As the Blogswarm Against Theocracy Draws Nigh
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 09:51:48 PM EST
The blogswarm, Blog Against Theocracy is upon us, and Blue Gal, who started it all -- reports that it will be huge!  And that is exciting, for different reasons than one might think.  Unlike issue based blogswarms, this is more about expanding knowledge and conversation about forces that are corroding democracy in America. This blogswarm will widen the conversation across vast distances of time, geography and even worldview, so that we can learn to have more of the kinds of conversations that bring people together to do what needs to be done; and gain knowledge and perspectives that will help those conversations mature and become more effective.  

In fact, it is already happening.

Here are a couple of glimpes into what is already going in as the Blog Against Theocracy weekend, draws nigh.

Christopher O'Brien of Northstatescience writes:

While pulling that last post together regarding the Blog Against Theocracy, I also read through Blue Gal's latest post addressed to all the non-believers who are planning to take part in this weekend's blog swarm. It got me thinking...

So often I talk or email with fellow lefties who have just had it with the religious right to the point that they can't stand Christianity or even religion in general. It's as if there is such a slippery slope in their minds between any admission of faith and total fundamentalism that it's just not worth it to go down that path. No religion is better than any religion, because in the end we all become Pat Robertson or Al Qaeda.

Ok, that's pretty much me. Conservative evangelicals and conservatives within my own Catholic clan largely started telling me a few years ago, "its our way or the highway"... fine, I chose to take the highway. I decided I would rather not sacrifice logic and reason for religious dogma. Evolution was never a problem in my church until members started worrying more about being conservative than being Catholic. That and some economic hypocrisy on the part of our priestly elite and it was enough to push me out the door...

I'm actually quite sympathetic to those lefties who think they hate Christianity. Funny thing is when you engage these lefties in conversation, a great many of them think Jesus was a cool guy, and some actually revere him. Even those who reject Christianity outright are not nearly so angry as they let on.

Yep, I actually happen to think the historical figure of Jesus was an interesting person (even with the understanding that a lot of the New Testament was written to make him appear more than he was). I actually find the Bible much more fascinating now that I'm not obliged to read it as a theological treatise and can appreciate it as the historical text it is (complete with all the errors, re-writes, biases and outright falsehoods that go into any humanly produced manuscript). And why is it that all of us who don't buy into Christian theology are the ones perceived of as "angry"? If we're angry, it's because we know Christianity has had to distort and outright lie about history and science in order to validate their views before a generally ignorant public.

Let me point something out here, again. Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to a tree by the political and religious CONSERVATIVES of his day because they mistakenly thought they had power and that he threatened that power. ANY Christian, myself included, who thinks they would have rescued Jesus from the cross, that certainly WE wouldn't have gone along with Pilate and Judas and abandoned him like Peter, are just kidding themselves.

Boy, got that right. It was becoming very difficult for me during my last days as a Catholic to logically distinguish between priests/bishops and the Pharisees...hard to tell the two groups apart.

It's that the religious right/Republican Party has so often set the discourse that "God/Jesus equals us" that some of us lefties tend to believe that. Rejecting hate speech, intolerance, and fundamentalism becomes rejecting all religion.

Again, that's me. I know there are the Jim Wallis's, the John Shelby Spongs, hell, even the Henry Neufelds, and Christopher Heards out there, all of whom (often) make me wonder just a little bit about the nature of my spiritual search. But then there's those loud-mouthed, obnoxious fundamentalists who keep taking center stage and I'm forced to pull out Dawkins and Harris again...

And then finally, a little hope:

And if I believe (and I struggle to, at least) that God is Love and that God loves his creation, I think smart, funny, gifted non-believing bloggers have one of the better tables at Divine Love's cocktail party. You certainly do at mine.

Here's the deal about Christians, though. We're not all Pat Robertson, and I refuse to allow the Religious Right to define what Christianity is, for me, or for my readership.

Amen, sister. If I'm wrong, then I'll be happy to toast to my error at Divine Love's cocktail party!

Meanwhile Dakota Voice Blog, a partisan of the religious right, responds with the usual johnny one note talking point:

And then there's the blogswarm over this "Blog Against Theocracy " idiocy, which boils down to an attack on any public expression of Christianity (something protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) under the guise of opposing something that doesn't exist in the US and no Christian I'm aware of is advocating: theocracy.

Purveyors of this "theocracy" rot like to say they're "not anti-religion, just anti-theocracy." If they keep telling themselves this, they might succeed in believing it, but the rest of us aren't fooled.

I guess Dakota Voice missed Mainstream Baptist's post here at Talk to Action:  

Some might find it surprising for a Baptist minister to encourage a blogswarm against theocracy on Easter weekend, but I think it is a valid expression of an authentic faith.
For Jesus the Kingdom of God is "not of this world."

Theocrats are distorting the teachings of Jesus to promote their own fantasies for a temporal utopia.

I intend to write a blog against theocracy on Easter Sunday. What better day than Resurrection Sunday than to hope and pray that the spirit of democracy will revive in the evangelical churches of America.

The simple fact is that religious and nonreligious people have a common interest in opposing theocracy -- or anything remotely headed in that direction. They are logical allies in the struggle. Over at First Freedom First, an alliance of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, The Interfaith Alliance, and a dozen other religious and non-religious organizations, like the Secular Coalition for America -- everyone gets that.    

Visit the Blog Against Theocracy site for the updated list of participant posts across the weekend.

at addressing the religious right as a movement is going to mean actually doing it in a more integrated fashion. Doing that takes integrated bodies of knowledge, ways of talking about it, and people to talk about it with. And of course all of those things applied to action.

The blog against theocracy campaign is a way of jumpstarting the conversations on a massive scale. It is the right action, at the right time.

by Frederick Clarkson on Fri Apr 06, 2007 at 02:46:00 AM EST

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