There will always be tensions in reconciling religious beliefs with the rights of others, but there will also always be people who will exploit the normal strains of a religiously plural society for their own political ends. The issues of the so-called culture wars have been recast as a battle over the definition of religious liberty. There is a deep, dominionist agenda in play here, with the battle over religious liberty at its cutting edge, and it is not limited to matters before the courts.
We live in theocratic times. Not in the sense that the United States has become a theocracy, but in that the uneasy theocratic coalition we refer to as the Christian Right remains one of the most powerful and dynamic religious and political movements in American history. Like any other large coalition, the interests of the main players are sometimes in conflict. But they remain bound together by a shared opposition to religious pluralism, the rights of individual conscience, and the separation of church and state.
Well, its been awhile! I do hope to get back in the habit of posting more frequently.
But just in case you are looking for my writing, I can be found at Political Research Associates, where I am Senior Fellow for Religious Liberty these days. I also post at the group blog I co-founded, Talk to Action and I have a bi-weekly column at LGBTQ Nation.
And if you don’t already, you can also follow me on Twitter @FredClarkson
In recent years at Christmastime, I have posted a response to the preposterous-but-malevolent claims broadcast on Fox News and elsewhere that there is a War on Christmas. I can’t help but find the whole thing not only false, but tiresome, and anti-Semitic.
As if to rebut the loathsome propaganda that goes back to Henry Ford, public radio has a quarter century tradition of rebroadcasting the A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, performed annually at King’s College, in Cambridge, and broadcast around the world on the BBC
It will be rebroadcast on Christmas Day, in the morning. Check it out.
Simon Brown, writing in the November 2013 issue of Church & State magazine, has picked-up on my recent article in The Public Eye. He observes that far from the Religious Right being dead (as has been so frequently declared by people who really ought to know better) it is “alive and kicking” and epitomized by the regressive alliance between the Catholic Bishops and the Protestant evangelical Christian Right.
— from journalist Paul Rosenberg, writing at Crooks & Liars.
Rosenberg notes that a lot of writers have taken the view that the Religious Right is down for the count for a variety of reasons, and has little left because of the inevitability of marriage equality:
But is this hunker-down strategy really all that the religious right has left? Frederick Clarkson, author of Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy warns that it’s not. A taker of the long view, as the title of his book suggests, he reminds us, “It is easy to forget that much of Christianity is still emerging from the fog of religious war and the smoldering tensions of the Protestant Reformation.” That’s not exactly how most political observers — even on the left — approach trying to understand the Religious Right, and it’s exactly why they all should be paying more attention to Clarkson, and the developments he tracks — central to which is an unprecedented degree of cooperation between Protestant evangelicals and the Catholic Church.
It would be hard to be awake in America and not sense that some deep currents are shifting somewhere beneath the surface of our our politics and religion — things that go unmeasured by sociologists and pollsters. But but we do get glimpses of these developments in the media and in the actual political behavior of conservative pols and religious leaders. Nevertheless, it can be hard to see, even when it is right in front of us.
Trends are often like that. We don’t really see them, until we do. And when we do, we are surprised that we hadn’t fully realized it before.
And that’s how I have felt about the growing alliance between the leaders of the U.S. Catholic Bishops and the leaders of the protestant evangelical Christian Right. I have written an essay, Christian Right Seeks Renewal in Deepening Catholic-Protestant Alliance, for the next issue of The Public Eye magazine about this and some of the implications.
Crimes against humanity are best carried out in secret. Terror can be inflicted, ethnic cleansing can be waged, torture can be committed, and if it is not an official hot spot that the whole world is already watching then who in the world will even know? That is the way it has pretty much always been. But brutal regimes are now on notice that human rights activists with satellites may pop up at any time to document their crimes and haul them before the court of world opinion — and possibly even the International Criminal Court…
It is remarkable how little has been written about Rev. Louie Giglio’s disingenuous statements on the occasion of his withdrawal from participation in the presidential inauguration ceremony. Suffice to say that he has not retreated one bit from the hateful statements that surfaced and forced his departure. But the real problem, you see, is not Giglio. It’s those crafty gay people who objected to the hate. Much more.
Yes, for a number of years now, elements of the Democratic Party sometimes pander to the Religious Right to the point where its more like aping the Religious Right. Just when I thought the leadership was pretty much over it, the Rev. Louie Giglio imbroglio shows that I was wrong.
A lone sheep cries out:
There are more of us than them!
The flock keeps grazing.