Saturday, September 17, 2005

Richard Lands an Oxymoron

Richard Land, a honcho over at the Southern Baptist Convention has been a pivotal figure in the building of the theocratic movement in the United State for a generation. But in a recent speech reported by The Baptist Press, noted by the fine legal blog Religion Clause he has also made a significant contribution to the wider culture by his high-profile use of an oxymoron.

Dr. Land's distinct, albeit inadvertent, contribution to the culture is not entirely original. Dr. Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptist reports that several speakers used the term. However Land gets the credit, because I happened to realize its significance when I read his use of the term. Land's contribution joins the list of such classics as jumbo shrimp, final draft, saying nothing, hot chili, industrial park, junk food, plastic glasses, working vacation, computer jock, incomplete stop, natural additives and, of course, cheap gas.

Drum roll please:

badda badda badda badda badda badda badda badda boom!

Secular Fundamentalist

Ta Da!~

The occasion for Dr. Land's contribution to our culture was his twistedly preposterous argument that "The greatest threat to religious freedom in America are secular fundamentalists who want to ghetto-ize religious faith and make the wall of separation between church and state a prison wall keeping religious voices out of political discourse."

There is no suppression of religious voices in American political discourse. This is variation on the same strawman the Christian Right has been relentlessly knocking down for a generation. What Land and his theocratic cohort don't like is religious equality and separation of church and state. For government to be the protector of the rights of all in religiously diverse society, it cannot be in the business of forming alliances with various sects and coalitions of sects to promote their interests; or promoting religion or religious practices.

Land and the theocratic movement are desperate to claim that there is religious persecution in the U.S. and the stifling of religious expression. This desperation is well-exemplified by their use of term "secular fundamentalist," which is being used to tar the values of those who actually stand for religious freedom; and to reinterpret the Constitution and American history to advance their contemporary political and religious goals.


Blogger Bruce Wilson said...

Oh, this is priceless.

Good catch, Fred.

This is likely to make certain parties ( who I will for the moment leave unnamed ) a bit uncomfortable for the shadow it casts on their political sympathies.

8:51 PM  
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