Sunday, May 15, 2005

Nicholas Kristoff on Engaging the Christian Right on its Own Terms

Very interesting. May upset some rightwing Christians, but if you read it with an open mind, you can see what Kritsoff's trying to do -- reclaim Jesus from the far-right.

I'm all for it.

3 Thoughts:

Blogger pawlr said...

Interesting.. another book to read when I have time; perhaps in heaven after I'm dead..

One thing not discussed in that editorial though is the distinction between faith (Christian) and works (Catholicism). "Kingdom Of Heaven", which I saw last night (and recommend), clarifies the political implications of this distinction. Check out the movie to see this point not-so-sublty made.

Catholics in the modern era are more likely to vote Democratic, I think, based largely on their emphasis on "right action" and compassion over exhortations of personal belief (Protestant christendom). Democrats should really accept Catholics more instead of looking down on them as subrationals. As an (ex)-catholic, the tears of Tammy Faye and the speeches of George Bush revolt me equally because the share so much hypocrisy. I think lots of Americans like Bush because he "feels it" and Kerry apparently didn't-- but as a Catholic the essential character of an individual is separate from their personality - and defined by deeds, not by your inner beliefs, which seem lazy and a cop out by comparison. It doesn't make us any closer to God to praise his name while we fight unjust wars, slash government services and avoid public service.

I was raised Catholic and as an adult tries to selectively apply some of its morality, which to me has value whether or not God exists. I think that's a pretty common "lapsed" personal history, which could be a real source of strength for Democrats if their leadership could find the common threads in our character that bind this population together politically.

Monday, May 16, 2005 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Interesting point. However, reportedly, 53% of Catholic voters went for Bush in '04 -- a first, I believe (that a majority of Catholics went Republican).

There's a kind of evangelical Catholicism (a new kind) that seems to be allying with the New-Life/scary Protestant versions -- as well as fundamentalist Jewish sects -- to form a kind of cultural firewall. Since secularists are about 5-10% max in this country, insisting on a nonreligious progressive front is basically suicidal. (A different point from yours Paul, but related). I agree that, according to my reading, the New Testament is on the side of the oppressed and for social justice. The Old Testament (being basically a Bronze Age text) has some frightening aspects -- exactly as the Homeric epics do -- mixed with some deep truths about the human condition, again, whether or not you believe in a Diety. Even atheists ought to remain open to those aspects of religious texts (of all stripes, including the Koran, Hindu texts, Buddhist texts, and so forth) that have reached wisdom via another path...

Monday, May 16, 2005 9:32:00 AM  
Blogger A.T. said...

I posted on this over at my site today. And I'll Comment to cyberpols re the Interesting Experiment gripe session this evening.

Monday, May 16, 2005 6:02:00 PM  

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