Like being pussies and taxing, the stock purpose of the religious right has been to stop abortion and stop gays from doing anything, even existing, really.
Comments like Obama’s about being bitter, a sort of condensed What’s The Matter With Kansas more or less hit the nail on the head with some of this. Stuff sucks and I think I remember it didn’t use to suck so it must be whatever shocking change I see now. In the 60s it was uppity blacks.
And no matter what we say, no matter how smart we are about the “bitter” comments, the reality is, that’s not going to change any minds. Working on the root causes–i.e. the economy–takes time, but will help too. But for right now, to win an election, those things can’t be done.
So, outreach to “divide and conquer” or even repurpose religious folks is a great idea. The problem is, of course, many are driven there because they are “bitter” and they see in the right wing versions of some of their religious leaders an easy explanation for why they are bitter–and asking them WWJD isn’t going to really help.
But that isn’t all of them. Some of these folks really are interested in immitatio Dei and while they may want to vomit when gays marry and do consider abortion murder, they know well that there is more than one commandment in the Bible.
Condescending to these people hasn’t worked. Telling them they’re stupid for voting against their interest hasn’t worked. Give them a positive Christian message and at least some of them will cleave to it.
I know the left has a giant allergy to everything religious. I think that allergy is the result of being at cross-purposes with all kinds of religious folks. But it wasn’t that long ago–40 years really–that religion was leading the progressive charge. Maybe that can be reversed a little bit.
I know you think these people are scared little children who cannot accept the nihilistic amoral reality of the meaningless universe, or because they believe in ghosts, or a big bearded man in the sky that created just this planet a last Thursday, and that they deny evolution.
I know. All of that stuff is sad. But there is another aspect to today’s religion: a very leftist-like rejection of the materialist consumer driven amoral society that we live in. Much has been made in the last few years of liberals talking about “values” themselves. And well they should. Leftist values, like freedom of conscience and identity, fighting poverty, and promoting education, and limiting war, are all great values.
But there’s more. There’s more going on. Some people are just “bitter” about whatever. Some people need a reward and punishment framework to cope with evil in their lives. But even people who have mostly good lives may feel a bit empty. I’m just a bunch of atoms, I live, I earn money, I die–is that all?
Of course the answer is no. Part of the challenge is being a good person even if there is no reward. But how do you explain that? There’s no coherent leftist “atheology” that works like that.
Short story: coopt the potential progressive values inherent in major religions and try to at least neutralize the issue.