I'm not one for discussing religion. I'm of the opinion that there are many paths to follow and feel those that push their faith down other people's throats have generally missed the point. However, I have noticed a tendency on the liberal blogs I read, both big and small, of many authors and commenters to assume that those who profess a faith in God are, well, not so bright.
The Right, and especially the Religious Right, in this country like to paint the picture that all Democrats and Liberals are Atheists. And there are quite a few out there. The Left perpetuates the stereotype when blogging and commenting on anything that the Religious Right has to say by being disrespectful, demeaning and downright rude. I'm appalled often at the blind hypocrisy of left leaning writers who use derogatory language. Some of the things that are said are just as hateful as the things the Religious Right spews. More insidious is the off hand disrespect thrown casually around in comments about ghosts and religion turning people's brains into mush and a delusion for the weak minded.
First, when you use stereotypes and disrespect to make fun of the people using the stereotypes and disrespect against you, you've sunk to their level.
Second, it's entirely possible to be Progressive, Liberal or whatever left-leaning label you want to use and believe in a higher power and follow a faith or creed. The two are not mutually exclusive.
I am by NO MEANS endorsing the idea that religion needs to be intertwined with politics. I believe in the separation of Church and State. I believe in the ideals of religious freedom and tolerance. I have absolutely no desire to force my faith on anyone.
Like many, if not most, Christians in America I have doubts, confusion and lapses in judgement. In other words, we're human. I do not deny that the Religious Right has a loud voice but what I want you to understand is that not only do they not speak for me, but they don't speak for most Christians.
I like the term Christianist to describe the Religious Right. These folks, in my opinion, they've stepped off the path of Christianity. They preach hate and exclusion and seem to cherry pick the parts of the Bible that defend their ideas and ignore the rest. Many of them have moved into the realm of politics and sought to impose their ideas on the rest of the country. Some out of a misguided sense of "saving" us and others out of fear and hate. Either way, they're wrong. They've missed the point of the faith they claim to profess and the Founding Fathers' ideal of separation of Church and State.
The church that I belong to is a joint United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ congregation. It is a progressive church that is open and affirming of all people regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation or gender expression. We have groups in the church that work with homeless groups, refugees, area food pantries and more. We support the missions of both of our parent churches. These missions work in disaster relief, fighting racism and injustice and in support of LGBT people of faith.
What I'm really trying to impart here is that by blindly bashing Christianity, you're lumping moderate and progressive Christians in with the nut jobs like Fred Phelps. When you assume that anyone who believes in God must not be educated or intelligent, you insult those of us who are college graduates and attend weekly religious services. Not everyone who identifies as a person of faith believes that homosexuality is a choice, abortion is murder or the poor are just too lazy to work.
Words matter. What you say and how you say it is important. It doesn't matter to me if those of you who read this blog are Atheist, Pantheist, Christian, Hindu or belong to the Church of Sleeping in on Sunday. What matters to me is the language that is used to vilify, belittle and marginalize people of faith. I know some of you have had your run ins with Christianists or had other personal experiences that soured you on religion. I respect that. I understand your anger. I've been there. All I ask is that you remember that when you swing the brush to paint all Christians or people of faith in one broad stroke that you're including me and others like me.