Sometimes, it is tough being a liberal. Rush and his legions of loyal Dittoheads call you a “libertard” and like to pretend they’re more skillful at being Americans than you. As a liberal, you think this country and the world could be better places and want to help make those ideals come true. Conservatives warn that you’re actually a communist and the folks at Fox News howl and hiss that you and your type want to wipe your feet (or worse) with the U. S. Constitution.
When all else fails, and conservatives start losing their case on the merits, they pull out the Big God Gun. They claim to have the Lord on their side.
How do you argue with that?
THEN COMES A BIT OF SERENDIPITY and the Republicans field a ticket with Mitt Romney for President and Paul Ryan waiting in the wings.
Suddenly, being a liberal is pure pleasure.
Now you begin to feel that healthy liberal doubt rising once more. How can people like Ann Coulter on the right insist they have God on their side, when God can’t seem to get His Own message straight? Is the Bible the last and only true word from above? Which version of the Bible? KJV? NIV? Is it where we must go for all answers, about gay marriage and abortion, and even scientific topics like global warming, or not? And what about the Book of Mormon or the Koran? Is that what God, speaking to Moses thousands of years ago, simply forgot?
Ross Douthat, a prominent voice in the conservative movement, argues in today’s New York Times that Romney needs to open up his campaign narrative in the coming weeks. He needs to let voters catch a glimpse of his Mormon faith.
As Douthat sees it:
Romney’s years as a bishop would be woven into a biography that emphasized his piety and decency, introducing Americans to the Romney who shut down his business to hunt for a colleague’s missing daughter, the Romney who helped build a memorial park when a friend’s son died of cystic fibrosis, the Romney who lent money to renters to help them buy a house he owned, and so on down a list of generous gestures and good deeds.
In this scenario, faith is an absolute positive, and, conversely, we might assume, lack of faith is a crippling liberal failing. Douthat argues that during a visit to Salt Lake City this summer he was struck by the fine emphasis the Church of the Latter-Day Saints put on “faith, family and neighborliness.”
As for those woe-begotten liberals?
According to Douthat, we assign the key role in society to the state.
A liberal ends up, right about there, scratching his or her noggin’. A liberal believes in both freedom of religion and personal freedom. Let Mormons practice their faith in their beautiful temples, with the figure of Moroni displayed on high, blowing his trumpet. If they believe Joseph Smith found golden tablets on a hillside near Palmyra, New York in 1830, and believe these tablets outline the last true version of the Word of God, let them pray as they like. A good and decent member of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints is a good and decent human being, first, second and last. The same is true of the good and decent Catholic, Hebrew, Muslim, Sikh, Wiccan, any positively focused faith at all.
If you’re a liberal, though, you have a few fair questions, but not because you hate religion or God or this great nation. (In fact, even though you aren’t positive, you believe God probably loves not only all Americans, but all human beings.) First, if Romney reads one religious book and Ryan reads another and those devout Evangelicals who represent the base of the GOP believe them both wrong and put forward a third version of the truth, why must we assume these people know what they’re talking about when they quote chapter and verse on subjects like gay marriage?
If the Book of Mormon goes on in detail about the battle between Lamanites and Nephites, two ancient people on the North American continent, a liberal says, “Let the Mormons worship in peace for they do me no harm in the practice of their beliefs.”
Still, the liberal mind swirls. Why do so many right-wing types, who say they care more about religious freedom than liberals, oppose the building of mosques in places like Tennessee? How is a good and decent Muslim, reading his or her Koran, any more of a threat to the rights and freedoms of any other American than a good and decent Mormon or Catholic? If two Mormons marry in a special temple ceremony, or even a Catholic and Mormon marry each other, how does that affect anyone else save the couple involved? In the same way, a liberal wonders how the equation changes if two gays marry? And if a conservative says, angrily, “You want to destroy marriage as it has existed for thousands of years!” you can’t help wonder. What were Mormons leaders like Brigham Young thinking, when they polygamy existed as church doctrine until 1890?
In fact, at this point, if you’re liberal, you find yourself muttering, “And this is the same church that offered all kinds of support to Proposition 8, the California referendum to ban gay marriage in that state?
In fact, sometimes it is still great fun to be liberal, as it is starting today with this odd “liberal” mixed marriage of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Because at times like this you get to confuse conservatives with logic and fact.
Here’s one to try on the next right-wing type who says you hate God, the flag, and kittens, too. When they insist we need to put prayer back in schools, ask them which prayer and led by whom? When they say God is against gay marriage, and quote from Leviticus, ask them their position on the sacrifice of goats. After all, if you’re a liberal you wonder why with 859 verses in Leviticus, only the one related to homosexual behavior is brought up. And if the use of the phrase Abomination is the key phrase, well then one must wonder why the other Abominations are not similarly frowned upon, such as remarrying your divorced spouse, the mere touching of pork, the eating of shellfish, the hording of money (which is called an abomination not once, but three times), the eating of food in which the animal or crop was killed more than 48 hours before… the list goes on and on.
Next time Ann Coulter opens her mouth in public, to spew out more hate, let some good and decent liberal in her audience stand and ask, “Ann, at 49 or 51 (there’s some dispute over her birthdate) are you still a virgin?” Because, let’s face it, conservatives, if the Good Book never once mentions the word abortion, it is crystal clear when the topic is sex before marriage.
And you know what Rush Limbaugh, now four-times married, might say. If Ann isn’t still a virgin, then she must be a slut.
The author also posts regularly, usually about education, at http://ateacheronteaching.blogspot.com/