8]

On October 3, 1994, at a White House meeting with publishers, editors, and reporters representing different Baptist denominations, President Clinton stated that “he reads the Bible and other religious books for guidance and to cope with the isolation of the presidency."[9] Clinton went on to defend his administration’s stand on abortion rights and homosexuals serving in the military. In fact, he supported his views on abortion and homosexuality by appealing to the Bible by claiming that he had studied those verses that have been used to condemn both abortion and homosexuality and claimed that those biblical arguments are not “free of ambiguity.”

Why is it that Christian activists are regularly pilloried for basing social standards on biblical texts while liberals are actually praised for mixing religion and politics? The answer is simple: The liberal press agrees with the liberal agenda. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, speaking at a religious rights conference at Emory University in Atlanta, stated that “There’s no political manifesto that is as radical as the Bible. . . . It’s exciting, very exhilarating, to be a believer."[10] Jean Bethke Elshtain, one of the scholars attending the conference, “describes the classical Greek and Roman world as one in which the state made an absolute claim on human bodies–males as warriors, females as breeders. The Judeo-Christian dissent from this was a revolutionary claim of individual privacy, sacredness, choice.” For liberals, religion and politics mix as long as the results support their cause.[11]

The president went on in his remarks at the White House meeting and told those attending, “The real issue, it seems to me, is not whether you think abortion is wrong or not; the issue is whether or not the government should criminalize the conduct in all cases."[12] This shows that the religious left uses religion to promote moral ambiguity in the name of religion. When pundits claim that there are sincere religious people on the left, we rarely ever hear how their religious beliefs seem to translate into killing preborn babies and sanctioning sodomy, two culture killers. One wonders how the president’s remarks would have gone over in the mid-1960s if he had said, “The real issue, it seems to me, is not whether you think segregation is wrong or not; the issue is whether or not the government should criminalize the conduct in all cases.” Why not turn back the clock a hundred and forty years and plug in the word “slavery” where Clinton uses “abortion”?


[1] Quoted in Bill Nichols, “White House regroups, comes out swinging,” USA Today (August 15, 1994), 4A.
[2] Todd S. Purdum, “At Harlem Church, Clinton Tells Cuomo to Keep Going,” New York Times (September 26, 1994),   .
[3] Purdum, “At Harlem Church, Clinton Tells Cuomo to Keep Going,”
[4] Barry Schweid, “Clinton defends U.S. mission in Haiti,” Marietta Daily Journal (September 26, 1994), 2A.
[5] Purdum, “At Harlem Church, Clinton Tells Cuomo to Keep Going,”
[6] Compare this with the IRS ruling that revoked the tax-exempt status of the Church at Pierce Creek in Conklin, New York, for taking what it considered a partisan stance in a presidential election. See Tony Mauro, “Politicking costs church its tax-exempt standing,” USA Today (April 18, 1995), 3A.
[7] Michael Gartner, “Religion and politics just don’t mix,” USA Today (October 4, 1994), 11A.
[8] John K. Brubaker, “Clinton breaches religion wall,” USA Today October 7, 1994), 10A.
[9] Gustav Niebuhr, “Presidential faith: Clinton turns to Bible for comfort, guidance,” Atlanta Constitution (October 4, 1994), A14. [10] Quoted in “The root of all human rights,” Atlanta Journal/Constitution (October 9, 1994), R6. [11] “The root of all human rights,” R6. [12] Quoted in Niebuhr, “Presidential faith.”