Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progressive Narratives

Jim Wallis wants to clear the air:
However, we both know that there are powerful voices on the Left that have no tolerance for faith. As I said, I won't name names, but here are just a very few specifics: I've been attacked publicly by leaders of major progressive organizations who've said that the Left has no need for religion. They've said that religion, "whether conservative or progressive" should have no place in politics. "It's still religion," they say. I remember one particularly lovely comment from after I'd done a talk at a progressive political gathering (with me still in the room), saying that the kind of religion I subscribe to "puts signs out in front of churches that say 'Jews and gays need not apply - just white Aryan men!'" That kind of diatribe says much more about that person's own experience and view of religion than it does about my track record over three decades.

Friends on the boards of major progressive publications tell me they have fought this kind of intolerance of religion for years. A few brave writers in those magazines, who aren't even religious themselves, have labeled this "shooting ourselves in the foot," which is where I got the title for my response to your piece. Friends who've tried to help the Democratic candidates understand religion have been marginalized and disregarded - until after embarrassing losses. I've had Democratic members of Congress who are people of faith tell me for years that they felt marginalized within their party as people of faith; that they were not really allowed to speak as who they were as people of faith. And for those who don't think the Democrats have appeared hostile to religion, read the polls. That can't just all be blamed on Fox News.
Wow. Just wow. After spending two paragraphs repeating virtually every single strereotype of how Democrats and progressives are supposedly hostile to religion, without naming a single Democrat or progressive who is hostile to religion, he then cites a poll as proof that Democrats and progressives are hostile to religion. These are the same nameless stereotypes and strawmen that Republicans and conservatives have spent decades using as part of a long-term campaign to characterize Democrats and progressives as hostile to religion. Wallis repeats those stereotypes and strawmen, and then blames the people who are labeled with those stereotypes for the existence of those stereotypes.

I did some quick Google searches on the various statements Wallis made.
  • "the Left has no need for religion", which Wallis claims many progressives leaders have told him in public, appears exactly twice in Google. Both times, it cites Jim Wallis as the sources of the quote.
  • "religion should have no place in politics", which Wallis also claims many progressives have said, appears a grand total of 30 times in Google. I have never heard of any of the people who used the term, many of whom, like Wallis, were simply claiming that was what the left said.
Looks like those statements weren't very public, after all. There are probably secular progressives and who dislike religion to the point Wallis claims they do. However, they are a small minority of the already small minority who are secular progressives. Further, they have no real power in Democratic or progressive circles, and they certainly have made no public statements that support any of Wallis's claims. If he wishes to demonstrate otherwise, he should feel free to start naming some names. After all, if he is going to claim that there are progressive leaders who are hostile to religion, then he should call those people out, or else he is simply harboring and protecting the very religious intolerance he claims to be fighting. Further, as someone who claims to be supporting the progressive cause, by arguing that there are some leading Democrats and progressives who are hostile to religion without naming any names, he is actually hurting the progressive cause. He wouldn't want to give progressives and Democrats a bad image, would he? Doing so would hurt the progressive agenda.

If Wallis wants to fight religious intolerance, he should not try and cover up for those people who are intolerant when it comes to religion. If Wallis wants to help the progressive agenda, he should not perpetuate the stereotype that leading Democrats and progressives are hostile to religion. If Wallis thinks that the secular left should, as a group, be held responsible for the religious intolerance of an extremely small minority of intolerant secular leftists who have no real power or voice within the secular left, then he is simply being unfair. No matter the case, by refusing to name names he is not clearing the air, taking the high road, fighting religious intolerance, or helping progressives. He is, instead, perpetuating a negative stereotype against Democrats and progressives. He is also unfair to the secular left--which is already a small minority in this country--by making them responsible for the actions of every single person who identifies with the secular left. Perhaps, ala Tim Russert, he considers Barack Obama responsible for the actions of every African-American as well.

It would be nice if Wallis could make his name by doing something besides reinforcing negative stereotypes about Democrats. Of late, however, as far as I can tell, reinforcing those stereotypes is about all he has managed to do. While he continues to do that, I can't imagine how progressives would see him as an ally at all.

Tags: Culture, Ideology (all tags)

Comments

41 Comments

Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

Jim Wallis is like Joe McCarthy.  He has a list of names in his pocket, but he won't produce it.  Sheer dishonesty.

by Alan S 2007-02-22 10:36AM | 0 recs
Great Piece

Mr. Bowers, you write a lot of good material, but this is one of your best.

by Arthurkc 2007-02-22 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis

I read his book last year and, although I disagreed with some, I was not very upset with it.  Although I am not a Christian, I respect his faith and his right to advocate for it in the political realm, which is what he is doing.  

But Wallis now is getting really old.  Maybe he should focus on works, not words repeating false Republican themes.  Give me a break.  Religious folks are the majority on the left, right, and center.  His "oppression" is in his mind.  

Wallis should meditate a little before he speaks and harms others.    

by littafi 2007-02-22 10:44AM | 0 recs
religion

I doubt that John Kerry, Ted Kennedy or Tim Kaine would say that the democratic party is "hostile to religion".

As a catholic I have not felt any hostility from fellow progressives, but then again, I do not cite my catholic religion as a reason for me to hate gays or oppose womens rights to make medical decisions for themselves, which might be the problem. Religion and "faith" when discussed in political terms often translates into hating gays or being anti-choice; if that is religion then sure, your damn right progressives are hostile to it. But faith and religion are much more than that, and we, both religious and non-religious democrats alike, need to focus on changing the debate so that religion and faith are not wholly owned subsidiaries of the fanatical right wing.

by bjschmid 2007-02-22 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: religion

that's why this 'hostility' argument seems to me to be really a smokescreen about policies that they disagree with, but don't want to directly admit is about policy differences. so they try to their policy changes through a form of slight of hand. you are offend me really means you don't agree with the policy position i've taken.

by bruh21 2007-02-22 11:20AM | 0 recs
Jim Wallis

must be channeling Barack Obama...

I almost can't tell the difference!

by need some wood 2007-02-22 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis

Yes, he may advise Obama.  Both have the strawman arguments using Democrats down to an art form. It is almost like November 2006 did not happen.

We won and the Rs are in disarray.

by littafi 2007-02-22 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis

As for your somewhat rhetorical question, Jim Wallis is not our ally -- he is about himself, which is a bit contrary to his own faith.

We do not need a Jerry Falwell of the Left.  

by littafi 2007-02-22 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis has a responsibility to

name names if (as he seems to think we should) we are to clean up our anti-religion act.

What I think is going on here is that Jim Wallis, rather unschooled in the politics of the media, is now caught up in the hype around him that he harnessed to pimp his book.  He has succumbed to the sin of pride.  Now, according to some comments, he is a political advisor?  The guy is in waaaaay over his head.

I am calling you out, Jim Wallis.  This Sojourner-reading ordained deacon New Deal Democrat who cares about the uprightness of her party wants you to produce your names, or STFU and get out of politics.  You brought the rubber, now take it for a ride, Brother.

by dksbook 2007-02-22 10:57AM | 0 recs
We call that

Put up or shut up, Jim.

I'm not hostile to religion.  I take my own faith very seriously, though it's not the same one Jim Wallis means when he speaks of faith.

I'm annoyed by those of my acquaintances-most of whom are not on the religious left-who insist that their religion is the only thing keeping them from guzzling alcohol, snorting coke and fornicating their way down the street with man, woman, and animal.

I am actively hostile to those who would legislate their religious imperatives into my life. It doesn't matter to me whether they are on the right or the left.

by boadicea 2007-02-22 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

This is the part I found telling:

However, we both know that there are powerful voices on the Left that have no tolerance for faith.  ... They've said that religion, "whether conservative or progressive" should have no place in politics.

The part I didn't bold is kind of funny by itself: Wallis is trying to argue that Y is true, so he begins by stating the premise of "We both know that Y is true". Oh... well, what are we arguing about then?

But the bolded part is interesting because I think it hints at what Jim Wallis is really trying to say. This isn't about "tolerance" for faith or whether religious leftists can be open about and proud of this fact in public. This is about religion's control over politics. It seems very clear to me that as far as Jim Wallis is concerned, those who dare cling to the (currently very unpopular) idea that there should be a wall of separation between church and state and under no circumstances should religion or any particular religion be given preferential treatment or endorsement by the government, are in fact participating in intolerance of religion and pushing the religious out of the political sphere.

This is why you can't think of any examples of the things Jim Wallis is complaining about, or find his quotes on Google. They aren't what anyone said. They're just what Jim Wallis heard...

by Silent sound 2007-02-22 11:15AM | 0 recs
word choice

one small point- you keep using secular as if it is somehow mutually exclusive from people of faith. one can both be a secularist and a person of faith- they aren't mutally exclusive concepts. in fact, demographically most secularists are probably christians or at least people of faith. You dont do that throughout, but I think this point needs to be made because it is clear even on this level that wallis is not playing for an honest discussion

by bruh21 2007-02-22 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce

Well, I happen to agree with Wallis.

And here are a couple of articles for thought:

Race, Religion and the DNC

http://blacksmythe.com/blog/race-religio n-and-the-dnc

and a related article

The Old Hotness

http://www.oliverwillis.com/2007/02/the_ old_hotness.html

by rikyrah 2007-02-22 11:24AM | 0 recs
So, who is it?

Who is saying these terrible things about religious folks on the progressive side?

by boadicea 2007-02-22 11:26AM | 0 recs
by writerofag 2007-02-23 11:54AM | 0 recs
Willis' piece undercuts Wallis' broad claims

It's messed up that we see "religious voters" and think of right-wing Bush loyalists when some of the most religious and most politically engaged Democrats are Black Americans.

As for Wallis, if he is tired of some massive Failure to Be Loved Always By All People for his community, maybe he could start by picking his targets better.  If I have a problem with Falwell being a revanchist homophobic patriarchal post-segregationist embarrassment, I don't call out Wallis and tell him to stand and deliver.  Wallis' calling Kos out was completely outrageous.

If cooperation is to occur, maybe we should discard Wallis (for a while, till some time in the desert inspires him anew) and start speaking with radical Catholics in the Catholic Worker movement, Unitarians, the Anabaptist and Friends' "peace churches" and the folks at Sojourners without dealing with this hectoring self-appointed middleman Wallis.

by Bruce Godfrey 2007-02-22 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Willis' piece undercuts Wallis' broad claims

over at street prophet they are talking about a coalition of moderate baptists forming in one diary so it's not just the groups you mention but those opposed to the theocon tendencies of the modern baptist leadership. ironically baptists used to be the strongest force for separation of church and state when i was growing up. they have wondered far from their traditions.

by bruh21 2007-02-22 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Willis' piece undercuts Wallis' broad claims

I can't find the article you're referring to, but it's important to keep in mind which Baptists we're talking about here. The Baptists are not structured the same way most other Christian denominations are. The difference between the Southern and Northern baptists is significant by itself, and there have been a number of incidents in recent decades where more moderate churches have broken away from the Southern Baptist Conference.

by Silent sound 2007-02-22 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Willis' piece undercuts Wallis' broad claims

i agree- i grew up baptist. not sure where i saw it either read and write on the fly at work sorry

by bruh21 2007-02-22 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Willis' piece undercuts Wallis' broad claims

Not all Baptists have abandoned their separationist roots:

http://www.bjconline.org

by lurker7 2007-02-24 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Willis' piece undercuts Wallis' broad claims

thank you for the link. I've been telling this GOP person at work this exact fact. That the modern Baptist movement has nothing to do with what it was like when I was a member of the Baptist church back in the 70s and 80s. That we were extremely anti mixing church and state, and that this modern stuff seems to be something completely out of GOP talking points rather than the faith's traditions.

by bruh21 2007-02-25 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce

I find it fascinating you would link to an article about African Americans to prove Walis right since at base Walis is talking about white Evangelicals not African Americans. Despite being heavily Christian 85 to 90 percent (it fluctuates election to election without any clear reason why since Clinton got less than Gore, and Gore got more than Kerry) of African Americans vote Democratic. Although not as high for Latinos it is still more Latinos who are Catholic voting Democratic. We got these votes regardless of the religious speak that Walis claims is necessary.

In Va, which is part of Kos's point but folks like you want to ignore, we got a heavy African American vote despite how the AA voted on gay marraige/civil unions/domestic partnership bans. These voters disagreed with Webb who was against the amendment and stated on record that he was for civil unions or some kind of arrangement.

The reason I am bringing up policy is to cut throgh the bs. That's what this conversation is about. What policies one prioritizes. If your priorities are social conservative issues, nothing is going to sway you beyond policy changes to vote on anything but that. Certainly not having sweet nothings whispered to you. it also ignores that peo have voting habits and patterns that one would need to break.

Again, truly bizzare to see posts using a group that is primarily at odds with what Walis claim is the prescription for the party.

by bruh21 2007-02-22 11:59AM | 0 recs
On the use of "Secular" (AGAIN)

You're using "secular" when you mean "atheist," "non-theist," or "anti-theist". I commented about this last time. I didn't convince you last time, so I'll try some text:

the already small minority who are secular progressives. Further, they have no real power in Democratic or progressive circles, and they certainly have made no public statements that support any of Wallis's claims.

If you're talking about a minority, then you clearly mean to say "atheist". The vast majority of progressives are "secular" in that their progressivism is earthly or human in nature. You need to disaggregate the word secular: when talking about a person, it means the person is an atheist; when talking about a person's politics, it does not carry the same meaning, (that the person is an atheist).

If you want to "deconstruct" this a little bit, when you marry the phrases we use to describe a person without religion and a politics based on other thing, so also marry the opposite statements: a person with religion and a politics that seeks to project it onto the state.

The opposite of religious is Atheist.

Secular is the opposite of theocratic.

by msnook 2007-02-22 12:40PM | 0 recs
Don't blame Matt.

Jim Wallis is attacking secularists, not atheists. It's been made pretty clear that Jim Wallis considers secularists, not just atheists, to be "anti-religion". It makes sense to me at least that Matt would go to the bother of defending all secularists from these charges, not just the secularist atheists.

Now, it may be that the paragraph you quote indicates Matt is himself getting the distinction between secular and areligious confused somewhere in his argument. (I myself might object, if we're going to draw fine distinctions, to the idea that "atheist" is the opposite of "religious" either-- after all, what about agnostics?)

But I don't really think the quote is wrong even if we keep the word "secular". The sad fact is that while in-theory secularism may (I wouldn't know, I'm not a pollster) be a majority viewpoint on the left, vocal secularists are still a pretty heavy minority, among the elected official types if not among the base. You don't that often come across seculars who openly identify as such or who vocally consider secularism to be an integral part of their political philosophy and not just something they abstractly support. Secularist issues lately are mostly being pushed by independent groups like the ACLU and ACS, and watching those groups operate I frankly find it hard to see them as getting much if any visible support from the official Democratic apparatus.

Of course, if we were to, as you are trying to advocate, separate the religious/areligious and theocratic/secular axes in the public mind and make it clear that it's possible and makes sense to be both a personally religious and secular person at once, then maybe we'd start to see people who openly and vocally identify as secularists appear again.

by Silent sound 2007-02-22 02:40PM | 0 recs
Oh... heh.

I refer to Chris as Matt in the post above throughout. Whoops, sorry :)

Guess it doesn't really matter, they're all Jerome Armstrong anyway right?

by Silent sound 2007-02-22 03:33PM | 0 recs
I'm not splitting hairs here

Wallis is attacking Secularists, and Chris is defending atheists as if they were the same thing, which they are not. Name me a high-profile Democrats who says that we should fashion a law in accordance with scripture, either literally or figuratively.

Seriously.

I bet you the most you'll find is some Democratic leader mentioning Christian values in terms of peace and brother-/sisterhood, as a way to inform the moral code they bring to work. They don't say that God or the Bible tells them to do it, so they're doing it. They are all secularists. They may not all be secular people, in terms of their personality and their inner thoughts and feelings and private lives, but their politics and their progressivism is secular --

This is a subtle distinction you could drive an Abrams through. Again: Wallis is attacking Secularists, and Chris is defending atheists as if they were the same thing.

(p.s. agnostics are neither atheists nor religious, but the fact remains that atheist is the opposite of religious on axis of immediate relevance. the simple answer would be the agnostics are about halfway in between, but you'd have to ask an agnostic, possibly two.)

by msnook 2007-02-22 04:53PM | 0 recs
Excellent Points, Except

The opposite of religious is Atheist.

Secular is the opposite of theocratic.

Religions can have any number of Gods from 0 to infinity.  Doctrinal Buddhism is an atheistic religion, for example.

Some Taoist practitioners approach their religion as atheistic as well--regarding the "deities" as exalted beings, but not gods.  In fact, since all Taoists regard the Tao as superior to all beings, it's hard to see how Taoist "deities" qualify as gods, not just in the Judeo-Christian sense, but even in the Hindu polytheistic sense.

All of which is to say that the opposite of religious is irreligious.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-02-22 04:35PM | 0 recs
Thank you

for that correction.

I didn't know that Buddhism had no god-head.

And I didn't know that there are Taoists who consider themselves religious (my only Taoist friend calls it a philosophy, or a compass, she says the west doesn't have good words for it).

Irreligious. That's a better word for it anyway.

by msnook 2007-02-22 04:58PM | 0 recs
individual vs institution

I think people get mixed up about the difference between what individual Democrats may think about religion and the actual role that religious people play in Democratic politics and the Democratic Party as an institution. When people say Democrats are "hostile" to religion, I think they mean that certain individual Democrats sound like they're hostile to religion. Well, lots of people oppose lots of things so what's new? I oppose religion in politics, but I consider myself religious. I am hostile to religion playing too strong of a role in politics. But that's very much a different thing than me voting for someone who happens to be religious. And, that's different than how the party interacts with religious people generally. It's another one of those fuzzy definitions that the Right is so fond of employing -- kind of like how they define "terrorists". They make no distinction between the Democratic party and individual Democrats and people who maybe say one or two sort-of centrist things on the web and are therefore considered "Democrats". Nuance such as being opposed to mixing religion and politics while supporting religious candidates is lost on that crowd. Not because they don't get it, but because they deliberately try to confuse people about the issue.

by poserp 2007-02-22 03:30PM | 0 recs
Pastor Dan shd interview Jim Wallis on DK

Let us have a conversation with Jim Wallis.  He should be an ally.  Let us win him over.  

Pastor Dan holds weekly highly recommended services in Daily Kos,  maybe he can interview Jim Wallis then--live blogging.

Let us forwarn him there would be extremist who hates religion--but I bet they are not even Democrats at all.

by jasmine 2007-02-22 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

Exit Poll Results - The "God Gap" Widens

In recent years, some have asked whether the Democratic Party has a serious "God problem" - an inability to appeal to evangelicals and other highly religious Americans. But the results of this year's election raise the parallel question of whether the Republican Party can appeal to non-Christians and less religious voters. Exit polls find that the Democrats' gains were concentrated among non-Christians and secular voters, indicating an even larger political divide between highly religious voters and the rest of American society.

The GOP held on to voters who attend religious services more than once a week, 60% of whom voted Republican compared with 61% in 2002. A majority (53%) of those who attend church at least once a week also supported Republicans. But less frequent churchgoers were much more supportive of Democrats than they were four years ago. Among those who attend church a few times a year, for instance, 60% voted Democratic, compared with 50% in 2002. And among those who never go to church, 67% voted Democratic; four years ago, only 55% did so. As a result, the gap in Democratic support between those who attend church more than once a week and those who never attend church has grown from 18 percentage points in 2002 to 29 points today.

http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID =174

by francislholland 2007-02-22 04:32PM | 0 recs
It's Also Worth Noting Protestantism Is In Decline

The General Social Survey noted this in a 2004 study.  There's been a significant decline in self-identified Protestants over last decade or so.

See a story here.

It begins:

The increasing secularization of American society has taken a particular toll on Protestant identity, presenting the prospect that after more than 200 years of history, the United States may soon no longer be a majority Protestant country, according to a new study by the National Opinion Research Center.

The percentage of the population that is Protestant has been falling and will likely fall below 50 percent by mid-decade or may already be there, the study showed.

Between 1972 and 1993, the Protestant share of the population remained stable, but then a decline set in. In 1993, 63 percent of Americans were Protestant, but by 2002, the number was 52 percent, the NORC research found. During the same time, the number of people who said they had no religion went up from 9 percent to nearly 14 percent. The survey listed people as Protestant if they indicated they were members of a particular Protestant denomination, such as Baptist, United Methodist or Episcopalian. Membership in many of the Protestant denominations has been declining.

The change is another example of how the country is moving toward becoming a nation of minorities, said Tom Smith, Director of NORC's General Social Survey, a 32-year-old survey that is widely referenced by social scientists as one of the nation's most scientifically reliable gauges of public trends. NORC research assistant Seokho Kim, a graduate student in Sociology, co-authored the study, "The Vanishing Protestant Majority."

The study itself is here in PDF.

by Paul Rosenberg 2007-02-22 04:43PM | 0 recs
Controlling the broadcast

The main problems I see here stem around thought control. Everyone wants to be in control of how others act, what others should do, and how they should behave.

Wallis appears to say he represents the liberal Christian who wants to knock down the strict, literal definitions of the right-wing Christian, but at the same time is apparently incapable of seeing beyond his own desire of controlling the terms. Wallis' own version of control breaks down with two goals:

1) Challenge the right-wing Christian (print another bible?)
2) Convert/Conscript the secular/non-believer in accepting open god talk. (Doesn't Congress already pray?)

Because Wallis is really only reflecting his fears of secularist leftism, he can't give any specifics, nor does he really need to because in his mind, he isn't attempting to attack any one individual (he is confronting the very dogmatic thinking that brought us communism [just joking]).

However, because these are Wallis' unsupported fears, they better represent his basic cultural self than anything else, and thus, he is no different than any other ethnocentric commentator.

However, the issue isn't about generalities and straw men, even if Powers can't resist lighting them on fire. Beware, a straw man may end up directing focus as Powers notes. Instead, the issues of concern have more to do with groups (Christians Wallis allegedly represents) fighting to define themselves among their enemies and their peers. A desire to control the message. Thought control. Government does it, politicians and their lackeys do it, and religion is just as guilty.

Work ethic. Do you have it? Are you a hard worker? Did someone tell you you were a hard worker? Who defines it? Think about the stereotype of the lazy Mexican and the hardworking American.

Now think about the stereotype of intellectuals and liberals. They are wishy washy, procrastinating, secularists who believe in equal rights but want prayer banned from the classroom, and out of the military barracks. Wallis appears very eager to change the stereotype (not the specific individual, mind you. Remember we are talking about thought control), and he is doing it by attacking a contorted definition of the intolerable secular. He says his group is persecuted. When in honesty, what he is saying is he wants his idea of Protestant values to be pushed to the forefront and adopted.

One of the things I see that can take place as leftists attempt to breach the divide with other leftists over the problems that come from getting entangled in the varies competing forms of Christian ethnocentrism, is falling trap by proclaiming the number of secularist who do not tolerate religious processions is tiny and thus a non-issue. It may be a non-issue for some, but for the secularist who would like to see religion completely off the table, she may very well end up being the persecuted. Then again, perhaps the answer to the world's problem comes with adopting good work ethics!

anyway,

Rob

by Rob Price 2007-02-22 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

I think Amanda Marcotte and Duncan Black are both hostile to religion or at least find it an useless anachronism in the modern era. There's some names for you. But again, while I am religious I don't think Democrats as a party are against religion and if Atrios and Amanda took over the party I don't think how I practiced my religion would change either.

That's just silly.

by MNPundit 2007-02-22 09:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

How is Atrios hostile to religion?  Maybe he is just feed up with its hypocrisy.  Seriously, does Republicanism(as practiced by BushCo) go hand in hand with the New Testament?

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 10:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

I'm religious, I read Atrios daily, and I don't see Duncan Black as hostile toward religion. (I'm not familiar with Amanda Marcotte's work, but I don't find scandalous the one-liners she's infamous for.)

More generally, I haven't found any bloggers to be hostile toward religion. The hostility comes from commenters on various blogs, and the ill-informed venom is often offensive.

by joyful alternative 2007-02-23 03:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Jim Wallis Continues to Reinforce Anti-Progres

also this is america right? are we suppose to not only have leadership that respects religion, but control every person who randomly posts on a blog. i swear the approach that you and other expouse to justify your position is to me the equivalent of what israel expects of the palestenians- namely not only that they control the government of the palestenian government but also all people from the country even those who act on their own. it's simply not a realistic expectation for human behavior. you are always going to have someone somewhere who is going to do something that's going to piss you off. no one except in arguments like this where someone is groping for a justification is that considered a valid reason to make the kind of sweeping statements that theocratic progressives have been making.

by bruh21 2007-02-23 03:30AM | 0 recs
Unsupported assertions

are not proof.

by boadicea 2007-02-23 04:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Unsupported assertions

I think I will steal that line because it could cut down on arguing.

by bruh21 2007-02-25 06:46AM | 0 recs
No Theft required

You're welcome to it.  I've found  very useful.

by boadicea 2007-02-25 07:38AM | 0 recs
Freedom of Religion

However, we both know that there are powerful voices on the Right that have no tolerance for faiths other than their own. As I said, I won't name names, but here are just a very few specifics: I've been attacked publicly by leaders of major Conservative organizations who've said that the Right has no need for freedom of religion. They've said that religious choice, "whether conservative or progressive" should have no place in politics. "It's still religion," they say. I remember one particularly lovely comment from after I'd done a talk at a Conservative  political gathering (with me still in the room), saying that the kind of religion I subscribe to "puts signs out in front of churches that say 'Jews and gays allowed - just not white Aryan men!'" That kind of diatribe says much more about that person's own experience and view of religion than it does about my track record over three decades.

Friends on the boards of major
conservative  publications tell me they have fought this kind of intolerance of religion for years. A few brave writers in those magazines, who aren't even religious themselves, have labeled this "shooting ourselves in the foot," which is where I got the title for my response to your piece. Friends who've tried to help the Republican candidates understand religious freedom and the establishment clause have been marginalized and disregarded - until after embarrassing losses. I've had Republican members of Congress who are people of faith tell me for years that they felt marginalized within their party as people of faith; that they were not really allowed to speak as who they were as people of faith. And for those who don't think the Republicans have appeared hostile to religious choice,, read the polls. That can't just all be blamed on Fox News.

by msobel 2007-02-27 12:49PM | 0 recs

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