After sharing the Mall with a million choice supporters yesterday, I don’t see how anyone could say that our side lacks religious fervor. People made pilgrimages from thousands of miles to stand up for their convictions, flocking to the capital of compassionate conservatism to demand more compassion from their leaders.
At the same time, I couldn’t help noticing that the one thing we seem to have no religious fervor for is religion.
Don’t get me wrong ? I’m no fan of the Christian Right. It’s only a matter of time before someone runs separated-at-birth photos of me with Ralph Reed, and I’m still recovering from a story a decade ago that mentioned “Bruce Reed’s Christian Coalition.”
But I’d feel a lot better if our side spent less time running down the religious right, and more time building a religious center-left. After all, those who fought for civil rights in the ’60s saw standing up for their political convictions as a natural extension of their religious convictions. Reverend Martin Luther King filled the Mall with a sermon.
My parents, whose lives have been one long march for justice, came out from Idaho to pass the torch to our daughter and son. While my parents aren?t particularly religious people, doing-the-right-thing has always been their church, with the environment, civil rights, and choice their favorite denominations.
I was willing to overlook the symbolic irony that marches now always seem to take place on Sundays, when much of America is in church. If our 8-year-old asked me about the ?Idahomos for Choice? sign, I had my cop-out answer ready: ?Ask your mother!? (No wonder women feel oppressed.)
Still, the Mall could have used more sermons on Sunday, and fewer celebrities. It?s not fair to compare a Sunday spent listening to well-meaning activists with that day Martin Luther King called all God?s children to join hands and sing the words of the old spiritual, ?Free at last.? But as we helped our children count the number of dogs at the march so they wouldn?t count the number of obscenities one entertainer was shouting from onstage, I couldn’t help thinking about what has been lost along the way.
And how much longer it will take to get where we want to go without it.