Skip to main content

A few weeks ago, I posted about the extraordinary oration of Rev. William Barber at Netroots Nation. (It has been much discussed by others as well, for example, here and here.)  Since then, TrueBlueMajority has posted a transcript of the speech, which makes blogging so much easier. Thank you TBM!) I said at the time I would have more to say about it, and I do.  Here is a little more. (More to come.)

Barber says that it is important to look to religious progressives to help to counter the Religious Right. And I couldn't agree more.  

For many years I have been struck by how too many non-religious figures come across when talking about what they think Christianity or any other religious faith is supposed to be about:  Concern trollish. Disingenuous. Unpersausive. So what.   Similarly, when political insiders try to present religious figures as progressive or even moderate -- when they are not, it is both offensive and politically counter productive. (Democrats and liberals who should have known better sought to do this in recent years with among others, Rick Warren and Samuel Rodriguez.)  (Dispatches from the Religious Left:  The Future of Faith and Politics in America was in part, a response to that.)

Let's listen to Barber:

So what you need to challenge the Religious Right is not somebody to go on MSNBC or CNN and say I don't have anything to do with that and I just don't like...  but that you need somebody who is a person of faith to challenge the hypocrisy of faith and say to the Religious Right: you really want a moral debate?  Bring it on, baby.  Bring it on.  Bring it here!  [applause]
Barber compellingly details what a moral agenda looks like, using moral language, and in open defiance of partisan messaging and election year posturing. He is not only bi-partisan he is transpartisan in articulating a moral vision that is not just a shopping list of highly particularized issues, but presented as a comprehensive vision of a just society, how various issues interconnected, and an integrated and just way of getting there.  

Part of finding a constructive, dynamic, hopeful way forward is recognizing that the smug disdain for others’ beliefs anti-religionism pits progressives against one another, and hold back the conversations we most need to have.  Such conversations are taking place, and are moving forward dynamically in the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina. His speech is powerful evidence of the meaning and consequences of long term organizing.  

So in North Carolina we're black We're white. We're Latino. We're Native American. We're Democrat[s]. We're Republican. We're Independent, We're people of all faith, people not of faith who believe in a moral universe We're natives. We're immigrants. We're business leaders and workers and unemployed.  We're doctors and the uninsured. We're gay. We're straight. We're students and we're parents and we're retirees. And we all stand together to lift up and defend the most sacred moral principles of our faith, our constitutional values, and who we are.  That's what a fusion coalition does. [Emphasis added -- FC]
Now I realize that there are some who disagree with what comes next. What comes right after the above appeal to unity.  And I respect that.  But I request that whatever disagreement you may hold, that you also respect those of us who see it differently.  Who see it more like Rev. Barber.  Who see that there are unnecessary divisions among us that are exploited by the religious and political Right.  We all have far more in common with one another than our differences over matters of faith. Let's try to find good ways forward rather than allowing the Right to pit us against one another.

Barber says that we can challenge the Religious right more effectively -- but "we don't do it by castigating religion."  

" ...we must challenge the position, and the hypocrisy, especially in the South, of the Religious Right.

And we don't do it by castigating religion.  When you want to challenge the religious right, you need to find a good conserv-- religious conservative like me.

Oh, I know that language messed y'all up.

There are a lot of political progressives who are also religious conservatives in their way. Happens all the time. But it is important to listen to Barber on the point.
But let me tell you why I am a religious conservative.  You see in the Bible I read -- I read this book I carry with me called the poverty and justice Bible and it has all the scriptures marked in it that deal with justice and uplift of the poor and helping women and children.

And in that Bible it's 2000 scriptures that are marked.

Now I have looked at the Religious Right's agenda about being against people who are homosexual, and being against -- being for prayer in the school and being against abortion, and I can find about five scriptures that may speak to those issues, and four of them they misinterpret.

And none of them ever trump this ethical demand: that you love your neighbor as yourself. [applause]

And that you do justice and you love mercy!

Because I want to know how you claim to be a conservative when conserve -- ative means "to hold onto the essence of." So how are you a conservative if you talk the least about what God talks about the most and the most about what God talks about the least?

But not only that... we must have a movement that brings together a diverse coalition that is rooted in hope and not fear.

We all tend to make words -- like conservative -- become boundaries; lines drawn in the sand; vast constellations of doctrines wrapped up in a word or a phrase over which we struggle. But life and politics, and indeed faith, for most of us are really not about such rigidities. Word are not ends but means to ends as we try to make sense of life and politics and certainly matters of faith.  We can do better in how we go forward together towards a more just society. And Rev. Barber calls on us to do just that.
We need the kind of language that's not left or right or conservative or liberal, but moral, fusion language that says look: it's extreme and immoral to suppress the right to vote. it's extreme and immoral to deny medicaid for millions of poor people especially people who have been elected to office and then get insurance because simply they've been elected.

It's extreme and immoral to raise taxes on the working poor by cutting earned income taxes and to raise taxes on the poor and middle class in order to cut taxes for the wealthy.

It's extreme and immoral to use power to cut off poor people's water in Detroit [applause and cheering]

That's immoral!  What we need to cut off is that kind of abusive power!

The whole speech is like this.  
...a new movement is happening right here in your face.

We said to them -- make no mistake.  This is no mere hyperventilation or partisan pouting. No, this is a fight for the future and the soul of our state, and it doesn't matter what you call us.  What matters is what we answer to.

But we also learned another power of moral fusion progressive movement in the 21st century.

And that is they can deride us. They can deflect from the issue. But they can't debate us.  They can't debate us when we make our case on moral and constitutional grounds. They call us whiners. Tillis called us -- who's running for the Senate -- he called us whiners and losers and leftists. And some of them called us Socialists.

But we say to them if we are leftists in fighting for justice and fairness and all people, then the Bible and Constitution are the Magna Carta of leftist documents.

Oh they're mad with us.

We need more of this kind of exhortation to unity and social and political transformation. Calls to seek to achieve the kind of society that is so worth striving for that we know deep in our bones that it is worth the struggle. And we get up and get started.  We also need more and better efforts at powerful forms of organizing. It is possible. And Rev. Barber's Moral Mondays movement is showing us how it is done.

Crossposted from Talk to Action

Originally posted to Frederick Clarkson on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 07:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Black Kos community, and Barriers and Bridges.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I'll watch when it's not so late... (4+ / 0-)

    ...but even reading the excerpts all I can say is wow and amen!  We need more of these voices.

  •  Thank you Frederick.. (4+ / 0-)

    I really hope he is successful is building a coalition to change the politics in the south...He's got some pretty impressive numbers that with demographic trends the Democrats need fewer and fewer white voters to win. I'm trying to remember the numbers - but Georgia, NC, SC, MS may not be out of our reach in a few election cycles..

    I also agree the best way to take on the religious right isn't by castigating religion..

  •  Tipped rec'ed and republished (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zwenkau

    Thanks for this - his words on being "conservative" are brilliant and real food for thought.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 01:00:20 AM PDT

  •  First of all, while I applaud (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris, NonnyO

    this man's attempt to combat people who don't understand our Constitution, our civil rights laws and the impetus behind our founding as a nation, his attempt to reconcile the bible with all that is a whitewash. This is a huge problem in the eyes of those who have read that whole book and have left it behind because of the overwhelming immoralities of not only the stories, but of the gods depicted in them.  Rev. Barber can try as hard as he can to deflect this, but it just doesn't work for people like me.  It would be a whole lot more comforting if he stuck to the general humanistic views of how people should be treated, and to the laws and Constitution which back up civil rights than to try to slip the bible into the mix.  

    Here is another problem... "and I can find about five scriptures that may speak to those issues, and four of them they misinterpret." Interpretation is a never ending issue when it comes to the biblical texts, and neither progressive Christians nor fundamentalists Christians will EVER resolve it.  The Rev. is saying he KNOWS he has the right interpretation and others don't.  That is a big problem in my book.

    I totally object to him lumping the bible in with the Constitution (forget the Magna Carta for a moment) as a "leftist document".  That just says to me that he hasn't really read the bible, or he doesn't understand the term "leftist".   You can't just pull the "diamonds out of the dung heap" like Jefferson did and call that "the bible".

    The Rev. tries to be a humanist in terms of morality, which is great, but he makes a huge mistake bringing those scriptures into the mix.  It is a good example of cognitive dissonance.

    Maybe some people feel that countering the Religious Right with the Religious Left will be productive. It could, but the religious left needs to leave the religion out of it. When they get into "you have the wrong view of Jesus" arguments, the religious rights' eyes glaze over, and frankly, so do mine.

    •  I do agree with much of whats said above (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiMennonite, Fishtroller01

      Rev. Barber doesn't need to discuss the constitution at all, its irrelevant to the point in my opinion.

      The point here is the perceived misinterpretation of the teaching of their savior by the religious right by Rev. Barber and those who agree with him.

      Interpretation is a never ending issue when it comes to the biblical texts, and neither progressive Christians nor fundamentalists Christians will EVER resolve it.  The Rev. is saying he KNOWS he has the right interpretation and others don't.  That is a big problem in my book.
      This is precisely true, its the reason there are so many different denominations of Christianity, its a significant problem that the bible can and has been interpreted to justify just about anything you want to justify, the fact that it can be used to justify compassion to the poor while simultaneously be used to justify slavery is a significant problem.

      That said, I still think the only chance to reach Christians is through other Christians, yes some of the religious rights eyes will glaze over, no doubt, its incredibly hard to get people to look at their religion with critical eyes. I think however, if leaders of the religious left led their flock in speaking out against the hate spewed by the religious right, there is a far better chance that some change will come about.

      Nothing I or Fishtroller can say to the religious right will make the slightest difference, to them, we are just Demon infested, Traitors, who hate America, just might shoot you dead and would be better off dying of Ebola.

      Since that's the case, we need the likes of Rev. Barber. I applaud him and wish him the best of luck.

      Religion is like a blind man, in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isn't there.....and finding it.

      by fauxrs on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:36:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I despair (0+ / 0-)

        that "if leaders of the religious left led their flock in speaking out against the hate spewed by the religious right, there is a far better chance that some change will come about."

        Jim Wallis and others have been trying just this for over 30 years-- yet here we are, imo in worse shape than ever in even getting a listening ear from the religious right.

        I fear that the religious right if they fully seize power would persecute, murder, and burn at the stake religious moderates and liberals too-- just like in the old days in Europe and early America. They want their view of "Christian America" imposed and unopposed by the rest of us, whether we like, believe it or not. Just listen to the leadership of the SBC and their dominionism if you want proof. And they are not the only ones.

        And if I were atheist I would fear for my life as well. So I don't blame FT and others for lashing out at religion. Their life really could be on the line.

        The difficulty with their approach is politically it seems self defeating.  By attacking the institutions of  and alienating a large block of individuals who actually support the same secular culture that they say they want seems not too wise. At least in the short term.

        Their stridency also brings up certain difficulties in the atheists own history that they appear not to want to address,i.e., so many despots were/are atheists, the french revolution where the behavior of the atheists was so atrocious that even Voltair despaired, not to mention the violent anarchists who have been associated with assassinations, murders, and the atheistic nihilists that N ietzsche saw as a cultural danger and wanted to move beyond. Mussolini was an atheist. As was Mao and Stalin, etc, and etc.

        With that in their background, why would any religious group trust the atheist community that if THEY got into power, the atheists would respect the separation of church and state, rather than seek the elimination of the church as they have in the past?

        I don't see the attacking the religion of their political friends as helping answer the above question positively at all.  

        •  History is more complex than that... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          Robespierre, the architect of The Terror was an outspoken deist who persecuted both Catholics and atheists. Shortly before his death, he said:

          Is it not He whose immortal hand, engraving on the heart of man the code of justice and equality, has written there the death sentence of tyrants? Is it not He who, from the beginning of time, decreed for all the ages and for all peoples liberty, good faith, and justice?
          The Thermador Reaction that eventually ended the worst of the mass executions was a coalition that included atheists. It's also the case that Stalin martyred as many Bolsheviks as members of the Orthodox church.

          Of course, these kinds of sloppy connections to history can be made for Liberalism as well as atheism, since modern Liberalism owes a debt to Marx as well as Owen. Never mind that it's not hard to find contemporary liberal democracies with atheist majorities or pluralities where religious freedoms, on the whole, are upheld.

          But I can't say it's much of a surprise that in a diary about inclusion, about a speech about inclusion, that a response is to demonize atheists through oversimplifying history. I don't  see your attacking the philosophy of your political friends, neighbors, and even co-congregants as helping the answer positively at all.

          •  Okay (0+ / 0-)

            my point which you completely miss is exactly that history is MIXED.  The atheist community has been demonizing religion pointing almost exclusively at religion's tawdry history, while ignoring through omission THEIR tawdry mixed history.

            I'm all for inclusion. I don't deny atheists have acted  ethically. But so have many groups in religious history as well. The point is the overstridency will not help the atheist cause.

            If you want inclusion, then cut the onesided krap. Inclusion involves both sides politically, working toward common goals. You haven't addressed the salient feature of how does attacking religion, while avoiding your own mixed and tawdry history help achieve those goals? Many of us moderate and liberal religiously oriented are on your side.

            And why is it that pointing out the elephant in the room for the atheist in  their history is "attacking their philosophy" when it is pointing out actual events in history which you don't deny and is considered bad for inclusion, but attacking religion by atheists here is winked at by you?

            I guess it's okay if you are an atheist. And that surely leads to inclusion. Meh

            •  Certainly (0+ / 0-)
              my point which you completely miss is exactly that history is MIXED.
              Yes, which makes your choice to link atheists in the United States to The Terror (erroneously), Stalin, Mao, and Fascism without a mention of, say, Dewey, Debs, the clergy who wrote the first Humanist Manifesto, or Vonnegut who have a much larger influence in the United States is a political choice that says something.  
              I'm all for inclusion.
              Barber: "We're people of all faith, people not of faith who believe in a moral universe"

              You: "why would any religious group trust the atheist community ..."

              I think Barber has a better take on inclusion than you do. You're forgetting that atheists exist within religious groups and that there's no singular "atheist community." I don't think you're for inclusion at all if you're Godwinning in response to a speech about a modern and inclusive social justice movement.

              You could call pulling that kind of rhetorical device, coupled with the word "krap" strident.

              And I've not winked at anything in this discussion other than Barber's brilliant speech.

              •  Oh gawd (0+ / 0-)

                Address the salient point: How does attacking religion and the beliefs of the religious help achieve inclusiveness and working together against the religious right? How tell me please. . .

                By the way, the krap I was referring to is the constant drumbeat from the atheists here of antireligious spew. I grant I wasn't clear on that.

                As for going Godwin, I know of no moderate or liberal religionist here that is promoting the practice of torture, murder, or other awful results in the history of Christianity, yet that history is often thrown in the face of religionists here as standard fare in the atheist critique of religion. So I guess it's okay if you are atheist and no one else need apply?

                •  Addressed. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  NonnyO
                  How does attacking religion and the beliefs of the religious help achieve inclusiveness and working together against the religious right?
                  It doesn't, which is why I've not attacked your religion or your beliefs, only your demonstrated hypocrisy in attacking atheists as a class.

                  Or to put it another way. If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you? And if you wouldn't, why would you jump off a bridge in imitation of your critics?

                  By the way, the krap I was referring to is the constant drumbeat from the atheists here of antireligious spew.
                  If you disagree with a person, disagree with that person. Don't universalize your disagreement with that person to a problem for a diverse group as a whole.
                  As for going Godwin, I know of no moderate or liberal religionist here that is promoting the practice of torture, murder, or other awful results in the history of Christianity, yet that history is often thrown in the face of religionists here as standard fare in the atheist critique of religion. So I guess it's okay if you are atheist and no one else need apply?
                  An eye for an eye as a rhetorical strategy for building interfaith community? I don't agree with using history as a cudgel to beat either side, so quit trying to play "gotcha" with opinions I don't claim.
            •  A simple solution. (0+ / 0-)

              If you disagree with a person, disagree with a person.
              If you disagree with an ideology, disagree with that ideology.

              Demanding collective guilt, accountability, and mistrust across an entire diverse group because you disagree with a specific person, or a specific ideology isn't a good thing.

              •  I expect parity (0+ / 0-)

                If it is open season on religion and religionists, then it is open season on atheism and atheists. If you want to work toward inclusion and social justice, then hunting season needs to be over for both sides, as it only leads to mutual mistrust and division.

                By hunting season I do not mean actual bullets. I mean the verbal barrage that goes on.

                We have a common enemy, and it isn't either of us.

                •  So... (0+ / 0-)
                  If it is open season on religion and religionists, then it is open season on atheism and atheists.  If you want to work toward inclusion and social justice, then hunting season needs to be over for both sides, as it only leads to mutual mistrust and division.
                  I think it's a ridiculous position myself. First because there's not two sides, and second because you're not going to get everyone to agree with you. Declaring that you're going to treat any atheist or all atheists as the enemy until you see some quixotic consensus is just tit-for-tat bigotry.

                  My philosophy of inclusion is that you show up, pick up a hammer, and do the job that needs to be done. If you're angry that we don't worship the same way, that's your problem. If you're angry because a pseudonymous stranger to the both of us said things you didn't like on dkos, that's your problem. It's rather like hating me because I and him share the same eye color.

                  You're certainly not doing it because you understand my atheism or my religion, in order to do that, you need to show up, and pick up your own hammer, and do the work I do.

                  •  So again (0+ / 0-)

                    you avoid the salient question: How does antireligious statements involving contempt, derision, and negative hyperboly help to lead to inclusiveness? You know the answer to that and so do I, but you dance all around it and refuse to answer.

                    And it's bs. I don't hate anybody here-- especially the atheists. I do hate the hypocrisy. I see no political value in the constant antitheistic proclaimations if individuals or a group, or an organization desire to work together with theists. It builds resentment and alienation not any harmony to work for a common cause.

                    Asking people to just overlook it is absurd. People do not normally work well with others who are perceived to hate what they stand for. I do not by the way hate what atheists stand for. But politically it is foolish to expect people to work well for a common cause while a continuous barrage of contempt is thrown from atheists toward theists. It is counter productive and needs to stop if they want political common cause.

                    And I am not convinced that people who openly express contempt and hostility, verbal bullying and derision towards other people's heart felt values and perspectives, would not continue that bullying if they achieved political power. Nor am I convinced that the bullying would be limited to just verbal abuse either.

                    Working to put a bully in charge has historically proved unwise. Why work to empower those who think you to be delusional, not very bright, antithetical to good civilization, or your values lead exclusively to evil, spit on the value of  religious institutions and education? In what parallel universe do you think people who think that about you make good working partners?

                    •  my apologies (0+ / 0-)

                      I missed your comment above where you were responding.

                      •  your point about universalization (0+ / 0-)

                        is well taken.  And I'm not trying to play "gotcha", although it is understandable you may think so.

                        I'm honestly concerned about working with those who've been termed "the new atheists". I appreciate your correction about overgeneralization. That's one of the perspectives I hold against criticisms of religion. Perhaps I've been hoist on my own petard.

                    •  There's a huge gap in political power. (0+ / 0-)

                      Christians are a religious majority in the United States, and are going to be one for my lifetime and yours. When Christian beliefs are criticized, it's purely rhetoric and discourse. There's not going to be an anti-Christian majority in American politics, not in the House, Senate, Executive, Judiciary, or the popular vote. It's not going to happen in my lifetime or yours.

                      But when non-Christian beliefs are criticized? Last summer, the House voted to ban Humanist Chaplains from military service after key Republicans openly insulted our beliefs in floor debate. The Boy Scouts of America announced that Gay and Bisexual minors can join the BSA, but non-theists of any stripe were "not good role models." Atheists are demonized on Church and State issues, even when those issues are brought to the courts by Catholics and Jews. Atheist groups in the last year have been barred from college campuses and military bases.

                      As we speak, a Pagan religious community is engaged in a second round of appeals for the letter of the law to be applied on tax exemption, while another community is facing legal discrimination by a mayor and zoning board. The same is true for Hindu and Muslim congregations.

                      When Christians are criticized as part of a political majority, they are criticized. When non-Christians are criticized, it's often in the service of some form of discrimination. There's nothing close to social or political parity here.

                      Explicit anti-theists are a minority among atheists according to the Silver-Coleman research. There's no lack of debate among atheists which has been routinely covered by the mainstream news. It's your choice which forms of atheism you choose to engage with. But I refuse to be held accountable for the opinions of complete strangers.

                      •  Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

                        I 've expressed myself poorly. If I've in any way suggested you should be held accountable for the acts of others with which you disagree, I sincerely apologize. That's not my intent. Personally I find the discrimination against both people of faith, and non-faith reprehensible. As I'm sure do you.

                        And your point about the current social power disparity is well received by me. I in no way support a "Christian hegemony" as the religious right does. Sadly that Christian hegemony is defacto what we have. Personally I'd prefer the full "flowering" of all perspectives as long as they pursue prosocial and nonhegemonic  ends.

                        However, I don't see that expressed by the Dawkins acolytes, or at least rarely. And  due to their activity I think they are growing in influence. I in no uncertain terms will support that faction (is that acceptable rather than "side"?) in growth in political power as they openly and repeatedly state their aim involves the elimination of values that are important to me.

                        How to sort them out from support I'd freely give to others of differing faith/non-faith may be a quandry.
                        I do know that if that "faction" is included in any sort of coalition involving faith/non-faith in reclaiming something from the religious right there will likely be insurmountable problems. I doubt their desired outcomes are the same as mine or possibly yours.

        •  I would take exception to some if not all (0+ / 0-)

          of your lists of "atheists" in history and their effects. One example, from an essay about atheism titled "Was Atheism the Cause of 20th Century Atrocities" by Robert of Making My Way. org.

           "As the Soviet Union entered the second world war, the Russian Orthodox Church was
          enlisted to support Stalin’s government in the country’s defense - support which it unreservedly granted
          by naming Stalin as divinely appointed, just as it had done under the Russian tsars."

          Beyond that, I am merely pointing out that Rev. Barber is keeping alive the internal war within Christianity that has yet to prove effective.

          •  oh I think (0+ / 0-)

            Stalin was an atheist. He was actively persecuting the Greek Orthodox until Hitler in his stupidity decided to invade Russia. Suddenly Stalin makes patty cake with the Greek Orthodox Church. He used religion to help hold the loyalty of the Russian people for the coming confrontation.

            Soviet Russia was run as a Tyrannical Secular state. By the way, the point is well taken that atheism doesn't of necessity lead to Tyranny. However, atheists have used Tyranny for anti humanist purposes. As have Christians.

            I haven't heard of any modern Wiccans doing that. Perhaps they are superior in that regard. . .

            •  FT thank you (0+ / 0-)

               I have read further about the life of Stalin and have moved from "definitely atheist" to uncertain. It appears that at different times in his life he made differing statements (as recorded by others so there's that problem as well). Post 1941 he clearly makes "spiritualizing" statements, and the statements earlier in his life suggesting a rejection of god and religion are also tied to an acceptance of Darwinism, which the Soviet State doctrine clearly rejected. That gives me pause. . .

        •  Anarchists (0+ / 0-)

          would uphold the right of religion, as afar is my familiarity with the literature goes. They would oppose religious authority, but not religion itself.

          Those few who were violent in the period which was mostly between 1880 and 1900, did not represent the entire anarchist movement.

          "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." - Michael Bakunin (Economic Left/Right: -10.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -9.79)

          by ZhenRen on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:40:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  However, if the numbers of non-believers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fauxrs

        go up at the rate they are now, the problem for the religious right will be that they have lost their political power, and religion won't even BE a part of the conversation.   One can dream....

    •  Yep. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01, NonnyO
      When they get into "you have the wrong view of Jesus" arguments, the religious rights' eyes glaze over, and frankly, so do mine.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:23:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hear! Hear! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Fishtroller01
      Maybe some people feel that countering the Religious Right with the Religious Left will be productive. It could, but the religious left needs to leave the religion out of it. When they get into "you have the wrong view of Jesus" arguments, the religious rights' eyes glaze over, and frankly, so do mine.
      Since the First Amendment grants us both freedom OF and freedom FROM religion in the same brief clause, and the US Constitution states there is NO religious test to hold political office (and the ORIGINAL wording of the presidential oath of office in the US Constitution does NOT have the words 'so help me god' in it), there is NO reason to mention religion in any way, shape, or form whatsoever... unless it is to rebuke the RWNJs with the words from the book they pretend to respect and obey:
      Matthew 6:5-6
      5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
      I equate public praying and proselytizing to attending church at Easter to show off the new Easter Bonnets and new dresses, or at Xmas to show off the new winter coat.  To be seen is its own reward and has nothing whatsoever to do with feeling devout or religious or religion.

      I especially despise modern proselytizing via political conventions and political TV shows to subtly introduce the idea of "leading by divine right" as an unspoken sub-text.  It is carrying both religious and political hypocrisy too far!

      It's also why the unconstitutional and illegal 'office of faith-based initiatives' which is run out of the Executive office needs disbanding and de-funding.  It gives religions (Xian, of course) a toehold in the door to introducing a government-imposed religion that everyone must practice (and I do wonder what they spend their money on if they don't pay legislators to pass laws favorable to the reichwingnuts).

      The 'office of faith-based initiatives' has already given the religious wackos implied authority to have input into misogynistic and abortion laws, in particular, as well as keeping up the moralistic hyperbole that only the US has the duty to lead the world in bringing nations into the modern era by supplying them with arms and military personnal (using our tax dollars, of course).

      Where were these same RWNJs when the US was torturing people upon the orders of Dumbya & Dickie?  Where was the religious right's moral outrage then - and even now - when it comes to torture and drone bombing people with whom we are NOT legally at war...?!?!?

      We have a secular Constitution for a secular nation..., and religionists need to STFU and STOP inserting their idiotic opinions into the political arena.

      [I don't know if the RWNJs have ever done genealogy research and discovered ancestors who have been here since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth or not, but I do (and I've read the bible cover-to-cover; twice; plus studied history of the Mideast from that period and earlier).  My ancestors and relatives signed the Plymouth Compact.  A few fought in the Revolutionary War.  I know what role my ancestors did or did not play in early New England and the founding of this country; two of them even signed the Portsmouth Compact.  What spews forth from the RWNJs mouths about how and why this country was set up..., well, it's not at all what turned up in my historical studies when I was in school or when I do any research into the lives of my early New England ancestors.  The RWNJs really need some intense remedial education in many subjects, particularly history.]

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 09:46:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My main point is that I don't find (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO

        progressive Christians effective when they make their arguments against the religious right based upon their Christianity.  Jesus wasn't a nice guy, no matter how you slice up those stories. The bible is not a good guide for morality. It endorses slavery, it runs rough shod over what we now value as "human rights".  Even the message of salvation is divisive and based upon judgment of people according to their acceptance of it as a cosmic system.

        So I will predict that the Rev. Barbers and progressive Christian organizations will in the end have less influence on changing the power of the religious right than will the simple rise of nonbelievers to the level of noticeable political power.

        •  I find the whole idea... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fishtroller01

          ... of religious "leaders" preaching in a political setting or being on political TV shows to be a huge turn-off and gross-out.

          As a child, I was taught that religion is a subject to ONLY be discussed at home or in church, and absolutely never in public otherwise..., and certainly not in the political arena.

          When I entered third grade in 1954 I had a heckuva time remembering to insert the rote 'under god' into the Pledge.  I instinctively felt it was wrong, but couldn't have given a coherent reason for that feeling at the time.

          JFK took office when I was a freshman in high school and was killed when I was a senior.  Since it was necessary for JFK to make a speech on the separation of church and state, it made a huge impact on what would later be my adult viewpoint.  [About half the students I attended junior and high school with were protestants, mostly Lutheran (as I was), and the other half were Catholic.]

          It was during those high school years when I morphed the view my parents taught me with what would become my adult attitude about religion in the public arena: religion is never, ever, under any circumstances to be blended with politics or government for any reason whatsoever.

          I fervently believe this statement.  If it were followed to the letter (per the Constitution), there would be a lot less unnecessary strife in the political arena since religion has NO place in government.  Period.
          JFK Separation of Church & State-FFRF

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 12:32:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ABSOLUTELY! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO

            And you know that the same Baptists that demanded that Kennedy say this to assure them he wouldn't confer with the pope on matters as President are the ones trying to insert THEIR religion into government and the Constitution.

            •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

              Just like certain early New England puritans (who got here after the first Separatists on the Mayflower) tried to turn around and impose their religion on people ... which was the reason they left England in the first place: to get away from having their government impose a state-sponsored religion on them...!

              The hypocrisy....  < insert eye roll here so extreme as to have only the whites of the eyeball showing, followed by banging my head on my keyboard, the walls, the floor, and throwing a temper tantrum with kicking and screaming that would put the average rampaging ranting toddler to shame >

              Really.... Some days there are just no words to describe my disgust about the willful ignorance of some of "our fellow Americans."

              Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh....

              One line of my Quaker ancestors, John Coggeshall, arrived on the Lyon in 1632 and he and his family became followers of Anne Hutchinson.  They followed her to Rhode Island and settled there.  My John became the first president of RI and died in office in 1647.  He and another of my ancestors, Philip Sherman/Shearman, signed the Portsmouth Compact.

              In other words, my ancestors were not spared religious controversy, altho most were comfortably away from it and lived lives abstaining from imposing their religion(s) on others if/when they had positions of authority.  The sibling of one of my Quaker ancestors married a man who had been whipped in Massachusetts because he was a Quaker.  In any case, the Quakers do not proselytize so I should imagine they were pretty horrified by their neighbors in Massachusetts who were (at that moment in time) adamant about imposing their religious values on everyone in their community.

              My Mayflower ancestor with the colorful reputation, Edward Doty, doesn't seem to have been religious at all, altho he apparently avoided religious controversy.  He was, however, in and out of court for either suing others or being sued himself over his rather lengthy life.  In 1621 Edward was involved in the first recorded duel...!

              The history lessons one learns when doing genealogy research are priceless.  I suppose one could say my adamant opinion that there must be a complete and total separation of church and state is 'inherited' from my colonial New England ancestors....  ;-)

              I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

              by NonnyO on Sat Aug 16, 2014 at 07:42:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Amazing.. the connections... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                NonnyO

                I have a sibling who lives in Providence and when visiting one time we went to the Capitol building and saw the charter that Roger Williams signed with England. We also went over to the Roger Williams museum where I bought a book on him and took several pamphlets.  I used all the material as part of a lecture I gave to a Freethought group about the history of the ideas of separation of church and state.  So I am very familiar with what your ancestors experienced in the hands of the Puritans.

                Williams' ideas spread to William Penn and other figures of that time. I haven't been able to find out evidence of Jefferson or Madison referring to Williams, but the ideas had to have percolated into their times.

                I do identify with the rolling eyes syndrome! I often feel like the character in Matrix, Neo, who wakes up in that pod and realizes that the whole world is hooked up to a dream being manufactured by other beings. That has become my image of the world on religion.

          •  Well, you had at least (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO

            two years of saying it in its original form without the words "under God", and my first BSA scoutmaster drilled into us that there is no comma between nation and under, so any pause between the words is wrong...

    •  thank you (0+ / 0-)

      Fishtroller (you old anti-religion troll you) for providing such a perfect example of what I meant when I wrote up top:

      For many years I have been struck by how too many non-religious figures come across when talking about what they think Christianity or any other religious faith is supposed to be about:  Concern trollish. Disingenuous. Unpersausive. So what.
      There is much that could be said, but I will simply point out that your claim that "the religious left needs to leave the religion out of it" is such a fine example of what I am talking about, that I'll just stop right there.
  •  Frederick, (2+ / 0-)

    Thank you for keeping Rev. Barber's name and words out here in the conversation.
    His is a voice that deserves national attention.

    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin--

    by kevinbr38 on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 07:07:55 AM PDT

  •  I've been saying this for years.... (0+ / 0-)

    The only way to counter the religious right is for the religious left to step up and take back their religion.

    Barber says that we can challenge the Religious right more effectively -- but "we don't do it by castigating religion."  
    I think Barber is slightly wrong here however, any time you speak out against the words spoken by these people it is interpreted as a personal attack against them and their religion, it happens every time. It really seems like, you cant say boo about religion without it being interpreted that way by the religious.

    However, when fellow Christians come out and say, "you're getting it wrong" as Rev. Barber says needs be done, it will always have more strength than any non-religious person saying the same thing.

    This is the only chance in my opinion for Christians to regain their religion, they have been so silent for so long that they are being painted by the brush the christian Taliban is giving everyone to use. If liberal Christians don't want to be compared to Rick Santorum, Pat Buchanan, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman, they are going to have to start singing out when they spew their verbal diarrhea.

    Rev. Barber says...

    " ...we must challenge the position, and the hypocrisy, especially in the South, of the Religious Right.
    and I say "Hell yeah" thank you.

    Religion is like a blind man, in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isn't there.....and finding it.

    by fauxrs on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 08:07:18 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site