The Left And God

Ken AshfordDemocrats, GodstuffLeave a Comment

Discussions generated from fall out surrounding Amanda Marcotte’s departure from the John Edwards campaign are still taking up pixels in lefty blogger circles. Atrios has led the league in thoughts on the subject, and the New Donkey summarizes his thoughts and responds:

His basic argument, with which I basically agree, is that once "people of faith" inject their religious views into public discourse, the content of those views is fair game for commentary, dissent and even mockery, though mockery may be politically inadvisable if you are, say, involved in a presidential campaign.

I would offer one important qualifier to his general take: mocking the religious underpinnings of some political position is one thing; denying their sincerity is another.

Atrios responds: "I do agree that questioning the sincerity of peoples’ faith does anger them. … I’ve had this conversation with anti-choice progressives, who think it’s important for me to understand that their anti-choice views come from a sincere religious belief. The thing is, I just don’t care. The fact that your political beliefs are motivated by your religion doesn’t make them special to me."

Also responding to Atrios thoughts on the subject Kos writes: "If a candidate sincerely gets his or her values from religion, then that’s fine. The Bible is a wonderfully liberal text. … But religious values are no more superior than the values I learned from my [grandma] … They are no more superior than the values Tester learned on the farm from his farmer father and grandfather. Or the values that Webb learned while proudly wearing his uniform."

Kos’ post moved Rev. Jim Wallis to respond: "So Kos, let’s made a deal. How about if progressive religious folks, like me, make real sure that we never say, or even suggest, that values have to come from faith – and progressive secular folks, like you, never suggest that progressive values can’t come from faith (and perhaps concede that, in fact, they often do)." Kos thinks this is exactly what he already proposed. Talk Left‘s Big Tent Democrat comments: "With "friends" like Jim Wallis, Dems need no enemies."

Back at Eschaton, Atrios had moved on to addressing concerns from Jesse Lava that Atrios rhetoric, including calling religous language gibberish, often sounds dismissive to "devout Christians’ ears." Atrios responds: "How is that a barb? I’m not religious, I have only a passing familiarity with Christian theology, its associated customs, and the language used by its adherents when discussing it. Finnish is also gibberish to me … I’m not obligated to understand your traditions, and don’t claim to. It’s that simple."