Doctor Science Knows

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Is there a "Religious Left"?

Tony Jones of beliefnet, responding to Jeff Sharlet, asks Is There a Religious Left? I wrote:

As "Your name"* demonstrates, the answer to Tony's question is "Yes".

Back in November 2004, Jeff Sharlet confessed it quite clearly, talking about questions he and Peter Manseau were asked while discussing Killing the Buddha:
"What’s the common denominator of American faith? What is it that most of us share?"

We lied every time. We offered up sincere but misleading tributes to freedom of speech as the American devotion. We avoided the answer that had made itself as plain as the two-lane roads we drove on: The greatest common denominator of American belief is anti-homosexuality."
I will extend that to say that opposition to women's free choice of abortion is a cross-denominational metric of the "religious right".

What these two tenets -- anti-homosexuality and anti-choice -- have in common is opposition to anything other than traditional sex roles. So:

The "religious right" is anyone who believes that the most important function of religion is to support traditional sex roles.

The "religious left" is anyone who believes that the most important function of religion is *anything else*.

Anything. If opposition to abortion and/or gay marriage is not your first-tier, make-or-break religious issue, you're on the religious left. That's all it takes. So in a way, yeah, you could say there's no "religious left", because they have no unifying principle except not thinking the patriarchy is all that. The only way the religious left could be unified is by coming out (pun intended) as anti-patriarchal.

*the homophobic troll who had made the comment before mine on the blog.

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