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All Politics Is Religious

Speaking Faith to the Media, Policy Makers and Community

Rabbi Dennis S. Ross
Foreword by Rev. Barry W. Lynn

6 x 9, 192 pp, Paperback, 978-1-59473-374-1

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Faith grows when we uphold its vision for a better world and speak of it in the public square—
while keeping church and state separate.

“Dealing with a splintered media, with its new opportunities and challenges requires being able to mix the facts with the feelings in appropriate measures for the audience you are trying to reach. Reading this book will not make you as glib as your favorite newscaster (who is probably reading a teleprompter) or as dashing or beautiful as a Hollywood celebrity, but it will make you less fearful, better trained and more likely to be used as a source again.”

from the Foreword by Rev. Barry W. Lynn

A practical and empowering resource. It provides ideas and strategies for expressing a clear, forceful and progressive religious point of view that is all too often overlooked and under-represented in public discourse. It identifies the religious themes in today’s great debates—gay rights, the needs of children and families, church-state separation and reproductive rights, including access to sex education, contraception and abortion care—and presents new language and methods for effective communication with the media, policy makers and community. It steers away from the polemics and jargon of politics—left, right, liberal, conservative, socialist—and instead relies on factual historical examples, current events and personal stories to illustrate the best ways to communicate the positive role faith can play in personal and public life by reinforcing the separation of church and state.

“An incomparable guide for embracing faith as a platform for supporting the social justice issues of our time—from health care and reproductive rights to marriage 
equality and sex education.”

Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

“I love this book! Both clergy and lay[people] need it. It’s clear, compelling, instructive and biblically-based.”

Rev. Finley Schaef, United Methodist Church; founding member, Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion

“Offers refreshing insights into the moral issues of our day and the role of faith in the political debate. Part homily, part how-to, [it] encourages the choirs of unrepresented voices to sing out.”

Liane Hansen, former National Public Radio host

“An encouragement to all who are searching for a richer and more meaningful way to engage in our democracy, and a much-needed corrective for these bitterly partisan times.”

Nancy Northup, president and CEO, Center for Reproductive Rights

“An unusual book—both wise and practical—for those who want to make a contribution to resolving issues that divide our country. A wise resource for those who care deeply about their faith and our country.”

Rev. Dr. John G. Wightman, former president, New Jersey Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion; retired minister, United Church of Christ

“An impassioned call to action and an eminently practical guide to strategies and resources for dealing with politicians and the media ... [it] could not be more timely.”

Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women’s studies and religion, Skidmore College

“Timely—more necessary now than ever.... Makes an impressive case that civility is a lot more than just good table manners.... A surprisingly important book [that] should be required reading for our society.”

New York Journal of Books

“For clergy and religious leaders concerned about the narrow, often intolerant religious forces that are trying to dominate national policy, [this] book offers a way forward to a more complete, compassionate discourse.... I heartedly recommend it.”

Rev. Dr. Carlton W. Veazey, former president and CEO, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; pastor, Fellowship Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.

“The essential guide for religious leaders who want to influence public policy. It provides essential theological support for advocating for sexual justice and other progressive issues while also effectively teaching the tools of lobbying, media appearances and organizing.”

The Reverend Debra W. Haffner, executive director, Religious Institute

“Warm and endearing.... Applies Martin Buber’s views of relationships to a rich tapestry of contemporary experience. Highly recommended for persons from all religious traditions.”

Rev. Leo D. Lefebure, editor-at-large, The Christian Century

“[For] all of us who care, from a faith perspective, about politics as the instrument for peace with justice. [Approaches] religion for the purpose God intended, to foster understanding and faithful pursuit of truth, rather than as an excuse to disagree with and demonize one’s adversaries.”

Rev. Charles H. Straut, Jr., DMin, Consultant in Ministry,
New York Conference, United Methodist Church

“An acknowledgment of social reality and a clarion call for social action. Combines a rich religious perspective with practical suggestions for religious advocates who want to ‘repair the world.’”

Rev. Dr. Richard Gilbert, president, Interfaith Impact of New York State; social justice coordinator, St. Lawrence Unitarian Universalist District; author, The Prophetic Imperative: Social Gospel in Theory and Practice and How Much Do We Deserve: An Inquiry in Distributive Justice

“A distinctive, much-needed voice [in] the American debate on matters of politics and religion. Sharp insights, sanity and unfailing good humor.”

Rev. Tom Davis, author, Sacred Work: Planned Parenthood and Its Clergy Alliances;
chaplain emeritus, Skidmore College

“This excellent, very readable book is a ‘must have’ for all people of faith, especially in this day of polarization.... It’s like having your own personal media coach. I highly recommend it not only to spiritual and interfaith leaders, but to anyone involved in community activism who wants to make a difference.”

Kay Lindahl, co-founder, Women of Spirit and Faith; co-editor, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power

“With a wealth of personal stories from his experiences as a faith advocate, Rabbi Ross powerfully makes the case for an assertive, proactive yet civil faith advocacy (as opposed to a reactive one defined by the Religious Right) that is rooted in shared core values and effective messaging tactics.”

Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

“Provides insightful communications advice for anyone looking to break through the usual media noise and spark social change on some of the most important issues of our generation.”

Andrea Hagelgans, vice president, strategic communications and media relations,
Camino Public Relations

“With wit and passion, Rabbi Ross articulates his belief that all major political issues can be deconstructed to find a religious argument at their core. He then demonstrates how it is possible to move the political pendulum forward while encouraging civil discourse and steering clear of vilifying those whose views run in a diametrically opposite direction.... [This] guide book is for those who want to begin down the path of political activism without losing their religious conviction.”

Michael Zimmerman, executive director, The Clergy Letter Project

“Religious voices are a critical component in the movement for equality and justice. Rabbi Ross is extremely qualified to provide insight about how to effectively engage the voices of the spiritual community in the movement for positive social change.”

Ross D. Levi, executive director, Empire State Pride Agenda

“Clearly highlights the areas of social concern that often get lost in the barrage of words and rhetoric.... Give[s] new ways to talk about these controversial issues with civility and candor. A must-read for all persons of faith regardless of political perspective or religious ideology.”

Rev. Vincent Lachina, Northwest Chaplain, Planned Parenthood

“Offers tangible tools to amplify messages of compassion, unity and collaboration. [Provides] practical media strategies for restoring the integrity of moral agency, effectively raising our voices of inclusion and hope in the cultural conversation.”

Kathe Schaaf, co-founder, Women of Spirit and Faith; co-editor, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where Grace Meets Power

Rev. Barry W. Lynn is the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. An accomplished writer, speaker and lecturer, Lynn has appeared frequently on television and radio to offer analysis of First Amendment issues.


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