Religion in Political DiscourseWeaver -- Wednesday, November 03, 2004 -- 08:59:11 PM
The role of religious motives, methods, organizations, ideas, words and people in political activities: good or bad, effective or ineffective, how and why?This thread is tagged: religion
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I haven't said this. I've said many people who oppose public religious displays are intolerant of religion; and some are intolerant of Christianity in particular.
I don't think it's especially useful to rely entirely on what people say about their reasoning in these matters, since whenever one's emotional stance on an issue is unattractive among bien pensants one is likely to rationalize it in public.
E.g., do people who oppose miscegenation hate those of other races? No, no, they only want to preserve their own cultures. Well, sure they do; and to the extent that they actually have anything that could be called a distinct culture, that's legitimate. But many of them also don't really like people of other races.
Do people who get all excited about social compromises--like calling the giant spruce in Times Square a "holiday tree," or store owners wishing their customers "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"--really only care about the indignity of succumbing to political correctness? Or are they in fact unhappy that others have the audacity to prefer not to conform to Christian cultural norms? (In a local forum, one such disgruntled idiot wanted to know whatever happened to majority rule.)
Liberals are no different. Not all who claim merely to be concerned about the slippery slope are fundamentally concerned about the slippery slope. Some just don't like religion at all. Some don't like Christianity or Judaism. Some don't like Islam.
Mayim, you said:
This leaves no room for "many". I even questioned it at the time.
As for hiding one's true motivations from the bien pensants, surely Hitchens would have spoken more respectfully of religous people if that had been his objective.
Instead, he comes off clearly as 1) thinking religious people are foolish and 2) opposing public expression of religion on constitutional grounds.
Mayim's 1336 is quite reasonable, especially because people frequently construct principles (or adhere to preexisting ones) primarily because they have a prior preference for the real-world outcome of that principle in mind. Principles may be neutral, but they are seldom held or applied by true neutrals.
Yet if the neutral principle held for interested reasons is applied equally to all religions, then I'd say the dastardly motivation no longer seems worth bothering about.
That said, it is far more socially permissible to be openly critical of religion and religiosity than to openly oppose miscegenation for what ever reason. So I would suspect that the incentive to hide one's antireligious feeling is correspondingly smaller.
Sherman does not realise, or perhaps chooses not to say, that the allegedly "anti-Christian" element he discerns in the "liberal elite" may very well actually be the disproportionate number of Jews in the media, the arts, etc., completely secular though they may be. If that's the case, then Sherman may keep calling them "anti-Christians" or recognise that they may want a strict religious neutrality in the state.
Perhaps the problem is that you can't read.
Well, it never is (applied equally).
For instance, where the hot topic of religious music and holiday references in public schools is concerned, the supression of all "religious" subject matter results in school orchestras and bands performing "winter holiday" music that refers in all ostensible secularism to...Christmas.
Someone posted in the Jews and Judaism thread a funny video by some Californian lad apparently named Joel. Called "Christmas Kicks Hannukah's Ass," it's a Portnoyische rant on the commercial-aesthetic appeal of the majority holiday compared to the rather uninspiring, vaguely shtetl-inflected Chanuka. At one point in the video, the singer breaks in to observe, "I don't know how you did it, but you now have possession of the north pole, the snow, snow men, the colors red, green, and white, reindeer, pine trees..."
You can get rid of Christian references in December, but you can't get rid of Christian referents. What you wind up with under a 'no religious reference' regime is nominally secular holiday icons that point to Chrismas without exactly naming it. No one seriously thinks Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus, holiday trees, fir brances, flocking, etc., etc., etc., refer to, say, Diwali.
So the proper American thing to do is to welcome more varied public religious (and secular) expression, not less--with the caveat that in any compulsory or taxpayer-funded setting such as a public school, there can be no hint of proselytization.
They do. But scratch the surface and, just past any rational fear of Christian hegemony, you'll find that many among the older generations also aren't terribly fond of Christianity. Plus, Reform and Conservative Jews have historically opposed even public menorahs and eruvim--not only because they prefer strict neutrality, but because these signs of public Judaism are invariably indications of an Orthodox presence they abhor.
Conservative and Orthodox Jews, yes, maybe because they are generally more secure in their religious identity; or because in recent decades Christians in the US have grown less condescending or antagonistic to Jews.
A couple years ago, Michael Novak wrote an incredibly irritating and inaccurate article about the evil of atheists.
He must have learned a lot in the past two years, because this article on the different types of atheism (some of which is better called agnosticism) is excellent.
The Pew forum has just published a survey on religion in America. The web site is pretty well done and there is tons of interesting information there.
I have no idea if this is the best thread for this, so move it where ever if you can think of a better one Cal.
This looks like a win/win for conservatives: Either freedom of speach and freedom of religion really apply to conservative churches, or the urban black democrat
lobby churh needs to play by the same rules.
This is old, but I was just googling and found something I wrote nearly 8 years ago--a letter to the editor. I'm amused to see I described myself as a "republican agnostic". I think I did it to increase the chances of getting published, but I also recall that from 2002 to late 2003, I was seriously considering voting for Bush in 04. It wasn't until I realized (two years earlier than most Republicans) that he was overspending, soft on all the wrong issues, and not even doing a particularly good job with the war, so I voted for Kerry for balance.
Anyway, I like the letter and want to preserve it in case the Standard deletes it at some time. It was in response to an article saying that the Dems were the party of non-believers.
Coincidentally, the Pew Research center also defines "secular" as "atheist, agnostic, or rarely attends church," which makes it convenient for comparisons. According to the 2002 Pew Research Center Poll, secularists are 20 percent Republican, 20 percent Democrat, and 49 percent independent.
Three percent of all respondents identified as atheist or agnostic; the rest responded as belonging to a religion. Forty-four percent of all respondents said that they attend church a few times a year or less.
What can be concluded from the Pew numbers?
(1) Almost all secularists believe in God.
(2) Nearly half of the people polled in the last Pew Research Center survey on religion qualify as secularists by Bolce and De Maio's standards ("few times a year").
(3) Secularists are not primarily identified with either party.
Yes, the culture wars exist, and yes, the Democratic party is home to those seeking to secularize public life. But it's absurd to characterize this "gap" as having much, if anything, to do with atheists and agnostics. There just aren't enough of them to be players in this game, even if it is assumed that all of them share the same goals.
The "culture war" isn't driven by unbelievers, who are wrongly given first and second billing in the "secularist" credits. It's a religious clash, and the big player in the game is Christianity--America's majority religion. The Democratic party is not the "Party of Unbelievers." It's the Other Party of Christianity.
Speaking as a Republican agnostic, I object to being drawn into this dispute, much less having the entire dispute blamed on our miniscule percentage of the population. Non-believers have to deal with a 54 percent unfavorable rating and the fact that George W. Bush will never appoint us to the federal bench. Isn't that enough? We'll continue fighting the occasional Supreme Court case and sulk, marginalized, on the sidelines. Let us know what happens when y'all are done arguing about which party God belongs to.
It is fascinating to me that this huge lawsuit isn't news, but Rush Limbaugh's comments about a political operative was.
How on earth is this "unexpected"?
Perhaps it is the general misunderstanding of what "traditionally" means.