A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Wesley Blog highlights a column by Katha Pollitt. In it she criticizes Jim Wallis and his role of trying to get the democrats to not be shy about relating politics and religious faith. Admittedly Pollitt is not sympathetic when she covers religion. But I do think that labeling her and the magazine she writes for, The Nation as folks who "hate Jesus and Christians" is over the top. A number of religious authors, including Harvey Cox contribute to the magazine and some smart thinking about religion has come from it's pages.

And it obscures a point which Pollitt raises which is important to think about. How does one engage in the language of religious faith which takes it seriously without excluding a whole swath of Americans? I believe Martin Luther King was able to do this, sensitive to the insights of a number of religions, working with secular as well as religious groups, in painting a vision for justice. But it's not an easy thing and we need to be cognizant of this.

How does one relate to religion in a way which preserves neutrality of the government to specific religions? Clearly this is not a concern of the Bush administration, but a religious left should not simply copy the tactics, becoming the mirror of the religious right. This is not to say that Wallis is not concerned about either issue and in that I think Pollitt is not fair in her criticism. But these two issues are ones that need consideration.

And here's some ecumenical cooperation which suggests that the divisions this and other countries face is not one of doctrine as much as values. A piece in a UK paper talks about the common ground muslims and evangelicals have discovered in opposing gay rights and other social issues. And in the US atheist and humanist groups have begun to recognize the potential cooperation which can be had with mainline protestant groups.

3 Comments:

At 6:56 PM , Blogger isaiah said...

"How does one engage in the language of religious faith which takes it seriously without excluding a whole swath of Americans?"

I believe the first question to ask here is not how, but why? Why engage in these discussions? Engage because the other side seems to have a monopoly- or dominate the discussion? Engage in attempts at one up-man-ship or in pandering for votes? No.

Engage because your inner conviction so dominates your being that to not engage seems a great 'sin.'

The 'how?' becomes the proof of ones convictions. I believe there is a way to be inclusive of all people, everywhere- in America and the world.

When on speaks in a language of inclusiveness- there is hope. There is so much power in speaking this way- and, one need not exclude any religion, or nationality when God sits centered, in the heart.

Most leaders today are afraid of offending because of their limited ability to bring forth that same 'God-ness' inside of themselves that lives in everyone.

Talk religion and politics- anyone can...but, let your talk be in actions, deeds, and not so much words. Talk faith and politics- anyone can...but, be inclusive and offer hope for all, not for one religion or nationality. The majority of Americans believe in God....why engage in a debate over a name, or religion, creed, or anything else that can divide one from another?

 
At 2:34 PM , Blogger John said...

I think you're right in principle, although I think Pollitt really doesn't like Christian progressives. They re generally too wishy-washy and sentimental for her, I think.

 
At 2:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been really drawn into Jim Wallis' idea of society... namely that there aren't just two groups of people in this country, red and blue. And it's not just the undecideds in the middle. There is me there in the middle, and I think there is also you.

Those folks in the middle fall somewhere in between. That is what I like about Wallis -- though I probably haven't heard negative rhetoric that might exist...

I am a conservative person -- I don't go out clubbing, I don't smoke or drink. I am very religious. But I am very concerned about the welfare of the poor and opressed, and I am vehemently opposed to war and violence, especially in the name of God, or in the name of corporate interests.

And I am as liberal as they come on some things -- including the environment, much politics, science.

But I don't fit in really anywhere. I don't have a great community of faith, with people that are believing Christians that are as socially concerned as I am. I find myself now reaching out to other blogs -- because I find my belief community here.

God bless.

Kent
kentgustavson.com/blog

 

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