Wednesday, June 14, 2006

International Weblogger's Day Is Here!

This post's topic is one I'm just beginning to explore because I find myself interacting with people for whom I have the greatest respect, and in some cases great affection, but who have said things about "Republicans" and "Evangelical Christians" (the addition of "Evangelical" is an edit - I shouldn't try to post at midnight) that have hurt me, because I have long been both. I have had to think about why I was hurt and I realized it was because I was holding on to labels that no longer represented what I believed in when I adopted them in the first place. But I hate what has happened to these formerly honorable words - that it's gotten to the point where I have to give up being identified with either because the connotations do not fit who I am, what I believe.

"Republican" and "Evangelical Christian" have come to represent in the public's mind - and particularly among progressive people, political positions and extremely narrow religious ideas that are, admittedly, at this point in our political and social history, morally reprehensible to me. These words have come to stand for bigotry, a mindless type of nationalism, the imposition of a certain set of cultural standards on people who have just as much right to determine their own as we do, and much, much more.

However, unlike many other socially liberal folk, I don't agree that government intervention is necessarily the answer, I think the least government is best. Yes, that's simplistic, but in so many cases I find if I boil it all down, it's a basic liberal tenent, and I can't align with it. Add to it that I have a deep seated faith that needs expression and the liberals I've encountered in life and online often seem to have a very disagreeable attitude toward that.

So, I'm searching. I think I'll find something, someday.

Here's what gives me some hope - recently seen in American Prospect (From their site: "The American Prospect was founded in 1990 as an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas, committed to a just society, an enriched democracy, and effective liberal politics." (bold emphasis is mine):

An article titled God’s Army
"And today, many evangelical leaders believe that a growing number of these voters are prepared to return to the Democratic fold, but only if Democrats stop misunderstanding, neglecting, and even intentionally ignoring what was and should be a natural constituency."

further on in the article:

In February, Christianity Today’s cover blasted “Why Torture is Always Wrong.” Joining with the Catholic Church, more than 50 evangelical Christian leaders and organizations recently voiced their support for an immigration bill that would allow illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens without returning to their native countries. And earlier this year, a group of 86 evangelical Christian leaders launched a campaign to educate Christians about climate change and urged the U.S. Congress to enact legislation to curb global warming. The campaign calls on Christians to battle global warming, “which will hit the poor the hardest because those areas likely to be significantly affected first are the poorest regions of the world.”

These concerns sounds pretty progressive. So, why are so few white evangelicals voting Democratic? Wallis believes Democrats have ceded the territory of religion to the Republican side, allowing them to use it to divide the electorate. Or, as Wallis has said, “I think this idea that all the Christians, all the religious people are jammed in the red states and the blue states are full of agnostics is a bit overblown in the media. It's more complicated than that.”

And this link has some additional interesting points.

There's a group I've also been reading and thinking about - I hope to carve out time to study in more depth what they are and all they're saying - my relatively superficial review leads me to think they might be what I'm looking for in some aspects, but I'm not sure yet. It's the Network of Spiritual Progressives

Finally, I was listening to NPR one day and there was a piece being broadcast about a formerly Pentacostal preacher, someone who had ministered one of those huge "mega Churches" and had once been a close compatriot of Oral Roberts who had decided that Christ's death was a sacrifice of universal salvation - that one does not have to acknowledge and be 'born again' - but that all mankind is saved by Christ's act. This minister has lost nearly everything for this belief. After listening to him and reading this site, I want to learn more.

So, that's my post for InWeDay...something I've been pondering for along time - and will undoubtedly continue to ponder. Thanks for reading along.


Art_Addiction said...

Happy International Weblogger's Day! Your post is waaaaaaaaaaay more interesting than mine! :) I really enjoy reading your blog! :)

normaltrouble said...

Happy International Weblogger's Day!

Thought provoking post. Thanks for the links; I bookmarked each except for the universalist / bible quotes one.
The Tapped blog ( from the American Prospect) might go on my blogroll, interesting stuff!

Cultures change, people change, political movements change. It stands to reason that when this happens, people change toward a different political party when the party's changes don't grow in the same direction as their own.

I find the Sojourners to be good and thoughtful folks. I am not sure of thre URL, but they are out there, and check out their print magazine.

-Kelly M. said...

Kudos for such an honest, introspective post, Dawno. I enjoyed it, and can empathize.