August 25, 2006

"I am a Conservative Too"

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:54 pm

The founding meme of this blog is that, while I am not a conservative nor a Republican, yet I am a Christian too. It appears there is a negative of this photograph: non-religious conservatives. In a flattering emulation of this blog, Heather MacDonald states:

Nonbelievers are good conservatives, too.

I have said repeatedly that I am a progressive because of, not in spite of, my Christian faith. Ms. MacDonald echoes this when she says:

Skeptical conservatives—one of the Right’s less celebrated subcultures—are conservatives because of their skepticism, not in spite of it

Eerily similar, no? I have a great deal of sympathy for MacDonald. The conflation of Christian faith and conservative politics has created, it seems, two communities of outcasts: Christian progressives and non-religious conservatives.

In fact, I hate to say it, but I have more in common with MacDonald than I do with most Christian conservatives. MacDonald and I both cherish the ideals of the Enlightenment and believe in the separation of church and state. We both understand that atheists and agnostics can be moral people while Christians can behave immorally. We both believe the claim of superior Godliness by conservatives is harmful — she bemoans its harm to the conservative movement, and I its harm to the church.

Much of her article is a well-articulated discussion of the theological problem of theodicy, and she is right to point out the fallacy of much of our relgious thinking in that regard. Here again, I find myself agreeing with MacDonald, even though we ultimately come to opposite conclusions regarding God and the existence of pain in the world.

I may be deluding myself, but if all conservatives were like MacDonald, it seems the political debates in the country would be much more enjoyable. The conservative arguments would be based on rational argument rather the need to demonize, literally, we liberals.

8 Comments

  1. Bob writes:

    “The conservative arguments would be based on rational argument rather the need to demonize, literally, we liberals.”

    Funny. That has been my complaint with the way you demonize most Conservative Christians rather than rationally arguing with them:

    Bob writes:

    “I said we mustn’t demonize conservative Christians even as they demonize us.”

    and THEN Bob writes:

    “A large segment of the population willing to follow a Hitler or a Mussolini is another. Where was their conscience?
    These psychological studies developed a profile of the type of person likely to participate in immoral actions merely because a strong leader tells them to. These authoritarians tend to be submissive to authority and in favor of punishing the declared enemies of the authorities. Authoritarians conform to conventional behaviors, are hostile to minorities, and view themselves as more moral than others. They also aren’t very self-aware; it’s difficult for them to see their actions from outside the context of the authoritarian structure.

    As you might expect, conservative Christians tend to score highly on this scale.”

    How are Christian Conservatives supposed to take a posting which honors the writings of a left biased writer who tries to tie the Christian Conservative ideology to Hitler, to Nazi authoritarianism and to the approval of torture in an effort to demonize them? Is this supposed to facilitate rational argument?

    It cuts both ways, Bob.

    Comment by Jacke — August 26, 2006 @ 3:24 pm

  2. It’s funny – people would like to fit all of us into neat little
    compartments, yet it doesn’t work that way. There are some of us
    in the ELCA that are theologically “orthodox”, but politically
    progressive, and thus we are not members of the religious right.
    Frankly, I like the independendence from that movement.

    As Christians, I think our political party should be God anyway.

    Comment by Buckeye Bob — August 28, 2006 @ 2:01 am

  3. I don’t care what anybody says about you Buckeye Bob. I like ya. 😉

    Comment by Jacke — August 28, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

  4. BB –

    btw, I’m theologically orthodox/politically progressive as well, in case you were thinking I’m progressive theologically as well as politically.

    Comment by Bob — August 28, 2006 @ 2:36 pm

  5. Jacke –

    You wrote “a posting which honors the writings of a left biased writer.” It seems anyone you agree with is conservative, and anyone you disagree with is, by your definition, left-biased if not liberal.

    John Dean is a conservative, and has worked for more conservative Republican presidents and has more conservative bona fides than even you! 🙂

    You just disagree with what he says. That doesn’t make him left-biased.

    Comment by Bob — August 28, 2006 @ 2:41 pm

  6. Bob,

    Don’t worry. I didn’t think otherwise. It’s just important that all remembers that theolgoical orthodoxy SHOULD result in political progressivism and populism.

    At least in my humble opinion.

    Jacke – thanks for watching my back!

    Comment by Buckeye Bob — August 29, 2006 @ 4:17 am

  7. Bob, I’m not going to argue that my OPINION is right and your OPINION is wrong…I wholeheartedly agree with the statement made by Buckeye Bob that “As Christians, I think our political party should be God anyway. ” I also do not intend to argue with Buckeye Bob that his opinion is wrong when he writes: “It’s just important that all remembers that theolgoical orthodoxy SHOULD result in political progressivism and populism. ”
    You are both welcome to your OPINIONS. I would hope that I am as equally welcome to mine.

    Comment by Jacke — September 3, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

  8. It seems that every time I read the title “Conservative Christian” I also see the phrase “separation of church & state”. Uh, has there been an attempted coup that I’m unaware of? Just because a Republican Christian was elected twice doesn’t mean we’re looking for theocracy. The separation is good for us, anyone who thinks differently is misguided. We don’t do very well when in power (Crusades, Inquisitions, stake burnings), so I don’t think we should have any. What I do think we should have is the right to have political beliefs that are driven by our religious beliefs, becuase (for me anyway) that’s where it should all start. “From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I want my heart to overflow with Christ, so that everything is based in my faith.

    And by the way, most of us agree with the two of you that “atheists and agnostics can be moral people while Christians can behave immorally.” But being moral doesn’t make you righteous, because “[he is} the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” You have to repent and follow Christ, regardless of your moral stature.

    Comment by Elmo — September 30, 2006 @ 12:34 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress