Religious Left Emerges, Religious Right Erodes

15 11 2009

From my hometown newspaper this morning at the heart of Gator Nation, in the South! — even though it’s something I can be proud of this time rather than apologize for, like what passes for good communal citizenship just down the road from UF, in a giant corporate enclave of relatively wealthy, morally pious old folks called the Villages.

UF study: Religious left emerging to oppose right

Research shows growing influence of liberal Christians in politics.

By Nathan Crabbe
Staff writer

A new University of Florida study finds the religious left is emerging as an alternative to the Christian right.

Gainesville can be seen as a leading indicator of the trend. Faith-based liberal activism has long been a community tradition, from advocacy for the homeless to protests of executions.

“This is a town where there is certainly a religious left,” said UF political science professor Ken Wald, who collaborated with two other researchers on the study.

The research found that Christians who value being active members of a religious community tended to vote for Democratic candidates in 2006 and 2008. The research contradicts the “God gap” theory that white religious Christians are conservative and likely to vote Republican, Wald said.

He said the religious left is becoming more influential with the election of Barack Obama and his experience in community organizing and expansion of a White House office on faith-based initiatives. At the same time, Wald said, young evangelicals are placing more emphasis on traditionally liberal issues such as addressing climate change.

“I think you’re seeing the religious right erode a bit, and at the same time the religious left gets more aggressive,” Wald said.

In case you weren’t riveted to Snook’s comments this weekend, a discussion of Catholic homeless and soup kitchen services sprang up here, debating the social effects of believing in the higher moral authority of “church doctrine” that would refuse help to those living in sin. This story adds texture to that question:

. . .The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Gainesville is a coalition of churches providing shelter and services to the homeless. Gainesville’s St. Augustine Church and its Catholic Student Center also have had a long involvement in helping the homeless, work that led to the establishment of the St. Francis House homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

The Gainesville Catholic Worker house also provides meals for the homeless and does other projects. The house follows in the Catholic Worker Movement’s tradition of providing social services for the poor.

Wald’s research found Roman Catholics and members of some Protestant denominations such as the United Church of Christ placed a value on communal worship and tended to be politically liberal. Previously, polls included only measurements in which conservative evangelicals scored more highly such as frequency of prayer and Scripture reading.

Wald said broadening the questions in polls more fully reflects the diversity of religious and political beliefs.

“There are different ways of being religious,” he said.

Finally, all the post discussions on “individual and institution” may shed new light viewed through this prism. The Catholic Church for example is like the institution of home education, diverse ideas that form practices and identity and then fodder for food fights. 😉

Start here if you want, or maybe here:
WARP and WOOF: Reading the Weave of Individual and Institution

Advertisements

Actions

Information

72 responses

15 11 2009
writestuff444

We’ve been emerging..we’re just getting louder!! 🙂

15 11 2009
JJ

LOL — so we should say the volume of the religious left is emerging? 😉

15 11 2009
Alasandra

Just wanted to let you know you were nominated for Alasandra’s Homeschool Blog Awards.

15 11 2009
JJ

Hi Alasandra, hey thanks! Glad you are doing these again. I found a couple of delightful new blogs last time . . .you heathens reading this go vote for Snook when the polls open because the FSM doesn’t dabble in such matters. We are on our own to help each other. 😀

15 11 2009
Lynn

Holy Meatballs! You’re up against the Cates! :O And their god does dabble, I fear.

Let us know when the polls open. 🙂

16 11 2009
JJ

Ramen [making the blessed sign of pasta-tossing with both hands]

16 11 2009
Lynn

Ramen [doing the noodle dance]

16 11 2009
Nance Confer

Now, this noodle dance. Is there cheese involved? Because there should be. Of course. 🙂

Nance

16 11 2009
JJ

Yes, on two counts: one, it is very cheesy dancing! And two, you know those Parmesan cheese grater grinders that waiters bring around in Italian restaurants? I incorporate that motion in my pasta-tossing and noodle ritual dancing. . . then when the food’s ready, it’s time to speak in tongues. 😉

16 11 2009
Nance Confer

OK. Craziness on the left, too, but at least it comes with dinner. And I could be gay and do this dance, too, right? 🙂

Really, reading this, looking for something hateful, someone piously withholding help from someone for something like being gay, I’m not seeing it.

Betty, resident lefty religious person — and whoever else fits the bill — surely there are reasons to object to the way you folks handle things too. What are they? (Aside from the whole not being based in reality thing. . . )

Nance

16 11 2009
JJ

Socialism prob’ly . . .

17 11 2009
Nance Confer

I mean real reasons. Not something pulled out of a politician’s ass and stuck on a poster. Real people who are not helped because some left-wing religious person said he knew better. Real ignorance. Real hate that hurts real people.

Nance

17 11 2009
Nance Confer

Surely it must happen on a personal level. One cross-wearer on the left who thinks he’s better than me and decides to treat me like trash if I show up at the food bank with my gay partner or whatever.

But as a policy? What policy is based on this sort of thinking on the left?

I fell asleep last night with a picture of pumpkin pie in my mind. I saw the religious left as the whipped cream on top. I could scrape it off, still have a little residue, but basically get to eat without having to consume too much of the stuff I didn’t want.

The picture of the religious right? More of a trifle — with all the whipped cream mixed in and you really can’t just get the food you need without consuming a whole lot of the stuff you don’t want.

But now I’m hungry. WWFSMD? Have dessert for breakfast? 🙂

Nance

17 11 2009
Nance Confer
17 11 2009
JJ

The FSM is mysterious to us and his ways cannot be known by mere mortals, but I sense that spaghetti and meatballs eating whipped cream and pie (for breakfast or any other time) would be cannibalistic.

17 11 2009
JJ

Good metaphor though. I like it. Let’s see.

Try it with the FSM — the nourishing ethical system is the spaghetti with meatballs. It’s messy and hard to eat, especially for kids who need help mastering it, learn from the village. You can flavor the sauce all kinds of ways, put in or leave out the spices, and it will still be real, taste good and be good for you. You can serve it around a communal table with family and friends, etc. Some take cheese on top; some don’t.

In a spaghetti-sustained culture, are there social and legal controls to prevent people exploiting the ethical food to the detriment of other people? From right or left or for pure profit, you can’t corner the market on spaghetti, sabotage other folks’ kitchens, lace yours with poison and feed it to anybody’s kids . . .

17 11 2009
COD

Gay zombies – now that’s something to be worried about.

17 11 2009
Lynn

“and, why would someone scrape whipped cream off a pumpkin pie?…” she muttered incoherently, unable to remember what this post is about… “… it’s the best part…”

17 11 2009
JJ

It’s not real whipped cream though, Lynn. It’s that corporate-chemical fake crap.

17 11 2009
JJ

Perfect for political food fights though!

17 11 2009
NanceConfer

Right, Lynn. It would be a waste of perfectly good whipped cream (if it was the real thing 🙂 ). And I’m pretty sure the sanctimonious food “giver” would think I shouldn’t be eating dessert anyway.. .

Nance

17 11 2009
JJ

Aha, Nance gives me another connected thought. It’s not the good stuff they’re dishing out for the masses, certainly not at the kids’ table. That’s reserved for the few, the chosen, the boys’ club calling the shots and being supported by the masses . . .

17 11 2009
Lynn

Whipped cream, “perfect for political food fights”

… and, solo-sex videos?

17 11 2009
JJ

[JJ fanning herself]

17 11 2009
JJ

Is this what they mean when they say political and religious talk gets people hot under the collar??

17 11 2009
terry@breathinggrace

Not looking for a fight, here, just wanted to point out that caring for the less fortunate is a Biblical command that has nothing to do with left or right. While my politics certainly leans right, my family, kids and all, donates our time to the local homeless shelter. I question the faith of any believer who doesn’t have a heart for the less fortunate. I have politically liberal Christian friends. As Christians, we can disagree on whether or not the government is the best vehicle to distribute aid to the hurting, but Christians who have no heart for the poor, are in my opinion, probably Christians in name only.

By the way, you probably know this JJ, but the research shows that conservative Christians give much more of their money (as a percentage) to the less fortunate than liberals do.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/03/conservatives_more_liberal_giv.html

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=1

And by the way, that giving disparity is not just because of giving to churches. The researh supports that, too. Heck, I sent a check today to a charity that is NOT a church.

17 11 2009
Nance Confer

Christians who have no heart for the poor, are in my opinion, probably Christians in name only

******************

Well said, Terry.

Nance

17 11 2009
Lynn

I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about this but I suspect that many evangelical Christians have a complicated relationship with giving – and even “loving.” Just recently, in a Facebook conversation about the Operation Christmas Child charity, one evangelical woman defending the program said, “I give these children toys and toothbrushes because I now love them. I give only because of my relationship with Jesus.” Beyond the usual accusations about Christians who give in order to score points with God, there’s more going on when a evangelical writes a check to Franklin Graham – or even the rescue mission.

By the way, one of the most popular “parachurch” groups to which evangelicals give is Focus on the Family. Is sending a check to James Dobson evidence of “heart”? Ken Ham, at Answers in Genesis, also relies on the charitable giving of conservative Christians. Rick Warren, Pat Robertson and John Hagee, too. So, yes, conservatives “give” more than liberals — depending on how you’re defining terms.

17 11 2009
JJ

Hi Terry, that’s right (pun intended?) and thanks for reminding me — though I thought it was regular church-goers or some such, not necessarily only right-wing conservative Christians?

Also it makes me remember this: How Humans Are Hard-wired to Treat Each Other

I should look up Terry’s study again though, along with Dale’s Meming of Life posts on it, saying secular folks left and right should not just acknowledge but learn from and emulate that giving tendency. Hence his new Foundation Beyond Belief. (And they are accepting help from everyone, not only left or right, sacred or secular, hint hint! Whatever your positions in this conversation, you CAN put your money where your mouth is. 😉 )

17 11 2009
JJ

Lynn, that’s interesting. And phrasing it the way you did gave me a way to say something I’ve been thinking but couldn’t pin down: conservative and especially evangelical Christians have a complicated relationship with money all around, not just giving it but NOT giving it!

If giving money to those in desperate need is loving, then NOT giving it despite need must be some form of not loving, right down to the shirt on your back and the food from your own mouth. I see very little difference between the organized community giving of church governance (tithing and social pressure for other forms of “giving”) and the organized community giving of state governance through the tax code, as long as the state in question is a representative democracy duly elected by the people to help us collectively help each other.

And a complicated relationship with fighting and killing. It is just so hard to get right-wing and religious to go together with integrity when it comes to fighting and killing imo.

17 11 2009
Lynn

Another thought on complicated relationships:

Back in the early 90’s, I worked for a small charity that provided food to people with low incomes. It was run by an evangelical Christian woman who insisted that it was not the role of the govt., but the job of the Christian churches and charities to feed the hungry. She’d spend endless hourse running food to soup kitchens and food banks, then stop by local parks to count the number of homeless people. She was convinced that the liberals were deliberately overestimating the number of homeless in order to make taxpayers fund their liberal programs – and she was out to expose their lies. It was bizarre. It never seemed to be about whether or not people got fed; it was about who got credit for it: Nanny Government – or the Lord.

Even as an atheist, I still like the Bible verse: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3) If you have ulterior motives in giving, you don’t get to call it giving,… imho 😉

17 11 2009
JJ

From Terry’s link, the part I was remembering:

“The single biggest predictor of someone’s altruism, Willett says, is religion. . . One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one — secular conservatives.”

So it’s like average teacher salary. When it goes up in a way the news notices, it’s generally because there are more veteran teachers proportionately, and they are of course the highest paid on any salary schedule. In younger teaching-force regions with relatively fewer topped-out teachers, the salary schedule can be exactly the same as the other districts and every comparable teacher be paid exactly the same at each step, yet the districts’ average will be lower where the demographic is skewed younger. The average can go up and down while any one teacher sits right on the same schedule and sees no difference in her own pay up or down.

So, conservatives as individuals may not give more or individual liberals give less. What we do know is that the cohort or demographic of conservatives is skewed toward church and that church-goers give more. And liberals as a cohort are skewed not-church so their average as one demographic is less.

17 11 2009
JJ

Probably we’d see the same effect in reverse, looking at Ls and Cs paying taxes and politically favoring or opposing candidates and social programs likely to cost them even more?
[wicked grin]

18 11 2009
JJ

Speaking of which, The Family’s um, hot-house? on C Street just lost two-thirds of its tax exemption as a church, because its representation of its “mission” has been exposed as only one-third as charitable as it officially claimed to be:

Residents of the C Street Christian fellowship house will no longer benefit from a loophole that had allowed the house’s owners to avoid paying property taxes.

Previously, the house — despite being home to numerous lawmakers — had been tax exempt, because it was classified as a church. That arrangement had allowed the building’s owner, the secretive international Christian organization The Family, to charge significantly below market rents to its residents. In recent year, Senators John Ensign (R-NV), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Reps. Zach Wamp (R-TN), Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Mike Doyle (D-PA) have all reportedly called C Street home.

18 11 2009
JJ

Frank Schaeffer just said on cable that all sane believing Christians need to be praying for the safety of our president now, because there are bible verses about “striking him down and letting another take his office” being invoked by the violent religious right fringe, and all who haven’t acted to stop it will be held to account.

18 11 2009
Lynn

re: taxes and social programs and altruism

Yeah, believing that access to health care is more than a “privilege,” but a basic right – even when it may result in higher taxes – is an example of liberal “altruism” not counted as such in surveys. Further, believing that someone in need should NOT have to be subjected to coaxing stories about Jesus in order to receive a hot meal is another way liberals express “altruism.” After all, there’s nothing “altruistic” about insulting the dignity and exploiting the need of vulnerable people for religious gain.

[grrr, grumble, grumble]

Apparently, I feel strongly about this issue. Who knew? 😕

18 11 2009
JJ

And that small “least charitable cohort” — (rich, white, mouthy male*) secular conservatives” sure persuades me they’re the least willing to pay taxes to help the needy! Add it all up and they aren’t doing squat! So shouldn’t they come in for the most justified heat from all ethical quandrants, right or left, church-going or not?

Conversely, if the religious left is giving both in and out of church, privately and publicly and through NGOs, then add it all up and wouldn’t they be making the biggest commitment to helping others, overall?

*picturing Rush Limbaugh beside the definition of “secular conservative”

18 11 2009
terry@breathinggrace

Who knew my little comment would stir up such conversation. Couple of things: I agree with Franky Schaeffer. Believers are called to pray for those who rule in government and there is no distinction made for whether we think they are good or bad. And that prayer is not to be for them to be “struck down.”

Second, you are right that religion is the biggest predictor of charitable giving. Secular conservatives are less likely to be generous. And in all the times we have served at the homeless shelter, NEVER have we seen anyone require that someone listen to a message before they can eat.

And I bet you those Christian organizations overseas don’t do that either. They can’t, in a strange land. Most would lose their lives. That is not a regualr practice and I wonder how that came to be thought the normal order of business. When asked WHY we take our time to come and care for them when not many other people seem to care, THEN the love of God for them because a topic of conversation.

18 11 2009
Nance Confer

Yep, I was pretty sure the message got delivered, somehow. 🙂

Nance

18 11 2009
terry@breathinggrace

Nance,

When you’re asked a question, don’t you answer it?

18 11 2009
Nance Confer

I do. And the way I would answer that question, as I do when I am asked, is that helping and giving are the right things to do, that we help each other as we can, and pass it along. I don’t whip out a god or his offspring to justify doing the right thing.

I actually have to remind people here in our very churched town that I am not running a ministry. That my school is free because it’s the way I choose to help the hsing community. I also volunteer once a week as a literacy tutor. Neither prompted by any church or god. I’m sure these and other small ways my family gives would not show up in the study discussed above, btw.

And I’d have to wonder, if I were the hungry soul you are saving, where your god is when you are not around if that’s the only time I’m getting fed.

Nance

18 11 2009
JJ

I think it’s a study problem, in part. Terry’s comment DID stir up some conversation and thank the FSM, some thinking behind it all. 🙂

What I’m thinking is that “religion” as a predictor would be even more meaningfully predictive if we recast what we mean by “religion” to include both theistic and non-theistic ethical systems of belief. Remember that TED conference video where the researchers had figured out the ethical systems of Left and Right, and three of the five principles were the same for both, but the Right had two more that the Left didn’t have? — tribal loyalty and something about sex, if I remember (I’ll go look in a minute.)

So the first three moral beliefs were shared by virtually all ethical humans, irrespective of politics and also of sacred-secular: church-going or bible-reading and prayer. They were held in common among all people motivated to act for the good of fellow humans and the world.

Another thing I’m thinking is that I’m often told the “pro-life” movement in politics isn’t about religion and right-left but rather human ethics as in right-wrong. It cannot be a straight sacred-secular divide, or else it would be unconstitutional to have it entering the government sphere in any way, right?
Plus if it were all made up of devout people, they wouldn’t LIE to us about that!

So — short line to my point, Nance’s and Lynn’s non-theistic ethical system motivates their lefty giving and humanity just as powerfully as Terry’s and Betty’s theistic ethical system motivates their giving right and left. Research that can illuminate human behavior through that prism would add understanding for us all, keep us from staying stuck in some old flat-earth mistakes . . .

18 11 2009
JJ

Do y’all ever see The Iron Chef on cable? Lately there’s been a competition show to find the Next Iron Chef and the other night it was on the theme of the newly identified human “taste.” We’ve long thought of only four: sweet, salty, sour, bitter. But as the world became a smaller place and chefs the world over learned from each other’s cultures and cuisines etc, a fifth important human taste distinct from the other four has been described: umami. It is an earthy savory “deliciousness” reminiscent of mushroom meatiness. . . it deepens everything else.

What is the essential “umani” all humans are hard-wired to understand and appreciate, hidden and confused behind what we’ve so far known only as “religion”?

18 11 2009
JJ

I guess my favorite life-worth-living essential is education, not religion. For me, that’s the meaty deliciousness of umami. From a long comment I made about how I saw religious right politics going wrong behind Sarah Palin —
Beyond the Palin: Political Psychology for Actual Thinking Citizens:
*****************

To circle back around to education then — first to Stephanie, hey, we’re not sorry you said anything! You know you’re on Snook’s blogroll, right? And it’s not for agreeing with our conclusions, just with our approach to critical thinking and individual family autonomy to make our own decisions without public controls (and learn without interference.) Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

What’s been happening this summer is a perfect explanation of WHY I’m post-partisan. This divisive, lying and cheating, treating-people-like-we’re-stupid stuff while insisting that’s leadership (and raking in the money and power and personal hero worship and sex-ercise opportunities) is exactly why I’m no longer in journalism or public information or legislative work, or any sort of public policy role. Because it’s all become Mad Men! (Have you ever seen that series on AMC? It is AWESOME, and more accurate about what’s really going on than most of what’s said on the campaign trail or the cable news channels.)

Part of why I take Palin so personally is that I know hundreds of truly qualified public policy minds who’ve been toiling away for the public good in thankless, poorly paid vineyards while raising families and giving generously from their own personal good will to all sorts of important educational, environmental, pro-family, pro-woman, pro-peace and pro-education causes, without any claim to personal fame or fortune in return.

And then along comes a beauty queen pitbull in lipstick younger than my baby sister and less educated than the first male boss I had in the private sector, and about as evolved! And she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know about the rest of us and our realities because HER state is full of oil and rolling in riches!

And so she throws her lot in with the cynical, carelessly chauvinistic Republican men who think nothing is bigger than themselves and they conspire to trash everything that matters to me, and that I believe — both cognitively and in my gut — can save the world. And as a result, they are following an upswing pattern so far, that’s exactly like the one that’s brought us all so low.

I am late to this view. I disliked (despised!) Bill Clinton after exploiting all his women, and I voted for George Bush post 9-11 out of distaste for Kerry’s smears of his fellows [and his attack on family trying to win a debate, that crack about Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter] and also in literal fear for my family and a desperate trust that George Bush couldn’t really be as bad as all that, he’s a southern gentleman, right? — and I’ve been so afraid as a mom for so long! — so some of this is probably guilt for having been duped even though I’m smart, too. 🙂 But then came Terri Schiavo with my governor, the Bush brother, putting his religion ahead of my freedoms. Also Nance and I were invited to do a blog tour with Teresa Heinz Kerry here at Snook, and she just humbled me in her knowledge, dignity and compassionate outreach to other women. She wasn’t defending herself as a personality or an heiress (come in, Cindy McCain!) but just quietly continuing to do real good for real women and children, and the world.

Emotions ARE powerful, even in very well-educated, intelligent women. I guess that’s what I’m so worried about now.

(Nance OTOH, is supremely relaxed and confident, probably why I’m doing all the writing about McCain-Palin!)

Honestly, if there were no personalities and candidates involved, no party loyalty either, and we all as united citizens were simply declaring our support and/or opposition for ideas and principles and plans for American progress — would we be so divided? Would we feel so helpless and hopeless and cynical? Would anyone be angry and offended or calling each other “disgraceful” etc etc etc?

Now you know why I was for Unity 08 as the best hope to move us past this destructive political civil war model, until it was shut down and then in March 2008 I heard Obama speak on race in a way I’ve never heard another politician speak, and declared I would vote for him as “hope” for a different politics in the future.

But I am still (wavering but) nonpartisan. In official registration I’ve been nonpartisan ever since Watergate — abandon hope, all ye who enter here! — except hmmm, for a brief fling after in which I was in a visible job in the public sector as an idealistic young professional, and joined first one party and then the other, trying to see if I could find a comfortable political home.

I’ve belonged to several churches too and never found myself a spiritual home, and to many service clubs that have disillusioned me; bottom line, I chafe at the anthill-bee hive approach to human thinking and feeling! I am too much of an individual and always asking questions that make the leadership call me to heel. The same thing happened to me in the “homeschooling” hive by the way. The Queen Bee’s stinger went totally wacko when Nance and I dared challenge as poor politics, her simplistic plan to “stand for homeschooling” . . .but that’s another story. . .

THE POINT IS THAT ONLY EDUCATION CAN SAVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM OURSELVES!!!!

18 11 2009
Nance Confer

Which is not to say that I am not sending a message with my answer.

I often explicitly urge people to start their own umbrella school, offer to help them, and suggest it is a good way to help other hsers. When they ask for that particular information.

And you have your message.

Let’s just not pretend that there is not a message coming from both sides.

And I don’t, for instance, and even though it makes me cringe, refuse to help the religious hsers who refuse to immunize their children. It is their legal right to refuse to do something I consider a part of raising healthy children in a healthy community.

I expect the Catholic Church to be able to abide by the law as well, when it is passed, and still be able to do the right thing.

Nance

18 11 2009
JJ

I agree with Nance about that. It’s hard for any Christian left or right to really appreciate just how much those of us who are good people without theistic religious beliefs and practices, have thought it through and committed ourselves to rising above it, just sucking it up for the greater good. The Golden Rule and eyes on the prize, right? Hate the belief but love the believer?

18 11 2009
Lynn

Terry:

Christian organizations overseas don’t do that either. They can’t, in a strange land. Most would lose their lives.

Fresh on my mind is Franklin Graham’s Operation Chrismas Child shoe box program: Along with shoe boxes of gifts, children in “strange lands” receive a New Testament and materials translated into their own language. They also attend a rally for Jesus and are encouraged to enroll in a 12-part Bible study. After all of this, they receive “follow-up” visits by local evangelical Christian pastors. (The SP website is very candid that evangelism is their no.1 priority.)

And, I can tell you from first hand experience that Rick Warren’s international P.E.A.C.E. program is *all* about evangelism.

On a smaller scale, you’ve also got individuals like Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer (Prisoners of Hope), who break the laws in strange lands, in order to accomplish their real and stated goal, which is to “save the lost.”

And in all the times we have served at the homeless shelter, NEVER have we seen anyone require that someone listen to a message before they can eat.

Community Christian outreach programs are locally run. Some, like yours, may adopt a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for themselves; not all do. Sounds like we each have anecdotal experiences and I’m not aware of any research that’s been done on the question.

Btw, I used to work with homeless people on a daily basis and “Why do you do this?” seems like an odd or unlikely question to get from someone at a shelter. I’m not saying you’re not asked, but I’d be surprised if that happens very regularly.

18 11 2009
Lynn

Sorry, JJ. I’ll stop dominating your thread now 😕

18 11 2009
JJ

Just seen in comments at Spunky’s:

I too am surprised to hear that homeschoolers would support the Obamacare bill – it’s the antithesis of everything we stand for!

For those who can’t afford insurance, I would recommend checking out Samaritan Ministries. It’s a health-care cost-sharing program of fellow believers. The monthly cost for a family is only $285.00 and your check goes directly to a family in need (you make out the check to that family and mail it directly to them). The office of Samaritan Ministries is supported by an annual fee each member pays of $165.00. Very reasonable costs!

Leaving aside whatever the heck she believes “we” homeschoolers stand for that would be the antithesis of secular health care reform — ?? — how do different ethical Thinking Parents see this insurance business being run as a church-protected ministry, in competition with America’s secular coverage while politically preaching against efforts to make said secular coverage more affordable and universal, available to all people rather than just the Christians?

18 11 2009
JJ

Hey Lynn, turnabout is fair play. I do that at your blog all the time and tell myself my off-the-wall thoughts are welcome whether they are or not.

But I assure you that yours really are! 🙂

18 11 2009
Nance Confer

So if I call up Samaritan Ministries, reveal that I am an atheist but would like the family coverage for $285 a month, how far do we think I will get? And what sort of care do you get for that money? Faith healing? 🙂

Nance

18 11 2009
JJ

I think for a person of integrity, the ethical power of story will shine through whether it’s religious or not, and that’s a good thing all around.

So I guess I agree with both Terry and Nance on that, when that is indeed what’s happening.

But I also agree with Lynn that it depends; it’s quite different from Catholic and Mormon Church leaders and big (often tax-favored as godly) money going into coordinated secular politics to defeat ballot initiatives or legislation that they think doesn’t comport with their own religious doctrine or morality-based teachings — see C Street’s big money calling itself religious when it’s really hardball politics. At the same time, tax-favored church money and human labor that otherwise would be part of our economic prosperity for all, goes into secular business ventures without following all secular laws and civil rights safeguards, and without paying taxes to help support necessary services for all Americans.

I mean money-making ventures like real estate leasing and investing, running enterprises like restaurants, schools, shops, banks, making loans, providing and now apparently insuring health care. Oh, and let’s not forget Catholic casinos! 😉

18 11 2009
Nance Confer

http://www.samaritanministries.org/

Sounds like a crock to me. You send them the $285 a month for three months, plus administrative fees forever, and then, if you ever need help, they will list your need in their newsletter. The next guy in line is supposed to pick up your tab.

Sounds like one of those “send us $35 and get a job at home” schemes. They never have to do anything but pocket the $35.

Next.

Nance

18 11 2009
JJ

And it’s conservative religious, not liberal religious. Yet doesn’t it sound awfully socialistic in a wishful-thinking sort of way that law-and-order traditional conservatives usually accuse liberals of, as soft-headed and unrealistic?

18 11 2009
Lynn

JJ: “whether they are or not”

yes, your comments are always welcome at my blog 🙂

I just don’t want to chase off your friendly Christian readers when I’m here. I can be so argumentative 😕

18 11 2009
JJ

It’s okay, Lynn. They must know by now to take you with a grain of salt — or as a pre-destined pillar of salt, or maybe some sour, bitter or umami flavor, or Nance’s whipped cream, or some damn food power of story . . .

18 11 2009
JJ

Also, Terry and CW for example, have proven themselves not easily chased off by argument. We do a pretty good job here, all of us I’d say, of thoughtful argumentation rather than just being argumentative . . .

18 11 2009
terry@breathinggrace

@Lynn, you’re right. We DON’T get asked very often, which is my point. Not all religious folk volunteer for the purpose of proseltyzing. Helping others is something we are to do whether they receive our message or not.

Second, I’m not a big Sarah Palin fan. And while I know there are many, as they abound in media and the Internet, I don’t know many either. Most conservative Christian mothers that I know were mortified with the way she paraded her pregnant teenage daughter and that poor boyfriend into he spotlight.

Don’t believe even half of what you see and hear from the talking heads on TV. I don’t. Those people do not live in the real world and they purposely work overtime to find the folks who fit the narrative they want to tell. And that’s from the right and left.

I detest the boxes and labels that fly around these days. As you know JJ as I have shared a bit of my background and upbrining here, I don’t fit neatly into any box. As such, I try not to cram other people into one either. You have always been pretty fair with me jj, and I appreciate that.

18 11 2009
Nance Confer

Terry and CW for example, have proven themselves not easily chased off by argument.

*****

Amen to that! And I think it speaks well of both of them, even as we consistently disagree.

Nance

18 11 2009
COD

//http://www.samaritanministries.org/

I believe the word we are looking for is Pyramid Scheme. It can only work as long as a sufficient inflow of new believers, err victims, is maintained.

18 11 2009
JJ

Here’s another of my old comments that seems to fit right in, from Ignorance is all in the family, and a real sin:

*********

Dale found a 20-question worldview quiz at beliefnet that helps people understand the real power of story in religion. It matches your answers to different religions and then ranks all the religions by percentage, so you can really “see” where different beliefs fit in the world, AND which ones are really at irreconcilable odds with each other politically.

Right off the bat, it helps me understand why some red-blooded Christian friends and family seem so alien and ignorant, while others are so thoughtful and dear. Apparently the real worldview clash isn’t in “religion” itself but a sort of animal ignorance that makes backward, dehumanizing beliefs acceptable if not downright compelling. See what you think

Have the heart pills ready when Born-Again Grandma finds out she’s 70 percent Islamic.

It might seem surprising at first that Catholic and Conservative Protestant come out so close, but the differences in the two, like the devil himself, are primarily in the details. The quiz goes after foundational worldview questions, not the piles and piles of minutiae that kept the two at each others’ throats for so many centuries.

But take a look at the gap between conservative Christianity and secular humanism. It’s true that the churched and unchurched share an incredible amount of common ground as human beings, but when it comes to the worldview questions around which the quiz is built, a chasm opens. In the great metaphysical Q&A, my conservative relations and I share between zero and 20 percent.

So while we’re celebrating the humanistic ties that bind us, it doesn’t hurt to recognize the challenge faced by bridge builders on both sides.

Perhaps the most revealing result of the two lists is where mainline-to-liberal Christianity falls on each. I share 59 percent with the average liberal Christian, while our hypothetical conservative Baptist shares 40 percent with the liberal Christian.

Mainline-Liberal Christians have a good deal more in common with secular humanists than they do with Pat Robertson and Benedict XVI. Both humanists and liberal Christians would benefit enormously from recognizing, and building on, this large overlap.

18 11 2009
Crimson Wife

Also, Terry and CW for example, have proven themselves not easily chased off by argument. We do a pretty good job here, all of us I’d say, of thoughtful argumentation rather than just being argumentative . . .

Having lived my entire life in “blue” states (with the exception of 6 months spent in KY), I learned very early on to have a relatively thick skin. I like hearing different points of view because it makes me think about what I believe. I don’t understand the appeal of sheltering oneself from the diversity of views out there. I may very well come away thinking that an argument I’ve heard put forth is 100% wrong (happens frequently, LOL!) but I’m still glad I heard it. If I only heard one POV, then I’d never truly know what I think. Maybe I did actually agree, or maybe I was a victim of “groupthink”.

18 11 2009
Crimson Wife

I took that Beliefnet quiz one time, and it said that I was 100% Eastern Orthodox but only 98% Catholic. I’ve never been able to figure out which of my beliefs are more closely aligned with Orthodox Christianity, LOL!

18 11 2009
Crimson Wife

I took the quiz again, and once more got 100% Eastern Orthodox and 99% Catholic. The only thing I can think of is that maybe it’s due to how high or low a priority I said each question was.

1. Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2. Roman Catholic (99%)
3. Orthodox Quaker (90%)
4. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (83%)
5. Seventh Day Adventist (81%)
6. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (65%)
7. Hinduism (57%)
8. Orthodox Judaism (55%)
9. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (51%)
10. Liberal Quakers (50%)
11. Sikhism (50%)
12. Baha’i Faith (48%)
13. Islam (47%)
14. Jehovah’s Witness (47%)
15. Unitarian Universalism (40%)
16. Jainism (36%)
17. Reform Judaism (31%)
18. Mahayana Buddhism (30%)
19. Theravada Buddhism (29%)
20. Neo-Pagan (27%)
21. New Age (22%)
22. Secular Humanism (20%)
23. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (19%)
24. Scientology (18%)
25. Nontheist (15%)
26. Taoism (15%)
27. New Thought (13%)

18 11 2009
JJ

Found the The Frank Schaeffer video I saw live last night. The bible verse he quoted very seriously as inciting the religious right fringe against Presdient Obama, was apparently Psalm 109:8 to 109:9:

“May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership.” That leads fairly naturally into the Psalm 109:9, “May his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
You know, in case you miss the point.

. . . I think that the situation that I find genuinely frightening right now is that you have a ramping up of Biblical language, language from the anti-abortion movement for instance, death panels and this sort of thing, and what it’s coalescing into is branding Obama as Hitler, as they have already called him. And something foreign to our shores, we’re reminded of that, he’s born in Kenya. As brown, as black, above all, as not us. He is Sarah Palin’s “not a real American.”

But now, it turns out, he joins the ranks of the unjust kings of ancient Israel, unjust rulers to which all these Biblical allusions are directed who should be slaughtered, if not by God, then by just men . . .

Schaeffer added, “Look, this is the American version of the Taliban… this is the Old Testament Biblical equivalent of calling for holy war.”

19 11 2009
terry@breathinggrace

Every Biblically literate Christian knows that the word of CHRIST, in whom we have placed our eternal security, trumps OT law. Franky Schaeffer knows that too, I’m sure.

I don’t consider Pres. Obama my enemy. I just happen to disagree with him. but even if I did view him as my enemy, JESUS says I am to pray for him.

19 11 2009
JJ

Terry, that’s the disconnect right there, that makes this all so hard. You are not the problem because your Christianity is merely conservative, not crazy.

So when Lynn and I, for example, see and hear what Schaeffer is decoding and warning about as crazy christian conservatism, and then we wind up talking to non-crazy folks like you and CW about it, our goal isn’t to fight with you but to work with you and get a knowledgeable alliance going to figure out how best to help stop it (the dangerous crazy part) within all our American values and freedoms. Instead it almost always winds up being all about how YOU are not crazy and maybe they aren’t really, either. Because Christianity isn’t.

I’ve tried a few times before to stipulate that up front — this is ONLY about the dangerous crazy fringe in your midst, that you are in the best position to call out and discredit, not you lovely thinking non-crazy people — but still somehow every time, we wind up with Terry and CW, Stephanie or Gem, remember her? e.g. feeling they need to explain, defend and protect their own Christianity from US rather than joining with us to protect it from the real danger of its perverters.

Does that make sense? Can we talk about it?

19 11 2009
JJ

Our dear, dear homeschooling blog friend Betty Malone, who made the first light-hearted comment in this thread, has suddenly passed away. Separate post coming. . .

19 11 2009
Shocking News: Our Dear Friend Betty Malone « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Betty posted a comment here Sunday, about the religious left emerging. She had been writing on FaceBook about having the flu, and then the morning of Nov. 13 said she was feeling better, ready to get cracking on her directorial work with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. […]

28 11 2009
JJ

Rhode Island Religion Lurches Right Against American Tradition:

It is fitting that the current battle between the Catholic Church and pro-choice lawmakers involves the nephew of the only Catholic president and takes place in Rhode Island, which not only was the first colony founded on the principles of religious liberty and the separation of church and state but was the strongest state for John Kennedy in 1960.

Providence Bishop Tobin’s barring Patrick Kennedy from receiving communion because of his pro-choice views is an assault on both Roger William’s vision of the separation of church and state now enshrined in the First Amendment and the Kennedy legacy itself (which the Church once embraced).

American Catholics have a historical relationship with the Democratic Party, as the Church and the Party were the two principal institutions that protected successive waves of immigrants from Europe in the 20th Century. Nowhere was this more prevalent than in my home state of Rhode Island which was two-thirds Catholic and two-thirds Democratic (and often confused which was the religion).

This changed in 1980 when Boston’s Cardinal Medeiros issued a pastoral letter stating that those who elect pro-choice candidates “cannot separate themselves totally from [a] deadly sin.” . . Notre Dame President Father Hesburgh warned that by making abortion their singular priority, the Church was asking Catholics to embrace candidates who disagreed with almost all of the Church’s social justice teachings.

That is exactly what has happened.

9 09 2010
Consider “Parental Rights” in Light of Friendly Atheist Advice to 14-Year-Old « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Religious Left Emerges, Religious Right Erodes […]

4 01 2011
Continuing Class Conversation: American Dream or Nightmare? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] and schoolteachers, Lucifer and ACORN and the United Nations (not to be redundant, lol) oh, and on all social justice and power-to-the-people public programs (excepting power OVER people like prisons, police and the military, government used to strike […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: