Her latest misbegotten missive appears, as usual, at Political Animal:
...Brownback is about as extreme as they come in the Christian Right world. Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.
So, apparently “the left” has been “knee-jerk” in heaping “scorn” on “religious candidates” who don’t really “deserve” it. And which candidates have been the recipients of this scorn? Why... Amy Sullivan doesn’t deem is necessary to let us know, which effectively means that Sullivan doesn’t care to actually support her accusations.
Curious, isn’t it? Sheer numbers suggest that there must be a few examples of knee-jerk scorn directed at an undeserving political candidate on the basis of religion. Chances are, Sullivan can name a couple. So why not do so? Could it be that the mere act of citing a couple of minor examples would, in fact, demonstrate that there is no broad or widespread pattern of “the left” doing this?
Maybe it seems wiser to keep quiet and leave the impression that such a pattern does exist, despite the absence of any evidence of it. Just lay the snide little accusation out there and hope that someone is gullible enough to believe it. That would fit Amy Sullivan’s general strategy of dealing with secularism and atheism: brummagem accusations, but don’t explain or defend.
I hesitate to call this kind of lazy observation “religious correctness” because that gives the impression of an objection to rude derisive language about religion. This is something else. It’s “God-baiting” designed to put any critic on the defensive if the person they are criticizing is religious. (The right, interestingly enough, is using this and its close cousin, race-baiting, very effectively these days. Nice to see people on “our side” helping them out --- again.)
Every secular “knee jerk liberal” has voted for religious candidates their whole lives. Indeed, it is impossible not to. You cannot get elected in this country if you do not profess religious belief. We have enthusiastically backed candidates who are from every religious tradition and from every region. Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were both born again, southern evangelicals. We do not scorn religious candidates, period.
Many of us knee-jerk leftists are hostile to those who want to use the state to dictate the proper social attitudes of its citizens and interfere in their most personal, private decisions, that’s true. I would scorn Pat Robertson and Sam Brownback’s ideas no less if they were secular. It’s the lack of respect for the division of influence between the private and public sphere’s that is causing the problem.
PZ Myers comments on similar complaints made by whiney Steve Waldman:
These “secular liberals”, like me, voted for John Kerry. We rejected his faith, but that was no obstacle to voting for him. Waldman’s own statistics tell us that these people he opposes are tolerant enough and open-minded enough that they had no problem voting for someone who professed his Christianity throughout his campaign. Obviously, this isn’t a problem.
I’d like to know how well Mr Waldman’s preferred voting bloc would favor an atheist candidate for president. How about an agnostic? How about someone who insisted his religion was not going to be an issue, refused to discuss it, and said he was going to represent all Americans without regard to their faith?
It’s often said that atheists are such a small minority that they need to make common cause with liberal religious believers — and that’s probably true. It will never happen, however, if religious believers are anything like Sullivan and Waldman. You can’t make common cause with a popinjay given to these kinds of accusations. With liberals like Amy Sullivan and Steve Waldman, who needs the Christian Right and Republicans?
Quick Poll: Are liberals too hostile towards religion and Christianity?
- Yes, and hostility to religion and Christianity is a problem.
- Yes, and such hostility is appropriate.
- Occasionally, perhaps, but what's perceived as 'hostility' is usually a lack of deference, privilege, or pandering.
- Not at all.
- I don't know.
- I don't care.