Friday, July 22, 2005

Talk to Action in the News

Talk to Action is getting some media traction -- and we haven't even graduated from our temporary site to our planned, fully interactive site, modeled on such interactive political blogs as The Daily Kos.

First, Z Magazine mentioned Talk to Action in its recent report on a major conference on challenging the religious right.

Then, the prominent, Boston-based gay newsweekly Bay Windows profiles Talk to Action contributor Chip Berlet and his vision of his, and Talk to Action's, niche in the contentious political blogosphere. Here are some excerpts:

"Berlet, who co-authored Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort and edited Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash has joined with a host of other veteran right-wing watchdogs like Frederick Clarkson, author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy to create, an umbrella site for likeminded folks that will link to his online musings."

"A bunch of us are trying to organize a response to the Christian right that focuses on being respectful of their right to hold beliefs, but challenging those beliefs," Berlet explains. "Which is basically an argument against labels like 'religious political extremists' or 'radical religious right...'"

"Berlet is clear that while he may be looking to make nice with the right, he's not looking to placate their political views, or even find common ground in the great progressive/right wing divide. 'I think it's a balancing act,' he says of his blogging style. 'It recognizes what the first amendment means when it talks about freedom of speech and freedom of religion. [That] means that I have to acknowledge that people on the Christian right have an absolute political right to hold certain views. But what I want to argue is that there's a way to challenge the content of those views that is not dismissive and disrespectful of people of faith.'"

"While interested in respecting the first amendment Berlet is not about conceding the rights of people targeted by the Christian right. 'I'm not interested in giving an inch on gay rights or women's rights or reproductive rights or immigrant rights or the science of evolution,' he explains 'I'm not interested in finding a common ground with people who reject the basic message of constitutional law in the U.S...."


Blogger simplexity said...

Very excited about the new site - can't wait to hear more. (thinking about this even on vacation)

thinking of doing a piece on "the scapegoat" - sparked by a carousel ride where one of the "horses" was a goat with a red ribbon in it's hair.

12:36 AM  
Blogger Chip Berlet said...

What a great way to get an inspiration. I do think that scapegoating is a central issue we need to address.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Bruce Wilson said...

Yes, scapegoating is in my view the most pernicious cultural trend now at work in American culture and politics.

But the religious right seems to be playing an eliminationist version of scapegoating, whereas the scapegoating of old was more merciful to the goat itself :

My crumbly, 100 year old Websters' Dictionary informs me that a scapegoat was "a goat over the head of which the high priest of the ancient Jews confessed the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement, after which it was allowed to escape." ( Biblical reference - Lev. 16:8-22 )

2:43 PM  

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