YET MORE ON RELIGION….Patrick Nielsen Hayden pretty much sums up my feelings about the great progressive religion debate:

I am by temperament a promoter of coalitions and alliances, and in that persona I wince when I see potential allies grinding their heels into one another?s toes.

Like Patrick, I couldn’t care less whether we offend the right or not ? and that includes cretins like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who use religion as the basis of their own little liberal-hate cults. We all have various tolerances for offending our opponents, of course, but these guys aren’t going to vote for our causes anyway. Have at ’em.

Nor does it bother me if religion takes its lumps in popular culture, everywhere from The Simpsons to Monty Python. Everything else takes its lumps in popular culture, so why not religion?

Furthermore, I understand the annoyance (or worse) felt by atheists and other nonreligious types, who really are a minority in America and are essentially locked out of the political process. How many professed atheists are there in Congress?

Still, we’re talking politics here, and why buy trouble you don’t need? Coalitions are tenuous these days and victory margins are thin, and if you’re going to be snotty about religion ? well, go right ahead, but you should at least trouble yourself to be aware of how potential allies are likely to react to your snottiness and whether it reduces your chances of bringing them over to your side. After all politics isn’t all (or even mostly) about policy. It’s about feeling comfortable with the group you’re being asked to vote with.

It may be fun to be snotty, but fun is for children. If your goal is to win, then you build coalitions wherever you can find people who mostly agree with you, and you do your best to keep from driving them away. After all, it’s really not very hard to fight the political efforts of the religious right without dissing religion itself.

UPDATE: I should add that regardless of what everyone has to say, I think it’s great that liberal blogs are talking about this. It’s a subject well worth getting out in the open. More here: