Left Aims to Smite ‘Theocracy’ Movement
Left aims to smite ‘theocracy’ movement (Washington Times)
Secular humanists and leftist activists convened here over the weekend to strategize how to counter what they contend is a growing political threat from Christian conservatives. Understanding and answering the “religious far right” that propelled President Bush’s re-election is key to preventing a “theocracy” from governing the nation, speakers argued at a weekend conference. “The religious right now has an unprecedented influence on American politics and policy,” said Ralph White, co-founder of the Open Center, a New York City institution focused on holistic learning. “It is incumbent upon all of us to understand as precisely as possible its aims, methods, beliefs, theology and psychology.”
The Open Center, founded 21 years ago, played host to the two-day conference at City College of New York called “Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right.” People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group that opposes religion in the public square, co-sponsored the conference, which drew about 500 participants. “This may be the darkest time in our history,” said Bob Edgar, general secretary of the left-leaning National Council of Churches and former six-term Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania. “The religious right have been systematically working at this for 40 years. The question is, where is the religious left?”
These people are either delusional or woefully ignorant of both American history and electoral math. I’m a secular humanist but understand that I’m in a small minority in what is perhaps the most religious nation in the developed world. That said, it is simply absurd that the “religious far right” is sufficiently large to elect a president, let alone that they’d have picked George W. Bush if they were indeed powerful enough to choose our leader.
President Bush is, like it or not, much closer to the middle on values issues than Open Center or People for the American Way. Further, the idea that Christian religious forces are more powerful now than they were at earlier points in our history, especially our first century and a half, is absurd. Indeed, for years after the passage of the 1st Amendment, Virginia and Massachusetts had official state religions.
The state of American culture is positively decadent by the standards of even the mid-1960s. Our values on things ranging from premarital sex, divorce, homosexuality, profane language, and a host of other issues are far closer to the secular humanist ideal than Biblical teaching. Even our religious leaders are phenomenally tolerant of deviation from Christian norms.
Indeed, I just finished watching, via TiVo delay, Pat Robertson offer a glowing endorsement of Rudy Giuliani on ABC’s “This Week” program. Robertson is the very face of the “religious right.” (Robertson, without explantion, did note that he would “vote against John McCain under any circumstances.”) If he can wax enthusiastic about the likes of Giuliani, a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, adulterer, then I’d say we’re more than a smidge away from theocracy.