A name you can trust
Matthew Yglesias has some advice for Liberal campaigners.
Now Amy's right. It would be useful, for the purposes of electoral politics, for liberals in the media to avoid expressing the view that the belief -- adhered to by millions of Americans -- that failure to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior will result in eternal damnation is daft. On the other hand, the evangelical view of this matter is, in fact, completely absurd. And not just absurd in a virgin birth, water-into-wine, I-believe-an-angel-watches-over-me kind of way. On this view, a person who led an entirely exemplary life in terms of his impact on the world (would an example help? Gandhi, maybe?) but who didn't accept Jesus as his personal savior would be subjected to a life of eternal torment after his death and we're supposed to understand that as a right and just outcome. That, I think, is seriously messed up.
But I shouldn't say so!
But why not? If Liberals as a whole truly believe that the central tenet of a religious belief is a bunch of absurd crap, then why wait until after the elections to say so? In naval warfare in the sailing age even pirates flew their true colors at the moment of engagement. And he adds this:
Since this post got Atrios'd, let me say that I don't especially think Amy merits a Two Minute Hate here and I agree with her point in the article that what Sam Rosenfeld called "theocracy hype" (for example) is both analytically wrong and tactically misguided. But I think there's a real dilemma here -- some things that are impolitic to say are also true.
People old enough to remember Communism will remember when the most important thing for any proud Communist to hide was the fact that he was Communist. It was the original closet and the largest one in history. Part of the problem, I suspect, is not that Liberals disdain religion but simply that they have very strong religious views of their own. And like the pirate ship of the Captain Blood movies they are the very opposite of ships without a flag. They have a flag, all right, but simply one which is impolitic to fly until the other ship is boarded and captured. But I think that ultimately, it is counterproductive for political organizations which are secretly contemptuous of religions to hide their disdain. It is ultimately better to march openly against beliefs contrary to their convictions instead of waiting until the last moment to unfurl their banners. You can always respect an intellectual opponent, but there is little regard owed to a fraud.