Saturday, May 07, 2005

Sometimes the best compliments...

Come from those who oppose you:
conservatives said their political activism merely expresses their rights as citizens to advocate, vote and participate in government – the same rights liberals and secularists exercise.

Theocracy labeling is "a very subtle attempt to smear evangelical Christians with what we see happening in the Mideast," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

Tom Minnery, public policy vice president with Focus on the Family, called the charge "ludicrous." He said the conference indicates the left "is vaporizing in a hysteria of ignorance and vindictiveness. We’ve never seen anything like it."

I found the article to be heavy-handed and none-too-balanced, like most of Ostling's stuff. But I'll leave the evaluations to those who actually attended the conference.

At the moment, I need to send a letter to the religion editor at my local paper, letting her know what's come out of this.


Blogger Sunfell said...

I had to laugh at the 'table of Bush-bashing books'- there were maybe one or two, but the rest of the titles were either about the Religious Right, civics, philosophy, or other subjects.

And the writer didn't even mention the cautionary comments by Strozier about how sharp Bush really is. He is not a puppet.

I think I now understand 'spin' a lot better. Seeing -and being there- is believing. I was glad I was there.

2:23 PM  
Blogger rhetoretician said...

My definition of spin:

Spraying perfume on a skunk.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


It would be interesting to see how many times Perkins and others in the Religious Right have used "Secular Humanism" and "Liberal" as terms of opprobrium.

Theocrat describes their convictions better than "Secular Humanist" and "Liberal" describes my convictions.

I'll stop using the term "theocrat" when they stop using "secularist," "secular Humanist" and "liberal" to describe me.

2:04 PM  
Blogger IseFire said...


Excellent point about the divisive (sp?) terminology of the Christian Right's leadership.

"Secular humanist," "liberal," "materialistic," "relativistic," "New Age," etc.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Frederick Clarkson said...


That sounds fair to me. This also raises an interesting point too - can one be a religious, or Christian humanist ?

My suspicion is that the theocrats have slung these terms - as opprobium - so, err, liberally because they have actually fallen the rabbit hole of relativism - or plunged willingly, headlong - in their naked pursuit of power.

Or to put it differently, if one is willing to cast all of material existence in totalistic manichean terms such that the designation of absolute evil falls on large numbers of humanity, and if those making such bitter determinations are themselves human - and thus fallible - then that approach, that claim to absolute authority as an extension or agent of God's will can become in practice indistinguishable from expressions of the most brazenly self serving relativistic ethics.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Sunfell said...

How about a secular Christian? I think that Thomas Jefferson, with his carefully excised Jeffersonian Bible (now- miracle free!) would be a great example of such a belief.

What saddens me is that in the Bible, "liberal" is a good word, not the perjorative it is today. We need to reclaim that word, along with "humanist".

I really do not understand the binary black/white mindset of some of these folks. Any suggestion of a more complex field of consideration drives them into a foaming frenzy. It's like it hurts them to actually think. According to a story I once read in "Holy Terror", it is actually painful to return to the colorful secular world after being limited to a single book in a very sheltered fundementalist setting- and it's an effort to start to think again. Perhaps we should take that possibility into consideration when dealing with them.

4:45 PM  
Blogger pastordan said...

Bruce: I don't usually like being called a liberal, mostly because of the negative connotations that have been attached to the term.

But I think that if Tony Perkins or James Dobson called me that, I'd probably laugh and say "durned tootin'".

Actually, that's not what I'd say at all, but Fred wants me to hold back on the cussing...

8:28 PM  

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