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Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:44 PM

The collapse of the religious left

Many of the great leftist movements in our country were explicitly religious in nature. The American Experience series is showing the Abolitionists for the next couple of Tuesdays. Episode 1 was last Tuesday. It is clear that those abolitionists were exceptionally religious bordering on fanatical. The entire purpose of the movement was to cleanse the US of the original sin of slavery. A hundred years later the Civil Rights movement was every bit as religiously motivated. It was from the inside of temples, mosques, and churches that the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement arose. In the 1980's the nuclear freeze movement was another religiously driven movement as was the anti death penalty movement. Now, here we are at the second Inaguration in a row where we can't seem to find even one famous pastor of the religious left to lead a closing prayer. Maybe one of the nuns on the bus.

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Arrow 105 replies Author Time Post
Reply The collapse of the religious left (Original post)
dsc Jan 2013 OP
Speck Tater Jan 2013 #1
grantcart Jan 2013 #45
Speck Tater Jan 2013 #49
JaneyVee Jan 2013 #2
arthritisR_US Jan 2013 #9
markpkessinger Jan 2013 #3
madrchsod Jan 2013 #4
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #5
YoungDemCA Jan 2013 #11
davidpdx Jan 2013 #13
intheflow Jan 2013 #30
davidpdx Jan 2013 #31
intheflow Jan 2013 #32
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #97
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #60
KittyWampus Jan 2013 #99
vi5 Jan 2013 #101
patrice Jan 2013 #66
davidpdx Jan 2013 #82
patrice Jan 2013 #95
Rowdyboy Jan 2013 #20
markpkessinger Jan 2013 #73
regnaD kciN Jan 2013 #34
markpkessinger Jan 2013 #67
cbayer Jan 2013 #61
Hekate Jan 2013 #86
Major Nikon Jan 2013 #6
Le Taz Hot Jan 2013 #22
Plantaganet Jan 2013 #88
cleanhippie Jan 2013 #7
struggle4progress Jan 2013 #23
skepticscott Jan 2013 #28
idwiyo Jan 2013 #69
Puha Ekapi Jan 2013 #8
Mrs. Overall Jan 2013 #10
Puha Ekapi Jan 2013 #58
patrice Jan 2013 #18
Hekate Jan 2013 #87
Brother Buzz Jan 2013 #12
backscatter712 Jan 2013 #68
patrice Jan 2013 #14
G_j Jan 2013 #52
patrice Jan 2013 #53
Hekate Jan 2013 #83
patrice Jan 2013 #89
Hekate Jan 2013 #90
patrice Jan 2013 #96
AnnieBW Jan 2013 #103
Hekate Jan 2013 #104
AnnieBW Jan 2013 #105
G_j Jan 2013 #92
patrice Jan 2013 #93
G_j Jan 2013 #100
patrice Jan 2013 #15
intheflow Jan 2013 #33
OnionPatch Jan 2013 #35
boilerbabe Jan 2013 #62
patrice Jan 2013 #64
patrice Jan 2013 #65
Hekate Jan 2013 #85
patrice Jan 2013 #16
patrice Jan 2013 #17
Rex Jan 2013 #19
moondust Jan 2013 #21
stultusporcos Jan 2013 #24
ck4829 Jan 2013 #25
orpupilofnature57 Jan 2013 #27
orpupilofnature57 Jan 2013 #26
MNBrewer Jan 2013 #29
patrice Jan 2013 #36
Rex Jan 2013 #39
patrice Jan 2013 #40
Rex Jan 2013 #43
patrice Jan 2013 #47
patrice Jan 2013 #54
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #70
patrice Jan 2013 #71
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #72
patrice Jan 2013 #74
MNBrewer Jan 2013 #75
patrice Jan 2013 #76
MNBrewer Jan 2013 #77
patrice Jan 2013 #78
kdmorris Jan 2013 #37
dsc Jan 2013 #38
backscatter712 Jan 2013 #41
Chathamization Jan 2013 #42
patrice Jan 2013 #57
Chathamization Jan 2013 #59
patrice Jan 2013 #63
Chathamization Jan 2013 #84
librabear Jan 2013 #44
Boomerproud Jan 2013 #46
librabear Jan 2013 #48
patrice Jan 2013 #51
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #56
We People Jan 2013 #79
markpkessinger Jan 2013 #91
Spider Jerusalem Jan 2013 #50
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #55
LeftyMom Jan 2013 #80
quaker bill Jan 2013 #81
Arugula Latte Jan 2013 #94
AverageJoe90 Jan 2013 #98
AnnieBW Jan 2013 #102

Response to dsc (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 10:53 PM

1. Find a Buddhist monk to do it. nt

 

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:08 PM

45. It would be great for the economy.


We would have to employ tens of thousands for weeks to clean up all of the exploded heads.

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Response to grantcart (Reply #45)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:28 PM

49. Get the Dalai Lama to do it and you'd have heads explode in China too!! nt

 

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 11:00 PM

2. I know its amazing, who would have thought atheists could have compassion/empathy without God?

Must be in our human nature.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:39 AM

9. Humanism speaks more on compassion than

religion ever will.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 11:19 PM

3. There are plenty of liberal clergy who could, and would, do this if asked...

Last edited Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:40 PM - Edit history (1)

For starters, I would recommend asking The Most Rev'd Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the only woman Primate in the Anglican Communion -- but there are others in other denominations.

The story of the increasing invisibility of the religious left, beginning in the early 1980s, is complicated. The Religious Left still exists, embodied primarily in the mainline protestant denominations -- or what have sometimes been called the "Seven Sisters of American Protestantism." These denominations include The Episcopal Church USA, The Presbyterian Church USA, The United Methodists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Churches of Christ/Congregationalists, Disciples of Christ and American (Northern) Baptists. What these denominations have in common is that each one is directly rooted in one or more of the English and Contintental reform movements of the 16th C. Some of these denominations are a bit futher to the left than the others, particularly on certain issues, but they all embody, to a greater or lesser degree, the values of the religious left.

What happened beginning in the early '80s was the rise of evangelical fundamentalism and independent, non-denominationally affiliated churches, which in previous decades had resided in a kind of theological backwater. Beginning after the '76 election, the GOP -- specifically Reagan's ground organization -- began aggressively courting these ultra-conservative groups. Increasingly, the media gave them more and more attention. And their numbers grew exponentially. There are many theories as to what accounted for their growth, but I believe it had a lot to do with people looking increasingly for simplistic theological answers (which none of the mainline denominations provide), as well as an increasing desire for worship as entertainment, as opposed to participation. And these churches were very savvy about providing a host of support and social groups, and activities, designed to appeal to the broadest array of demographics. They offered slick, highly produced worship services designed explicitly to elicit emotional highs (a practice most mainliners find fairly abhorrent). Many of them also embraced a kind of fundamentalism, including a belief that every word of the Bible was literally true as written, and an extremely judgmental theological bent, which again most mainliners found utterly appalling and contrary to Christianity as they had been brought up to understand it.

So why did mainline protestants fail to speak up? There were a number of factors at play. Part of the reticence had to do with their own declining numbers, which left many of them feeling rather insecure about their own theological grounding, particularly next to the hyper-confident evangelical fundamentalists.

But I have another theory about what was the real reason for that reticence to speak out. The seven mainline traditions, after experiencing many a conflict with one another in the pre-Revolutionary War colonial period, had eventually forged a kind of truce in which each recognized the other as being fellow Christians who held sincere disagreements with one another. Indeed, that truce was aided and solidified into the culture by the First Amendment's separation of Church and State (something which most mainline Christians strongly support). I know for myself, as a kid in the '60s being raised as a Presbyterian, criticizing the views of fellow Christians (of which we were primarily considering the other mainline denominations and Roman Catholics) was simply Not The Done Thing. When these new, aggressively conservative churches began to rise to national prominence, I think that basic ethic of respect still ruled the day as far as mainline Protestants were concerned (although that respect was certainly not returned in kind). Call it "Terminal WASP Politeness." I think it was ultimately misguided, and permitted a truly toxic brand of Christianity to gain a foothold in this country, that mainliners and liberal Catholics are only today beginning to wake up to.

BTW, there's a great page on Facebook called "The Christian Left."

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 11, 2013, 11:53 PM

4. pretty much sums my thoughts as well.

i grew up in the 50's and religion was`t discussed as it is today. i went to a liberal methodist church and my parents were liberal democrats. the rise of the christian right certainly changed the discussion of religion for the worse. yup,the christian left is a great facebook page.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:09 AM

5. Thanks for The Christian Left website

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:50 AM

11. Very informative post. Some things I would add to your list...

I maintain that mainline Protestants have a more nuanced, intellectually rigorous theology that isn't easily or quickly communicated, in contrast to the evangelical, "born-again", right-wing ideology that appeals, on an emotional level, to many white, often suburban, middle-class Americans' prejudices, values, and relative social privileges. With the expansion of the (especially white) middle class in the mid-20th century in the decades after WWII, it follows that suburbanites would be more drawn to those kind of churches.

Another thing to look at is that the evangelicals are generally younger denominations (or churches, if they are non-denominational as they often are) that have grown from a lower membership base, for the most part. Younger religious movements are often more exciting to more people than the structured, "institutional" religious organizations (like mainline Protestantism).

However, I think the evangelical religious right have their best days behind them now. They are just too dogmatic, right-wing, rigid, and most of all, hypocritical in the way they judge others, which turns a lot of people (especially the younger generations) off (though the younger generation is increasingly less religious period).

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:58 AM

13. I attended a UCC church while I was in college

The pastor was a very nice woman and the beliefs of the church were inclusive (one reason I chose that church). Someone from a UCC church would be a good choice.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:52 AM

30. Obama himself used to go to a UCC church in Chicago.

Where Rev. Jeremiah Wright was minister. You see how well that went over for Obama.

Edited b/c on re-reading it might seem like I disagree with you and/or don't approve of Rev. Wright. Neither is true. Just noting that when Obama did identify as a liberal black Protestant, the right took him down big time.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #30)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:56 AM

31. Well Wright was a very controversial figure

and that's as much as I'll say about him. Not all UCC churches are like that. Most are very warm and welcoming. They are inclusive of all ethnicity, sexuality and backgrounds. That's what made me feel comfortable there.

I tend to view myself as a Protestant, but I don't go to church.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #31)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:01 AM

32. Wright was NOT controversial

until RW media made him controversial. The UCC hand-picked him to plant a specifically black church with liberal UCC theology to curb the rampant rise of conservative black evangelical churches. The only part that was deemed "controversial" was that he used traditional black preaching techniques in the pulpit - which the white right turned into "angry black man hate speech." The CONTENT of his sermons were pure UCC - overcoming oppression with the transforming power of God's love.

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Response to intheflow (Reply #32)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:05 PM

97. Wright, his Church & Congregants did/do wonderful things but his some of his rhetoric was akin

to those pastors on the conservative side who claim X is caused by god's wrath because of some transgression.

So as far as I am concerned, he was controversial and off base in the same way that conservative pastors are.

Or maybe the controversy is that society too often quietly accepts that crap from conservatives but then freaks out when hearing it from a black/left pastor.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #31)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:31 PM

60. Rev Wright and his Trinity UCC were inclusive and welcoming of all people.

His preaching was not controversial and the sermons they wailed about were tame sauce compared to what I heard out of white preachers of the 'prophetic' style growing up on the same subjects. Sorry. He was libeled, and replaced with a series of simple minded hate mongers like Warren and McClurkin to please Republicans who were of course not pleased anyway, but Obama is willing to insult friends and innocent bystanders in his rush to get a Republican to ask him out on a date.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #60)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:18 PM

99. He spouted some of the same prophetic crap and I abhor it no matter what "side" it comes from.

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Response to KittyWampus (Reply #99)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:30 PM

101. Some quotes please?

I don't believe I ever read or saw any quotes that were "prophetic" in the same way.

Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attentions.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #31)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:52 PM

66. too bad Liberation Theology doesn't get the respect it deserves. nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #66)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:49 PM

82. I agree with you there

As I said I'm sure there are many people like the pastor at UCC churches like the one I went to that would be willing to participate in the inauguration.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #82)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:18 PM

95. Part of my perspective on Liberation Theology comes from Paulo Freire, not a theologian, but an

educator who directed a lot of attention, internationally even within various schools of education around Earth, toward consideration of what the principled nuts and bolts of liberating education might be.

It's an interesting milieu for its overlap, similarities, AND differences with what is referred to as Libertarian these days.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:30 AM

20. Another case where I'd love to recommend a post...Katharine Schori would be phenomenal, yet she

isn't asked.

Thanks for this...

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:57 AM

34. There's one other factor for the rise of the Religious Right...

In the late '70s, there was a concerted effort by certain of the über-wealthy, led by the Hunt brothers, to bankroll right-wing evangelicals to promote a brand of Christianity that was not a threat to their wealth. Much of this money went into building a "Christian conservative noise machine" in the form of televangelism networks (as well as ancilliary publishing houses and bookstore chains), which were a great tool for recruiting new members (it's a safe bet that most of the earliest members of the movement first learned about it, not by finding local "non-denominational" churches, but by watching people like Pat Robertson and the Baakers on television) and in gaining prominence on mainstream media, which has little understanding of the nuts and bolts of in-the-pew Christian life, but sure does understand TV stardom. Counter to what Mark mentions here, I recall quite energetic criticism of the "Moral Majority" and other vestiges of the religious right, as early as the 1980 election, coming from the mainstream denominations (including Roman Catholicism), but it was hard to make a dent when the televangelists had become the new media darlings, and when secular news would routinely book the Robertsons and the Falwells (and absolutely no one to the left of them) to speak as representatives of "what American Christians think" on virtually every subject.

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Response to regnaD kciN (Reply #34)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:13 PM

67. Excellent point...

...I wasn't focusing so much on why the religious right flourished, but rather why mainline Protestant and liberal Catholics were so silent in the face of that rise. But you are absolutely correct.

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:34 PM

61. RNS has put up a list. Unfortunately, they put Warren on the top of the

list, which is not in the least acceptable, but there are some really great choices on the list.
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/01/11/who-couldshould-step-in-to-pray-at-obamas-inauguration/

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Response to markpkessinger (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:50 PM

86. Thank you, Mark. That is very interesting, educational, and detailed

Just the way I like it! I hope to see you around more often in discussions like this, religion being one of my strong interests.

Hekate

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:20 AM

6. Sorry, but organized religion doesn't get the credit without also taking the blame

During the Civil War era you also had fanatical religious leaders advocating slavery from the pulpit. Both the Baptists and the Methodists split both ideologically and physically over the subject of slavery. During the Civil Rights movement you also had religious leaders advocating segregation from the pulpit. Claiming that the great leftist movements were explicitly religious in nature ignores the accomplishments of secularists and also ignores the role religion had to play on the other side of that coin.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:48 AM

22. And let's not forget

our modern-day homophobism generates primarily from the church. It's how Prop. H8 was passed in CA -- by the Southern Baptists, the Mormons and the Roman Catholic Church pouring money into the hate campaign. I know they're not considered liberal but using God to enslave people and to regard some people as less deserving than others (gays, women) is the common base of ALL the major religions.

Religion doesn't give one an auto-pass to humanitarianism. Historically (and presently), religion has served exactly the opposite function.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:16 AM

88. Couldn't have put it better myself.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:35 AM

7. "Abolitionists...Civil Rights...were explicitly religious in nature." JUST. PLAIN. WRONG!!!!!

Secular abolitionist institutions included the Chicago Anti-Slavery Society and the Chicago Female Anti-Slavery Society. Chicago abolitionists circulated petitions against slavery to be sent to the U.S. Congress. The Western Citizen, a Chicago-based Newspaper, served as the official organ of the Illinois Liberty Party and was the primary abolitionist press for Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/18.html



Loconte says that it was Christians, not atheists, who led the effort against the slave trade. Perhaps he forgets that slavery was abolished in France in 1791, not by the church, but by the atheistic founders of the revolution. In the United States, the early critics of slavery - Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams - were all either atheists or deists. Later, the abolitionist cause was taken up by Ralph Waldo Emerson, a Unitarian minister turned atheist; William Lloyd Garrison, an atheist; and Robert Ingersoll, the "Great Agnostic." Indeed, the "Great Emancipator" himself, Abraham Lincoln, never acknowledged being a Christian and was (at the very least) thought to be a freethinker in matters of religion. In England, atheists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill were leading abolitionists.

Atheists and freethinkers of all stripes worked closely with progressive Christians to abolish slavery and to fully extend voting and civil rights to African-Americans. To suggest otherwise is an affront to the rich history of free thought in America.

http://secularplanet.blogspot.com/2007/02/ftu-abolitionist-atheists.html


I have a (secular) dream

In the story of the civil rights movement, pride of place is often given to religion and preachers--not least because Martin Luther King Jr. so powerfully used religious ideas to make the case for racial justice. Writing for the Religion News Service, Kimberly Winston points out that there were plenty of African-American atheists involved in the movement, but they’re often overlooked.

Take A. Philip Randolph. Today he’s hardly remembered, but Randolph was a prominent labor leader who organized the historic March on Washington at which MLK gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. King himself called him “the chief.” He was also an atheist. “In 1973,” Winston writes, “Randolph signed the Humanist Manifesto II, a public declaration of Humanist principles. He is reported to have said of prayer: ‘Our aim is to appeal to reason....We consider prayer nothing more than a fervent wish; consequently the merit and worth of a prayer depend upon what the fervent wish is.’”

Overall, Winston argues, the civil rights movement was more spiritually diverse than we now tend to think. Randolph and other African-American atheists, Winston writes, don’t fit into the grand civil rights narrative, which sees the movement as the work of mainly “religious--mainly Christian--people.” Their atheism, and its relationship to their activism, is rarely discussed, in part because African-Americans today are among the most religious groups in the United States.

Just how atheistic were the civil rights atheists? Winston quotes Juan Floyd-Thomas, a professor at Vanderbilt who’s just written a book on black humanism. He says that, if they were alive today, many atheistic civil rights leaders “would not be too far out of step” with today’s uncompromising New Atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2012/03/03/great-atheists-civil-rights-movement/Dt3WqwHgZZYBapznnupmXL/story.html


Think of the civil rights movement and chances are the image that comes to mind is of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the 1963 March on Washington. African Americans for Humanism erected billboards in several cities featuring black icons, including Langston Hughes on this billboard in Atlanta, alongside African-American atheists.

But few people think of A. Philip Randolph, a labor organizer who originated the idea of the march and was at King's side as he made his famous I Have a Dream speech.

Why is King, a Christian, remembered by so many and Randolph, an atheist, by so few? It's a question many African-American nontheists — atheists, humanists and skeptics — are asking this Black History Month, with some scholars and activists calling for a re-examination of the contributions of nontheists of color to the civil rights movement and beyond.

"So often you hear about religious people involved in the civil rights movement, and as well you should, but there were also humanists," said Norm R. Allen Jr. of the Institute for Science and Human Values, a humanist organization based in Tampa, Fla.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-02-22/black-atheists-civil-rights/53211196/1




Please, do some more reading on the subject. While slavery certainly was not only justified by religion and its texts, religion bears the weight of responsibility for enabling and prolong it. And the Civil Rights movement was successful only because of the teamwork provided by Humanists and Secularists.

Revisionist history is for right-wingers, let's not let that shit happen to us.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:07 AM

23. Garrison’s Defense of His Positions (1854)

... I do not know how to espouse freedom and slavery together. I do not know how to worship God and Mammon at the same time. If other men choose to go upon all fours, I choose to stand erect, as God designed every man to stand. If, practically falsifying its heaven-attested principles, this nation denounces me for refusing to imitate its example, then, adhering all the more tenaciously to those principles, I will not cease to rebuke it for its guilty inconsistency. Numerically, the contest may be an unequal one, for the time being; but the author of liberty and the source of justice, the adorable God, is more than multitudinous, and he will defend the right. My crime is that I will not go with the multitude to do evil. My singularity is that when I say that freedom is of God and slavery is of the devil, I mean just what I say ... The abolitionism which I advocate is as absolute as the law of God, and as unyielding as his throne ... If the slaves are not men; if they do not possess human instincts, passions, faculties, and powers; if they are below accountability, and devoid of reason; if for them there is no hope of immortality, no God, no heaven, no hell; if, in short, they are what the slave code declares them to be, rightly "deemed, sold, taken, reputed and adjudged in law to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever"; then, undeniably, I am mad, and can no longer discriminate between a man and a beast. But, in that case, away with the horrible incongruity of giving them oral instruction, of teaching them the catechism, of recognizing them as suitably qualified to be members of Christian churches, of extending to them the ordinance of baptism, and admitting them to the communion table, and enumerating many of them as belonging to the household of faith! ... Friends of the slave, the question is not whether by our efforts we can abolish slavery, speedily or remotely--for duty is ours, the result is with God; but whether we will go with the multitude to do evil, sell our birthright for a mess of pottage, cease to cry aloud and spare not, and remain in Babylon when the command of God is "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Let us stand in our lot, "and having done all, to stand." At least, a remnant shall be saved. Living or dying, defeated or victorious, be it ours to exclaim, "No compromise with slavery! Liberty for each, for all, forever! Man above all institutions! The supremacy of God over the whole earth!"

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1432

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:41 AM

28. +1000

Here's betting that our OP wasn't ready to welcome facts into the discussion, and won't be back with anything substantial. Seems to be a disease in this group.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:25 PM

69. Great post, thank you.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:35 AM

8. Well...

...they could ask one of our traditional Native spiritual leaders to lead us in prayer. After all, we are strongly Democrat and "should* have more consideration in many things than we do.

*sigh*

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:46 AM

10. Yes, you are absolutely right--

Has a Native spiritual leader ever been part of an inauguration?

If not, I'm genuinely shocked. It just seems like the right and obvious choice.




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Response to Mrs. Overall (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:34 PM

58. No...

we haven't had a traditional spiritual leader as part of an inauguration. And I don't look for it to happen any time soon either. Mainstream Duhmurica...left or right...basically doesn't give a shit about native people.

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:03 AM

18. That would be very good!

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:06 PM

87. I've suggested it at DU twice now -- I actually do think mainstream Americans would like it

I think most Christians would get somewhat sentimental and find it non-threatening.

I know that's probably not the response you were looking for! However both times I suggested that it was in context of someone else suggesting Starhawk, a Pagan priestess -- not only will that never happen, but it would flip people out and the tiny minority of Neo-pagans does not need that.

Hekate

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:55 AM

12. Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright

For all the wrong reasons, the Wright controversy might have poisoned the progressive/liberal clergy well for Obama.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #12)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:18 PM

68. It would be fun to watch the right-wing go apeshit to Wright doing the benediction!

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Response to patrice (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:31 PM

52. +100

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Response to G_j (Reply #52)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:35 PM

53. She is an honest and strong woman & as non-denominational as they come, a treasure. nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #53)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:03 PM

83. Starhawk is a Pagan priestess; she hardly falls into the category of nondenominational

With many influential books to her credit, public rituals, workshops, and political activism, she is certainly a striking figure. I have many of her books, and admire her.

She could no doubt create a ritual of wonder and power for the occasion. Perhaps lead everyone in a Spiral Dance.

Somehow, though, I don't think the country is at all ready for her to lead the invocation or prayer or benediction for the Presidential Inauguration.

Start with something most Americans could wrap their arms around easily: a benediction by a Native American shaman in full regalia.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #83)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:07 AM

89. Is it necessary to be so casually dismissive? Pardon me if I was thinking of the word in its more

mainstream and conventional sense, neither of which traits would seem to apply to Starhawk.

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Response to patrice (Reply #89)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:24 AM

90. I am sorry if I seemed dismissive, patrice

I'm interested in expanding who gets up there by invitation, too.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #90)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:59 PM

96. I'm sorry! I was short with you, Hekate. I agree, strongly. There should be much wider

consideration of whom could be invited to do this sort of thing, a nod to Indigenous People would be so beautiful and though I would never presume that it would be healing, it could be a good learning opportunity for the dominant culture.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #83)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:01 PM

103. If they do get Starhawk to do it

Screw the cold weather and the crowds - I'm going! My Pagan group had our own little pre-Inaugural ritual at the Jefferson Memorial in 2009, before Obama's first inaugural. (I was the one yelling "out, out, demons of stupidity!") I'd love to see it go mainstream!

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Response to AnnieBW (Reply #103)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 01:16 AM

104. Wonderful!

I did some reading at one point about a Pagan group that went during the Bush Jr. administration and visited various sites in DC for ritual work -- as you know, the city is just loaded with Greek Revival mythical figures and Masonic symbolism, so I imagine they had a field day. I really wish I could have been there.

"Out! Out! Demons of stupidity!" sounds like a line from Dilbert, LOL. Good for you!

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Response to Hekate (Reply #104)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 09:39 PM

105. Yes, yes it is.

Hubby and I are Dilbert fans, since we're both in IT. Even though Scott Adams is a wingnut.

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Response to patrice (Reply #53)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:02 PM

92. Top of MY list

Anyway.. a person of great intregrity, wisdom and good will.

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Response to G_j (Reply #92)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:13 PM

93. Starhawk came to Occupy Midwest in St. Louis last summer. I love her attitude toward

service.

I had met her years ago somewhere around the Five Nations Council and Chief Wilma Mankiller, when my little, Tulsa-based grassroots environmental action group helped them with something, but I didn't get to talk to her back then.

It was good to see her last year, just out there still tending the vines.


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Response to patrice (Reply #93)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 08:23 PM

100. first met

while blockading the World Bank, IMF meetings in DC. Subsequently, did some activist trainings and ritual. It's been a while now. They were raising money to make "The Fifth Sacred Thing" into a movie!

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:50 AM

15. or Jim Wallis?

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Response to patrice (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:02 AM

33. Wallis would be an excellent pick. n/t

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Response to intheflow (Reply #33)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:07 AM

35. Agreed!

nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:38 PM

62. Jim Wallis is against gay marriage and for civil unions and he is against abortion even though he

doesn't believe it should be made illegal. i say keep political events SECULAR.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/may/9.52.html

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Response to boilerbabe (Reply #62)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:44 PM

64. At least he's not insulting about it or I suppose I would have known, which I didn't. I prefer

someone like Starhawk, anyway, a form of what is referred to as spirituality that is truly independent.

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Response to boilerbabe (Reply #62)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:49 PM

65. And yes opposition to Civil Rights does disqualify him, as does also opposition to settled

law of the land, such as Roe v. Wade.

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Response to boilerbabe (Reply #62)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:41 PM

85. Rev. Jim Wallis was also very outspoken in his opposition to Dubya.A search of his online journal...

Because of that I sent him a donation back then, and ended up getting the journal Sojourners in the mail for awhile. I never encountered any of the things you mentioned in any of the articles. He and his group have spent 40 years working for social justice -- perhaps he and they continue to evolve as the rest of society has.

In the current online issue of Sojourners http://sojo.net/ is a page 1 article titled Fewer Americans View Homosexuality as a Sin. While the author does quote the research published by LifeWay, he does so without commenting whether or not he thinks it is sinful himself, merely noting the change in society.

A search of "gay marriage" reveals Christians and Bullying: Standing with Gays and Lesbians 07/14/2011; Is Evangelical Christianity Having a Great Gay Awakening? 08/31/2011; and so on.

I am not an Evangelical -- I'm not even a Christian, but I like this man very much. I wonder if he (at least during Bush's administration) became the Liberals' favorite Evangelical much the same way Martin Buber, theologian of I and Thou, became another generation's Christians' favorite Jew.

I only offer this for your and others' consideration. Society is evolving, and that includes dedicated social justice Christians like the Rev. Wallis.

As for keeping our public political events secular, I doubt it will ever happen. Religiosity and public piety wax and wane in America, and in our lifetime we have seen a resurgence. We can and should struggle against its more vile manifestations, but we will never make it go away completely. The vast majority of Americans seem to crave the assurance of some kind of blessing on our public events, and if kept in its proper perspective (all-inclusive, nondenominational, nonconfrontational) I see little harm in it.

Hekate

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:05 AM

19. I hear this guy could use the work.


"EAR OPEN!"

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:42 AM

21. I know a retired Methodist minister.

He was active in the civil rights movement of the 60s. Struggled with others for years to get the church to recognize LGBT rights and marriages and allow them into the clergy (which I believe they finally did). Very much oriented toward social and economic justice; believes there should be a maximum wage. I don't think he cares about being a "famous pastor" even though he is pretty well known and appreciated in some parts.

You'll probably find a lot of religious leaders still involved in the social issues of the day but they may not have such a prominent role because now there are a lot of secular organizations dedicated to such causes.

For what it's worth, Rev. Al Sharpton has his own daily TV show!

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:34 AM

24. Christianity has been hijacked by the Right Wingers the same way Islam

 

has been hijacked by the Right Wingers

Religion is all about control as in those in power use it to control those who do not have it.

If one wants to call themselves a Christian or whatever and they do not like how most are now starting to perceive them, then they first need to take their religion back.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:47 AM

25. The left and organized *anything* do not mix together, you can add religion to that

There are plenty of left wing individuals who are religious, but organization is weak. Look at the party, look at the ideology, and even ask yourself how much of a member of an organization you are. I know I myself would rather be an individual than a cog. From what I hear, the number of people on the left who are religious is not that far behind righties who are religious, they only look much bigger because they have organization, they have mega-churches, and they also have more groupthink. So it's not just a curse that organization is a problem, it's also a blessing.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:56 AM

26. Mother Teresa could bring the conversation in to

the twentieth century, but more than the fact that she's dead, she'd be censored and censured.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:45 AM

29. We'll know the Democrats have truly progressed

when there is NO prayer during the inauguration ceremony.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #29)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:41 AM

36. Exclusion is regressive not progressive. nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:16 PM

39. The event is not a religious one

so that is not true. Not even sure why they have a preacher,priest there. So much for the separation of Church and State hmmmmmmmm?

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Response to Rex (Reply #39)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:35 PM

40. Who said it is religious? You're selectivity suggests the possibility of a certain reactionary bias

The Constitution does not allow "establishment" NOR "prohibiting".

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Response to patrice (Reply #40)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:59 PM

43. Clearly there is a separation of Church and State or do you deny that too?

Your response seems more reactionary then mine does.

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Response to Rex (Reply #43)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:19 PM

47. Where did I deny separation? Aren't these events paid for with private donations?

Why am I being attacked for not requiring that all public speech agree with me?

I don't see a connection to "Congress shall make no law . . . "; you do. Why is your perception privileged over mine?

...........................................

On a related matter:

Is it possible to have certain kinds of understanding without that being religion? Shall we prevent those too, because people mistake them for religion? You did notice my reference to Starhawk above, right?

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Response to Rex (Reply #43)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:57 PM

54. Maybe some people's objections to free speech have more to do with the fact that they

don't have their own speech to counter what they disagree with, so what they disagree with must be prevented.

Not everyone is like that, some of us can and will stand on our own no matter what other speech asserts itself. That effort, that process, is NOT the same thing as just simply our own monologue. It's a dialectic. What about us? Isn't that dialogue our free speech too? Would you prevent that unique free speech by squelching its foil? Just so no one ends up talking about anything that anyone else disagrees with.

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Response to patrice (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:44 PM

70. atheists, agnostics, and humanists are the ones excluded

Maybe once there is a true representation of all people non religious people will be more accepting of religious people. But right now non religious people are angry being they are being excluded and rightfully so. Maybe they should have a well spoken humanist poet say some inspirational words of wisdom at the inauguration. I mean that it is what the clergy speech is for anyway right to inspire and bless. Poets are great at inspiring and who says you have to be religious to bless someone?

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #70)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:53 PM

71. I am not familiar with Richard Blanco, the 2013 Inaugural Poet, but I wonder if he will fill

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Response to patrice (Reply #71)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:05 PM

72. I can understand why the president picked him

They have a lot in common having a diverse upbringing. He sounds cool. I did not find anything on whether he is religious though. I was speaking to the idea that maybe a president could have a non-religous person speak to the nation to give voice to those who right now feel they have no voice. They may be a small minortiy right now but they are growing fast and they want to be heard. They want representation just as the rest of us do, and they should have it.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #72)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:34 PM

74. I understand. For me, this issue is more about religiosity or religiousness, which HAS evolved into

,at minimum, one form or another of somekind of pressure group, if not outright fascism protecting a wide variety of different forms of hate and violence.

I wish it was more common to differentiate religion from its purported, though rather failed, objective, truth. To my mind, this is what true poets do.

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Response to patrice (Reply #36)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:38 PM

75. Who is excluded?

By not inserting prayers into the ceremony surrounding the taking of the Presidential Oath of Office?

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #75)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:09 PM

76. I'm not sure where, exactly, relative to the oath, the prayer occurs. If we say the (optional)

celebrations surrounding the actual formal oath taking (and the actual formal oath taking would be that part of the whole thing, differentiated from all other parts of the whole thing, without which the Presidential Oath would not have occurred) are for everyone, then, that would include some part of that for those amongst us who want to pray in public.

My own desires are met by the poet, though I personally could pretty much do without most of what goes on around the oath, except for the parties, which I'm not part of anyway.

What is this objection? That someone will be brainwashed by religion? I regret that people are so vulnerable. I'm not, so I tend not to want to make too big a deal of something that I'm not personally that interested in, but I also wonder if all of this reaction isn't more about symptoms (e.g. praying at inaugurations) rather than the causes of that vulnerability. It's after the fact and if we're really concerned about it, we should get further ahead of the curve.

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Response to patrice (Reply #76)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:30 PM

77. My objection is that these Presidents continue to be religious

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #77)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:17 PM

78. Would any of this matter if campaigns and the vote itself weren't so corrupted? nt

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:59 AM

37. The "sin of slavery"

Slavery is not a sin in the bible, so why credit religion for cleansing the US of the sin of slavery. Just because some of the people happened to be religious doesn't mean that their religion taught them that slavery was a sin. Don't forget that most plantation owners were good Southern Baptists and most took their slaves to church with them, or made them go to church.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl2.htm

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Response to kdmorris (Reply #37)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:07 AM

38. with the exception of Douglass

those people were religious to the point of fanaticism. Now, they were surely reading into the Bible things that weren't explicitly there (applying the golden rule equally for example would pretty much ban slavery). But they were religious zealots.

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Response to kdmorris (Reply #37)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:43 PM

41. Funny thing about the Ten Commandments.

Last edited Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:20 PM - Edit history (1)

There are four commandments. Not just one, but four, that effectively demand that people correctly worship the correct deity. One demands you respect your parents, even if they're total douches. A few useful ones say don't kill, steal, lie, or engage in adultery. Then there's the coveting thing, which is pretty pointless.

But slavery just didn't make the cut. Must've slipped God's mind.

And we're supposed to look to the Ten Commandments as the be-all and end-all of morality?

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 12:56 PM

42. I've checked out some "emerging church" meetings

They seem to be a fairly open-minded Christian movement. If you google the term you'll find a lot of reactionary histrionics from the far right denouncing them as a liberal gnostic cult, so I guess they must be doing something right.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #42)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:18 PM

57. Christianity evolved out of a context that included gnosticism, perhaps that's why they fear it. nt

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Response to patrice (Reply #57)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:20 PM

59. True, though reactionaries use "gnostic"

as an all purpose term to denigrate more liberal or mystical Christian groups. I agree that there does seem to be a fear on the right that liberal Christians will encourage people to see Christianity not as a conservative religion but as a peaceful and socially conscious one. So they slam such groups as heretics.

I've read a bit about what's considered "Christian Gnosticism," but it seems like the term is pretty nebulous, referring to groups that were often very different from one another. It seems that for the most part mysticism had a bit more weight in what we call Gnostic Christianity, but it still plays a large part in many Christian sects today.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #59)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 03:40 PM

63. My own thinking on the matter is highly influenced by psychology, especially the sorts of things

C.G. Jung was interested in and which we might connect to through the works of people like Joseph Campbell, that is, I consider it all a more or less successful attempt to apprehend reality in various ways/dimensions, many of which pre-date Western rationalism (another means of understanding which we can relate to through the efforts of cognitivists) by at least a few eons. This means that, to me, the ways in which things are invalid are at least as important as the ways that they are valid.

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Response to patrice (Reply #63)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 10:22 PM

84. Haven't read Jung or Campbell

but I agree with you that to a large extent these represent different approaches to trying to understand reality. It also seems to be different approaches to how to govern people. Elaine Pagels (most of my information about Gnostic Christianity comes from her book "The Gnostic Gospels") makes a compelling argument that these doctrinal differences were connected to political issues. It's also interesting that these differences seem to be a recurring theme, and not only within Christianity.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:04 PM

44. Most people don't know this but the catholic church

 

Has/had a liberal side to it. Most people don't know this because the church is also opposed to abortion. This has been going on for 30 years or better. A while ago they had social justice ideas that were considered very liberal for the time.

This has all toned down quite a bit in the last decade, you don't hear much about it at all anymore.

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Response to librabear (Reply #44)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:18 PM

46. That's because it doesn't exist anymore

thanks to the liberal/progressive-minded being kicked to the curb by the hierarchy.

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Response to Boomerproud (Reply #46)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:20 PM

48. more or less

 

I just think it's interesting.

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Response to Boomerproud (Reply #46)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:29 PM

51. To which some of us have responded by becoming more catholic than Catholics, that is,

universal, including both mind and heart, so I don't care whether other Catholics think of me as one of them or not, because what I am encompasses them and more besides in an ongoing effort to discover how to live "the way, the truth, and the life ..." for what it authentically is, not only for what our various biases about it, from whatever direction/label, say it is.

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Response to Boomerproud (Reply #46)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 02:00 PM

56. Yes, it certainly still does exist

Both within the Church and outside of it.

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Response to Boomerproud (Reply #46)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:32 PM

79. Here's someone from that tradition/genre who does exist that I wish would be asked

or at least someone like her. I think it would be great if he would ask a woman to do this; I'm familiar with her work and her writings, and she is genuine, respects nature and humanity, and science. As a former pastor, she has delivered many benedictions!

This is just wishful thinking on my part, but it's nice to at least inform people at DU - those who are interested - that there are reasonable progressive religious thinkers out there who are gifted and helpful and respectful of others.

The video/interview below is 6:26.
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/july-7-2006/barbara-brown-taylor/1792/

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Response to librabear (Reply #44)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:47 AM

91. Toned down? Iit was viciously suppressed by JPII and his henchman, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger...

now a/k/a Pope Benedict XVI. For all the praise heaped upon John Paul II, his papacy was an intellectual Dark Age for the Roman Catholic Church. His right hand man, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, as Prefect for the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith (quaintly known in an earlier era as The Inquisition, was a theological bully of the first order who suppressed some of the Church's leading theologians. John Paul II, perhaps because of his experience of Soviet-style communism in Poland, had a blind spot when it came to Liberation Theology. In his mind, it was part and part of communism, which as far as he was concerned was, always and everywhere, pretty much the same as it had been in Poland. But under John Paull II, the word went out to priests in Latin America to stop getting involved in what JPII saw as purely political issues of struggles for social justice. Clergy were only to provide comfort to people to help them deal with their miserable lot, and not to help them overcome or change it in any systematic way. Ratzinger silenced or expelled over 100 clergy and theologians, including some of the Church's leading thinkers such as Matthew Fox, Swiss theologian Hans Kung, German theologian Eugen Drewermann, Brazilian Franciscan Leonardo Boff and American theologian Charles Curran.

In addition, John Paul II relegated the Jesuits -- the order that had long been the keeper of the Church's academic and intellectual tradition, to a theological and institutional backwater, as the tradition of academic and intellectual freedom that had been the hallmark of the great Jesuit universities was subverted in favor of a toe-the-line orthodoxy in which no diversity of thought would be tolerated. Suddenly, priests who had come up under the more liberal papacies of Paul VI and John XXIII were no longer considered for positions of senior leadership within the Church itself or its offspring institutions. Younger clergy got the message: steer clear of things like Liberation Theology, Creation Spirituality or anything else that departs from 16th Century, Tridentine Catholic doctrine, or else your future in the Church will be very, very limited.

Liberal Roman Catholicism is, for all intents and purposes, dead, as John Paul II's campaign of purging all vestiges of liberal leadership has succeeded. Most of the clergy who came of age during the time when that liberal tradition was robust are now either dead or soon to be. And JP II as well as Benedict XVI have done their level best to ensure that the Church wlll remain under the leadership of reactionary conservatives for generations to come.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:28 PM

50. "The collapse of the religious Left" has to do with other social issues

women's rights, abortion rights, and gay rights, specifically; traditionally Christian religious groups have doctrines on these issues that are incompatible with the shift in social attitudes generally. (The Catholic Church, with its official position on social justice, would be more reliably "left" if not for these issues, for instance.)

At the same time I don't think that there's much need for explicit religious involvement in political issues. The role of religion in the public sphere, in a secular society, should be minimal; the demographic changes wrought by the past fifty years, the decline of mainline Protestant churches and the rise of fundamentalist sectarianism, leading to further fragmentation among believers, and the rise in the number of people who profess no faith at all, all point to a future where the role of religion in social movements will be limited (and given the specifically religious objections to civil rights for all classes of citizens, it's better to leave them out of the discussion anyway).

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 01:58 PM

55. There are plenty, they just don't want to use them

Including even "religious left" within non-left religious institutions ( such as the Catholic Church).

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:36 PM

80. I like that our side is the rational one. They can have superstition all to themselves.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:58 PM

81. Not true

They just aren't looking in the right places. We are still here. We just don't run mega churches or go on TV much.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 04:14 PM

94. Luckily, we don't need religion.

Now it tends to hinder, not help, social progress. As for the idiots who believe the Bible is the literal truth and use it to justify unequal treatment of women and gay people -- I mean, how do you argue with complete fucking morons?

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 05:11 PM

98. TBH, I don't think there ever was much of a religious left to begin with.

I mean, sure, you had great men like MLK, who WERE lefties and religious. But other than perhaps the Civil Rights movement to an extent, it's largely taken the efforts of secular-leaning lefties for us to make progress for the most part; look at the labor movement for example, it was largely stacked with socialists!

And certainly, I've never seen any evidence that the nuclear freeze or anti-death penalty movements had much religious involvement, either....or at least, not in North America, anyway(of course, if someone has information in that regard, I'd like to see it!).

As for the Abolitionists? Many of them were progressive for their era, yes, that is true. But, to be honest, even though there were definitely some lefties in there, like William Garrison, for example, from what I understand, it may have leaned more apolitical more than anything else.



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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 10:59 PM

102. How about a Sikh Guru?

from that temple that some wingnut shot up because he thought that they were "Muslins"? I think that it would blow everyone's minds.

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