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Thread: Two-Faith Nation

  1. #1
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    Two-Faith Nation

    Two-Faith Nation
    By DAVID FRENCH
    March 5, 2019 4:25 PM

    When it comes to cultural issues, there is no center-left.

    I’m old enough to remember when religious-liberty lawyers were a quirky, somewhat cool, and tiny (very tiny!) subset of the legal profession. They were the guys who’d skipped out on the law-firm bucks and instead spent their days making sure that the faithful folks on the fringes of American life didn’t get a raw deal. They kept the dominant American cultural Christians honest.

    Did a Native American group need the liberty to build a sweat lodge? Was a quirky home-school family getting harassed by state education officials? Did a Sikh need help to keep his dagger? In each case, the religious-liberties bar was there to help, and with broad public approval.

    Few things symbolize the transformation of American politics more than the transformation of the religious-liberty dispute. Remember all the way back in 1993, when the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed with only three dissenting votes? It was introduced in the House by Chuck Schumer, in the Senate by Ted Kennedy. Bill Clinton signed it, with great fanfare. Now the very thought of introducing state versions of this federal legislation brings national condemnation, corporate boycotts, and media scorn.

    In the early 1990s, you could almost fit the entire religious-liberties bar in a single mid-sized hotel conference room. Now conservative religious-liberties lawyers are the virtual Seal Team Six of the culture war, with multiple organizations raising collectively close to $200 million annually to do battle in courtrooms from coast to coast.

    What changed? America changed from a largely single-faith culture to a two-faith nation — sacred and secular — and it will be a two-faith nation for the foreseeable future. That’s why religious liberties are so controversial. That’s why they’ll be a flashpoint in 2020 and in 2024. No longer is a Christian nation urged to protect the small and politically insignificant faiths in its midst. In 1993, there was no real perceived public cost to basic religious tolerance. Now, the Sunnis are asked to tolerate the Shiites. The Hindus are asked to tolerate the Muslims. And in the zero-sum game of two-faith power struggle, when one faith wins, the other takes a loss.

    In an invaluable piece in today’s New York Times, Ross Douthat makes an important point about American politics. While Democrats are divided between left and center-left on a broad range of policies, when it comes to the culture war, there is no meaningful center-left. Here’s Douthat:

    The story of the Democrats’ struggles over the last 15 years is a story of a party that has consistently moved leftward faster than the also-changing country, and consistently overread victories — on same-sex marriage above all — as a template for how every cultural battle should play out. It’s a story of a new feminism that’s pushing the party ever-further from the center on abortion, of a new cohort of white liberals who are actually to the left of many African-Americans on racial issues, of an activist base that brands positions that many liberals held only yesterday as not only mistaken but bigoted or racist or beyond-the-pale.

    Consider Hillary Clinton, for example. I wrote not long ago that if the 2016 version of Hillary ran in 2020, she’d anchor the far-right wing of the Democratic primary. Her health, climate, and foreign policies are all well to the right of the Democrats today. But not on cultural issues. On cultural issues she was lockstep with the white progressive Left — dismissive of religious freedom, fully on board with the Obama administration’s gender-identity initiatives, and even seeking public funding of abortions.

    Ross calls this modern liberalism a “pseudo-church.” Increasingly, however, we can drop the “pseudo.” As Andrew Sullivan and many others have been arguing for some time, the language and practice of secular intersectionality directly compares with multiple elements of classic religious belief — from original sin (privilege), to justification (becoming woke), to sanctification (being an ally). But the secular nature of this religion leads many progressives to believe it can fully inhabit government, the academy, and corporate America without constitutional or legal consequence. True enough, under American law you can preach each aspect of the social-justice faith from the government pulpit in a way that you can’t preach the divinity of Christ, but social justice cannot crowd religion from the public square.

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    Identifying intersectionality and the secular focus on social justice as fundamentally religious impulses helps us identify the magnitude of our national polarization. The adoption of these religious impulses even by the center-left helps us understand why the stakes of our political contests always seem to rise. This is a sobering idea, because — let’s face facts — present world realities and enduring examples from history teach us that true two-faith nations often struggle mightily to maintain social peace and political cohesion absent extraordinary efforts to maintain unity and comity.

    Tolerance is easy when tolerance doesn’t threaten your power. A nation secure in its identity can and should unite to protect marginalized and politically weak religious voices, and in 1993 it did exactly that. A nation torn by religious division, by contrast, will view each advance by a religious foe as a material defeat of religious friends. Unless we can break that paradigm, look for the American divide to widen all the more.
    NR
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    but social justice cannot crowd religion from the public square.
    Except that it has. So that anything "religious" cannot be said out loud. Except - somewhat- in a church. Even then it's reserved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Marva View Post
    Except that it has. So that anything "religious" cannot be said out loud. Except - somewhat- in a church. Even then it's reserved.
    Not arrested. Not silenced:





    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

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    The good news here is that we live in a unique country that protects its citizen's freedom of religion.
    The other good news here is that religion and church can fall along with its hierarchy and leaders and you can still believe in and practice your faith.
    The other good news here is coming up next month.
    May we raise children who love the unloved things - the dandelion, the worm, the spiderlings.
    Children who sense the rose needs the thorn and run into rainswept days the same way they turn towards the sun...
    And when they're grown and someone has to speak for those who have no voice,
    may they draw upon that wilder bond, those days of tending tender things and be the one.

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    Ross calls this modern liberalism a “pseudo-church.” Increasingly, however, we can drop the “pseudo.” As Andrew Sullivan and many others have been arguing for some time, the language and practice of secular intersectionality directly compares with multiple elements of classic religious belief — from original sin (privilege), to justification (becoming woke), to sanctification (being an ally). But the secular nature of this religion leads many progressives to believe it can fully inhabit government, the academy, and corporate America without constitutional or legal consequence. True enough, under American law you can preach each aspect of the social-justice faith from the government pulpit in a way that you can’t preach the divinity of Christ, but social justice cannot crowd religion from the public square.
    Okay, there are some things in common. But there is a big difference. Secular beliefs are subject to ongoing debate. "God said so" is not subject to debate. That difference is key to what can "fully inhabit government" (to use French's construction). It's false to claim that Sabbath is a religious belief and equality is a pseudo-religious belief so they are equally valid as government pursuits.

    Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
    -George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism

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    The article has an interesting take on the topic by speaking to the members of the bar that fall into the "civil liberties" group. A few years ago I was appointed as the vice-chair of our state bar association's Civil and Equal Rights Committee. My appointment was met with suspicion (proper) and derision (improper). I have never met a more rabid and unapologetic group of far left liberals in my life. It was amazing to me. They viewed their sole function to champion the Democratic Party's platforms and causes, without any regard to how politicized they were. As an example, the issue of police brutality came up. They of course wanted to make all kinds of pronouncements and proclamations to condemn all police departments and champion new laws to allegedly "protect" the innocent victims of police brutality. I suggested that we invite the chief counsel for the District Attorneys' Committee to have a discussion about how best to address the issue from a community standpoint. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with that. That weren't interested in solving the problem, they were interested in fanfare and resolutions, etc. They took up every liberal cause there was, regardless of whether or not it truly was a civil rights issue. Case in point...when Pennsylvania was weighing legalizing medical marijuana. The mental gymnastics they went through showing us statistics of poor black men who spent time in jail for crack cocaine versus white suburban people who didn't spend a day in jail for marijuana possession....including regurgitated statistics about how a black man is x times more likely to be incarcerated...yada yada. I had to point out to them that the issue was medical marijuana, not legalizing marijuana generally, and that I doubted they could produce a single case of long term incarceration for the medical ingestion of marijuana pursuant to a doctor's advice. They finally backed off when a few rational liberals withdrew their support.
    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
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    Just last week a teacher demanded that a Roman Catholic child scrub off his ash mark that he got for Ash Wednesday. He was apparently the sole Roman Catholic child in that school.

    The teacher did apologize, wrote a note, and offered candy. At some point she offered to replace the ash mark herself.

    How 'outraged' would "we" be if a teacher removed a head covering, offered a note and candy, and then gave the kid a straw hat?

    A lot?

    The child got the mark replaced by a priest after informing the teacher that her effort would not be acceptable in a religious sense.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by phillygirl View Post
    The article has an interesting take on the topic by speaking to the members of the bar that fall into the "civil liberties" group. A few years ago I was appointed as the vice-chair of our state bar association's Civil and Equal Rights Committee. My appointment was met with suspicion (proper) and derision (improper). I have never met a more rabid and unapologetic group of far left liberals in my life. It was amazing to me. They viewed their sole function to champion the Democratic Party's platforms and causes, without any regard to how politicized they were. As an example, the issue of police brutality came up. They of course wanted to make all kinds of pronouncements and proclamations to condemn all police departments and champion new laws to allegedly "protect" the innocent victims of police brutality. I suggested that we invite the chief counsel for the District Attorneys' Committee to have a discussion about how best to address the issue from a community standpoint. They wanted absolutely nothing to do with that. That weren't interested in solving the problem, they were interested in fanfare and resolutions, etc. They took up every liberal cause there was, regardless of whether or not it truly was a civil rights issue. Case in point...when Pennsylvania was weighing legalizing medical marijuana. The mental gymnastics they went through showing us statistics of poor black men who spent time in jail for crack cocaine versus white suburban people who didn't spend a day in jail for marijuana possession....including regurgitated statistics about how a black man is x times more likely to be incarcerated...yada yada. I had to point out to them that the issue was medical marijuana, not legalizing marijuana generally, and that I doubted they could produce a single case of long term incarceration for the medical ingestion of marijuana pursuant to a doctor's advice. They finally backed off when a few rational liberals withdrew their support.
    Rational liberals? This must have happened a few years ago, there aren't any rational ones anymore.

    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gingersnap View Post
    Just last week a teacher demanded that a Roman Catholic child scrub off his ash mark that he got for Ash Wednesday. He was apparently the sole Roman Catholic child in that school.

    The teacher did apologize, wrote a note, and offered candy. At some point she offered to replace the ash mark herself.

    How 'outraged' would "we" be if a teacher removed a head covering, offered a note and candy, and then gave the kid a straw hat?

    A lot?

    The child got the mark replaced by a priest after informing the teacher that her effort would not be acceptable in a religious sense.
    Where? I've lived in some backward places, but I never met anyone that ignorant. She ought to be suspended.
    No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. This offer VALID in 35 34 33 32 31 26 20 17 15 14 13 ALL 50 states.

    The new 13 original states to stand up for freedom: CA, CT, IA, MA, DE, MN, NH, NY, RI, VT, ME, MD, NJ (plus DC).

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    Where? I've lived in some backward places, but I never met anyone that ignorant. She ought to be suspended.
    Utah but don't be quick here. Nobody now knows if the teacher was LDS. In that part of Utah, Roman Catholics exist and have both a church and a school so they aren't highly exotic in the community.

    It's more likely that the teacher believed that no religious expression of any kind was allowed despite the numerous legal judgments to the contrary and her school did not make this clear. This also happens in many 'blue' states where teachers are uninformed.

    Religious expression in public schools is legally allowed in every state despite local fussing to the contrary. And they do pay horribly when then get it wrong as they always do.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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