Saturday, May 20, 2006

Weekend Readings

While I am not anti-Christian (being devoutly anti-Christer), I know myself well enough to understand that my skepticism towards (and suspicion of) organized religion in general and Christianity in particular make me highly undiplomatic to comment impartially on Left Christianity and its political efforts. I also understand the country I live in and the necessity of including religion as a major variable in any political calculation.

So I offer (with as little implied comment as I am capable of) these readings (and a chance for debate if you choose):

Two articles, one in yesterday's New York Times, another in today's Washington Post, on religious Liberals and their efforts to form a counterweight to the Jesus Crackers that dominate the political Right.

A brilliant essay by the estimable Gordon Wood in the latest New York Review on two new histories of the development of American political/religious culture circa Founding Fathers. Think about this quote of Wood's:

The American Revolution furthered the transformation of American religion. It endorsed the Enlightenment's faith in liberty of conscience and continued to erode the already weak connection between church and state. But it did not reject the role of religion in the culture.

Also in NYR, a review of Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy and a review of the recently discovered Gospel of Judas.

I do have two questions: doesn't the desire to form, and the discipline that would be required to form, a unified, organized Liberal Religious political action group disavow the plurality of religious beliefs the Left rightfully and proudly embraces? And isn't this a metaphor for what are both our political - and philosophical - strengths and weaknesses as Liberals?


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