Religion and Politics
An interesting new blog, Jesus Politics
on a topic that has fascinated me for years and years. (Also found via Matt Y
.) The author writes, "My interest in Jesus goes back to when I was born on the "mission field" of Brazil where my parents were Southern Baptist missionaries. My interest in politics has been recently revived given the current state of political affairs. My interest in Jesus Politics is born out of my puzzlement of how so many Christians seem to be supporting the current government."
As a pretty religious non-Christian liberal who passionately believes in a secular state and has many liberal Christian and
Atheist friends, I think a lot about the Venn diagram intersection of being religious, being liberal, and being conservative. They are all on continua and can be independant variables. (Continuums sounds so ugly.) I do think that the role of liberal religion in general and progressive religion in particular has been downplayed both by the vociferous left and by the right. This is both a detriment to the American political landscape and the American religious landscape. I have a lot written about this sitting on my harddrive, but I will wait until graduation to refine it and post it, I think. I do want to say that my thinking on this actually applies to all religions, and that I do think that in the kind of coastal, highly educated circles that I usually move in liberal Christians do seem increasingly alienated and isolated into hiding one or the other aspect of their identity.
Also, I am not making a blanket condemnation of religious humor. I'd say I have even less scruples about it than Kevin Drum
, who writes,
"I too find this puzzling. I'm about as nonreligious as you can get, but even I understand the basics of in-group comedy: only blacks get to make fun of blacks, only Jews get to make fun of Jews, and only religious folks get to mock religion. That's both common sense and common courtesy."
Well, I'd say I hold to an extremely loose and unrigorous version of this rule. Only the people in the group are allowed to make really intense fun of themselves--and the rest of us are certainly allowed to laugh. (Before my fellow First-Amendment zealots jump down my throat I mean allowed in the sense of "allowed in pleasant company" not "allowed not to get arrested.") I've been deriving a great amount of pleasure from IslamicNews
("News You Can Lose") lately, and my Muslim friends seem to be able to enjot it even more. If I could make a really good version for my subset of Hinduism I would, but I'm afraid only my sister would get the jokes. There is no contradiction between humor and religion, and a great sign of the religiously celebrated quality of humility is the ability to make fun of oneself. But to automatically
cry "oh, get a sense of humor," when someone points out disrespect, snark, or nastiness is disingenuous and fundamentally unkind. I may not always know disrespect when I see it, but I do believe it's real and deserving of criticism.