Thursday, March 02, 2006

The donkeys of god

The future of the democratic party?

Apparently, Eric Alterman, who writes for the Nation, is supposed to be a liberal.

But right after 9/11, he joined his colleague, the loathsome Christopher Hitchens, and established mainstream credibility with opportunistic Chomsky bashing and patriotic chest thumping.

Now he joins the chorus of donkeys urging the left to get religion to get ahead. He criticizes the left for "suicidally" shifting its passion from issues of economic deprivation and concentration of power to issues of gender, sexuality, and personal choice. In other words, he seems quite willing to throw women's rights, abortion rights and gay rights overboard. Causes he apparently considers frivolous. And he obviously has no more concern for atheists or secularists than George Bush Sr.

Case in point: he goes on to praise William Jennings Bryan as the type of progressive Christian with whom the left should make common cause, ignoring Bryan's notorious role in the Scopes trial and its heightened modern relevance.

Whatever difference might remain between Eric Alterman and Joseph Lieberman should hardly be enough to interest anyone who is actually on the left.

Also this week, Z Net has a couple of pieces with similar advice to offer. It was shit like this that caused me to cancel my subscription to their magazine more than a decade ago. I can work with Christians just fine, but not as Christians, only as people. Is that really too much to ask?

One article urges the left to work with Christian groups in terms very similar to Alterman's
If all that stuff about "the power and glory of Christ" and "all praise to the Lord" makes for knots in your stomach, or even a gag in your throat, let it be. Put it in the same class as those aching feet after a long day of leafletting or your aching head from an all-night organizing meeting. It's just a price to be paid to get our political work done.
Sorry, that price is just too high. And it is apparently only a downpayment.
True, there may be some issues dear to your heart that you and some of these Christian organizers don't see eye to eye on.
Oh, oh. And it gets worse.
At the victory party, you may discover that your Christian allies have turned into friends. You may find that now, over a beer, they are ready to listen to your views on subjects once too tense to talk about. But watch out. They'll be praising the Lord for turning the world toward justice. And their enthusiasm is infectious. You might be astonished to hear yourself praising the Lord, too.
The compromise of working together turns into the dream of conversion. Dream on.


At 3/03/2006 5:21 PM, Anonymous andy said...

Oh boy! Liberation theology comes to the U.S. Coming soon to a Whole Foods near you. Sigh.

At 3/04/2006 8:19 AM, Blogger velid said...

Yeah. I overlooked it again and again while I was working on El Salvador stuff. People even trying to talk me into helping them send bibles in the sister city project without the slightest sense of how offensive that was.

It is a lot worse now. We are being asked not just to put up with all the braying, um praying, but to put up with the homophobia and fetal fundamentalism and the hostility to science and reason and the proselytizing.

I'm expected to shut up about my beliefs but they are free to express theirs. I'm expected to show respect for superstition while it is taking over the country.

No. No. No. And no.

At 3/04/2006 4:23 PM, Blogger Comandante AgĂ­ said...

You might be astonished to hear yourself praising the Lord, too.


"Religious left" gives me a good laugh. It reminds me of those deluded liberals who believe that Democrats would win elections if they only adopted an anti-choice stance.

My aunt and uncle are Catholic school teachers who could be considered part of the religious left. We agree on a lot of issues, but I can't stomach the Jesus stuff. So, we just talk politics, not religion.


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