Covering the Progressive Faith Community

31 May

Dan Savage: Half Right About the Christian Left

For some time, Dan Savage has been challenging liberal Christians to do something to dislodge the notion that all Christians are conservative and, in particular, anti-gay. I think Dan is right–we do need to do something–but I think he is wrong about what we ought to do.

As he promotes his new book, Dan has returned to this issue, with this video and this interview (also with video) on Huffington Post. Dan recognizes the existence of “Not All Like That” Christians–NALTs–the ones who are not like the religious right. He suggests that proclaiming their existence to him is beside the point, what they should be doing is taking on the religious right and getting in their faces. He mentions other possibilities in his video, but he tends to return to the getting-in-their-face option.

Um, no. Bad idea, Dan.

What the progressive faith community has to offer is not more screaming, but a reasonable, faith-based alternative to the screaming. We need to do a better job finding our voices, but not to out-shrill the other side. Indeed, we are most effective when we speak quietly and when we listen. We are most powerful when giving witness to the value of our gay and lesbian family, friends and clergy. To the duty we have to care for our God-given environment. To the need for tax and energy and health care policies that reflect our religious values to care for one another. We are most successful when we demonstrate that there are liberals who are liberal because of our faith, not in spite of it. We win by being who we are. ¬†And there is no point at yelling at those on the far end of the other side. We are not going to convince them: ¬†Frankly, too many of them think we’re Satan. Our audience is the larger community.

And we need your help. The next time you get invited onto a cable show to debate an issue with a member of the religious right, suggest–or even insist–that the show feature a progressive faith voice, too. Use YOUR voice to help us use ours. Use your status to help us defeat the idea that people of faith are all “like that.” I will gladly connect you with folks who are great for this!

Oh, and drop the NALT label. It’s clever, granted, but no one wants to be defined by what they are not.


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