Basically, ReligiousLeftLaw is likely to appeal to you if you’re the kind of person who is inclined to like a blog titled “ReligiousLeftLaw.” That name describes a Venn diagram of three overlapping circles — people who are religious, people who identify with the “Left,” and people who are interested in the law. And in the middle there, at the nexus of those three circles, you’ll find this blog:
Religious Left Law brings together progressives from various faith traditions to discuss religion, law, politics, and/or culture.
Well, yeah. Truth in advertising, that.
It’s a little bit academic, a little bookish, maybe even a little bit tweedy (I mean that in a good way — I’m fond of tweedy academics). A little bit like a religious-progressive version of Crooked Timber in some ways.
Again, I suspect some people are rolling their eyes or thinking, meh, whatever, but that others are thinking ooh progressive from various faith traditions discussing religion, law, politics and/or culture — neat! That’s what I thought when I found this site and after reading it for the past year or so, I’m still thinking that.
ReligiousLeftLaw has a long, distinguished and somewhat diverse (mostly male) list of contributors who bring perspectives that I don’t always find anywhere else — religious perspectives, disciplinary perspectives, idiosyncratic perspectives.
One of the things I like about it is that these aren’t bloggy people. I’ve been a creature of the blogosphere for more than a decade, and it’s good to find sites like this one that are a bit off of that particular beaten path. What I mean is they’re out of this particular loop because they’re in the loop elsewhere — where I am not. They’re in loops that I didn’t even know were loops. And that’s an excellent nutritional supplement to my otherwise blog-heavy diets of bloggier blogs. Sure they have a blogroll that lists plenty of the usual suspects — Huffpo, Talking Points Memo, Kos — but they seem to be setting their own conversation more than following the buzz from those sites. (Not that there’s anything wrong with following that conversation either, but I’m glad not everyone is doing it.)
Some recent posts offer a good sense of the sort of thoughtful, interesting topics addressed there: Peter S. O’Donnell’s “When Buddhists Resort to Violence;” Michael Perry on “Why Excluding Same-Sex Couples From Civil Marriage Violates the Constitution;” Charles J. Reid on “Bitcoins, Tulips and Libertarians;” and “Shadow Over Springfield,” Reid on the failures of Illinois’ culture-warrior Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki.