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March 30, 2005

The Religious Right and The Reasonable People

Most contemporary references to the religious right are an attempt to tarnish today’s Christian conservatives with the unsavory image of those who awkwardly returned fundamentalism to political life 20 years ago. It became a pejorative term some time ago, and is used to discount the arguments of the newly powerful evangelical activists.

Unfortunately, when media are looking for conservative Christian voices, they often look not to the experts in a given field who are Christian conservatives, but to the tried and true voices of the right who will speak on anything (whether or not they have speak with an authority on the topic). The messages aren't that different, just the messengers and methodology.

The old voices of the religious right—Falwell, Robertson, and others—are joining the new voices of evangelicalism in the fight for Terri’s life. They are joined by people of all stripes who recognize the profound evil in starving a handicapped woman to death. Jesse Jackson is passionate on the subject. As Matt mentioned below, Ralph Nader of all people is aligned on the side of life.

The moral bankruptcy of the right-to-murder campaign cannot be hidden by the tired tactic of besmirching those lobbying for life with old labels like “the religious right.”

Jeff Jarvis ended his Easter post trashing people of faith who are passionate about saving Terri Schiavo’s life by separating them from himself and others who on Easter morning “go to church -- huge numbers of them who may not be devout in media terms and, in fact, go only once or twice a year. These are the reasonably religious, not the zealots, not the theocrats, just Americans.

Let’s see. Religious people who attended houses of worship a couple of times a year and aren’t passionate about human life. Neither hot nor cold. Jesus had a few things to say about them (Rev. 3:16).

Posted by Jim at March 30, 2005 09:18 AM

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I'm a Catholic, and if I followed Jarvis' notion of being "reasonably religious" by attending mass once or twice a year, I'd catch the devil from my parish priest. Jarvis' comments put me in mind of something that, I believe, Matthew Arnold once said about the Church Of England: that the wonderful thing about it was that it didn't interfere with a man's politics or religion. I'm not picking on the C of E or Episcopalians, by the way, just pointing out an attitude that is all too prevalent among non-believers and the "knock-on-wood" faithful.

Posted by: DWC at March 30, 2005 10:02 AM

Didn't Screwtape love the moderately religious man? I believe that was even more delightful than the man who does not know "the enemy".

Posted by: BJS at March 30, 2005 05:18 PM

I am not religious,the Pope is; but as an evangelical Christian I love to be considered 'right,' because Hitler, il Duce, and all socialists are 'left.'

Posted by: Klaus at March 30, 2005 06:33 PM

Jarvis' opinion of himself notwithstanding, I am appalled at the number of people who see Jarvis as the "voice of reason" in the Terri Schiavo debate. This points to such a huge issue. I'm not one to go quoting scripture, but you nailed it with Rev. 3:16. I've been absolutely villified by some commenters who say my problem is I'm not a 'reality-based' conservative. I'm glad they pointed that out to me, otherwise [smirk] I never would have known.

Posted by: greg at March 31, 2005 10:02 AM