Monday, July 17, 2006

Religion doesn't equal stupidity

From a reader and believer in Southern California, your blogstress received this missive regarding her essay at The American Prospect Online, "A Canterbury Tale."

I have a slight disagreement with your excellent article in TAP about the religious left. You wrote this:

"In seeking to create a counterpart to the religious
right, we tried to force our values through a narrow
hole. In essence, we bought into the religious
authoritarianism of the right, inferring that moral
authority proceeds only from religion. In this, we
have sold ourselves short."

I don't see it that way. The religious left isn't making the argument you suggest, not even implicitly. We are trying to do two things:

1. Convince religious people that leftist politics is a valid option for religious people. When the right has a monopoly on religion, religious people who otherwise might be sympathetic are given the false choice of being liberal or being against God. That may not seem important to the non-religious, but to us religious folk being anti-God is a deal breaker:-)

2. We are trying to convince secular leftists that religion isn't synomymous with bigotry and stupidity. That's important to the leftist political project because it helps guard against the tendency of SOME on the secular left to insult religious voters we need to take back the country from the right wing. And it is important to those of us who think we all actually need God in our lives because a good guy leftist might be driven away from God because he mistakenly thinks that God-belief requires shutting off his mind and his heart.

Success in the project to build a religious left ought not be measured by comapring our political strength to that of the religious right. We are successful to the degree that we move SOME people away from the false stereotypes. IMO that project is going well; I hope it gets better.

Your friend,

Keith Johnson
Hemet, California

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: