A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Political and Religious Fundamentalism on the Left and on the Right

Scott McKnight at Jesus Creed has waded into the tumultuous waters over President-Elect Obama's invitation to Rick Warren to give the Invocation at his Inauguration. I was planning to post my own view on the matter tomorrow, but Scot's perspective closely echoes my own, and he says it much better than I ever could, so I will simply link to his post and the ensuing discussion.

When a politician from either party attempts to reach across the aisle and work in bipartisan fashion with other politicians and civic leaders, the people who are the most angry about it are the extremists in the person's own party and of his or her political persuasion. We only have to go back in recent history to recall how angry many partisan conservatives were that John McCain surprised everyone to win the Republican nomination for president. Rush Limbaugh carried on for more than a few days on his radio show about it, and Ann Coulter was bellowing that she was going to vote for Hillary Clinton. Why were they so upset? Because McCain, who is certainly conservative in many ways, nevertheless, has reached across the political aisle on many occasions in order to get something done, and many conservatives have felt betrayed by him often times.

Former Democratic Senator, Bob Kerry in a pre-election editorial warned that in order for President-elect Obama to work in bipartisan fashion, as he promised, the biggest obstacle he would face would not be from Republicans, but from his fellow Democrats on the extreme left, and those too excited over their new found monopoly on power. For years, liberals and the national media have portrayed conservatives as the only ones who are intolerant and ideological. While that is true for some conservatives, plenty of others do not fall within the intolerant camp. Now, that partisans on the left have the power they have longed for, what some (certainly not all) are now demonstrating is that all their talk of tolerance and working across the aisle and reaching out to those who disagree, has been all talk. What they are revealing is that there are just as many intolerant liberals out there as intolerant conservatives.

Conservatives do not have a corner on the market when it comes to Fundamentalism. There are plenty of Liberal Fundamentalists out there; and now that they see an opportunity to legislate their moral agenda, just like the Conservative Fundamentalists before them, they will gleefully and self-righteously push anyone out of the way they deem as a threat to their now moral majority.

President-Elect Obama is not even president yet, and he has four years of governing ahead of him with many difficult issues to confront. I have no doubt that since he is a Democrat, he will do plenty of things that will make his own party happy and also irritate Republicans in the process. That is to be expected. Why would Republicans expect a Democrat not be a Democrat, and why would Democrats expect a Republican not to be a Republican? But, unlike former House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R), and current Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D), who both define bipartisanship as "You do it our way or you are the one who is being partisan!" President-elect Obama, seems to know that bipartisanship truly means working across the aisle and reaching out in honest fashion to people who do not share your most precious views. That kind of bipartisanship, not only includes politicians in Washington, but civic leaders as well.

Barack Obama has yet to be tested as president, but he did promise to reach out to all Americans. So far his Cabinet appointments and his invitation to Rev. Rick Warren and Rev. Joseph Lowry (who has differing views from Rick Warren on gay marriage) have demonstrated that he wants to keep that promise.

If Barack Obama continues on that path as president, we will get to see just how illiberal liberalism can be.

+ + + + + + +

Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. You make good points in it. I think the critics on this need to relax a bit.

Peace to you today.

TN Rambler said...

Just a minor correction: Tom DeLay was House Majority Leader. He never served as Speaker of the House.

Allan R. Bevere said...


That's right... Thanks for the correction.

Pastor Chris Roberts said...

I'll tell you what gets to me.
Didn't Kirby Jon Caldwell do this for President Bush the last 2 times? Why didn't the liberals pitch a fit because the "spiritual leader" was one who was part of a church that clearly opposes the homosexual lifestyle.