A BBBR RESISTANCE FIGHTER WRITES:
As for the Christian left, I'm not sure what they might disapprove of as regards your approach to dealing with the Bush's. I'm a Christian, and I'm also gay, and I'll bet there is nothing you could say that would put me off. The big mistake that I've seen in the gay rights movement over the last ten or so years is pitting themselves against the religious community in total. There are MANY Christian Churches and Temples that are very much on our side, but feel isolated from their fundamentalist counterparts, and from the left wing. Some feel that Gore and Lieberman, by expressing religious sentiments, are pandering to the far right. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are, I believe, saying to Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson and the like, that they are not the only moral people in town, and that there is more than one kind of Christian or Jew. I think it's a mistake not to cultivate an alliance with as many religious organizations as possible. Many feel isolated in a canyon with the left on one side, which has positioned itself as anti-religious, and on the other side the fundamentalists, who position themselves as representing all religion. The left needs to take back religion from the fundamentalists, who do not represent most people of faith.
THE DIVA RESPONDS
When I spoke about the religious left, I was expressing my discontent at remarks by Democrats like Senator Lieberman that there is no right to freedom from religion -- no right NOT to believe -- and that there is no morality without religion -- that unbelievers are, by definition, immoral.
The Democratic Party is often painted as hostile to Christianity because it is accepting of atheists, gays, women's rights, and people of other faiths; and because of its record of devotion to human rights, including freedom of conscience on matters religious. To my mind, the Democratic Party is the only party for people of faith. The reason I say this is that the Democratic Party has traditionally approached the question of faith as just that, FAITH.
While the Republican Party has treated Americans' belief in god as a foregone conclusion (which actually removes the element of the transcendent and unknowable from the question of his existence) the Democratic Party has traditionally treated faith as FAITH: "a firm belief in something for which there is no proof." Where the Republican Party has predicated its positions on assuming the existence of god, the Democratic Party has taken a more respectful view, and has -- up until quite recently -- not followed suit. It was for that reason that I always believed the Democratic Party was the only political home for people of faith, people of conscience, and people of reason, in a choice between the major parties.
I once read that to be forced to do something good or right denies the doer any claim of personal justness in exactly the same way that doing something bad or wrong under duress or coercion removes moral culpability from the doer. If this is true (and I believe it is -- that we deserve credit or blame only for that which we CHOOSE to do), then requiring professions of belief, adherence to religious dogma, or attendance at worship, makes those acts, at best, morally neutral, and at worst, not acts of faith at all.
You mentioned that you though it was a mistake for the Democratic Party not to cultivate alliances with as many religious organizations as possible. On this we disagree. There are many religious groups that I do not believe the Democratic Party should honor with an alliance -- among these white identity churches, and fundamentalist churches which support scriptural literalism as a basis for law -- churches whose doctrine states that gays should be subject to the death penalty for their sexual behavior, that murdering abortion providers should be legally justifiable homicide, that religious belief should be a requirement for holding public office or serving in any public capacity (such as on a jury), or that parents have the right or the obligation to use deadly force against their disobedient children.
It is my personal opinion that such goals run counter to the spirit of the Democratic Party, and to its principles. It is also my belief that such goals run counter to our national Constitution, and that an alliance with groups that profess these goals would be unpatriotic, un-American, and immoral. The beauty of America, and what made her unique, was that she was founded on the principle that governments are instituted by men, and not by god. It is heartbreaking for me to now see how far we have strayed, in our public discourse, from the genius of our founders. I cannot imagine how they would react to the theocratic movements now afoot in our nation, particularly in light of how far we had come in realizing the American dream.
It seems that at least one of our founders was tragically mistaken in his confidence in us, in all of us...
"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses." -- John Adams, Second American President
In all fairness, President Adams could not be expected to foresee how un-grateful we would become -- how little we would appreciate the freedoms our founders labored to secure for us, believers and non-believers alike.NEXT: WHO IS PERSECUTING WHOM?
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