There have been several calls for Democrats to be more welcoming of ‘people of faith.’ Typically, these have been admonitions that Democrats need to stop acting like Democrats and more like conservative evangelicals (e.g., Mara Vanderslice; also here). However, it has never occurred to most of these ‘people of faith’ that perhaps they have a little house cleaning to do on their side of things. Well, one faithy person recognizes this (italics mine):
Sometime after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, I made a remarkable discovery. I had gone to one of my local Christian bookstores to find a Bible for my goddaughter. On a whim, I also decided to look for a Holy Spirit lapel pin, in the symbolic shape of a dove, the kind that had always been easy to find in the display case in the front. Many people in my church and in the places where I traveled had been wearing the American flag on their lapel for months now. It seemed like a pretty good time for Christians to put the Spirit back on.
But the doves were nowhere in sight. In the place near the front where I once would have found them, I was greeted instead by a full assortment of patriotic accessories — red-white-and-blue ties, bandanas, buttons, handkerchiefs, “I support our troops” ribbons, “God Bless America” gear, and an extraordinary cross and flag button with the two images interlocked. I felt slightly panicked by the new arrangement. I asked the clerk behind the counter where the doves had gone. The man’s response was jarring, although the remark might well be remembered as an apt theological summation of our present religious age. “They’re in the back with the other discounted items,” he said, nodding in that direction.
I have thought of this visit to the local Christian bookstore many times in the past several years. I remember the outrage I felt when I saw a photograph in Time magazine during the 2004 presidential election of Christian Coalition activists in Ohio. Two men, both white, and both identified as Coalition members, are holding two crosses aloft. The crosses upon closer inspection appear to be made of balloons twisted together. Across the beam-section of one of the crosses was the “Bush-Cheney” logo, and alongside the president’s name was the image of an American flag. In the second cross, the president’s name appeared in full at the places where Jesus’s hands were nailed.
And then there’s this lil’ picture from a megachurch:
Before evangelicals and ‘people of faith’ start claiming Democrats are against
religionfaith, they need to ask themselves just how much damage they’ve done to their own religion.
One more reason why sectarian dogma and politics should not mix.
Related post: maha has some similar thoughts.