Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The decent Christians

There's so much to blog about today I hardly know where to begin. I could blog about ethically challenged Tom Delay. I could blog about the very troubling attack on the judiciary. I could blog about the very scary condition of our economy. I could blog about John Paul II. But what I have decided to share with you in part is an article by Mark Morford entitled, "Where are the good Christians?" because it speaks to a serious concern of mine: the fact that fundamentalists presume to speak for all Christians. Here's how he starts out:

I know they're out there.

I forget, often, too often, just how many there are but I know they exist in much larger numbers than you might be led to believe by current spiritually embarrassing headlines and I know they are just as, if not more, passionate and healthy and deeply felt in their beliefs than the overpublicized sects of angry and frothing "true believers" screeching into the megaphone of the culture, the ones yanking BushCo's chain and pounding their Bibles and hiding their warped porn fetishes and forcing their way into our lives and laws and bedrooms right now.

They are the decent Christians. They are the calm, morally progressive, compassionate, open-hearted Jesus-loving folk who don't really give a damn for archaic church dogma or pious noise or sanctimonious candlelight vigils, for repressing women or bashing gays or slamming Islam and. in fact, turned to Christianity precisely because they believe these things are abhorrent and wrong and, well, anti-Christian.

You know it grieves me somewhat to see Morford's sentence, "They are the decent Christians," because it implies (sadly correctly) that the raging fundamentalists who have such influence today are not decent. Later he observes:

They are, in short, those who understand the deep irony that, when it comes to religion, the ones who scream and stomp and whine the loudest are often the ones who understand their faith the least.

But there is a reason these calm and moderate and private Christians don't make the news, why, despite their enormous numbers, they are not setting the cultural agenda like some sort of sanctimonious meth-addled monkey (hi, Sen. Santorum!) right now.

It's because they are not organized. They are not a club. They do not have a unified attack agenda. They do not have pamphlets or advertising budgets or congressional lobbyists or the complaint line of every TV network and program except Fox News and "The 700 Club" on speed dial.

It is simply a disaster that the fundamentalists have somehow been allowed to set the cultural agenda. Progressive Christians and progressive people of other faiths do need to organize. Oh, there are organizations like The Interfaith Alliance and Americans United for Separation of Church and State but these groups are relatively small. Somehow we've got to get mobilized. Or the United States is going to turn into a very nasty theocracy indeed.

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