Rachel Held Evans, one of the most prominent liberal Evangelical voices on the ‘net, has noticed the chagrin which some atheists feel at Richard Dawkins verbal missteps. She’s got a bargain for us:
So, atheists, I say we make a deal: How about we Christians agree not to throw this latest Richard Dawkins thing in your face and you atheists agree not to throw the next Pat Robertson thing in ours?
This reminds me a bit of the hopelessly well-intentioned Brad Paisley/LL Cool J song “Accidental Racist,” in which LL Cool J attempts to bridge the gap by rappin, “If you don’t judge my do-rag/I won’t judge your red flag” and “If you don’t judge my gold chains/I’ll forget the iron chains.”
I understand the intent. The attempt to bridge the gap is appreciated. The impulse is probably good. But forgetting the lingering effects of centuries of slavery and racial oppression in exchange for overlooking some perhaps questionable sartorial decisions? Worst. Bargain. Ever.
Obviously Evans’ deal is on a completely different scale, but still …
On this hand, we’ve got Marion “Pat” Robertson: supporter and business partner of war criminal Charles Taylor, organizer of the Operation Blessing mess which lined his pockets with diamond mine proceeds while claiming to support Rwandan refugees, founder of the ACLJ which is trying to undermine the separation of church and state, and founder of Regent University which has produced large numbers of reactionary politicians and civil servants. Oh, and he says a lot of stupid offensive things.
On the other hand, you have Richard Dawkins, who is apparently suffering the early stages of Fox Geezer Syndrome.
This is not a fair exchange. Robertson has done, and continues to do, serious harm. He’s able to do so thanks to the financial and political support of a large minority of American Christians.
Honestly, I appreciate the folks like Evans and the NALT project who actively speak out against Robertson, Bryan Fisher, Scott Lively, et. al. I recognize that the liberals are our most likely allies, and I try to step carefully when calling out the reactionaries so as not to include the progressives in condemnation. Realistically, I’ve already accepted Evans’ bargain.
But let’s not kid ourselves: Robertson is more than just the crazy uncle of American Christianity, and undoing the damage he’s done is going to take more than writing some stinging blog posts. I wish Evans had found some other figure to balance against Dawkins.