Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Princeton University and the author of the Web log
Political Aims
.

Recent Articles

Left Church

Exodus: Why Americans are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity by David Shiflett ( Sentinel, 224 pages, $23.95 ) Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America by Chris Hedges ( Free Press, 224 pages, $24.00 ) These are tough times for liberal Christians. To hear most members of the media tell it, “liberal Christian” is practically an oxymoron, if not the name of an endangered species. At a time when the ABCs of “moral values” are defined as abortion, buggery, and capital-gains tax cuts, one of the biggest stories has been the “God gap,” the idea that the more often Americans attend church, the more likely they are to vote Republican. Headlines such as “Democrats Rely on Non-Religious Voters” during last year's election underscored the conservative talking point that the Republican Party is the only natural political home for people of faith. To make matters worse, religious and political leaders now routinely pass judgment on liberal Christians as not...

The Catholic Paradox

A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America By Peter Steinfels, Simon & Schuster, 416 pages, $26.00 Can the Catholic Church as we know it survive in America? This is the question raised by Peter Steinfels' tough-love letter to fellow Catholics, A People Adrift . It is no secret that American Catholicism has been in trouble in recent years. Attendance at Mass has dropped precipitously in the years since the Second Vatican Council. The percentage of Catholics who report that their religion is "very important" to them has fallen 10 points in just two years. By large margins, American Catholics reject the Church's teaching on matters such as abortion and contraception, and there is little agreement on the prohibition against the ordination of women and married priests. Looming above all these issues are the sexual-abuse allegations that have shaken the Church. Yet Steinfels, a religion columnist for The New York Times and former editor of the liberal Catholic...

Solicitor General

After Rush Limbaugh's comments about race and football sparked controversy last week, presidential candidates Howard Dean and Wesley Clark were quick to jump on the anti-Limbaugh bandwagon. Dean called Limbaugh's remarks "unacceptable" (though his campaign also made a gaffe in referring to Donovan McNabb as the quarterback of the "Philadelphia Jets") while Clark derided the comments as "hateful and ignorant speech." The speedy responses of both campaigns could well suggest just how eager Democratic candidates are to burnish their credentials with black voters. The Democratic Party currently has two black candidates -- Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun -- seeking the nomination, but neither is likely to win a significant number of votes. Unless black voters and organizations prove as willing as the National Organization of Women -- which recently endorsed Moseley Braun -- to throw away their support on two unelectable candidates, the black vote should remain up for grabs. True, Jesse...

The Biases Are Loaded

WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? The Truth About Bias and the News By Eric Alterman Basic. 322 pp. $25 Everyone knows that conservatives win when they play hardball. But they also win at softball. Among congressional staff in Washington, the hallowed summer tradition of softball games on the National Mall is, in many ways, a microcosm of the larger political struggle between liberals and conservatives. Liberals let everyone play, even if it means benching their home-run hitters while the guy who whiffs every pitch gets a turn. Conservatives pick their nine strongest players and send everyone else out to buy beer. Liberals often have four or five women on the field. Conservatives play only the required three and sometimes even insist that different rules apply to women. Liberals have such fierce team names as Jeffords' Vermont Saps or the Daschle Prairie Dogs. Conservative teams are more likely to follow the lead of the Helms Hitmen. To borrow a favorite Bush administration phrase, it's an unlevel...

Partial Issue

If you coughed during the State of the Union address, you might have missed it: Tucked between paeans to faith-based drug-treatment programs and promises to fund AIDS medication was a two-sentence pledge to ban "partial-birth" abortion. It was a quick shout-out to the president's base supporters in the middle of a speech on tax cuts, health care, energy resources and the impending war with Iraq. But don't be fooled by the brevity of George W. Bush's remarks on the subject: Abortion rights occupies a prominent place at the top of this year's political agenda. Several weeks ago, on the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade , President Bush promised a gathering at the March for Life that he would sign legislation banning intact dilation and extraction, a procedure that anti-abortion politicians have renamed "partial-birth" abortion. During the same week, White House strategist Karl Rove noted that congressional passage of the ban is one of "the immediate tasks at hand." And Senate Majority...

Pages