Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What's Liberal Religion?

I couldn't tell you.

I hope this blog will tell.

I attend the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, Illinois and while it's a Liberal Church, I find my political beliefs becoming increasingly more conservative.

Or sometimes I feel I'm still politically radical while the left plunges further and further into isolationism and sad flirtation with anti-semitism. I see what Andrew Sullivan called the politics of resentment when he wrote The Wages of Hate: Anti-semitism and the war and fear it will drag down the Liberal Church much as it's dragging down Liberal Politics.


Jaume said...

Sorry, but I fail to see any idealism or any defense of liberty in invading a country in order to expand one's own strategic influence in the Middle East and control natural resources, not just oil (already guaranteed by those good friends, the "democratic" rulers of Saudi Arabia) but also gas coming from the former Soviet republics. I don't see any idealism and defense of liberty in keeping the death penalty and in controlling American citizens through the Patriot Act and spying on private communications. I prefer the American Empire rather than the Chinese Empire or the Muslim Empire, but still I reject the orientation that my preferred Empire has chosen to care for us.

Bill Baar said...

Fine, that's politics, and you're faith can drive and inspired your politicis, but is your politics your faith?

And is it a good thing for your faith to become so political?

I think not.

Dwight said...


As someone with left politics, I admit I was disturbed by how many mainline churches hopped on the disinvestment campaign in terms of Israel, riding roughshod over their Jewish interfaith relations.

I also agree that a politics is not equal to a faith. But there is going to be some relationship here as well, if there was a wall, I'd be worried as well. It's right that Andrew Sullivan for instance has drawn his line in the sand with torture. That's an issue for me, that has crossed over from a partisan concern to basic human dignity, a basic moral line.

So in any case, these things can be difficult to negotiate...a faith which affects politics without one simply collapsing into the other...I believe liberal religion has some resources to aid us in such a task even if adherents don't always avail themselves of it.

Bill Baar said...


Collapsing faith into politics is exactly the risk any faith runs when it mixes too much into politics.

I think it's a greater risk for Political Liberals then for Political Conservatives because the liberals much more inclined to view all of life as politics while conservatives will compartnment the two --and others-- into seperate spheres.

I heard George Will comment once on the booing Trent Lott received during Senator Wellstone's wake. Will said Conservatives err by excessive religiousity while Liberals err by making everything politics.

Conservatives would have kept Wellstone's wake and politics apart. The Liberals turned the wake into a political demonstration complete with heckling those paying respect.

I think Will had a pretty good insight. I have two blogs for that reason. I hope to avoid the conservative's error of excessive reliousity. If I get excessive, it will be here, and not on my other blog.

And, indeed, political issues often great moral issues, and issues of social justice. We're remiss if we don't turn to our faith traditions to guide us. Not dictate the law, but guide us individually as we collectively shape law, politics, and culture.