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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Let's use a loaded word

Actually, this doesn't have to do with centuries-old Christian attacks on Muslims in the Middle East. This has to do with the perceived moral mandate.

The conversation was kicked off by an entry in The Rage Diaries:

If you were under the impression that voices of moderation and reason would be embraced in this divisive post-election period, consider what's happening to Senator Arlen Specter: following a comment that maybe it's good for the country not to have virulently antichoice people on the bench, the religious right has decided that anyone who thinks that way clearly can't be allowed to chair the committee....

It amazes me that less than a week after religious conservatives have gone on the record saying they anticipate a "revolution" and gone on the attack to ensure this, in the wake of religious groups taking credit for the election ("Evangelicals Said They Led Charge for GOP," WaPO, Nov 8, 04), in the face of abundant evidence that emotion-driven piety and sentiment are powering massive political agendas ... that nobody's come out fighting for the other side....

An extremely important authority weighed in with the following reply. Note that this authority consistently misspelled the word "Sadducee":

It throws me also. I'm a Christian and a political conservative, but I recognize that it is possible to be a Christian and a political liberal. But even if the Christian left emerges as a strong voice, it doesn't solve the basic issue of left vs. right, Spy vs. Spy, Goofus vs. Gallant, Tweedledum vs. Tweedledee.

I fear that we are dividing into a nation of Pharisees and Saducees; Pharisees claiming the right to rule while also claiming the moral high ground, while Saducees claim the right to rule while denying the supernatural. The talking heads continue to fuel the left vs. right, red vs. blue pseudo-war, while in reality they conspire behind the scenes to kill Christ.

Becky, in her reply, responded to the reply above:

I like to (naively!) think that a strong voice from the Christian left will make it harder for the right wing to demonize the left wing. On the other hand, the attacks on the right wing could then be more vicious, if the debates turned into religious arguments. So you're probably right that we're stuck with the current system.

Estephania's blog touched on similar subjects while discussing the policies of Hyles-Anderson College:

What I find ironic about the "no fellowship with liberals" is that I am a Christian too. Why can't Christians be liberal? I read their Doctrinal Statement, and I actually agree with most of that. That, I think, scares them. That a liberal could agree with their religious beliefs? I have read of the articles that the Christian can't be liberal. Excuse me, but I think the fundamentalists are blowing off portions of the Bible to be hate mongering, intolerant, judgmental sects of people.

But I think that as a liberal, I am more true to Jesus teaching than they are. Since when is compassion for others not like you evil or unreligious? What about Jesus's divine compassion? A serious question I have, how do fundamentalist reconcile their intolerant positions, fear, and even hatred with Jesus's teachings and compassion? His love for those who were part of the minority, those who were shunned by the majority? For women and children, for those with disease such as lepers who were forced to avoid human contact, for prostitutes, for tax collectors, for the poor. He healed the daughter of a pagan.

Rather than show compassion for others who, in their view have sinned, the fundamentalists have decided to hate them....From all accounts of the word, Jesus was a radical. Pushing change. Forcing change. I hate to be the ones to break it to them, but Jesus would have been, in today's terms, a liberal....

Doug Giles, in arguing that a Christian can't be a liberal, is in fact arguing that a Christian can't be a secular liberal. This of course begs the question; can a Christian be a secular conservative? Or, more accurately, can a Christian be a conservative who believes in the so-called "Judeo-Christian tradition" in which Christians, Jews, Mormons, Unitarians, Deists, and a conglomerate of other beliefs come up with some soothing common ground that negates Christ's revolutionary transformational action?

Anyway, I still have to write my Pharisee-Sadducee thingie. I'll get to it someday.

There is little doubt that the religios right is on a crucade right now. Whether against abortion, Spector (essentially telling Santorum that unless he wants tough opposition in two years, he should speak against Spector) they are on a full out crusade. And it appears they are winning.
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