My organization, the Secular Coalition for America, is sending me to Netroots Nation this weekend in Pittsburgh. I have to miss the first day – it starts on a Thursday – but it should be an exciting trip. I just had to change to an earlier flight for tomorrow because otherwise I would miss an interesting panel:
Friday, August 14th 1:30 PM – 2:45 PMPanel, 318
The old liberal vision of a total separation of religion from politics has been discredited. Despite growing secularization, a secular progressive majority is still impossible, and a new two-part approach is needed—one that first admits that there is no political wall of separation. Voters must be allowed, without criticism, to propose policies based on religious belief. But, when government speaks and acts, messages must be universal. The burden is on religious believers, therefore, to explain public references like “under God” in universal terms. For example, the word “God” can refer to the ceaseless creativity of the universe and the objective validity of human rights. Promoting and accepting religious images as universal will help heal culture-war divisions and promote the formation of a broad-based progressive coalition. (emphasis added)
Been discredited? That’s quite an assertion to make, but then again, I don’t know what they mean. I don’t think even they know what they mean by it, but hopefully I’ll find out tomorrow.
And indeed, they seem to be willing to play fast and loose with words. If they’re willing to say “‘God’ can refer to the ceaseless creativity of the universe and the objective validity of human rights” they must have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s pathetic. But they shouldn’t be offended! They can just tell themselves that “pathetic” can refer to “brilliant”! (How many of you didn’t see that one coming?)
These “culture-war divisions” aren’t trivial matters of semantics to be smoothed over with definitions. We honestly disagree on many points and in our overall worldview. I doubt that Senator DeMint, for example, wants “In the Ceaseless Creativity of the Universe We Trust” carved into the Capital Visitor’s Center. It’s a genuine disagreement about what IDEAS – not just words – are acceptable for the government to endorse.
Welcome to the current state of politics, which bears uncanny resemblance to Through the Looking Glass: