Religious Right, Meet Religious Left

A few days ago, I wrote “that one eventual possibility is for the… religious right and religious left [to] grow closer together.”

The future is now.

In his October 14 blog for the Rocky Mountain News, “Faith in the planet,” M.E. Sprengelmeyer writes:

In American politics, we’re used to hearing Republicans use the language of faith. And we’re used to hearing Democrats talk tough on protecting the environment.

But this year, we’re starting to notice candidates from both sides mixing the two, perhaps hoping that breaking that language barrier can win them cross-over support.

Sprengelmeyer offers quotes from two presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee.

Obama:

The Bible tells us that when God created the Earth, he entrusted us with the responsibility to take care of that Earth — to exercise stewardship over His creation. … I don’t believe that this separation [of church and state] means that we should leave our religion at the door before entering the public square.

Huckabee:

My faith is my life – it defines me. My faith doesn’t influence my decisions, it drives them. For example, when it comes to the environment, I believe in being a good steward of the earth. I don’t separate my faith from my personal and professional lives.

The difference between the candidates is that Obama is losing out to a secularist, Hillary Clinton, who uses the language of religion strategically, while Huckabee is losing out to a dedicated religionist, Mitt Romney, who believes “we are a religious people.” The left will rally behind Clinton, while the religious right is threatening to leave Giuliani at the altar should he manage to take the lead.

It is indeed interesting that, substantively, the quoted comments of Obama and Huckabee are identical. It is true that the religious left is more interested in expanding the welfare and environmentalist state, while the religious right is more interested in outlawing abortion and promoting religion through government. However, both sides care a lot more about attaining their pet goals than they do about stopping the religionists on the other side of the aisle. The tendency will be for both sides of the religious divide to “compromise” by tolerating the goals of the other side in order to promote their own agendas. Thus, it is not much of a surprise to see the religious right warming up to environmentalism or the religious left downplaying the separation of church and state. The religious right and the religious left are already united in their desire to use the force of government to advance their religious agendas.

One thought on “Religious Right, Meet Religious Left

  1. Jamelle Bouie

    I’m not sure if you can equate religiously motivated politics with trying to “use the force of government to advance their religious agendas.”

    Having a theologically based political belief is no different then having a philosophically based one. So for example, there are Christians who believe that Jesus’ admonitions about caring for the poor compel them to advocate – politically – on behalf of the poor.

    They aren’t necessarily trying to impose a religious belief, but their actions are motivated by said belief.

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