Coalescing to the Religious Right and Calling it Progressive
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Apr 04, 2009 at 03:21:04 PM EST
This past week the debate between the nascent Religious Left and the Religion Industrial Complex gained national attention when it was featured in a major article in U.S. News and World Report.  We might not ordinarily focus on such matters on this site, but an important part of the criticism of the RIC has been how it has at once enabled the Religious Right while pretending that the culture wars of aggression waged by the Religious Right against the civil and constitutional rights of other Americans are over or are about to be.
As we have seen, RIC leaders based on a series of faulty assumptions and cynical political triangulations, have not only declared that the culture wars are over or about to be but promoted the power hungry ambitions of retrograde Religious Right figures like Rick Warren, who seem nice enough - until they talk about what they really believe.  

The most infamous example perhaps, occured on national television, in a event which was originally organized by none other than the Democratic Party aligned think tank Faith in Public Life -- before they inexplicably backed out.  Warren, in hosting the nationally televised conversations with presidential candidates Barack Obama and Rick Warren in 2008 called legal abortion a "holocaust" and then had the nerve to call on Americans to engage in a more civil discourse and not to "demonize" one another.  The next day, he told an interviewer:  

If they (Evangelicals, among whom Warren counts himself) think that life begins at conception, then that means that there are 40 million Americans who are not here [because they were aborted] that could have voted. They would call that a holocaust, and for them it would like if I'm Jewish and a Holocaust denier is running for office. I don't care how right he is on everything else, it's a deal breaker for me. I'm not going to vote for a Holocaust denier....

Faith in Public Life has had nothing but praise for Warren, even after this debacle.

Susan Thistlethwaite, a member of the board of Faith in Public Life and its parent organization, the Center for American Progress, takes to her the Washington Post/Newweek's On Faith blog for a political tap dance and light show because her organization, which has earned a lot of media coverage as an agnecy of the Religious Left, was described by U.S. News as heading down a "centrist" road.  

"I'm in favor of reaching out and I am less interested in labels. To me as a person of faith, I believe we should be engaging the public square in order to effect change. In order to effect change, you have to engage in the broadest possible coalition-building."

Indeed, those of us who have been critical agree that the matter is about substance more than terminology. That is part of what has been so objectionable about the way that substantive debates are diverted and obscured by semantic slights of hand.  There is hardly a better example than Thistlethwaite's  invocation of the "broadest possible coalition."  

While most sensible people would agree that sometimes seemingly unlikely coalition partners are necessary and possible, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice for one, says that Thistletwaite's idea of reaching out is almost exclusively to the Religious Right, while the religious mainstream -- never mind the Religious Left -- has been left out.

So let's be very clear:  Leaders of mainstream Protestant denominations and major bodies of Judaism representing many tens of millions of Americans, are marginalized in favor of building relationships with a handful of conservative evangelicals of various stripes.  This may be a strategic error of historic proportions, but Thistlethwaite et al, do not even want to discuss it.

Pastordan answered Thistlethwaite, noting that the methods of Thistlethwaite and her colleagues have sought to  

marginalize those who disagree with their premises, of course. And on closer inspection, their supposed middle ground turns out to be exceedingly narrow, excluding many of the progressive representatives you might expect to see if a true consensus were being built...

My favorite piece of mendacity, however, is the charge that religious progressives not interested in finding the middle ground on core principals are somehow intolerant and therefore guilty of betraying both Christian unity and liberal ideals. Thistlethwaite chides people such as myself to "honor diversity" and be open to "possibility, unexpected joy and the movement of grace," as if we were narrow-minded partisans closed to God's fondness for surprises.

As a political point, this is egregious. As a religious point, it's little more than a passive-aggressive claim to the high ground dressed up in church clothes. Many of the people being called out as divisive ideologues have been in favor of strategic alliances for years.

Chip Berlet, commenting over at Debra Haffner's blog agrees.

"For over 20 years I have been having civil debates and discussions with evangelicals (including conservatives) over areas of shared interest, especially around resisting organized White supremacist and anti-Semitic groups. The whole idea that this is something new for "progressives" is absurd."

Absurd indeed.

At the same time, many religious conservatives remain hell bent in pursuit of their various culture war objectives. This remains absolutely unchanged, the publicity afforded a handful of moderate evangelicals not withstanding. The overstated and oversold PR claims by well-connected Beltway Insiders have so far failed to withstand the compelling evidence of political reality.

Display: 74.php re: Warren, how about the video in Wilson's article on Hitler youth! Crowd hysteria over Hitler bad, but if channeled for Jesus devotion, good. It all reminds me of Chris Hedges' American Fascists. Hedges seems to attribute fundamentalist tendencies to despair. It seems impossible that this stuff, combined with the Quiverful movement, is happening.

by Heretic on Sat Apr 04, 2009 at 05:33:15 PM EST

The Religious Right is trying to re-brand itself, hi-jack an honest movement, corrupt it, and fulfill their perverse agenda.

by Stacey Tallitsch on Sat Apr 04, 2009 at 06:22:46 PM EST

WWW Talk To Action

Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (71 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (14 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (16 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (8 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (19 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (9 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (10 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (9 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (5 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (4 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (9 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (14 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (7 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (8 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (22 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (29 comments)
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (12 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (12 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (53 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (11 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (8 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (10 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (6 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (9 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (15 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (11 comments)
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 (10 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 (8 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 (6 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 (12 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.