In a private email exchange my correspondent, someone I don't really know, wrote that he “cannot stand the religious right”. I'm not sure he meant that to be a personal insult at me - I don't know that he knows me any more than I know him.
I suppose I am the religious right. I’m a born-again Christian and politically I certainly fall under the conservative label as it is currently used. I consider myself a liberal (in the eighteenth century sense) but that’s not really useful in conversation. If you go down the list of positions currently called ‘conservative’ I probably support them.
“Cannot stand the religious right”? I wonder if, when people say this – and I imagine there are others that do – they would be able to stand a conservative that is not religious, or a religious person that is not conservative? That is, is it the religion, the politics, or what such people might consider the particular combination that they cannot stand?
If I try to think of positions particular to the religious right, I’m not sure what they are. Creationism taught in schools? Do most Christian conservatives want that? I don’t know. I don’t want it. On the other hand I certainly would be quite upset to hear that any teacher might be out there telling students that the theories of the big bang and evolution have somehow proven that there is no God. But I’m pretty sure they’re not supposed to do that and if they do it, I imagine they try to keep people from finding out. Certainly if teachers were to denigrate Christianity in particular by word or implication I would consider that beyond their mandate and would demand they be reined in. Does holding such a view cause otherwise rational people to not be able to stand you?
Abortion? Are only Christians opposed to abortion? Is opposition to abortion considered “right”? That is, are you not allowed to call yourself a liberal if you believe in every single liberal cause other than abortion? What if you’re a devout protestant socialist, yet you oppose abortion? Does that make you part of the religious right? If not, does that make you easier to stand than a devout protestant free-marketer that opposes abortion?
Is it so-called gay marriage? There are certainly solid non-religious arguments to make against a fundamental re-definition of marriage. If you’re an atheist against so-called gay marriage does that make you as hard to stand as someone in the religious right?
Just rambling here. I don’t know where I’m going with this but the statement “I cannot stand the religious right” just kind of struck me in a new way today. I wanted to get a couple thoughts down before I forget the incident.