Monday, September 17, 2007

"Secular Liberal"

Tonight, I am too tired to get into my incredibly busy weekend - much of which involved my church community - so I'll just jot off a little political rant. I listen to NPR (whenever Ellie lets me). I read Newsweek. I check the Google and Yahoo! news headlines. I watch The Daily Show. It might not be great, but it's what I do to keep informed.

Just so you know, I am so over the whole "secular liberal" as opposed to the "religious right" thing. So over it!

1) There are lots and lots of liberals who are religious.

2) Liberalism, when taken to heart, should be very tolerant of others' beliefs, even when they're not shared beliefs (indeed, aren't liberals often criticized by conservative talking heads for being "sympathetic" to Islamic extremists?).

3) Plenty of "conservative" political positions (especially regarding public assistance, immigration, and the environment) aren't terribly Christian at all.

When the media uses this language (over and over and over and over) what it says to me is that the media itself is fostering a divide, fracturing the debate from something that can be more nuanced into a either/or issue that doesn't reflect the complicated realities of our world.

It's sloppy reporting, journalistic short-hand, and anyone who finds him- or herself using the term "secular liberal" or "Christian conservative" should take the time to reexamine. Is the adjective necessary to the sentence? Are you talking about a specific subset of liberals, of conservatives? If so, make that perfectly clear.

Otherwise you're just cheapening the discourse and wasting space.


cybr said...

I think that the terms liberal and christian are pretty much polar opposites as it is. No surprise here that there's confusion on an issue like this.

Sarahlynn said...

Then you're pretty uninformed. Next time you're back in St. Louis, check out a service at a local United Church of Christ (the "United" is especially important), or United Methodist, or ELCA Lutheran, or Unitarian Universalist (some, but not all, UUs consider themselves Christian).

There's a large school of theological thought that argues convincingly that Jesus was a liberal, and a radical.

Christians are tasked to look after the earth, take care of the poor, and to treat others as we would like to be treated. Which party does more of all that?

PPB said...

Amen, Sarahlynn!