The Intelligentsia needs smarts

camosy

Charles C. Camosy

Charles C. Camosy wrote a gleaming gem over at the Religion News Service, “What it means to ‘get’ religion in 2020.” His thesis: The American intellectual elite fails to feel America’s pulse. Or, as he puts it, “Otherwise sophisticated journalists and commentators regularly display minimal understanding of religion and how theological claims ought to function in public discourse.”

University professors, editorial boards, and Democratic Party chiefs invariably presuppose that religion is a frill, a mere comfort, a second or third-tier priority far behind economics. Thus, “those who control our public discourse have very little understanding of why they should take theological claims in public discourse seriously at all.”

They’re committing an act of intellectual dishonesty. For one thing, “Americans are still overwhelmingly religious. Ninety percent believe in God or some higher power, and 56% believe in God ‘as described in the Bible.’” For another, “religious beliefs are extremely important in the lives of African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, and those without a college education – especially when compared to the role religion plays in the lives of privileged whites.”

Dismissing religion as a frill – like cake frosting or a preference for a particular ice cream flavor – “fundamentally misunderstands what theological claims are. They are not articulations of personal preference or taste. They are claims about what is objectively true based on a particular understanding of the good. They deserve precisely the same place in public discourse as similar kinds of secular claims.”

I’ll point out: There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with religion informing our political beliefs. In fact, the wall separating church and state – so often cited among the intelligentsia – is a religious belief itself, first promulgated by Anabaptists, Baptists, and Quakers wary of off-with-your-head monarchs. They and their descendants called for that wall so religious thinking could expand.

Read the entire article here.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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