The Adventures of Lamby the Liberal
jhutson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 12:35:00 PM EST

Maybe a li'l diagram would help some theocrats clarify their fuzzy thinking. According to an influential theocratic think tank, the terms "liberal" and "Christian" are mutually exclusive. The Chalcedon Foundation's Communications Director, Chris Ortiz, clings to the pejorative term "oxymoronic liberal Christians". Ortiz writes: "Progressives will continually lose the 'War of Ideas' because they have no faith in a transcendent God."

If Ortiz believes he's in a "War of Ideas," then he needs some better ammo: in the face of all reason, he falsely claims that liberal actually means secular. That's like saying that peanut butter means chocolate -- two things that may share the same space, and taste great together, but are distinctly different. Then Ortiz takes his error a gigantic leap further and claims that Christians who are liberal are also secularists. Huh? It's impossible to be both secular and religious at the same time; these are two distinct concepts. See, secular means "non-religious." It's all in this Venn diagram that I borrowed from a public school that teaches secular subjects like logic and science.
Lamby the Liberal goes to church and helps out poor people and the sick -- like Jesus did. Sammy the Secular used to be a liberal, but now he's not. Sammy happens to be a conservative who doesn't believe in God, but who does believe in slashing Medicaid health care funding for seniors who have trouble paying the heating bill. Sammy also believes in giving huge tax cuts to wealthy corporations and spying on fellow citizens, like liberal Quakers, without a warrant. See? Lamby and Sammy are not so much alike after all. (Note: Although Sammy does not speak for all conservatives, or all secularists, he does make a nice nut while holding down a nest in the West Wing.)

In modernist categories, things are either religious or secular. Our constitution, for example, deliberately established a secular government that took no part in religion, whether positive or negative. But "liberal" refers to that which pertains to all free citizens. If you believe, for example, that all free citizens should have the right to vote, that's  a liberal idea. The opposite of that would be some political ideology that runs toward monarchy, totalitarianism, or oligarchy or plutocracy or something, any system that limited the vote to an exclusive in-group, whether that group is defined by gender, ethnicity, social class, religious test, literacy, ancestry, or whatever. What conservatism is about, from a political point of view, is conserving the power of the in-group. What liberalism is about is spreading power out to more people.

Ortiz writes: "For my audience, when saying someone is a 'liberal' that typically refers to a secularist, left-leaning, unbeliever."

Being liberal or conservative is a different matter from being religious or secular. You can mix and match: there are liberal Christians and conservative Christians; there are secular liberals, and there are secular conservatives. But since liberals tend to give voice to more people, that means that they give voice to secularists and atheists and Hindus and whoever comes along. The ACLU is, of course, the poster-organization for this. But it is inaccurate to claim that all folks who hold or merely tolerate the expression of secular or even atheistic ideologies are necessarily liberal. You can be a conservative and an atheist, just as you can be a liberal Christian.

To claim that one cannot be both a liberal and a Christian is to defy logic. And Lamby loves his logic as much as he loves his neighbors: that's how he got to be a liberal.




Display:


by jhutson on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:33:51 PM EST

Thanks for the object lesson about logic.


by Mainstream Baptist on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:37:22 PM EST
Its also an important lesson here in how you challenge people's ideas, including making fun of those ideas, without attacking, ridiculing, or deliberately or ignorantly mischaracterizing people's religious beliefs.  

Admittedly, there is a gray area in this turf, and it can be tricky, but if you know the turf, going for the humor is a good thing. Its when you don't know the turf that attempts at humor can misfire.

by Frederick Clarkson on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:51:14 PM EST
Parent

...Trapped in a shrinking bubble of exclusivity! Public school children, quickly, grab your chalk and see if you can draw some Venn diagrams to help Fang reason his way out!



by jhutson on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 01:58:34 PM EST
Parent

You suddenly have a genius for graphics. Is this new ? I love the Venn Diagram.

by Bruce Wilson on Fri Dec 23, 2005 at 02:46:03 PM EST
Parent




Typical of the far right attacks - vilify our terminology ("liberal" as a bad word), then define us their way. Of course it is ridiculous to claim that secular/non-religious = liberal, but this is accepted as fact by the far right, taught to their children, etc. Another example: I just heard a quote from a Christian Fundamentalist stating, "Everyone knows this is a country founded on Christian values..." No, actually, not everyone knows or believes this - there is a HUGE difference between a "Christian Nation" and a "nation founded by Christians" (and even that is debatable). That's why it's important that we make our case immediately and explicitly - first reject their definitions of our terms, values and beliefs, then challenge their terms and their version of "truth."

by joelp on Thu Dec 22, 2005 at 05:46:32 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Book Report: Yes, Politicians, We Know You Love The Bible. What Else Have You Read?
Real estate magnate Donald Trump says lots of outrageous stuff, but none of it seems to slow him down. His latest gaffe, however, ought......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
American Renewal Project
On my journey to the American Renewal Project in Austin, Texas, I listened to hard right talk radio out of Houston.  There was an......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
`Just Go Somewhere Else!': A Cavalier Dismissal Of A Serious Concern
A few years ago, I took part in a panel discussion on church-state issues at a Seventh-day Adventist church in Takoma Park, Md. During......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
John Dorhauer Puts Christian Right on Notice
Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer was a front pager here at Talk to Action years before he was elected General Minister and President of the......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Father Of Falsehoods: Why Ted Cruz's Dad Is Wrong About Prayer In Schools
Many misconceptions abound about the issue of prayer in schools, and some people persist in believing a lot of myths. One of the most......
By Rob Boston (0 comments)
A Texas Size Conspiracy
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has recently been indicted by a grand jury for an illegal investment scheme.  He faces felony charges. Word has......
By wilkyjr (1 comment)
Are the Anti-Planned Parenthood Smear Videos... Investigative Journalism?
I have been glad to see journalism catching up with the anti-Planned Parenthood scam videos. From The Huffington Post to the New England Journal......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Liberty's Latest Ploy: What's Up With The Sanders Invite?
The announcement that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will speak at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Sept. 14 has left a lot of people......
By Rob Boston (4 comments)
Creeping Christian Rightism in the Democratic Party
The executive director of a DC group with deep roots in the Democratic faith outreach schemes of a decade ago, has a regular column......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Ghosts Over Mississippi
     Clinton, Mississippi is home to historic Mississippi College.  The Southern Baptist school is owned by the state Baptist convention in the Magnolia......
By wilkyjr (0 comments)
The Cardinal's Gasbag: Catholic League Leader Rushes To Defend Dolan From AU Criticism
There is a thing called Godwin's Law on the internet. It holds that if an online argument goes on long enough, someone will drag......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
The Theocratic Politics of Raphael Cruz
"There's a relationship there that's unlike any in American history to my knowledge. We've just never seen anything remotely like this...   I believe......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
An Assassin's Motivation?
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof quietly sat in the prayer meeting at African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina before he shot......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Christian Right Turns to Nullification to Counter Marriage Equality
Last year in The Public Eye magazine, Rachel Tabachnick and Frank L. Cocozzelli warned of the trend on the religious and political Right toward......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Historian Gerald Horne on Charleston, Church, & Slave Resistance
Professor Gerald Horne of the University of Houston notes the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was at the center of Black resistance to slavery......
By Chip Berlet (1 comment)

Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (2 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (0 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (0 comments)
Evangelicals Seduced By Ayn Rand Worship Crypto-Satanism, Suggest Scholars
[update: also see my closely related stories, "Crypto-Cultists" and "Cranks": The Video Paul Ryan Hoped Would Go Away, and The Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand/Satanism Connection Made Simple] "I give people Ayn Rand with trappings" -......
Bruce Wilson (10 comments)
Ted Cruz Anointed By Pastor Who Says Jesus Opposed Minimum Wage, and Constitution Based on the Bible
In the video below, from a July 19-20th, 2013 pastor's rally at a Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, Tea Party potentate Ted Cruz is blessed by religious right leader David Barton, who claims......
Bruce Wilson (1 comment)
Galt and God: Ayn Randians and Christian Rightists Expand Ties
Ayn Rand's followers find themselves sharing a lot of common ground with the Christian Right these days. The Tea Party, with its stress on righteous liberty and a robust form of capitalism, has been......
JSanford (4 comments)
Witchhunts in Africa and the U.S.A.
Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe has recently written at least two blog posts about how some African Pentecostal churches are sending missionaries to Europe and the U.S.A. in an attempt to "re-evangelize the......
Diane Vera (2 comments)
Charles Taze Russell and John Hagee
No doubt exists that Texas mega-church Pastor John Hagee would be loathe to be associated with the theology of Pastor C.T. Russell (wrongly credited with founding the Jehovah's Witnesses) but their theological orbits, while......
COinMS (0 comments)
A death among the common people ... imagination.
Or maybe my title would better fit as “Laws, Books, where to find, and the people who trust them.”What a society we've become!The wise ones tell us over and over how the more things......
Arthur Ruger (1 comment)
Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (2 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (5 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (4 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (4 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.