The 21st Show

Sen. Dick Durbin; ‘The Religious Left’ In Illinois; Rep. Rodney Davis


Jacquelyn Martin/AP

On The 21st: When it comes to religion in politics, Christian conservatives on the right have long held a deciding vote. But, a new wave of religious progressives are also getting out the vote. Plus, we speak with Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican Congressman representing Illinois’ 13th Congressional district. But first, the deadline to finalize an agreement over a southern border wall between the US and Mexico is fast approaching. We sit down with Senator Durbin, one of the members of Congress trying to prevent another shutdown. 

Friday is the deadline for the federal government to agree on a spending plan and avoid yet another shutdown. Earlier this week, Congressional leaders of both parties agreed in principle to spend $1.375 billion on border fencing. That’s a lot less than the over $5 billion dollars President Trump wants, but it appears he’s leaning towards signing this deal.

But as we saw with the last shutdown in December, until Congress actually votes, and the President signs this into law, no one can be 100% sure that a shutdown has been averted.

Senator Dick Durbin knows this well. Yesterday afternoon we spoke with him from his office in the Capitol. As always he had a full schedule and he was waiting to be called to the floor for a procedural vote on President Trump’s nominee for attorney general when we spoke with him. 

Since then, the Senate has voted to advance William Barr’s nomination to be the next attorney general. The vote was 55 to 44. Senator Durbin voted ‘no” - there’s still a final confirmation vote that will likely happen this week.


While we as a country try to keep church and state separate, you can’t always say the same thing about politics. Religious groups have always played a role in shaping elections. And some of the biggest examples of the power of faith in politics have traditionally been coming from conservative voices on the right.

But, reactions to President Trump’s administration might be changing that, says NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten. He’s seeing what might be some competition to the religious right in the political realm from faith-based groups on the left. Tom joined us at NPR headquarters in Washington D.C.

Eboo Patel was also with us from WBEZ in Chicago. He’s the founder and President of the Interfaith Youth Core. Reverend Alexander Sharp is the Executive Director of the Clergy for a New Drug Policy and Reverend Cindy Shepherd runs the Central Illinois office of Faith in Place. They joined us as well. 


Representative Rodney Davis is a Republican from Illinois’ 13th Congressional district, which includes all or part of 14 counties across central and southwestern Illinois, including Champaign, Bloomington, and Springfield.

Story source: WILL