If only I had the guts to say what needs to be said …

By Charles Redfern

My problem: I’m all mush, an absolute coward.  I’d stand my ground if I were really courageous.  I’d emphasize how all sides push us over the intellectual cliff when they type-cast each other.  Conservatives deem liberals godless and unpatriotic; liberals snub conservatives as backward-thinking, judgmental, narrow-minded trolls.

But liberals can be blind to their own narrow-mindedness – especially since it comes in an “open-minded” guise.  Many say they respect religion – they might even attend church themselves – but they get snitty whenever conservatives invoke theological thinking.  Witness Scott Keyes of  Thinkprogress.org, who quotes Senator Jim DeMint and says: “It is nothing new for conservatives to dress their political ideology in religious language.”  The implication: DeMint cannot be sincere.

I’d say this if I were courageous: “Tell me all about your open-mindedness and non-judgmentalism, Scott.  You must have crawled around Senator DeMint’s head and poked into each and every brain cell, because you’ve got the skinny on his inner motives.”

But I’m a fraidy-cat, so I won’t talk about how I agree with Senator DeMint’s belief in original sin (which asserts that humanity has a nasty bent toward self-centeredness) – although I think he misapplies it in his governmental theory.  Nor will I say that liberal tut-tutting infuriates people and chases them into the conservative fold.  I won’t plead with them to follow their own open-minded creed and show some respect, nor will I scream: “Look, I’m a progressive on many issues!  I think we’ve got some good arguments!  Stop ruining them with your insults!”

I will, however, point to Ira Chernus’s blog, right here, written on March 27, who says progressives dismiss conservative theology at their peril.  Chernus makes the same points I would make – if I weren’t such a mushy guy.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is an ordained clergyman specializing in healing and conflict transformation. He lives with his wife and son in Connecticut.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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