Who's Secular Now? Take the Quiz! (Part 2)
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 08:32:21 AM EST
Last week, I wrote that the religious right has for a generation, framed the principal struggle in America as one between Christianity and secular humanism. The wording varies, but the frame remains the same. Variations include faith vs. secularism; people of faith vs secular fundamentalism, and so on.  We also hear a variation on the frame when we hear people speak of "secularists" or "the secular left," supposedly trying to drive expressions of faith from "the public square." The alleged perpetrators, whether individuals or organizations, are rarely, if ever named. Thus strawmen are repeatedly knocked down in colorful rhetorical barrages.

Unfortunately, the frame has been deeply internalized by people who are not part of the religious right, most notoriously by author Jim Wallis, and by Sen. Barack Obama, in his speech last week at a conference sponsored by Wallis' organization Call to Renewal. Obama's usage in particular shows the way that that term and its variants are routinely used to disparage rather than to describe; as the speaker works off of the frame.

After taking Obama and Wallis to task for their counter-productive contributions in this area, (while also acknowledging other of their good words and good works), I followed up with a quiz that sought to show the various ways that the terms are being used and abused. They may mean very different things depending on who you talk to. So in the interest of further underscoring the many ways the problem is manifested, here is Who's Secular Now? Take the Quiz! (Part 2).

To make it extra fun, the pool of characters has  changed a bit from part I.  In this quiz you have to identify ten quotes from different people, out of a pool of 20 well known public figures.

See if you can figure out who said what.

David  Brooks -- columnist, New York Times

George W. Bush -- whatever

Bob Casey -- Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from PA

Sen. Hillary Clinton -- (D-NY)

Ann Coulter -- conservative commentator, author

Bill Donohue -- Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

Rev. D. James Kennedy -- Televangelist, Coral Ridge Ministries

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Toward Tradition

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Network of Spiritual Progressives

G. Gordon Liddy -- conservative broadcaster

Sen. Joe Lieberman  -- (D-CT)

Rush Limbaugh -- conservative broadcaster

Sen. Barack Obama -- (D-IL)

Bill O'Reilly -- conservative broadcaster

Cardinal Sean O'Malley -- Boston

Pope Benedict XVI

John Roberts -- senior correspondent, CNN

Rev. Rob Schenk -- National Clergy Council

Rev. Jim Wallis -- Call to Renewal

(You'll need to keep your own score.)


Secular nations have one thing in common - mass graves, and the reason is that they believe the government is the final arbiter of right and wrong and good and evil.

George Bush
Pope Benedict
Bill O'Reilly
Rob Schenk


Like many countries . . . Canada is today suffering from the pervasive effects of secularism... One of the more dramatic symptoms of this mentality, clearly evident in your own region, is the plummeting birth rate.

Pope Benedict
Bob Casey
D. James Kennedy
Bill O'Reilly


And the question was, "Are you promoting religion by using people's, taxpayers' money?" And I said, "No, I'm promoting lower recidivism rates, and we will measure to make sure that that's the case."

A results-oriented world says "let's achieve some common objectives and some common goals," and if teaching Bible study or the Qur'an is a method that works, we should welcome it, so long as it's a voluntary program and people, of course, there is going to be a secular alternative that's called 'regular jail.' But so long as the prisoners can pick and choose.

George W. Bush
Hillary Clinton
Joe Lieberman
Jim Wallis


I would like to see him [Bush]level the playing field and eliminate the mood that's been inflicted on America... that the struggle in America is between an aggressive dangerous Christian theocracy and a benign secularism that's good for everybody. That isn't true.

And I think George W. Bush, not in any way that will make anyone uncomfortable, except perhaps those who were desperately eager to see more secularism in America, all he's going to do is say the struggle in America today is between two competing faiths: the faith of the Judeo-Christian traditions, and the faith of aggressive, fundamentalist secular liberalism.

David Brooks
Daniel Lapin
Michael Lerner
Jim Wallis


Now, America is a divided country. We are fighting a fierce war on terror overseas, and an intense culture war at home. No longer is the "American way" something to be proud of...  It is also the product of the rise of a well-funded and well-organized secular-progressive movement in America.

The secular-progressive philosophy would rattle even Superman. Led by moneymen George Soros  and Peter Lewis who have bought enormous internet access, the secular-progressives are  selling the theory that the USA needs radical change, a complete overhaul. Think about it:

 Almost every day, the secular-progressive press bombards us with messages that America
violates human rights, that it is bigoted against gays and other minorities, that the rich control everything and don't pay enough tax, and that the rights of women are trampled  if any restrictions are placed on abortion.

Ann Coulter
G. Gordon Liddy
Rush Limbaugh
Bill O'Reilly


Certainly, on the world scene, the forces of secularism are something that the Church has got to deal with. To be able to evangelize and teach the faith in a society which is no longer a Christian society, that has the same way of looking at reality -- I think that is a big challenge.

David Brooks
Bill Donohue
D. James Kennedy
Sean O'Malley


For years, Democrats, unlike Republicans, have been afraid to wear religion on their sleeve.  It's to the point that they're perceived as a party of secular snobs, and it turned off a large slice of America. But now, they want to try to win that slice back.

Bob Casey
Hillary Clinton
Joe Leiberman
John Roberts


Next has come the effort to expel [Sen. Joe] Lieberman from modern liberalism. In a dark parody of the old struggle between Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey, the highly educated, highly affluent, highly Caucasian wing of the Democratic Party has turned liberalism from a philosophy into a secular religion, and then sought to purge a battle-scarred warhorse on the grounds of insufficient moral purity.

David Brooks
Michael Lerner
Barack Obama
John Roberts


God forbid that we who were born into the blessings of a Christian America should let our patrimony slip like sand through our fingers and leave to our children the bleached bones of a godless secular society. But whatever the outcome, one thing is certain: God has called us to engage the enemy in this culture war. That is our challenge today.

D. James Kennedy
Daniel Lapin
G. Gordon Liddy
Sean O'Malley


The Left is dominated by secular humanists who do not believe in God and have advocated for a misinterpretation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution's prohibition against the establishment of religion by the federal government as a "wall separating church and state." No where in the Constitution is there any mention of a wall separating church and state.

G. Gordon Liddy
D. James Kennedy
Rob Schenk
Jim Wallis

The sleep of reason produces Harrises and antisecularists.

by Bruce Wilson on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 10:52:41 AM EST

After reading this, I would say that the battle isn't over religion as much as it is over TRUTH.

I find it ironic and disgusting that the Religious Right would fight so hard to keep the truth from people... like finding out about torture, violation of people's human rights, spying on the American people, and so on.  

Yet they say it is a battle over religion.

Even more ironic is the fact that they seek style over substance.  I remember hearing conservative voices rant and rail about that- yet they would rather have the false Beaver Cleaver image of America than investing the energy to have a truly good nation worthy of honor.

I've been doing some reading for a class I am taking, and one article in a sense predicted the situation we're fighting against.  In essence, the author demonstrates that fundamentalism and Biblical inerrency are the cause of the very thing that they claim to abhore!

The article (A Dangerous Crusade by Washington Gladden in: The Biblical World Vol 44 pgs 3-14) was written in 1914!!!

by ArchaeoBob on Wed Jul 12, 2006 at 10:19:33 AM EST

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