Since when did Liberal equate to Non-Religious?

Does anyone else feel the same?
I have been getting exceedingly nausiated with the current US Presidential election. I have never seen the country so divided in partisan sh*t throwing as is going on right now. The tone of the Republican campaign is increasingly making the word Liberal mean non-religious. I am so completely dumbstruck - quite literally - with this bureaucratic BS, I am thinking of becoming a Canadian. Ok not really, but I recently came back from Florida and as a voracious morning news paper reader I could not believe the slant the Orlando Sentinal had towards bashing Democrats and Liberals so blatently in their head lines. Voter’s will hear a lot about Kerry and Liberals… etc…etc…I am a subscriber of mostly Connecticut news papers and we have our fair share of liberal bashing, but come on now…do we see any papers bashing the hell out of our current clown? Nope, at least non that I have seen.
So in your opinion does Liberal = non religious?
disclaimer this took me 45 minutes to write as I am doing other things aside from writing this. So if this is punchy and sad I apologize.

One thing I don’t understand is…how liberals rip religion apart. They seem to forget the large % of religious folk in the inner city (a demographic which leans 94% Democrat).

Liberals tend to be clueless.



People who are comfortable with religious motivations and rhetoric tend, as a majority, to vote conservative. People who are uncomfortable with them tend to vote liberal. This is not a mystery.

Do you think it would help or hurt Kerry to describe himself as a deeply religious man?

What, specifiacally, do you want to see?

Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that to me. Of course, I’m a big ol’ liberal atheist, so make of that what you will.

And I think that Kerry is a religious man. Being religious doesn’t automatically mean that you are a conservative, either.

Could you give me a for-instance or two?

As both a liberal and a born-again Christian, not in that order, I’d be interested in any axamples you can produce.

Responding to the OP, I think it’s about a sense of God as a tribal god, versus a sense of God as Someone far bigger than we are.

A tribal god is on your tribe’s side, and hates those heathens over the hill or across the river. No logic is necessary to support that; the god just is.

And so it is with the Christian Right’s God. He is on their side, for their pet causes, and hates liberals and pagans and homosexuals and taxes and government schools. And so they are capable of bringing God into the public square as a weapon on their side, for this is what they believe.

Liberal Christians, on the whole, worship a different sort of God, a God whose ways are far above our ways, to paraphrase Isaiah (ch. 55, for those keeping score at home). As John Kerry paraphrased Lincoln the other night, we don’t have the temerity to claim that God is on our side; we hope and pray that we are on His.

Acknowledging that we don’t know what position God takes on the issues of the day - or even whether He has a position on most of them - doesn’t make us one iota less religious. But it means we can’t bring God into our political discussions in the same way, so we don’t.

The upshot: in the political sphere, God is seen as the property of the right.

And ‘property’ is exactly the right word.

A cite for **Furt. **

I agree with you to some degree that people who are comfortable with their religious motivations tend to vote conservative. However, that does not mean that that is the norm. My father is a devout Roman Catholic, and Republican, yet he is voting Kerry to try and get Bush out. I am voting the same way. Granted I do not consider myself Catholic, but I do consider myself Liberal.

I don’t see it this way at all.

There is a collection of people on the left and libertarian right that is uncomfortable with any public expression of faith at all, no matter how ecumenical or non-sectarian that expression might be. Those people are attempting to purge things like oaths, crosses on seals, religious imagery in public buildings and the like completely unmindful of the historic place such have had in society.

Opposed to this are most conservatives and many liberals. Indeed, I think most Americans are opposed to this to some degree. They see appropriate public expressions of faith, even on government property or by governmental bodies, as constituting no threat to individual liberties and no establishment of a state church. I personally think this the correct viewpoint.

The dividing lines are drawn thusly. The fact that some on the political left find themselves on the wrong side of it in my view makes them, in my opinion, legitimate political targets. Certainly thise on the libertarian right aligned with them would be targets too, but these folks have always been far fewer in number.

I believe this to be false.

ThePew Research Center says that, while there is a divide it’s not as big as you’d think. Certainly not big enough to say that theists tend towards either party. Something like %78 percent of Republicans are theists, as opposed to %71 of Democrats.

If you want to say “people comfortable with conservative religious motivations and rhetoric tend to vote conservative,” I’d agree. :slight_smile:

I have seen a reported correlation between weekly church/synagogue/mosque attendance and voting patterns, with people who attend more frequently tending to be more to the right, politically. That however, is a demonstration of the way people feel about their faith or the way that people express their faith–not a declaration that right and left can be identified as faith or non-faith.

People who are more likely to follow the “law and order” aspects of religion will be more likely to support the “law and order” aspects of politics (to use the imagery from the Nixon era–the last time the country was this divided).

Actual belief in God and adherence to the tenets of a religion are separate from mere attendance at church. it is no more accurate to declare that “liberals” are opposed to religion than it is to declare that “conservatives” are simply hypocrites who like the pomp and ceremony without embracing the belief.

I could be wrong, but I would imagine the correlation between religious and conservative is one of the reasons you’ll find more non-religious people on the left. Certainly the Moral Majority stuff in the 1980s wouldn’t have made a lot of atheists think about voting Republican.

America’s a religious country, and as such, accusing your opponent of lack of religious faith can be an effective attack against him. This isn’t new…the Federalists attacked Jefferson’s “atheism”. So, this is just a standard attack. Plus, some vocal liberals also oppose “social religion” issues…things like prayer in schools, vouchers for religious schools, and having ‘under god’ in the pledge. So, liberalism can be vulnerable to that charge. (Please note I’m not saying you have to be non-religious to be opposed to those issues, or that all liberals oppose them, or that no conservative opposes them. It’s a matter of perception, and liberals are seen to be more secularist than conservatives)

I think your head is in the right place, but you may be listening to too much propoganda. When I was a child I lived in a pre-dominantly Roman Catholic area. In our public school we started off each day by reciting a Catholic prayer. I was Protestant, and knew the difference, and each day I was forced with the dilemma of saying the prayer out loud with the rest of the kids and feel like I was going to hell for saying the “wrong” prayer or sitting there silently, being conspicuous, and risking being beat up for being different. Quite a burden for a 1st grader. Even though I was very religous I was relieved when the SCOTUS said school-led prayer was uncontitutional. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for a Jew, a Muslim, or an Atheist.

I am now an atheist, do you think I should be made to swear an oath on a bible? Should we put the 10 commandments up in schools and court rooms? Do you know that there are several different versions of the 10 commandments depending on whether you are Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant. Do you want to set up a commission to select the “right” version of the TC to display?

I have never known a liberal to say that being religious means you can’t be an American a liberal. But we did have Bush Sr saying he thought that someone who doesn’t believe in God couldn’t be a real American.

The question is not why liberals hate religion (they don’t), it’s why conservatives hate atheists. There are lots of prominent religious liberals. Who is the prominent liberal atheist? Is the GOP’s tent big enough to cover that?

Yes, the ACLU sometimes does take cases that make people mad. They piss off both the left and the right. However they consistently stand up for individuals’ rights to practice religion. There is a difference between public displays of religion and government sponsored religion. The former is always OK, the latter is not.

Trust me, the last thing you want is the govt to be involved with religion. What would you think if your child was taught that the creation story in Genesis and the resurrection of Jesus were borrowed from other religions that preceded christianity. If you are a Mormon would you want the schools to teach that LDS is not Christian? Would you like your child’s paper to be graded wrong if he had a different verson of the TC then was taught by the teacher?

The funny thing is that America is the most church-going westernized country. I think that is not despite the ACLU and their ilk, but because of them.

I’m having a bit of trouble with this post, I believe because I’m not sure which of the two senses of ‘public’ you’re using when. To be clear, there’s

-public, as in out in the open for everyone to see, as opposed to private, as in in the privacy of one’s own home
-public, as in within the sphere of government, as opposed to private, as in within the sphere of the individual

When you talk of people “uncomfortable with any public expression of faith at all” I am left somewhat confused, since the most natural parsing seems to suggest the first sense of public - but then your position becomes extremely forced, since I am aware of only a vanishingly tiny group of people who are uncomfortable with public expressions of faith in that sense. Well, perhaps that isn’t quite right. There may be a larger group who are uncomfortable, in the sense of preferring not to witness any. But very, very few who think that people ought not make public (out in the open) expressions of faith, even if they personally would prefer not to witness them.

So that leaves us with public (governmental) expressions of faith. Now, I probably have a slightly more relaxed view on this than many liberal/libertarian-leaning posters here. After all, the head of state of my country has the funky title Defender of the Faith, and is also head of the C of E. And we don’t have SOCAS enshrined in our constitution the way the US does. And yet for the most part, at least in recent decades, there haven’t been any really objectionable entanglements between church and state. I’m sure the dispensations granted the Catholic school boards here, for example, would be subject to successful challenges by the ACLU if they occurred south of the border, but I can’t say as I have much of an issue with them.

That said, I think there are significant issues with public (governmental) expressions of faith, “no matter how ecumenical or non-sectarian.” Historical references (crosses on seals, statuary in old buildings, etc) are a complete non-issue to me, but current references, analogous to, say, your Pledge of Allegiance (the only example I can think of is the line ‘God keep our land glorious and free’ in the anthem), I find offensively exclusionary. Very mildly offensive, to be sure, but offensive nonetheless. Get as ecumenical as you like, you’re still excluding people. Generic references to capital-G God exclude not only atheists, but Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, Shintos, etc, etc. I couldn’t care less if Canada where nominally officially Christian, so long as practically everyone can feel equally part of the community which is our nation. And so long as governmental bodies are making even non-sectarian expressions of faith, some people are not being treated as equally part of the community. That is wrong.

Contributing to this issue is that a fair number of people in minority religions are at least stereotypically leftist. (One of my friends who shares my religion occasionally gets terrifically cranky about being invisible as a conservative in our religious community.)

There are a number of people in the United States who seem to equate “religion” with “evangelical Christianity” (and not all of them are evangelical Christians). This makes it possible for the public discourse to equate “opposition to creeping imposition of evangelical Christianity” to “opposition to religion” with a minimum of rhetorical sleight of hand.

If I say something in opposition to a religiously-founded political agenda, the fact that I’m a devout follower of a religion that nobody present has heard of won’t register. Liberal Christians I know have had difficulty being identified correctly in such circumstances even when they explicitly point out where their position is founded on their theology; what hope do I have as being identified as ‘religious’ when I’m not even close to being on the radar?

Liberal != non-religious. There absolutely is a Christian Left, greatly outshouted though it is by the Christian Right.

I think the dominance of thinking that GOP is the religious party is entirely bound up in the abortion controversy. I know Christians (my parents among them) who are basically leftist (evironmentalist, pro-union, pro-social services, anti-war) but tend to vote Republican because they are anti-abortion, and for that reason alone. In general the anti-abortion stance is based on religious assumptions more than anything else.

Some excellent points here. Add to the mix the tendency by a fairly large proportion of persons strongly conservative in both the political and religious senses to claim an exclusivity of moral propriety for their particular positions on issues.

A cite for **Furt. **

Link no work. Let me just say, though, that the Sentinel isn’t really liberal or conservative so much as it’s just lousy.


I did not say Conservatives were more religious per se: read my post again. The point I was driving at was that conservatives are more of a religious disposition that sees nothing wrong with using religion in political rhetoric and advancing policy preferences with explictly religious motivations. Liberal religiosity tends to be more quiet, or as they’d say, humble, and Liberals will explain their choices in secular terms.

I am aquaited with or am friends with a few members of the clergy (all Protestant sects) who happen to be some of the most flamingly liberal people I have ever met. Hell, one of them has a gay sibling and is going to marry his bro. & his bro’s partner in a couple months.

Some things I’ve notice about my liberal religious friends vs. more conservatively religious people I’ve met:

Liberals aren’t aggressively evangelical. They’re thrilled to have you join with them to celebrate spirituality, but if that’s not your thing, they take pains to avoid bringing it up. I remember once being accosted by an evangelical Christian on (of all the worst-possible places) a ski lift, whence there was nowhere to flee but twenty feet straight down; so I was forced into a fifteen minute proselytization session. The major topic was the Rapture, and about 2/3 the way to the top, I was asked if I knew what Hell was like. I replied “Maybe it’s like riding a ski lift and being forced to listen to you.” Did that shut him up? No! He smiled at my apostasy, and simply hammered at me harder, sending me off from the ramp with a “May Jesus Christ bless you.” Liberals hope they’re right. Conservatives know they are, and aren’t happy until you think just like they do. This spills over into politcs; they see no problem with pushing a religious aggenda, because it’s the moral thing to do.

To liberals, forcing an agenda any more specific than the most universal of moral principals (Golden Rule type stuff which virtually all faiths espouse to some degree) is seen as intolerant, and they back this ethos up with the Constitutional separation of Church and State. Many (perhaps most) conservatives see core Judeo-Christian values as being so integral to a successful and moral society that to try to prise them from common governance would not only be futile, it would be evil. Sure, you can’t make people worship the way you do under the law, but that doesn’t mean abortion and gay marriage are OK. In other words, the separation of Church and State does not mean that government must abandon fundamental morals for the mere sake of “tolerance”. Support for this argument usually follows slippery-slope reasoning: If we allow gays to marry, what’s to say we shouldn’t allow polygamy, pederasty, and bestiality? We take our cue from the fundamental Laws set down by the Almighty, and for government to ignore some moral Truths for the sake of inclusiveness is simply untenable.

So, conservative pols do not see a moral quandry in using their faith to back up their politics; quite the contrary, their faith is proof-positive of the suitability to lead. For liberals, the situation is much more dicey. They’re forced (perhaps kicking-and-screaming) to approach various hot-button moral issues like abortion in such a vaguely nuanced manner as to seem almost amoral, or worse morally relativistic. It’s tantamount to saying the Bible does not contain the Truth, which is anathema to the religious right. I imagine many liberal pols would love to somehow use their faith (being it real or feigned) to appeal to religiously conservative Americans, but they then risk alienating their universalist and/or secularist constituency, which is a still significant chunk of the electorate. This political tightrope act, balancing the need to be ostensibly Christian to even be in the running, yet quietly so as not to appear chauvinistic, makes them look like limp-wristed amoral wafflers to the religious right. They’re worse than pagans; they’re fake Christians.