So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. There are many reasons to criticize and maybe even sometimes ridicule organized religion and hypocrites who claim to be faith based. However, sometimes I think we as liberals and progressives can be a bit too knee-jerk in our criticism and too dismissive of those true believers who have nothing in common with those types other than the cross around their neck or the holy book in their home. This position is a faulty one that neither builds a coalition nor favors our goals.
How would we ever accomplish anything if we only retreat to those corners where we find only those who agree with us on everything? I think that if we were to do that we would need to create a clone so that we would have any company at all. I am reminded of all the significant progressive achievements in our history, our independence, ending slavery, the suffrage and civil rights movements, the New Deal, Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security. All of these things were accomplished by people of multiple faiths and no faith at all. Basic human decency can be found anywhere, just like the opposite.
It may cause strain and frustration being in the “big tent,” but it’s well worth it when we are all–or at least most of us–pulling in the same direction. It also separates us from groups that would impose litmus tests on their membership. Those who don’t believe in a higher power don’t like their beliefs (or lack thereof) being insulted by those that disagree and vice-versa. One thing we should accept about each other is maybe–just maybe–each side believes in what they do as strongly as the other. I think that would be a start.
Besides, if we are to excise people of faith, that means we have no use for folks like MLK, Gandhi, John Lewis or our current President. And I have no interest in being a part of any group that would feel that way.
Let’s be kind to one another. We’re all we’ve got.