Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"...I sometimes feel like an apoplectic soccer coach shouting from the sidelines at the Christian Democrats on the field who refuse to play offense."

At Majikthise, Lindsay Beyerstein looked at an interview David Kuo did with John Edwards. It went into his religious beliefs.

She goes from this into an interesting look at religion amidst the Democrats. It is an interesting analysis.

Edwards isn't afraid to stress the Christian moral imperative of providing for the poor. Good for him.

Still, I wish that Democrats like Edwards who are devout Christians would go occasionally on the offensive against right wing hypocrites who claim to be Christian while abandoning the poor.

It's important to say that you believe that serving the poor is a core moral precept of Christianity. I want to hear devout Democrats take it to the next level and accuse self-professed Republicans of being apostates and hypocrites when they ignore poverty or otherwise flout uncontroversial Christian moral precepts.

Excellent. Who better than the religious to make the argument? Who better to point out the hypocrisy? At least in a very religious country.

Why are liberal Christian politicians always on the defensive? At the grassroots level, there's are plenty of liberal Christians assailing phony Republican piety. Yet this sentiment never seems to percolate up to the level of the candidate.

As an atheist Democrat, I sometimes feel like an apoplectic soccer coach shouting from the sidelines at the Christian Democrats on the field who refuse to play offense.

It shouldn't fall on the less than theistic to do the job, or watch the passionately religious shrug off this duty.

The media and the Republicans like to blame atheists and agnostics for driving religious people away from the Democrats. The really irritating thing is that a lot of Democrats buy into the same nonsense. When we atheists attack right wing Christian hypocrites, we're labeled as being anti-religion. Sometimes we even get flack from Christians on our side, as if being anti-right wing hypocrite were equivalent to anti-Christian.

And this is aggravating. When the atheist and agnostics take the lead, as the giant majority of theist in the party don't bother to act,we get hit, and then Democratic pundits jump on, for the hope of quick votes that will never come. If the Dems want to be Republicans, and betray their basic beliefs, then they can get those votes. The real votes are with standing by your beliefs (political/social) and arguing for them. That is how you win them. Sorry if it seems like to honest, direct, and easy way to go. But there it is.

Frankly, liberal Christians in politics are way too nice to their conservative counterparts. Our guys have been taught that it's presumptuous to pronounce about who's a real Christian and who isn't. Actually, all Christians are taught that--but in American politics, only the liberal Christians seem to listen.

As a result of this reticence, even devoutly religious Democrats come across as weak and defensive when it comes to their personal faith. That's just how you're perceived if you always defend and never attack. Democrats are constantly being second-guessed about their faith. Fair or not, you look weak if you let insinuations go chronically unanswered.

What to do. What to do.

Democratic politicians who talk about their faith are constantly being slurred as panderers. How can they overcome this perception. Well, they can start standing up for themselves and their beliefs by hitting back when challenged. If you claim that being a Christian requires X, it's not enough to affirm X yourself. You've got to be willing to call out people who claim to be Christian while flouting X. If you never make that leap, people will wonder if you're sincere.

The Republican party is a a mix of believers and non-believers, just like the Democratic party. Yet, somehow the Democrats got saddled with the myth of a "God gap."

The reason that Democratic candidates are constantly vulnerable to attacks on their personal faith is that they never directly attack Republican religious pretenses. They tacitly accept the premise that their theocratic opponents are sincere Christians, even when these outwardly pious opponents do blatantly un-Christian things like abandoning the poor.

Democratic leaders who are Christians must stand up and call out their religio-political opponents, especially when those opponents have the nerve to imply that they aren't real Christians because they're Democrats.

We atheists can't fight their battles for them.

Atheists can't lead this fight. So why aren't the theist at it already? Stop the bastardization of your religion.

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