Democrats, Liberals, and Religion

DEMOCRATS, LIBERALS, AND RELIGION….Scott Lemieux comments about Democrats and religion:

I have a lot of problems with Amy Sullivan’s recent piece about the opportunities allegedly presented by David Kuo’s new book. First of all, I reject her entire premise that Democratic politicians don’t reach out to religious believers, and since she never mentions the names of prominent Democrats who treat believers with contempt it’s impossible to evaluate her claims.

You know, I have two diametrically opposed responses to this. The first is that I’ve long had the same question as Scott about the Democratic Party’s supposed religious phobia. Who are these Democrats who are insufficiently zealous in their religious outreach? Can anybody name even one? The plain fact is that every single Democrat in Congress claims to be religious, and none of them ever shows the slightest disrespect toward either Christianity or any other faith. Quite the contrary, in fact.

But my second response is: Give me a break. We all know perfectly well that it’s the ACLU that fights every last expression of religion in the public square as if it really were the end times. (And don’t even try to pretend the ACLU is anything but a liberal organization. Save it for the gullible.) It’s liberals who gripe about “under God” in the pledge of allegiance. It’s liberals who cheered when prayer was outlawed in public schools. It’s liberals who fight even a nickel of public funding for parochial schools. It’s liberals who write books like Kingdom Coming. It’s liberals who disparage the anti-evolution crowd as thickwitted neanderthals.

And you know what? I agree with all that. I think the ACLU is great, I don’t think government bureaucrats (i.e., teachers) should be pressing religion on little kids, and I have nothing but contempt for the self-righteous blowhards who want to turn high school biology classes into Sunday School. At the same time, I’m not so delusional that I don’t realize that a lot of people view these positions as fundamentally anti-religious. I may not agree, but it’s not as if this perspective has simply sprung out of thin air.

So let’s get real: It’s true that Democratic politicians are uniformly respectful toward religion, but it’s equally true that the Democratic Party responds to liberal concerns, and that means it’s more sympathetic than the Republican Party is to a whole raft of positions that even some moderate believers view as anti-religious. Maybe Democrats should do something about this, maybe they shouldn’t. We all have our own take on that. But it’s not as if the problem is just a figment of Amy Sullivan’s imagination.