The Religious Left? That’s Unpossible!

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Here’s another article someone called my attention to. I don’t have much to say about it, but I thought I’d post it to give others a chance to comment if they wanted.

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15 Responses to “The Religious Left? That’s Unpossible!”

  1. Michael Lasley Says:

    I’m skeptical. I think a lot of Christians are a bit tired right now of the current administration (or maybe of conservatism more generally). But it was just two years ago when, as the article pointed out, the SBC alone signed up 400,000 mostly conservative voters. Things are going well for Bush right now, but still. I still think most religious folk will vote based on the issues of choice and sexual orientation. I’ll be very surprised if that’s not the case.

  2. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Ditto.

  3. Michael Lasley Says:

    I left out the “not.” Things are not going well for Bush right now, is what I meant

  4. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Ditto the new “not.”

  5. Terry Austin Says:

    Howard Johnson is right about Gabby Johnson being right.

    Why get our own men killed? We’ll wire the governor to send us a new sheriff.

  6. Michael Lasley Says:

    Harumph!

  7. Sandi Says:

    The question is, why are choice and sexual orientation the issues that people would cast their vote based upon, given that these are issues that do not affect many of them personally in any way? The one woman I’ve talked to who said that she was generally not in favor of the Republican party positions but had to vote for them because of abortion was basing it on pure sentimentality about babies, nothing more. That view is just so asinine it makes my blood boil. That having been said, though, I support the Bob Casey strategy. If we can recapture a portion of the vote by running nominally anti-choice candidates who aren’t, in any case, going to be able to DO anything about abortion’s legality (at least before the Supremes overturn Roe, which will be another couple of years), that’s fine by me.

  8. Sandi Says:

    The problem with a Religious Left is that they just don’t have the numbers. A Religious Left will alienate a lot of secular folks, who are in growing numbers according to recent polls on the issue. So there’s a good 15% of people who have no religious affiliation, and a good 30-40% who are so hopelessly conservative there’s no talking to them. Unless you capture the secular folks, your coalition isn’t going to work. That is a challenge for the Jim Wallis crowd.

    Personally, as long as those people aren’t up in my face about religion, they can talk about God as much as they want if their values are in the right place.

  9. Michael Lasley Says:

    That’s a great question, Sandi, about why those are the issues that keep so many religious folk voting the way they vote.

    I think voters in general are kind of lazy about who they vote for. They rely on a few people to explain the issues for them rather than actually thinking about them or studying and whatnot. That goes for liberals as well as conservatives.

  10. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’m not sure I understand your second comment, Sandi. Why would a Religious Left necessarily alienate the secular left?

    I don’t think Wallis is trying to build an electoral majority out of Religious Left voters. I think he’s just trying to get the religious folks who are liberal organized and active so that their voice is heard. ISTM that would be a welcome development to liberals of any kind.

  11. Capt MidKnight Says:

    I have no intention of jumping into this discussion as I still bear the scars from earlier encounters, but Sandi’s and Michael’s comments below did remind me of a couple of quotes I’ve read from others who were frustrated with the way many people decide how to vote.

    Sandi said:
    The one woman I’ve talked to who said that she was generally not in favor of the Republican party positions but had to vote for them because of abortion was basing it on pure sentimentality about babies, nothing more. That view is just so asinine it makes my blood boil.

    Michael said:
    I think voters in general are kind of lazy about who they vote for. They rely on a few people to explain the issues for them rather than actually thinking about them or studying and whatnot. That goes for liberals as well as conservatives.

    Others have said:
    Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.
    G. K. Chesterton

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
    Sir Winston Churchill

    Comments from academia?

    BTW, because of a glitch, this may post twice. If so – sorry.

  12. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Sorry to hear you’re scarred, Cap’n. Apologies for any I may have inflicted.

    On the issue of ignorant (in the non-pejorative sense) or unthoughtful (I don’t know of a non-pejorative sense for that one) voters, generally, I think it’s the responsibility of the better informed and/or more thoughtful to educate them. This is one way our system, which is often accused of being too individualistic, ties us all together as a single community. The better educated can’t just run off and leave the rest of the population behind; they have to bring them along.

    This is something that hasn’t happened all that much in our recent history. The public schools are famously bad, and this is in part because the better educated have increasingly chosen careers other than teaching, and in locations where they don’t have much contact with the people who need their influence.

    I sometimes hear national officeholders from CA or the Northeast complain about how their highly populous, wealthy, highly educated states are held hostage by the much less populous states in the middle of the country. Sometimes I just want to shake them and say, “Then move out of your comfy life in that cosmopolitan city with all your highly educated, broadminded friends and come to the middle of America and share those educational opportunities with the rest of us. There are consequences for wealth (cultural, intellectual, and monetary) getting too geographically concentrated, just as there are for its getting too demographically concentrated. If you think the mindset of middle America is backward and holding the country back, come out here and help change it. Don’t gripe that our votes count the same as yours.”

    I mean, as a liberal, I generally agree with the predominant views of those coastal, urban, highly educated states. If they had more influence, our national policies would be much more to my liking. But I don’t favor changing the rules (delegation size in the Senate, electoral college, etc.) that protect the rest of the country from getting left behind.

    I’m rambling, so I’ll shut my piehole, now. Except to suggest I see some real parallels here with “white flight.”

  13. Capt MidKnight Says:

    juvenal_urbino said…
    Sorry to hear you’re scarred, Cap’n. Apologies for any I may have inflicted.

    No apology required. I was just trying to slip in a little gig.
    Such scars as I’ve accumulated over the years came long before I ever heard of Desperate Houseflies.

    I can understand Sandi’s frustration with people who base their ballot choices on what she considers simplistic reasoning or frivolous issues. Believe me, most right wing campaign ads and political rants set my teeth on edge as much as similar left wing misrepresentation and drivel does. I often find myself thinking “A pox on both their houses,” and agreeing with some political pundit who said “If God had intended us to vote, He would have given us better candidates.” We all tend to consider our own opinions and viewpoints quite reasonable, and believe they are arrived at by essentially unassailable logic. The thinking usually goes something like this:

    ”I’m a good, honest person. I wouldn’t believe this way if it weren’t true. Anybody who disagrees must be dishonest.”

    For every good, honest person on the right who’s vote is based solely on abortion or prayer in school, or Gay Rights issues or the recommendation of some slick televangelist, there’s probably a good, honest person on the left who votes the other way, solely on the same issues plus maybe whatever the scientific panic of the month is – Global Warming, Global Cooling, Ozone holes, Save the Whales, Save the Glaciers, Save the Spotted Owl, Save the Snail Darter, Save the Rain Forrest, Save the … (you fill in the blank) etc. or the recommendations of some media personality who can’t form a simple declarative sentence, but has made a gizillion dollars and is therefore an expert.

    And each of these people fervently believes that the other is a dangerous moron.

    Isn’t it fortunate that there are still a few reasonable people like me and you left?

    BTW Terry, I loved the Blazing Saddles reference.

  14. Sandi Says:

    JU, the problem with the people in the “flyover states” (the few educated ones excluded, of course) is that they don’t want to hear what people like us have to say. Maybe it would help them not be so narrow-minded to have us around in a more attenuated way, like the idea of planting a seed and waiting for it to sprout. But my experience with trying to do just what you suggested was a big fat failure. And not just because it’s really hard to teach people things or persuade them on views that are a given to you and have been for some time, but also because those people don’t want to hear it. They aren’t interested in learning to be better or more thoughtful. At some point I had to wash my hands of them.

    Now, my life is no more comfy than it was then because I have differences from the urban dwellers that, in their own way, go just as deep as those I had with the great unwashed. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really fit in anywhere. This is very disillusioning.

  15. Sandi Says:

    Regarding unthoughtful voters, I actually should amend what I said previously to include the caveat that I think people like the woman I referred to are not by any stretch a majority. I think you have people who are true believers in the two world views explained by George Lakoff (strict father & nurturant parent), and then another big group of people who are sort of amoral, in the sense that they vote based solely on their own situation (i.e., pocketbook). Once you add up those three groups, there is maybe a 20% block of educable folks who are basically good but who tend to get jerked around by tv ads and the winds of public opinion. I pulled that number out of the air, maybe it’s bigger or smaller. But not having a wishy-washy personality myself, it’s frustrating to me to watch people change their minds on the basis of something other than changed circumstances, on what seems like a really arbitrary basis.

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